Challenging Church Leadership

The following is a reprint of a post originally written in Oct 2008.  Something reminded me of it and I decided to share it again.Paul’s bitter dispute with Peter and James poses a problem for thinking about LDS notions of authority because it puts into tension church authority and moral and doctrinal issues. When true doctrine and church leadership are in conflict, how are we to make a choice between them? When our sense of what is moral conflicts with our leaders’ sense of what is moral, wh … [Read more...]

I am the newest BYU Prof!

Many of my close friends and family already know this, so it won’t be a surprise to them, but I am still giddy to announce that I have accepted a job at BYU Religious Education starting in Fall 2014.  Hiring decisions were recently made public, so I can finally share the good news with our readers.  My life-partner and I will be moving to Orem this July, so let us know where we can find a supportive ward!I would like to share a bit of the back story about how all of this came to be.  Offi … [Read more...]

Friendly Fire on Mormon Scholars

While some corners of the LDS church's intellectual health have been thriving, including in some aspects of church curriculum, the LDS Newsroom, Church History, the Maxwell Institute, and even BYU Religious Education and Deseret Book, other corners of the Church Educational System and the secretive committee that vets all potential hires, speakers, and academic boards at BYU, have been silently blacklisting, banning, and investigating LDS scholars. The anecdotal evidence is increasingly … [Read more...]

What is the Moral Lesson of Genesis?

Latter-day Saints are studying the Old Testament this year.  Unfortunately, many LDS readings of the Old Testament adopt a hermeneutic wherein the stories in Genesis provide moral role models.  It seems that we have come to see the scriptures as a kind of guide book for living a moral life, in spite of the fact that the stories never tell their readers to emulate any of the characters.  If we adopt this reading strategy, we miss important ways of engaging in moral reasoning, and quite frankly, mi … [Read more...]

The Myth of “Listening” to the Scriptures

So, I am still thinking about the interpretive claim made by another blog that "God is a child sacrificing, misogynist, racial bigot."  I started writing a post about the nature of interpretation and the naivety behind the myth that the scriptures contain a meaning prior to human interpretation. What I have found objectionable about this particular reading is not simply its conclusions, but the way it presents these conclusions as the outcome of an unbiased reading of scripture.  While I was t … [Read more...]

“Generous Orthodoxy” and Continuous Revelation

I recently came across a phrase from feminist theologian Hannah Bacon that I really liked.  She talked about a "generous orthodoxy," a term used "to identify orthodoxy as an emerging, incomplete process that is never closed in on itself, always receptive to the voice of the other." (See Bacon, "A Very Particular Body: Assessing the Doctrine of Incarnation For Affirming the Sacramentality of Female Embodiment," in Women and the Divine: Touching Transcendence, eds. Gillian Howie and J'annine Jo … [Read more...]

A Mormon Tribute to MLK

Given some of the discussion of Martin Luther King, Jr. in some LDS venues, I thought it would be a good time to reread my own tribute written five years ago.  … [Read more...]

Repost: Ethics as an Interpretive Lens

This is a repost of an earlier post of mine that seems relevant today.How should we evaluate and adjudicate doctrinal and practical matters? As LDS we look to scripture, authoritative statements by leaders, and to the history of LDS practice and thought. Appeals to these sources of authority, however, not only fail to yield definitive answers, but also obscure the authority with which they are invested. The authority by which these sources are invested is never itself investigated. The … [Read more...]