Race and Why Christopher Hitchens is an Embarrassment to Good Atheists Everywhere

I don't know if many of you have been following the Romney-Sharpton debacle. The strange part about this is that the comment Sharpton made about Mormons was in the context of a debate with Christopher Hitchens, author of the new book God isn't Great. Sharpton's comment was a rebuttal to Hitchens' scathing remarks about Mormons and their racist past. To a certain extent, I can see where Sharpton's explanation about his unfortunate remark is coming from, though it is obviously highly … [Read more...]

Herod’s Tomb Discovered

While everybody has been discussing the PBS film on Mormons, a recent archaeological discovery in Israel might be of some interest: Herod's tomb has been found. Unfortunately, no body was found, but the excavators at the site are quite sure that the tomb does indeed belong to Herod.Herod is that bad guy in Matthew that you've all read about - the infanticidal maniac who "pharoah-ed up" and thought he could rid the Jewish faith of its Davidic Messiah (a threat to his seat within the Empire) by … [Read more...]

Enoch: A Case for Ancient Text Restored Pt.1

One of the most unique characters revealed to us in the latter days through new revealed scripture is Enoch the Prophet. His vision of the heavens and earth is rivaled only by John's, Nephi's, Ezekiel's, and the like. His power in teaching is described in unequaled terms, his overwhelming charisma brings about the most successful Zion community known to us in the history of the world, and he is witness to events not given to any other prophet that we know of (he sees God actually weep). Yet, he … [Read more...]

A Case for the Documentary Hypothesis, Part II: The Clincher

In part one of this post, I outlined "internal" reasons for dividing Exodus 34 into 3 sources: J, E, and P. All three of these sources continued earlier narratives related to Moses' ascension of the mount and could be teased out solely by reference to these earlier, separate, narratives. I'll review the verse divisions: J: 34:2-3, 4.2, 5b-27. E: 34:1, 4.1, 4.3, 5a, 28. P: 34:29-35.I'll also put them as they would have appeared in their original order, using the KJV and beginning with J: … [Read more...]

A Case for the Documentary Hypothesis, Part I: The Division of Exodus 34

HP's very recent post provides a good springboard for a discussion of the Documentary Hypothesis. Rather than introducing the hypothesis via a historical summary, which may be discussed in comments or a subsequent post, let me present a case study.In this multi-part post I propose to lay a source division of Exodus 34, the so-called "New Covenant". This chapter both exemplifies the issues and is relevant to an LDS audience, and thus is particularly fitting for this forum. I will outline the … [Read more...]

Scholars and Prophets

I presented a paper at the Yale conference in February in which I argued that the reason that most people don't read the works of Biblical scholars (LDS or otherwise) is that most people don't read scripture in order to understand what scripture says; most people read scripture in order to interpret it in light of their own experience or to have a revelatory moment with God. Actually understanding the original intended meaning of the words is secondary to this personal divine experience and it … [Read more...]

Except by Prayer…and Fasting!

There is a somewhat strange episode in the Gospel of Mark (okay, so all of Mark is strange) where a father brings his son who has a spirit that makes him unable to speak and causes him to fall on the ground foaming and grinding his teeth (this sounds like epilepsy, but it is misnamed as such since we are dealing with an entirely different disease etiology in the text). The problem is that Jesus's disciples are unable to cast out the spirit and so Jesus does it himself. Leaving aside the issue … [Read more...]

Elder Bednar on “spiritual creation”

As far as I can tell, there is neither established doctrine nor GA agreement on what "spiritual creation" constitutes, nor on the nature of each account in our dual-creation accounts (ie. Genesis 1-2:4, 2:4ff.) I did a good bit of research on the topic in preparing a presentation a few months ago.In the recent broadcast Stake Conference, Elder Bednar said something that struck me as relevant to the first question above. I had my laptop, and I typed it down word-for-word, or as close as I … [Read more...]