The Study of Mormonism: A Growing Interest in Academia

In light of the recent FARMS post, I wanted to briefly discuss an article I came across by M. Gerald Bradford, published in a recent FARMS Review. I should first state how impressed I was to see an LDS scholar trained in a Religious Studies program, addressing the role of Mormon Studies within the context of Religious Studies. Bradford even lays out a brief outline of "Religious Studies", influenced by Ninian Smart (former Professor at UCSB, and leading figure in the development of the field of … [Read more...]

The Responsibility of the Scholar

What is the responsibility of the academically trained scholar in Mormonism? As more LDSs go to graduate schools (or even various undergraduate institutions) and study religion, this becomes an interesting question. I'm defining "scholar" here as someone who has graduated from a institution of higher education focusing specifically on religion (broadly conceived). This isn't meant to position one type of scholar above another, but to ask a specific question about what our expectations are from … [Read more...]

Differing Codes of Honor

I've always been curious as to why Church schools have different Honor Codes. At BYUI, for instance, men cannot wear shorts or slippers to classes; apartments are also monitored by an "apartment manager" who ensures things such as people are in their apartments by midnight (1am on the weekends), and enforces things such as the following:Men and women may visit in apartments of the opposite sex beginning at noon. All must leave in time to arrive at their own apartment by curfew. Visitors need … [Read more...]

Limited Tolerance

Over at T&S a discussion about the legalization of polygamy was closed after some of the participants got too heated. I'm not asking to continue that discussion here, but I do think it raises a central issue--how much diversity can and should the church tolerate?What issues/practices/doctrines can we hold differing "righteous" positions on; and which require complete uniformity? How do describe the interplay between culture and gospel norms? Why does it seem that we are more comfortable wit … [Read more...]

Doctrine as an Expedient Means

I served a mission back when the commitment pattern was king. Prepare--Identify--Invite--Follow Up; those were the rules of the game. If we could get investigators to make and keep commitments, they would feel the spirit and ultimately receive a testimony of the gospel.I'm wondering though, what this tells us about the role of doctrine (loosely defined) in the conversion experience. Does doctrine serve a functional role, where it is a means to an end? Is the value of doctrine, perhaps, more in … [Read more...]

A Return to the Roots

A few Sundays ago the topic of the sacrament meeting talks was the "restoration". It had all the necessary ingredients: restoration versus reformation, authority being lost as the ancient apostles were killed, our church being the "same" as the ancient church, and America as the prepared homeland for the restoration.A brief discussion I had with someone between sacrament and sunday school centered on bringing up the differences rather than similarities bewteen the Latter-day church and the … [Read more...]

Faithful Dissent

While reading through some of the transcripts of the interviews used for PBS' "The Mormons", some of Elder Holland's comments caught my eye. Dave over at DMI also posted about this interview, although he didn't necessarily pursue the issue I would like to raise here. … [Read more...]

The Mormons on PBS an Early Review

I actually do not have much time to put together a thorough review (which the film certainly deserves), but this is probably the only chance that I'll have in the next week or so and it airs on the 30th.The piece I'm discussing here is the first of the two-part series and deals with the history of Mormonism (the second part deals with the contemporary church).The first film is two hours long is divided into 6 "acts": Revelation, The Saints, Persecution, Exodus, Mountain Meadows, and … [Read more...]