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...]

9-0: Hosanna!!?

In a 9-0 decision the U.S Supreme Court has declared that the government may not second-guess a religious community’s decision about who should serve as ministers, teachers, or leaders even when employment discrimination issues are at stake.  Why did the government even try this?  Beats me.   The unanimity of the decision, though, shows just how unreasonable the Court found the Obama administration’s argument.Now you might ask, “Why do you care, Mogs?”  Well, I teach the sole religion class m … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

The Value of Mormon Liturgical Theology

Liturgy is prescribed or ritualized forms of public worship.  For instance, the LDS Sacrament (= the Eucharist) is a Mormon liturgical practice.  The question I pose is as follows: to what extent is Mormon liturgical practice appreciated in the development of Mormon theology?  That is, how does the Sacrament ritual, hymn singing, the standardized Sacrament Meeting routine, traditional baptismal services, normative forms of public prayer, etc., reflect and inform the creative efforts of (modern) M … [Read more...]

Book Review: Schweizer, “Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism”

Title: Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism Author: Bernard Schweizer Publisher: Oxford University Press Genre: Religion Year: 2010 Pages: 246 ISBN13: 978-0-19-975138-9 Binding: Hardcover Price: $29.95In the face of inexplicable and extreme personal suffering, the biblical Job refuses to turn on the God who gave him life: "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21). His property and children are destroyed, his body is inflicted with sores. … [Read more...]