Apologetics: “Don’t we have Anything Else to Talk About?”

 The title for this post comes from the (slightly altered) title of a presentation given at a conference at Yale for Latter-day Saint students (doing work in religion). The presenter, a Yale Div School student, argued for moving beyond apologetics, except in certain circumstances. I would like to further examine the circumstances which make apologetics appropriate. … [Read more...]

Religion 100

Like my buddies here at FPR, I’ve been thinking about the intersection of LDS life and biblical or religious scholarship.  For my part, I want to call your attention to three incidents that I think intersect at a significant point:  --Jan Shipps’ quip to the effect that one wonders if LDS scholars “know how to operate in the professional world.” (Deseret Morning News, 21 Jun 2005) --a young man who implicitly suggested that the rest of Christianity was “lost and confused” without the Book of … [Read more...]

Role of the Scholar Pt. 1–A Priority of Questions?

At a recent conference held at Yale for LDS students doing work in Religious Studies, one of the issues that was broached but not really expanded on was the relationship between the Church and the scholar. In the next few posts I would like to unpack the issue a little more.In this post I would like to pose the notion of priority in questions--are some questions inherently better than others? As scholars are we "progressing" in asking the questions we ask? Are we "moving beyond" the old … [Read more...]

Mosaic Musings Part Deux: Did Jesus Baptize Adam?

Now for the second half of this simultaneous duet and some light hearted goofiness.I was reading around Moses 6:58-61 for some context before posting my last post and I stumbled upon this oft read beauty of a verse: … [Read more...]

Mosaic Musings, Part One: The Spirit of God

The other day I had a friend reveal an insight she had received about a verse in the Book of Moses that really struck a chord with me. I'd like to share this idea with you in order to flesh out the validity of it. But, as I was trying to prepare for this post I stumbled across another fun thing that I'd like to throw out there for you all to laugh at. So, like the immortal Guns 'n' Roses, I'm going to release two halves of this album/post on the same day. Some of you fellow Bible dorks may hate … [Read more...]

Colonization, Conformity, and Contribution, Part I

Many posts at FPR of late have had to do with Kent Jackson's description of LDS scholarship. At issue is to what extent Latter-day Saints can (or should) engage in a dialogue with the greater world of academia, and to what extent we should let our faith claims dictate our research and conclusions.This issue has been recently exemplified in a prominent, front-page Daily Universe (BYU's student-run newspaper) article entitled "Mysteries of Ancient Egyptian Papyri Revealed" (Feb 15, 2007), … [Read more...]

Elder McConkie and Targumim, or How to Help LDS Read Non-KJV Versions

I recently discovered that Elder McConkie was aware of Targums, translations of the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic. I'll discuss his understanding of them and a tantalizing tidbit stemming therefrom in my next post.In the meanwhile, that discovery helped me formulate a strategy for helping certain kinds of LDS readers to understand that it's ok to read and study non-KJV editions of the Bible. The following handout (necessarily limited due to space and audience) is what I prepared for an Institute … [Read more...]

How to Understand the Temple

The vast majority of LDS historical and theological thinking about the temple has attempted to find ancient parallels to Mormon temple rituals. In this view the Mormon temple is a restored completion of fragments and traces of an original, authentic temple ritual. However, this approach doesn't explain how modern American Mormons understood such rituals. Other approaches have attempted to account for the temple in a strictly derivative relationship to Masonry. The Mormon temple ritual is … [Read more...]