Is Every Nation the Gathering Place for its Own People?

The concept of gathering is a central feature of Mormonism. We often talk of the physical gathering of the early saints—a literal move together to establish a Zion-like society. And we talk of the shift, in later Mormon history, where "[e]very nation is the gathering place for its own people" (spoken by Bruce R. McConkie in 1972 and reiterated by Russell M. Nelson in Oct. Conference). But how literally are we to take this? Given recent global trends making “trans-nationalism” more possible, the C … [Read more...]

Mormonism’s Greek Inheritance: Pre-existence

DMI Dave, one of my favorite bloggers, has recently added a post about how early Christianity wasn't influenced much by Greek religion. I like Dave, but I disagree with nearly every characterization of Greek religion here, especially the comparison to "fortune cookies," as well as the thesis that Jews and Christians didn't participate in Greek culture like drama or the gymnasium (um...Ezekiel the Tragedian? Ps. Phocylides? Theodotus? Philo's constant references to the gymnasium … [Read more...]

Do We Really Have a Fullness of Truth? : Dealing with Difference Part III

If you know any Latter-day Saint that has an understanding of religions other than Mormonism (or more often ‘Christianity’ broadly conceived), one of the first questions they are usually asked by other members of the Church, are what “parallels” there are between the other religion and Mormonism.I have to admit, I’m somewhat bothered by this question. Personally I know I need to accept that for the most part this question is conceived with little ill intent on the part of the questioner; but I ca … [Read more...]

Survey-driven Revelation?

I've struggled for a little while about asking those of you in the bloggernacle who read FPR about this topic for some time, but I resolved that I really, really want your opinion on it. I know what my file leader's response to some of these issues would be, but your opinion is the one to which I most adhere, and to which I listen best. It's also a carefully calculated opinion, and is generally well thought out. I like that about you, bloggernacle. You're smart and courteous.We change our … [Read more...]

The Wisdom of Hannah

So...I wrote this for a ward RS board meeting, just after finishing my third semester of Hebrew. And I was sooooo proud of what I could do! Now, it looks naive and sentimental to me.On one level I cringe as I read it, but on another I smile as I remember what it was like in those wonderful, happy, first days of being able to actually deal with scripture. I was free of the constraints of English and of the enforced interpretation of another's translation -- free forever.Read and smile … [Read more...]

The Demonic Holy Ghost

When did the Holy Ghost become a demon (aka, daimon, daemon)? By "demon" I don't mean to refer to the malignant spirits that tempt or haunt human beings in Christian mythology. Rather, I mean to refer to the Greek and Roman meaning of the term, a mythical creature that could be either good or evil, but who whispered to the mind of its patron what they should or shouldn't do. Our term 'demon' dervies from this Greek word, though Christians argued that these pagan creatures were by nature … [Read more...]

The Power of Symbols

A few recent posts in various blogs has got my thinking about symbols. Wade at The Straight and Narrow Blog and Mark Bulter at M* have both identified symbols in their posts. The issue here is how we are supposed to know a symbol when we see it, how we are supposed to know the correct interpretation of that symbol, and how we are supposed to act both mentally and materially in response to it. These issues have been debated at lenght among anthropologists. From the 1960's … [Read more...]

My Ideological Journey

I grew up a very right wing conservative in the Maryland Suburbs of Washington, DC. I was actually known as “Mr. Republican.” It helped that I wore a tie as a conservative statement. I also wore a Bush/Quayle button for much of 1992 and carried around Rush Limbaugh’s books. After President Clinton took office, I attached an “Impeach Hillary” button to my backpack. I also had pro-life stickers on my binders and was kicked out of a high school sociology class for wearing a shirt with a fetus on it. … [Read more...]