A Note on Priestly Status for MLK Day

One of the most powerful scenes in Revelation is the moment when the Lamb takes the scroll from the right hand of the one who sits on the throne. His achievement is celebrated by heaven's citizens like this:When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones. 9 They sang a new hymn: "Worthy are you to receive the scroll and to break open its … [Read more...]

The Mormon Tour Industry

While looking on www.deseretbook.com this morning for something, I noticed a link to Time Out Tours. I have also noticed that Meridian Magazine has its own tour business. I am sure that there are many others out there (I'd be interested in collecting these links, so if anyone knows of one, please put it in the comments). These tours are interesting to me because they deal with not only educational tours to Book of Mormon lands, Israel/Palestine, and Church History sites, but also trips to … [Read more...]

The Sin Against the Spirit in Mark 3

This bit of light writing was composed in response to an email from a friend. I have left it with that content and format except for a postscript added this afternoon. The question posed was the relationship between blasphemy against the Spirit and all that other business about demons and Beelzebul in Mark 3.How amazing that your question should concern the binding of the strong man passage! That is precisely the passage we are going to cover in GD this week. Last week we did attitudes of … [Read more...]

The Loneliness of the Post-Feminist

JohnR has an excellent and touching entry at FMH on the lack of male feminists in the church. While I am not convinced that not claiming the label "feminist" means that one supports wife-abuse, date rape, eating disorders, or sex trafficking (I thought that Mormons opposed all of those things regardless of whether or not they were feminists...), nor do I think that the Vagina Monologues ritual is really all that great for anybody, I am sympathetic to the sentiment of the post. However, the … [Read more...]

The Adulterous Woman, Part 3: Textual Criticism and Narrative Theory

For those who are joining our programming in medias res, this series is looking at the story of the Adulterous Woman in the Fourth Gospel from a narrative-critical standpoint. The first installment dealt with the theory of narrator reliability and the second with various narrative techniques. This one has to do with the challenges inherent in a narrative-critical approach to a story of uncertain authenticity.The Text-Critical SituationThe story of the Adulterous Woman is now found in Jn … [Read more...]

Pilgrimage Sites: Palmyra, NY

By now, pretty much everyone recognizes that church has begun to build up its sacred historical sites by dedicating temples, new visitor centers, and redesigning the experience visitors have. This has produced and encouraged increased pilgrimage by faithful members of the church who travel to these sites for special religious experiences. An industry has built up around these pilgrimage sites including hotels, bookstores, and replica relics. For an "aniconic" culture, we certainly have gone … [Read more...]

Believing Blood: Mormonism as a New Race

Mormons adopted the language of race and ethnicity to describe themselves from the very early days of the church. This post examines the rhetoric of race in Mormonism and compares it with that of early Christianity. It is inspired by Denise Buell's amazing book, Why This New Race?, which looks at "ethnic reasoning" in early Christianity. In Mormonism, I see a similar dynamic, though different in some key respects, in the process of describing and creating a new people.Up to this day, many … [Read more...]

Mormon Symbols

Last month I posted on symbols here. Since then there have been a number of excellent posts on this topic (feel free to add links to your old posts in the comments). One of the questions that I was dealing with is how symbols become symbols and how they acquire meaning. There were some really great comments that you should check out. In this post, I want to deal with the translation of Mormon symbols through time and across space. This image is of the 19th century Endowment House in Spring … [Read more...]


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