Even Christ’s Body Has an A**hole

Communities sometimes find themselves in deep division over really important issues.  There is no universal answer to how to respond to these divisions, but one example from the New Testament, in 1 Corinthians, has been deeply influential for me, and one with conflicting messages in our present circumstances. … [Read more...]

Korihor and the Defense of Secularism

Generally, Korihor is understood as a kind of anachronistic representation of secularism by many modern interpreters.  However, it is not at all clear that Korihor represents secularism.  Indeed, his confession notes that a religious experience is what motivated him.Secularism may be defined in various ways, and indeed has enjoyed a rigorous critical discussion over the past decade or so.  For the purposes of this post, I want to examine just two important ways for thinking about the se … [Read more...]

From the Archives: King Benjamin Killed God

This is a repost from four years ago. I was reminded of it and thought it worth rereading. Original with comments here.Jesus set up an impossible paradox when he explained that the two great commandments are to love God and to love one’s neighbor (though he was not the first to summarize the Law in such a way). The problem is that one simply cannot do both, as Jesus himself elsewhere noted that one cannot serve two masters.King Benjamin saw the impossible tension between these two c … [Read more...]

Hellenism and the Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) has sometimes been put forward as one of those features of Christianity that marks it as distinctive from Hellenism. Traditional Protestant scholarship on the Bible reproduced popular racialized conceptions of culture in their analysis of ancient categories of thought. For instance, Adolf von Harnack distinguished between Judaism and Hellenism in his analysis of early Christianity. To this may be added the idea that Christianity represented something unique … [Read more...]

The Politics of Editing “The False Gods We Worship”

President Spencer W. Kimball's most famous sermon recently received a makeover in the June Ensign. Kimball delivered one of the most enduring sermons of his career, "The False Gods We Worship," in 1976 in the context of the bicentennial celebration of the United States. Kimball was a conservative political thinker, but this talk has endured in part because it appealed to conservatives and liberals alike.There are two sins that are at the heart of Kimball's critique of society. First, … [Read more...]

Scripture Studies and Theory

With the arrival of Salt Press at the Maxwell Institute, we have finally entered an era of "theory" as part of mainstream LDS scripture studies. At the same time, we LDS have not fully processed the moves made in biblical studies. There was a short spurt of LDS feminist criticism in the 1990's, but this did not engage the scriptures as a primary point of inquiry. Poststructuralism, cultural criticism, and queer studies have had almost no impact on LDS scripture studies. … [Read more...]

What’s Wrong with the Topical Guide?

Last year I suggested some changes that I would make to the LDS Scriptures, which included getting rid of the Topical Guide.  There was some resistance to this recommendation in the comments. With the recent announced changes to the LDS scriptures, I thought now would be a good time to revisit this topic.  The new edition of the LDS scriptures makes no substantive changes to the Topical Guide, only corrected reference errors, formatting changes, and a few other typos.  (The list of changes app … [Read more...]

Updated LDS Scriptures: An Occasional Series

As a group of people that is generally pretty interested in the scriptures, we were pleased to learn of the new edition (2013) of the LDS scriptures announced on Friday.  The link provides a wealth of information about the new edition, including a discussion of the history of the LDS editions, and detailed documents noting every change made to the text and headers.  The transparency of this new change is extremely useful.  New maps and study aids are provided as well.  In early commentary, LDS au … [Read more...]