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...]

Faith-Promoting [Not] History

Several weeks ago we had a sacrament meeting talk that remains on my mind. The gentleman who concluded the meeting used most of his time to read a story that he frankly admitted came from his mother, who “got it from Google.” If you are thinking that the word “Google” is a bad sign in this context, your spidey sense is doing well.The narrative he read was the highly embellished story of Gertrude Specht. You can read the Google version here and Jonathan Green’s research here. The bottom line i … [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...]

A Dearth of Understanding Mormon Freemasonry in Nauvoo

A Freemason’s Critique of Sam Brown by Guest Poster Joe Steve Swick IIIJoe Swick is a longtime student of the history and dogmas of Mormonism and Freemasonry. He received his Endowment in 1982 and was raised a Master Mason in 1995. He is twice Past Master of his local lodge, and twice Past High Priest of his Royal Arch Chapter, receiving the Masonic Order of High Priesthood in 2004.I recently attended a lecture by Samuel M. Brown on the subject of Mormon … [Read more...]

Turning Wine into Water

In a rather strange opening miracle, the author of the Gospel of John depicts Jesus as working a familiar Dionysian miracle of turning water into wine.  Mormons have undone this entirely, turning wine into water.  The modern sacrament prayers go so far as to change the wording of the revealed prayers, substituting "water" for "wine."  This wasn't always so.In the early days of the Church, LDS followers drank wine from a common cup.  The founding church order given in April 1830, revised in 18 … [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...]

B.H. Roberts and the Mormon Political Left by Chris Smith

FPR would like to thank Christopher Carroll Smith for this guest post. Chris is an emerging Mormon Studies scholar out of Claremont Graduate University, in the tradition of Jan Shipps.B. H. Roberts, a member of the First Council of the Seventy, is better known for his efforts as an apologist than as a politician, but this is a man who was regarded by some of his contemporaries as the most prominent Democratic orator in the state of Utah. Roberts, in fact, was elected to the United States … [Read more...]

Lincoln and the Easter of Democracy

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.Few words are more well known. I love the speeches of Lincoln. While this speech may not be his greatest, I think that in many ways encapsulates what made Lincoln great.Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.This speech … [Read more...]