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...]

Mormon Literalism and the Body

Recently, Terryl Givens has celebrated one of the Mormon "heresies" (his term) of "literalism." He argues that Mormonism has eschewed the modern movement towards metaphorical understandings of religion, insisting upon its "literal" relationship to certain "facts," such as the First Vision, the materiality of the Book of Mormon, and even literalized heaven by making it material. This literalism, however, is distinct from fundamentalist Christianity which insists on a different kind of biblical … [Read more...]

The Future of Heavenly Mother

Heavenly Mother (HM) has proven to be a very potent and productive figure in the history of Mormonism. She has been put to use for all sorts of theological and political agendas. Even the silence about her functions to promote a certain political agenda. I want to briefly review some reflections on the history of HM, and offer a theory for why I think she will play a more prominent role in Mormon discourse over the next few decades. … [Read more...]

Moderation, the Higher Law, and the WoW

I have often wondered how the order of heaven will differ from the order of the Church here on Earth. It seems to mostly be an exercise in futility; there is almost no way to prove one's conclusions. And musings about the "higher law" (as defined below) would seem to fit nicely into this category. However, I'm not above wasting a little time on such things if they interest or amuse me, especially while I'm at Church. … [Read more...]

Why No Social Gospel?

Much of 20th century Christianity has emerged out of the Social Gospel movements. The Social Gospel movements see Christianity primarily about the alleviation of suffering for the poor and oppressed. These movements became increasingly influential in the Great Depression. They also formed the backbone to the American Civil Rights movement in the 1950's and 1960's, and Latin American liberation theologies in the 1980's. Today, much of mainline Christianity has moved in this direction. For … [Read more...]

Announcement: All-Blog Symposium on “Mormonism and Modernity”

As you may know, I am an advanced student at a local VCR repair school in South Dakota. Recently, I have been listening to a number of people, and a reading a number of books, on the issue of the VCR in modern life. Representatives from a number of VCR manufacturers are examining this technology in light of the contemporary technological, informational, political, and diverse age in which we live. These questions have got me thinking in a similar way about the conditions of modernity (and … [Read more...]

If All is Sacred

If all is sacred, is nothing sacred?This is related to a previous discussion here at FPR.The categories of "sacred" and "profane" have a long history in the study of religion. And attempts to collapse the sacred and profane can be understood many different ways. I actually find it valuable to consider "All as Sacred"; but not in the sense that "the sacred" is simply a spatial category. IMO, the sacred is a relational category contingent on how we perform within a given space. In other words … [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...]


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