LDS Curriculum and the Priestly Hermeneutical Tradition

A guest post from from friend-of-the-blog Silence Dogood.The recently announced changes in CES curriculum represent something much more than what is taught at BYU campuses, institutes, and seminaries. Rather, it is an embodiment of a particular strain of scriptural interpretation that plays a central role in the modern Church.One could argue that Mormonism was founded upon the question of scriptural interpretation. Joseph Smith, upset that the many religions of his day “understood the s … [Read more...]

Reminder: Faith and Knowledge Conference Deadline!

Nearly 10 years ago, this conference came together as the first dedicated space for LDS graduate students in religion and related fields.  If that applies to you, don't miss out on being a part of something really special!  THE FIFTH BIENNIAL FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE CONFERENCEUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesville, VAFebruary 27-28, 2015The Faith and Knowledge Conference was established in 2007 to bring together LDS graduate students in religious studies and related … [Read more...]

…Like All the Other Nations

The book of 1 Samuel in the Old Testament contains an account of the debate over gaining a king in Israel. This text from the Deuteronomic History reports an anti-monarchical perspective revealed some serious concerns about the idea of having a king over Israel. Prior to the monarchy, Israel was ruled in a loose confederate tribal system. God was considered to be the king of Israel. The Israelites did not think that this was a particularly effective governing system because they were constantly … [Read more...]

Pseudonyms Rule, Names Drool

Judith Donath, a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, has put forward an argument that we have been making for years: pseudonyms are better for online communication.  The Harvard Magazine article discusses the argument in more depth, but basically suggests that anonymity and pseudonymity are two different things.According to her new book, she, "contends that well-managed pseudonyms can strengthen online communities, an idea that contradicts the conventional wisdom tha … [Read more...]


University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA February 27-28, 2015The Faith and Knowledge Conference was established in 2007 to bring together LDS graduate students in religious studies and related disciplines in order to explore the interactions between religious faith and scholarship. During the past four conferences, students have shared their experiences in the church and the academy and the new ideas that have emerged as a result. Papers and conversations provided thought-provoking … [Read more...]

What Otterson Got Right: “We don’t know all the reasons”

There is a lot to like about Michael Otterson’s recent letter.  It is a cause for hope that the issue of women in the church is being taken seriously.  It is honest, heartfelt, transparent, and reaches out directly to a community who often wonders if anyone cares at all.  I am grateful for this gesture and am pleased to see that he is an active part of the conversation.There are lots of things to critique about the letter too, many of which have happened in other blog posts and comments.  The … [Read more...]

What is Scripture, for reals?

Is scripture only scripture if it is a inerrant record of what really happened?There are some people who believe that the only difference between the Greek myths (as an example) and the Bible is that Samson really killed a lion with his hands, but Hercules did not; that God really sired Jesus, and Zeus did not really sire his mortal children; that ravens really fed Elijah, but Telephus was not suckled by a deer; that Jesus really turned water into wine, but Dionysus did not; and that … [Read more...]

Guest Post: Mormons Talking About Jews

This post comes from guest contributor Orson.LDS scholars can sometimes be quite disparaging when discussing Judaism. It’s not intentional. Mormons by and large love the Jewish people (even if we often fail to properly understand them). Yet not withstanding this generally positive sentiment, Mormon scholars have a long history of making derogatory anti-Semitic remarks. I feel a need to point this out, not with a desire to embarrass specific individuals, for certainly, when it comes to re … [Read more...]