Jesus and the Sabbath

Jesus is depicted in the Gospels as healing on the Sabbath. This healing frequently caused disputes between Jesus and his contemporaries. Why? There are a few options to explain these episodes.1. The popular view is that the Jews were evil and they didn't believe in healing people and used the Sabbath as an excuse to condemn Jesus. The problem with this view is that Jesus's opponents had no problem with the healing, only healing on the Sabbath. Jesus was free to heal six days of the week. … [Read more...]

BYU Religion Dean on Premortal Life, Part I: Race and Nobility

Last week Terry Ball, Dean of the College of Religious Education, gave BYU's weekly devotional address (mp3 file available here, Daily Universe report here). His talk raises many issues relevant to recent discussions here and elsewhere. My reaction to his talk will be divided into two posts: first, a discussion of some of the problematic themes that Ball raises, and second, an analysis of the way this Professor of Ancient Scripture handles scripture. … [Read more...]

Judah, Joseph, ‘Chastity’, and Authorial Intent

Most LDSs who have actually read Genesis 38 and 39 have undoubtedly had the thought, or heard the thought, that the juxtaposition of these two chapters teaches important lessons about chastity (see the OT SS manual, where this is made explicit). After all, in the former we have Judah's wicked sons, the second of which (Onan) 'spills his seed' and dies because of it, and then Judah himself is trapped by his penchant for a prostitute. In the latter, we have the righteous Joseph who, unwilling to … [Read more...]

What readers bring to texts

Last week we learned of the discovery of another example in an increasingly long line of forged memoirs: Margaret "Jones" Seltzer was discovered to have forged the story of her life as a gang-affiliated, drug-running youth in LA, when her sister saw her picture in the NY Times and ratted her out. Of the many journalists covering the incident and those like it,NPR's Scott Simon makes several points worth remembering (they've been made many times before) about the nature of genre in … [Read more...]

Book of Mormon Ethics Revisited

Hi, everybody it’s my first post. Newbie that I am, I’m still becoming acquainted with everyone’s positions on various and sundry topics. Sometimes you’re really bright, and sometimes you’re godless heathens; I’m confident my final conclusion will come to rest somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. In short, though, I appreciate that questions and concerns are being discussed in the open free from fear of stoning, burning, and/or excommunication.I mention this feeler-extending process to exp … [Read more...]

The C-F-A and a Non-literal Adam and Eve

This past Sunday I taught my 14 year old SS class about the Atonement from 2 Nephi 2 (we're a week behind). A strange thought occurred to me after class concerning the possible effects of a non-literal or symbolical reading of the Adam and Eve story on the way we (or at least I) understand the Atonement. … [Read more...]

Priesthood, Temple, and Semantics

Most people know that in our current arrangement, young men tend to receive the priesthood at age 12, when they are ordained to the office of Deacon in the Aaronic priesthood. This has been the case only since the 1880's or so, according to this fascinating Journal of Mormon History article. (That page it opens to isn't blank. You just have to scroll to see the text.) … [Read more...]

Do we really believe the Book of Mormon?

Sitting in Sunday School this week and rereading 1 Ne 1-7, I couldn't help but wonder if we as Mormons really believed the central theological message of the Book of Mormon that the righteous will prosper in the land, or whether we were forced to read the Book of Mormon's prophetic stance allegorically in order for it to make sense. We all know that the righteous don't always prosper. Then, I remembered that I had guest posted on this topic here at FPR more than a year and a half ago. This is … [Read more...]


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