Christianity 101, Book of Mormon Style 3

So in this last week we, that is me and the 17-18 year old gentlemen I teach, were looking at the Tree of Life vision and Nephi’s interpretation.  As you know, our goal is to read the BoM and look for foundational Christian doctrine – hence the title “Christianity 101:  BoM Style." This time we started with that mysterious man who pops up in front of Lehi and declares his intent to lead Lehi to the Tree of Life (1 Ne 8:5-7).Who is that guy and what is the Bat Signal that brings him out?  I va … [Read more...]

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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...]

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Christianity 101, BoM Style 2

Another little doorway into Christianity lies, I think, in the second of the three enumerated purposes of the BoM and particularly in the phrase I have underlined:that [the remnant of the House of Israel] may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off foreverAs I was looking into this, I discovered something interesting:  in many web citations this particular purpose is completely missing or truncated, as you see … [Read more...]

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Christianity 101, BoM Style

Tis the start of the New Year, and therefore the start of a new lesson cycle for those of us who serve as teachers in church.  What to do, what to do, we think.  A class participant who is 48 years old may have heard the lessons we are supposed to present some ten or so times!  And this year the Sunday School lesson cycle is the Book of Mormon, which most people can actually read if they try, so it’s not like we’re going to surprise anyone with some new verses about the theological insights of th … [Read more...]

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“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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Canon and Culture: The Scriptures Made Me Do It!

Fundamentalism is the belief that all that the scriptures and revelation say are to be taken as factually accurate. This view is clearly problematic, but I'd like to address its cousin, foundationalism. Foundationalism admits that the scriptures are not factually accurate in all things (though they may be in some), yet argues that they still give us clear moral, ethical, or doctrinal guidance. The scriptures, when properly interpreted, are the secure foundation for our doctrines about the … [Read more...]

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On Biblical Scripture

The ProblemWhat makes Biblical Scripture, Scripture for LDS Christians?*Historically one prominent model for the authority of Biblical Scripture in Christian history (including for some Latter-day Saint thinkers) is the Prophetic-Inspiration Model: the person who writes the text is divinely inspired by God to write the very words that are recorded.  This model entails that the human being is a puppet of sorts for the divine will, a tool that can be used for the divine purpose, namely … [Read more...]

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The Flood: Global or Localized?

I would argue neither.With the rising tide of modern science, historical criticism, and other scholarly disciplines, those committed to a strict literalist interpretation of the Flood stories in Gen 6-9 have had to retreat farther and farther up the metaphorical beach in order to maintain their belief in the historical reality of the Biblical tale.  For instance, basic problems with a literal reading of the narrative include the fact that there is no geological evidence for a global flood, and … [Read more...]

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