Epistemology: Why the Focus?

I'm trying to drive at whether there is a way to justify Mormon knowledge claims and perhaps get at whether there are uniquely Mormon ways of knowing. It may seem like I'm taking a bit of circuitous route. I want to get at why people have worried about the things they have the past few centuries. It can often seem like epistemology is so dominated by specialists each debating such nuanced points that the big picture is lost. Last week I got at why we should even care about knowledge. I hopefully … [Read more...]

Knowing: Why Care?

Why do we care if we know rather than merely believe? Both in religion and life in general? I think that typically we appeal to an ethics. There are several ways this occurs. The first is that we have a community notion that knowledge entails beliefs that are true and have a certain degree of justification. If I go into an employer and say I know how to program in C++ and Python and I've never programmed in my life then we recognize that is a lie and that it is wrong to tell that sort of lie. In … [Read more...]

Mormon Ways of Knowing

Years ago I got a call from someone from one of the major LDS book publishers. (It's been so long I can't remember which - although it definitely wasn't Deseret Books) They were planning on publishing a kind of Mormon dictionary that addressed many of the topics within Mormonism using short scholarly entries. The main emphasis was less the summation than to have a pretty thorough bibliography for each entry. They were calling me because several people had suggested that I was the best source for … [Read more...]

Spiritual Gifts: The Cessationist Controversy from an LDS Perspective

Debate over spiritual gifts is about as old as the first New Testament passage describing them. Paul's discourse and description of the gifts in 1 Corinthians is a response to the first-century Church's turmoil over the nature and practice of these gifts. The Montanist heresy is evidence of continued confusion in the second and third century.  From references found in Eusebius and others we learn that one of the greatest arguments between Montanists and the Church in Asia Minor was whether or … [Read more...]

Give Me Proof of Eternity…

You probably shouldn't even read this post unless you have a poetic soul. ...but if you do, you might have these strange melancholy moods, where you read sad poetry for days, and don't eat.  When I'm in this mood, I read my main man Algernon Charles Swinburne, Victorian poet.  I discovered Charles when I read his poem The Garden of Proserpine. You'll probably recognize it--especially the last two stanzas which hauntingly embrace the inevitability of death. … [Read more...]

The Truth of Personal Narrative

Bart Ehrman has pointed out that the popular view of Paul and his conversion makes it difficult for historians to evaluate what actually happened to make him "turn around."  In the scriptural record Paul does not present himself as a guilt-ridden legalist whose realization that the law was impossible to keep led him to find forgiveness in Christ and motivated him to bring the good news of release to those burdened with guilt complexes like his own.  Ehrman calls this view "fiction" and … [Read more...]


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