The Sin Against the Spirit in Mark 3

This bit of light writing was composed in response to an email from a friend. I have left it with that content and format except for a postscript added this afternoon. The question posed was the relationship between blasphemy against the Spirit and all that other business about demons and Beelzebul in Mark 3.How amazing that your question should concern the binding of the strong man passage! That is precisely the passage we are going to cover in GD this week. Last week we did attitudes of … [Read more...]

Is Temple Prep Really Preparation?

I've thought a little about this in the past but I was reminded of it again when I ran across a couple in our ward who had gone through the temple for the first time and when I asked how it went they remarked, "Temple prep sure didn't help."There is obviously a gap between what we are preparing new inductees for and what they experience. Now, I don't necessarily have many numbers to support such a statement, but having gone through it myself, taught it, and then watched many others go through it … [Read more...]

Of Saints and Schemes

I apologize in advance if this post is mostly anecdotal, but I have been concerned for a while about the business practices of some Mormon run companies specializing in door-to-door sales. I have several friends who have taken positions in companies selling a range of things, from pest control services and alarm systems, to knives. For the most part, their experiences have been terrible. The companies of which I am aware tend to recruit male returned missionaries as their sales force. When … [Read more...]

To Predestinate or Not To Predestinate Pt.1

As a freshman at BYU and a new Ancient Studies Club member I had the opportunity to hear one of the best lectures on predestination in Paul. I'd grown up being taught that I should read "foreordain" for every "predestinate" in the NT. (this isn't necessarily wrong but we'll get to that later) But here was an LDS scholar arguing for real, genuine predestination in Paul and boy was he convincing. … [Read more...]

The Loneliness of the Post-Feminist

JohnR has an excellent and touching entry at FMH on the lack of male feminists in the church. While I am not convinced that not claiming the label "feminist" means that one supports wife-abuse, date rape, eating disorders, or sex trafficking (I thought that Mormons opposed all of those things regardless of whether or not they were feminists...), nor do I think that the Vagina Monologues ritual is really all that great for anybody, I am sympathetic to the sentiment of the post. However, the … [Read more...]

Sabbath and Sunday

A refreshing post at BCC asked bloggers what they were going to do for New Year's, given that New Year's Eve falls on Sunday. (Refreshing because rather than debate the requirements of Sabbath observance they actually talked about what they were doing.) This got me thinking again about a question that came up in a class on Christian use of the Hebrew Bible.The professor, who is a well-known expert in Judaism and early Christianity, said that Christian application of Sabbath regulations to … [Read more...]

Immanuel = Christ?

This time of year Isaiah gets more airtime than at any other point in the calendar, thanks in no small part to GF Handel. One passage used by Handel is taken ultimately from Isa 7:14: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name EMMANUEL, God with us." Careful readers of scripture will note that this is not exactly as Isaiah has it: "God with us" is a gloss explaining the name Immanuel, which gloss appears fully in Matthew 1:23. In fact, as is well known, the … [Read more...]

The Adulterous Woman, Part 3: Textual Criticism and Narrative Theory

For those who are joining our programming in medias res, this series is looking at the story of the Adulterous Woman in the Fourth Gospel from a narrative-critical standpoint. The first installment dealt with the theory of narrator reliability and the second with various narrative techniques. This one has to do with the challenges inherent in a narrative-critical approach to a story of uncertain authenticity.The Text-Critical SituationThe story of the Adulterous Woman is now found in Jn … [Read more...]