What if…?

What if someone ordained their wife to the priesthood? Let's say that this husband wanted to have his wife assist in priesthood blessings in the home, or be able to perform blessings in his absence. She would not be ordained to any particular office, but given the priesthood power for specific ordinances. Let us also say that this woman received it, but never in fact used it. Let us also say that this husband is a bishop, and interviewed the candidate and determined her worthiness. If he … [Read more...]

BYU Religion Dean on Premortal Life, Part I: Race and Nobility

Last week Terry Ball, Dean of the College of Religious Education, gave BYU's weekly devotional address (mp3 file available here, Daily Universe report here). His talk raises many issues relevant to recent discussions here and elsewhere. My reaction to his talk will be divided into two posts: first, a discussion of some of the problematic themes that Ball raises, and second, an analysis of the way this Professor of Ancient Scripture handles scripture. … [Read more...]

The DeMcConkie-izing of the Church

Elder McConkie, I think, made large contributions to the Church. He systematized and provided the only real encyclopedic Gospel reference book in a time when computers filled rooms.  I think he provided some things the Church needed at a particular time. That time appears to have passed.The following should be taken with a grain of salt. I have sources, but most of them are shadowy people I've met in dark parking garages.Mormon Doctrine, written by a member of the 70 in 1957, has outlived … [Read more...]

Holiness and Housework: The Sacred and the Mundane

One of the most influential theories for explaining religion over the last 50 years has been that religion is a system which divided people, places, and things into essentially two categories: the sacred and the profane. This view, popularized by Mircea Eliade, held that the sacred was a locus of holiness, where God could be encountered. Temples, churches, special times of the day for prayer, holy days, priests and priestesses, etc were examples of the sacred. The profane was everything else. … [Read more...]

The Excommunication of Father Feeney

In 1953, Pope Pius XII excommunicated Father Feeney for refusing to submit to ecclesiastical authority. The issue in question was Feeney's rejection of the liberalization of Catholic Doctrine (a broad movement culminating in Vatican II). Specifically, Feeney was excommunicated for his insistence on the traditional, historical doctrine of the church, extra ecclesiam nulla salus (There is no salvation outside of the church). Feeney maintained that salvation was only for those who had been … [Read more...]

The Informal “You” In European Missions

Everyone knows that missionary work in Europe is a massive failure. The church has need of substantial PR boost and an entirely new strategy for appealing to contemporary Europeans and their immigrant populations. I suspect that there are a number of problems that need to be addressed, not least among them is that the traditional method of proselytizing in Europe is seen as outmoded at best and an offensive version of American imperialism at worst. However, all of these problems are … [Read more...]

Probing Interviews

There is a recent movement in a stake that I am aware of for Bishops and Branch Presidents to have more "probing interviews." The goal is to ask more specific questions, especially about the Law of Chastity in order to uncover sins. These interviews are mostly the youth interviews, pre-mission interviews, and interviews with members who have already acknowledged worthiness issues. However, it has been suggested that Temple Recommend interviews also be more "probing," encouraging members to … [Read more...]

The “Vote of Thanks”

I've been a Mormon all my life. Sadly, I mostly tune out during sacrament meeting, and I usually bring something to read because 99.9% of the time, I come away from sacrament meeting feeling less in tune with God than before. With a good book in hand, I can have some face time in the ward but simultaneously worship God my own way (currently reading Grant Palmer's Insider's View of Mormon Origins - IT'S EXTRAORDINARY!). Last week, I heard something I've heard all my life, and like a good … [Read more...]


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