Faith-Promoting [Not] History

Several weeks ago we had a sacrament meeting talk that remains on my mind. The gentleman who concluded the meeting used most of his time to read a story that he frankly admitted came from his mother, who “got it from Google.” If you are thinking that the word “Google” is a bad sign in this context, your spidey sense is doing well.The narrative he read was the highly embellished story of Gertrude Specht. You can read the Google version here and Jonathan Green’s research here. The bottom line i … [Read more...]

Baptizing Vicariously and the Problems of Universalism

I haven't posted for a while, so I was checking through some of my drafts this evening.  This was fully written, but I can't remember why I didn't post it at the time I wrote it.  It is a bit past the prime time on this issue, but might still be relevant. The reemergence of the controversy about baptism for the dead, spearheaded by the issue of posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims is frustrating for Mormons. Not only do Mormons feel misunderstood and suspicious of the motives o … [Read more...]

The Mormon Rawls Project: The Original Position and the Council in Heaven I

Authors note: The following is the second in my Mormon Rawls Project Series. It is also the expansion of my first ever post here at FPR.When Rawls develops the concept which he labels “justice as fairness.” This does not mean that a just society is one which is fair, but instead that principles of justice must be determined under conditions which are fair to all.While fairness may not be something commonly found in the world, we can imagine what the conditions of fairness might appear like. T … [Read more...]

The Good Samaritan as The Other

The parable of the Good Samaritan is well known and much beloved. The image of the caring Samaritan tending to the bruised and bleeding traveler speaks to the goodness of mankind; despite the self-love of the world.I have noticed that this parable often shows up in secular moral theory as an example of an acceptable religious concept for the public square (See “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited" by John Rawls). It is also used in a number of ways that…well…few Mormons might expect (see secti … [Read more...]

Is Greed Good?

This is the topic for the newest Public Square discussion over at Patheos.I particularly like the article "What Happened to the Common Good?" by some Chris Henrichsen fellow. Check it out. … [Read more...]

Brand Spanking New

Like many Christians I like to read and re-read Romans 5-8. Paul uses very vivid imagery to portray both sin and grace as powers that can exercise dominion over human life. Death and the law are likewise rendered in apocalyptic terms. These chapters come to something of a climax in Rom 8:33 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the just … [Read more...]

Myth, Modernity, and Mormonism

The category of "myth" is arguably the most important for evaluating the Bible in the last few hundred years. The very earliest critics of the Bible employed the category of "myth" in evaluating the stories and histories recorded there. D. F. Strauss (Das Leben Jesu, 1835) employed the term for making sense of the life of Jesus, among the first to suggest that the gospels were not literal history.Besides the difficulty in identifying and defining myth, the most important interpretive problem … [Read more...]

The Always Placid Mormons

...is how we are described by the Catholic blogger who writes as "The Anchoress." I read her pretty much daily. On the whole, she's usually a refreshing combination of entertainment, spiritual insight, and wisdom. My kinda person, and especially so since I teach from within her tradition.It's always interesting to find out how you're viewed by others. And I don't mind being "always placid." If, through this Proposition 8 tempest, one of the labels that sticks to us is "placid," it won't … [Read more...]


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