Women’s Religious Authority

I am currently reading a fascinating book on medieval mysticism that argues that the rise of female mysticism is not the result of some innate feminine spirituality, but the result of cultural constraints on women's authority that required extraordinary spiritual experience as legitimating a female voice. I am curious if a similar dynamic exists within Mormon culture. Is women's authority limited in LDS culture in such a way that particular forms of spirituality are required to authorize their … [Read more...]

Mandatory Repentence Periods?

It appears that a new instruction manual to bishops requires certain "waiting periods" for prospective missionaries who commit certain sins, which are specifically enumerated. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?The only reason that I can think that it is a good thing is that it standardizes the waiting period. This way, bishop A who is more strict than bishop B is required to follow the same guidelines.However, this very process of standardization also strikes me as creating a whole new set … [Read more...]

A Crisis in the Church

No, this post is not about low baptism numbers, low retention numbers, or low commandment observance. Rather, I see a major crisis of a different kind, a crisis of rhetoric. Once upon a time, Mormons used to preach. The talks that were delivered had content and spunk. Sadly, I don't think that I have been alive to ever have seen this past tradition, but it is long dead. Now, talks consist mostly of quotes from general authroities and banal observations about whatever the topic happens to … [Read more...]

What is the Priesthood?

Having not been to Relief Society in a long time, I don't know if this is how every lesson about the priesthood starts there. I can assure you that every lesson I have ever been to in EQ about the priesthood starts with this question. A few answers get tossed around until the teacher settles on the one that they like the most. Having been to dozens of these lessons in my life, I still am not really sure of the answer. I don't mean to imply that the priesthood is nothing, only that it seems … [Read more...]

Anti-Intellectualism

I firmly believe that Latter-day Saints not only have nothing to fear from the academic world, but have a divine obligation to learn from and take seriously "secular scholarship." I believe the Lord when he instructs his people to learn from the best books. However, there seems to be a profound mistrust of scholarship by many members of the church. Two recent episodes:1. Recently in my elders quorum, a newly married convert of the church asked what resources for studying the scriptures … [Read more...]

March Mormon Doctrine Madness – Round One, Day One – Fixed

Today's games: … [Read more...]

March Mormon Doctrine Madness: The Rules

In March, as you know, we will be running a tournament of sorts. I would like to take some time and explain the schedule and the rules: … [Read more...]

Historical Mormon Smackdown: Relative General Authority Edition!

Last week, blogpoll went nuts and I made a mistake which meant that the people say that a member of the Presidency of the Seventy has more impact on the church than the general Relief Society President than the general Sunday School President.In a further effort to fill out my flow-shart of popular understanding of church hierarchy, we have the following: Which priesthood body has a greater impact on my church experience: the Presiding Bishopric or the Presidency of the Seventy?The Presiding … [Read more...]


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