Proper Practice Makes a Good Mormon

I’m going to have to admit here that I keep up with little of the debates concerning Mormon “theology”, so please forgive me if some of these ideas are half-baked and/or already worked over in other blogs. It seems to be the case that proper practice (orthopraxy) rather than proper belief (orthodoxy) defines a good Mormon. By ‘good Mormon’ I mean someone who is “temple worthy”—i.e. they can pass a temple recommend interview by answering each question honestly. This is not to say that b … [Read more...]

The Adulterous Woman, Part 2: Suspense, Surprise, Primacy and Recency

About a year ago I was teaching Genesis 4 in a GD class that included the stake RS president. As we worked through the opening verses, she raised her hand and with some consternation reported that it looked like someone didn’t much care for Cain. Mentally, I gave her high marks for reading but when it came to verbalizing a response, I had to disabuse her of the idea that the Bible is “neutral.” The Bible is a great piece of ideological reading. Good readers are aware of its trick and techn … [Read more...]

Middle Ground or No-man’s Land?

I know that I've promised to do a post on predestination and the vessels of wrath in Romans 9, a post that will be at least two entries since we need to discuss how Mormons misunderstand Paul's predestination first before we talk about important pots, but I was reading in D&C 76 today in church when I was struck again with strangeness of the description of the Terrestrial glory. … [Read more...]

A Mormon Democrat for President in 3010 (we’re realistic)

A new poll found that 43% of Americans would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate. The poll, conducted for the Los Angeles Times, also found that 53% of Evangelicals were against voting for a Mormon. This has not deterred Mit Romney. By all accounts, he is still planning on announcing his candidacy early next year. Not all Evangelicals oppose Romney out of hand. Jerry Falwell, who recently met with Romney, had this to say: "We're not trying to find a Sunday school teacher in chief; … [Read more...]

The Adulterous Woman, Part 1: The Narrator

A couple of weeks ago there was a partial reading of the story of the Adulterous Woman over on T&S. In that endeavor, the narrative-critical aspects of the story were not included. Since I have already ascended from dissy-Hell in order to drink gin from the bathtub with my homies, I think I’ll complement the earlier effort before I return. And since I seem to be totally unable to write anything shorter than War and Peace, this is going to have several installments.Narrative criticism a … [Read more...]

The Last Waffle of Innocence

The last breakfast was a leisurely one. It was Tuesday morning and there was no need to rush off to the SBL. The first plane didn’t leave until 3PM. So we had waffles. I cooked the first set and kept them warm in the oven. Then, as they worked their way through those that I had kept warm, I cooked another round. And as I moved back and forth between the table and the stove, I thought about the weekend.There had been a lot of back and forth all weekend. Back and forth to various area a … [Read more...]

Slavery, Homosexuality, and the Authority of the Bible

I've been thinking about the status of the Bible in Mormon culture. Really, my thoughts apply to all scripture, but the Bible focalizes the issue in key ways. What is the value of the Bible for Latter-day Saints? What are we supposed to take from this strange document? I take it that we are not biblicists (fortunately!), deriving our beliefs from the Bible, but then where do we turn? The biblicist/inerrantist/Protestant position roots its interpretations in the Bible, arguing that the … [Read more...]

Twas the Morning After SBL

Do you remember Christmas morning as a kid? That pile of loot from Santa followed by that pile of loot from everybody else? Do you remember the anticipation, not just about what was in your pile, but those of your siblings?Well, it’s kinda like Christmas around here this morning. We’ve opened our tote bags after our weekend fun at the Society for Biblical Literature and here’s what SBL Santa brought us.HP’s pile:The Bible with Sources Revealed, Richard Elliot Friedman (God's words in red … [Read more...]