Petitionary Prayer

It is a common introductory problem in theology to think about the purpose of petitionary prayer. If God is all-knowing, what need is there to tell him what you want (Matt 6:8)? Furthermore, if God is perfectly good, then he is already going to do what is in your best interest without your asking. So, the problem of petitionary prayer is that if God is all-knowing and perfectly good, there is no need to ask him. Mormons have taken a different view. Many traditional Christians have abandoned … [Read more...]

Mormon Studies, Big Money and U.

At the risk of sending our blog off on a tangent, I think we should consider one other aspect of the Mormonism/religious studies/BYU issue: what about the redder, better, and more secular school slightly north of Provo? Why doesn't the University of Utah have a religious studies department? Harris Lenowitz, professor of Hebrew and Judaism at the U of U, once answered this question. But what do you think?Regardless of whether or not the Utah legislature is to blame, we can all be fairly sure … [Read more...]

NKOTB: Handle

We wish to extend the warmest welcome to our newest blogger, Handle. Handle is an experienced blogger and participant in interesting conversations relating to Mormonism. We are pleased that he has agreed to share his expertise and we look forward to his posts. Hooray! … [Read more...]

Ancient Near Eastern Studies at BYU

On the advice of more experienced bloggers, I'm posting a (very slightly modified) comment I made on diahman's post: I've got to respond to (and disagree with) ben's statement: I would actually put up BYU's new ANES degree (replacing the old NE Studies degree) against any undergrad Biblical studies degree at other schools. I agree in nuce with ben's other posts and the fruitful discussion regarding the creation of the Ancient Near Eastern Studies major. From all I can tell, it's giving BYU … [Read more...]

What to do with BYU Religion

On analogy with a recent post by Clark Goble on M*, and in the spirit of Sweeps, I want to bring up an honest question, without being sarcastic, demeaning, or combative:What is the purpose of Religious Education at BYU? I realize that they define it on their home page, but I specifically want to take a more functional look. Does having a faculty concerned with "preserving the doctrine" fill a role fundamentally different from that of the LDS Institutes? If so, what is that role? If not, why is … [Read more...]

The Waters of Judah

Last evening HP called my attention to a recent post on M*. I think I’d like to add a little to the business of er...bloodlines and OT exegesis. So let’s do a little textual criticism. Here’s the text of Is 48:1: … [Read more...]

BYU’s Dept. of Religious “Education”

I'm sure many of us have realized that BYU's Religion Department uses the title "Religious Education" rather than "Religious Studies". BYU-Hawaii even refers to their religion department as "The Department of Religious Education".There seems to be a distinction that Church schools are trying to make by differentiating themselves as religious "educators" rather than religious "studiers". The home page of BYU's religious department states that their mission is "to build the Kingdom of God by … [Read more...]

Alternative Lifestyles

One of the constraining aspects of Mormonism is that it seems to shut down alternative modes of living life. By "alternative lifestyles" I don't mean to refer to experimental sexual/social relationships like hippie compounds or anything. Rather, I am interested in the way that a true Mormon cannot choose to live a nomadic or solitary life. We must exist within communities. But our communities are not just any kind of community, they are local communities.The reason that I have been thinking … [Read more...]


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