The Joy of the Saints

The Book of Enos opens like this: “ Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.” Although Enos never really tells us what this “joy of the saints” might be, it seems to me that the entire story functions as an illustration of John 16:22, a verse in one of the stories in which Jesus explains his upcoming departure to his disciples: And ye now therefore have sorrow: … [Read more...]

Evil Eschatological Mothers

Heh. Back to work, are you? And not really in the mood, perhaps? Yeah. It coulda been Normandy outside last night until quite late. Anyway, here’s a little something to muse on as you ease yourself back into productive behaviors.I think that perhaps the great and abominable church of 1 Nephi 13-14 is the whore of Babylon (Revelation 17), mostly stripped of sexuality and gender. If this is a reasonable reading, it means that the BoM re-visions the great struggle of the end times as a c … [Read more...]

Seminary Series: What Is Seminary For?

(update:) Author's note: This is the second post in a series dealing with my experiences teaching seminary on a volunteer basis over this past year. The thoughts and observations contained therein do not necessarily represent those of the Seminaries and Institutes program or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The introductory post can be found here.I support and deeply value the seminary program and its role in the lives of LDS youth. That’s why I accepted the call. But as I b … [Read more...]

LDS Correlated Lessons and the Hermeneutical model “PaRDeS”

I deeply respect the Jewish approach to the study of the scriptures. It is said that simply stating an opinion about Torah without any background or training in how to critically think about the text is Torah discussion but is not necessarily Torah study. To encourage critical thinking, rabbis from at least the third century C.E. established a simple four-level system known as PaRDeS. Each consonant in this acronym stands for a Hebrew word, and put together they mystically form the word … [Read more...]

“Have You Been Saved?”

To oversimplify things a bit, Mormon notions of salvation are more consistent with Paul, while Evangelical notions of salvation are more consistent with deutero-Pauline ideas.  In essence, Mormons, like Paul, believe that salvation is a future event; while Evangelicals, like deutero-Pauline authors, believe that salvation is a present event.The deutero-Pauline letter Ephesians claims, "by grace you have been saved" (Eph 2:5, NRSV).  The deutero-Pauline text Colossians agrees, and goes even f … [Read more...]

Constantine’s Sword

constantine york minster

Sitting near York Minster in England is the statue of Constantine shown below.  Notice the contemplative look on Constantine's face as he examines his sword.  You’d think he’d never really seen it before!  Why?  Look again, at where the tip of the sword should rest on the ground.  As you can see, the tip of his sword is broken off.  Although the sword could still cut, it’s utility as a weapon is pretty much gone.  It is a cross now, the great symbol of God’s self-gift of life rather than an instr … [Read more...]

If the Book of Mormon is dull, the New Testament is duller

One recent, sympathetic critic called the Book of Mormon "dull."  This is not a new accusation.  Mark Twain famously called it "chloroform in print," and I don't deny the charge.  Trust me, I'm quite aware of the boringness of the Book of Mormon. Mormons are aware that the Book of Mormon can be difficult reading, and often make jokes about it.  It's characters are one-dimensional, there isn't much plot to speak of, only some of the content is occasionally moving, and even many of the theological … [Read more...]

“Every wo/man that striveth for mastery”: Thinking About LDS Scripture Mastery (A New Series of Posts)

**I wish I could say that my recent lack of posts at FPR has been due to the fact that I've been following the newest reincarnation "Further" (Bobby and Phil, minus Mickey, Billy) around the country in a VW Microbus, but other events have been the culprits. In any case, I am excited to be here with FPR at Patheos and look forward to being more involved again and "not fade away."** For quite some time now I have been pondering a long-term series of posts that look at the 100 Scripture Mastery … [Read more...]


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