The Bridal Chamber

The Gospel of Philip from the Nag Hammadi corpus contains some important passages about a kind of celestial marriage in the "bridal chamber." It is not uncommon for Latter-day Saints to appeal to this text as evidence for a kind of parallel to Mormon notions of eternal marriage found in ancient Christianity. I hope to show that such a reading of this text is mistaken, and that appeals to the Gospel of Philip to butress Mormon apologetic aims are an example of the problem that much apologetic … [Read more...]

Pick Romney….Please

  With the Olympics started it looks like all of the VP chatter will have to wait until after the Summer Olympics. The question had been whether or not McCain, or Obama, or both would announce there veep choice before the summer games. Alas, that was mostly wishful thinking on the part of us political junkies.  We Obama supporters (I have no idea as to whether this applies to anyone else at FPR, so I mean Obama supporters in general), are a bit concerned about the inability of the Democratic c … [Read more...]

Call for Papers

"Reconciliations and Reformulations": A Conference for LDS Graduate Students in Religious Studies Harvard University, February 20-21, 2009 http://faithandknowledge.orgMany Latter-day Saints experience their scholarship and their religion as clashing cultures, each with its competing values and contradictory conclusions. Religious studies students especially struggle to reconcile their faith and the knowledge they acquire in graduate school. The forms this reconciliation take--including the … [Read more...]

Anxiety and the Fall

Some years back for a course I was taking in psychiatry we were assigned to regularly visit a local mental hospital. The first and second floors were "day programs" and the third floor was the locked unit, for those not safe enough to be let out. I will never forget the intensity of the cigarette smoke: I've since learned that many schizophrenics self-medicate with nicotine. Also unforgettable was the look in the eyes of the many people wandering the bare rooms of the third floor. But for this … [Read more...]

The Danger of the [Bracket]

The [bracket] has been the focus of some rather heated debates in the study of religion in recent years, and poses a particular challenge for Latter-day Saints. This debate was typified in a Harvard Divinity Bulletin exchange between Stephen Prothero of Boston University and Robert Orsi (et al.) who was then at Harvard, but has now moved to Northwestern. Prothero criticized Orsi for his methodological choice to "bracket" the truth claims of the religions he studied. He explains, "I have come … [Read more...]

A Religious Studies Major at BYU Pt. I

Okay, I know it will probably never happen, but... … [Read more...]

Experience or Doctrine?

One of the recent debates in LDS intellectual circles has been whether or not Mormonism is about orthodoxy or orthopraxy. As far as I can remember, this debated heated up after Jim Faulconer's 2002 Yale conference presentation on this topic. This debate has more or less died down, largely because people realized that it was a false dichotomy between the two options, and everyone recognized that it was a little bit of both. Today's LDS Newsroom, however, seems to intervene in this debate with … [Read more...]

The Terrible 90′s for Mormon Scholarship

I suspect that sometime in the next few decades, historians will look back on the 1990's as the worst period for Mormon studies. In fact, they may even say that it was so bad that it destroyed an entire generation of young Mormon scholars. This decade may have even set Mormon studies back a few decades from its entry into mainstream academic circles, erasing the progress made in the 1970's and early 1980's. I think that there were several factors, but our biggest enemy was definitely … [Read more...]