The Problem with Laughter

Last night I attended a baptism that was accompanied by much laughter and merry-making, which was at times shushed by many of those in attendance. The LDS practice of "reverence" as a means of producing the conditions for spiritual experience sets boundaries around certain kinds of laughter. In other contexts, "loud" laughter is prohibited. When we fast, we are supposed to abstain from laughter as well as food (D&C 59:15). These particular ways of regulating laughter are not unique to … [Read more...]

Priesthood, Temple, and Semantics

Most people know that in our current arrangement, young men tend to receive the priesthood at age 12, when they are ordained to the office of Deacon in the Aaronic priesthood. This has been the case only since the 1880's or so, according to this fascinating Journal of Mormon History article. (That page it opens to isn't blank. You just have to scroll to see the text.) … [Read more...]

Curses!

A discussion I had recently with a friend of mine reminded me of one of my other favorite soap boxes that I haven't stood on in this forum before. No, it has nothing to do with swearing (in a traditional sense at least). Today I'm more interested in the sort of curses that God lays on peoples. Like on the Lamanites and stuff. And yeah I know that there is nothing new in the 'Nacle so I'll just say outright that I haven't even looked elsewhere to see who has already broached the subject and what … [Read more...]

The myth of applying all scripture

An argument that I occasionally see floated in blogs is the argument that ideas are to be shunted aside simply because they neglect to consider all the scriptures. This is a strange argument to me. No single argumentative notion is capable of encompassing all scripture, or even most scripture. There may be one or two exceptions, but I would tend to think that they would be promoted by ideologues who dismiss counter-arguments without real consideration. Sure, all scripture may testify of … [Read more...]

Is the “Family” the problem?

It is evident that the LDS church has made the institution of the nuclear family its centerpiece in both its external PR and internal emphasis. There are many wonderful things that can be said about such an approach. The rise and fall of the nuclear family in the 20th century is certainly an interesting moment in history and much can and should be said about this trend in the coming years. I have been doing a bit of reading lately that has got me thinking about the role of the family and the … [Read more...]

I know that Mitt is true.

In testimony meeting this month, a good sister bore testimony of Mitt Romney. She stated that she knew that God had prepared Gordon B. Hinckley to be the prophet is these days. Then she said that she knew that God had also prepared Mitt Romney for this day. She went on to talk briefly about having recently read the Hugh Hewitt book on Romney and how much she liked it (“…and he is not even a member…”). The best part was watching the bishop squirm. It obviously made him nervous. Of … [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...]

Scholars and Prophets

I presented a paper at the Yale conference in February in which I argued that the reason that most people don't read the works of Biblical scholars (LDS or otherwise) is that most people don't read scripture in order to understand what scripture says; most people read scripture in order to interpret it in light of their own experience or to have a revelatory moment with God. Actually understanding the original intended meaning of the words is secondary to this personal divine experience and it … [Read more...]


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