The Book of Mormon as Myth and More on the Name Alma

So to begin with I wanted to clarify my attitude about the BoM and why I write so much on the topic of its historicity. Because I don’t want to be seen simply as a critic or be pigeonholed along with tendentious anti-BoM ideologues. I actually see a great amount of value in the BoM and respect it as a work of early 19th century mythopoesis of unrivaled scope and complexity. The BoM recounts a rich and compelling narrative, articulates many useful moral principles (though these should be examined … [Read more...]

Guest Post: Mormons Talking About Jews

This post comes from guest contributor Orson.LDS scholars can sometimes be quite disparaging when discussing Judaism. It’s not intentional. Mormons by and large love the Jewish people (even if we often fail to properly understand them). Yet not withstanding this generally positive sentiment, Mormon scholars have a long history of making derogatory anti-Semitic remarks. I feel a need to point this out, not with a desire to embarrass specific individuals, for certainly, when it comes to re … [Read more...]

Alma and Adieu: When Will the Tired Apologetic Arguments End?

In his recent op-ed to the Deseret News, Daniel Peterson has trotted out two old FARMS style proofs that supposed anachronisms in the BoM aren't really such, framing his argument within a rhetorical context that some unspecified "critics" are anxiously engaged in a tendentious search for "concepts or items mistakenly inserted into its supposedly ancient story by an ignorant or careless modern author.""But we know now, from evidence found slightly more than 50 years ago, that “Alma” is an aut … [Read more...]

Pseudonyms and the Ad Hominem

Let me share my observations about being a pseudonymous Mormon blogger for over a decade.  There is a common belief that bloggers who “hide” behind a pseudonym will abuse that position to do bad things.  My experience, however, has not born this out.  Instead, the pseudonymous blogger is often the target of rude treatment that is not only socially acceptable but even cheered on by some. … [Read more...]

Female Voice and the Prophetess Huldah

There has been a lot of talk lately about gender equality and whether women have real voices in the church vis a vis the all male priesthood. Of course, the standard position of church leaders is that women are equally valued and that their perspectives are given full and appropriate consideration given the divinely ordained channels of revelation to the regularly constituted authorities. But somehow this rhetoric that “women are equally valued and listened to” has not been able to allay the gro … [Read more...]

Challenging Church Leadership

The following is a reprint of a post originally written in Oct 2008.  Something reminded me of it and I decided to share it again.Paul’s bitter dispute with Peter and James poses a problem for thinking about LDS notions of authority because it puts into tension church authority and moral and doctrinal issues. When true doctrine and church leadership are in conflict, how are we to make a choice between them? When our sense of what is moral conflicts with our leaders’ sense of what is moral, wh … [Read more...]

Some non-arguments against ordaining women to the LDS priesthood

I’m sure all these things have been said before and better, but in order to satisfy my need to respond to some of the assertions presented as self-evident arguments against opening the LDS priesthood to women, I collect my responses here. Here are my top five non-arguments [with a sixth I couldn’t resist]:1. Men and women are not the same.2. Women have moral authority.3. There is no scriptural precedent for ordaining women.4. There is scriptural precedent for the denial of equal t … [Read more...]

I am the newest BYU Prof!

Many of my close friends and family already know this, so it won’t be a surprise to them, but I am still giddy to announce that I have accepted a job at BYU Religious Education starting in Fall 2014.  Hiring decisions were recently made public, so I can finally share the good news with our readers.  My life-partner and I will be moving to Orem this July, so let us know where we can find a supportive ward!I would like to share a bit of the back story about how all of this came to be.  Offi … [Read more...]


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