A Mormon’s Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the courage to question my leaders;the humility to accept their answers;and the prudence to know when courage becomes arrogance, and humility becomes complaisance. … [Read more...]

Israel’s Past Without the Bible

It may come as a surprise to some that there are texts from ancient Israel, Judah, and its environs that are not found in the Bible. There are also a number of texts from (especially) ancient Egypt, Assyria, and Babylonia that make reference to Biblical persons, places, and events. Such epigraphic texts are important for many reasons. I want to discuss some aspects of why these texts are important in what follows, and to give some basic information with respect to some of the more prominent … [Read more...]

The Evolution of Faith: or is God Creating a Better Mormonism?

Evolution of faith cover

Not long after the Evolution of Faith: How God is Creating a Better Christianity was published, I happened to encounter it on the shelf for new releases in my local library. I had been struggling for some time with feeling alienated from my religion of birth, having come to the realization that there was much in it that I could no longer accept as having a divine basis and aspects of its theology, culture, and spiritual practices that I believed were ultimately unproductive and harmful.This … [Read more...]

Faith as a Relationship

I recently heard somebody refer to faith as a verb. While many verbs are involved in faith, I would say that faith is itself not a verb, but it is a noun.Faith in Jesus Christ is not believing in Christ. Having faith in Christ is having a relationship with Him. A relationship is a noun. What then does this thing involve? That is a more complex issue.What does any relationship require? We could probably come up with a long list, but I will note a few that stand out to me.Trust. We must be … [Read more...]

Faith, Scholarship, and Teaching at BYU Series

For the series announcement and the question to which I am replying, see here.I believe that the dichotomy between the "intellectual" and the "spiritual" in religious education is a false one. Instead, I would prefer to appropriate for my approach to this important issue the German adjective geistlich (or Hebrew ruchi): a word that sees the spiritual and the intellectual as part of a synthetic whole that also includes an appreciation for the aesthetic. I believe that by adopting this … [Read more...]

Ten Tidbits About the Ten Commandments

1. Although commonly referred to as the "Ten Commandments," in the Hebrew Bible itself they are not so called; rather, they are referred to as the "ten words/sayings" (Exod 34:28; Deut 4:13; 10:4). Thus a better designation perhaps is that derived from the ancient Greek translation of the Bible, known as the Septuagint (LXX), from the 3rd or 2ndcentury B.C.E: the "Decalogue."  The word "Decalogue" comes into English via French and Old Latin from the Greek, deka meaning "ten," and logos (pl. l … [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...]

Now Reading… Bad Religion

Published this AM, by Ross Douthout.  Amazing what Kindle can do, no?So the "problem," so far, is the loss the great orthodox Christian center.   And this means heretics, among whom Douthout places us.  He writes: Heretics are often stereotyped as wild mystics, but they're just as likely to be problem solvers and logic choppers, well-intentioned seekers after a more reasonable version of Christianity than orthodoxy supplies.  They tend to see themselves, not irrationally, as rescuers rather … [Read more...]


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