Tips for the future LDS grad school applicant

It's grad school application season and students are anxious over GRE, letters of rec, personal statements, GPA etc. It's a stressful time, we at FPR have been there. We sympathize. Many of us are now on the other side of the portfolio, whether for MA or PhD programs. I don't speak for us all, but let me say a few things that might be generally true.If you are LDS and are serious about doing graduate work in Religious Studies (broadly conceived), the Ancient Near East, Hebrew Bible, New … [Read more...]

Nahom and Lehi’s Journey through Arabia: A Historical Perspective, Part 3

 Our investigations so far in Part  1 and Part 2 have concluded that the reference to Nahom in 1 Nephi 16:34 does not provide compelling evidence for the antiquity of the BoM and a number of aspects relating to the presentation of the name point to its inauthentic and artificial character. So how do we explain the accuracy with which the BoM places Nahom near the tribal area of Nihm in Yemen, showing knowledge of its general location in southwest Arabia and that it was a pre-existing … [Read more...]

Clarifying “How the CES Letter Works”

One purpose of my previous post was to highlight the way in which the intent we ascribe to others impacts our ability to trust them. If we believe that that someone is out to get us, we ought not trust them. On the other hand, if we believe that someone has our best interest in mind, we can trust him or her provided that other conditions are met (e.g., they are capable of carrying out the task for which they are trusted, etc.).In the case of the “Letter to a CES Director,” Jeremy Runnells att … [Read more...]

How the CES Letter Works

Since its publication in 2013, the “Letter to a CES Director” has gained lots of attention. I know people for whom it has been a contributing factor in their disaffection with the Church. In what follows, I will explore a few of my own thoughts as to how it works, and why it ought to be less successful, in creating disaffection. … [Read more...]

Nahom and Lehi’s Journey through Arabia: A Historical Perspective, Part 2

 In part 1 we discussed how the journey of Lehi through Arabia described in 1 Nephi 1-18 is highly implausible as a depiction of historical events, because of the unrealistic nature of various details and the narrative’s modeling after the biblical Exodus. Which raises the question of the significance of the reference to Nahom in 1 Nephi 16:34. As we saw earlier, the mention of Nahom is widely regarded as the clearest instance where the BoM preserves a real world place name in the c … [Read more...]

Diachronic or Synchronic? A Response to Nicholas J. Frederick

IntroductionThe fact that New Testament (NT) language appears throughout the Book of Mormon (BM) has troubled many readers. Some of the initial written responses to the work described in detail the King James English that pervades the text with special attention given to the NT passages that appear sprinkled throughout the book.[1]  Elder B. H. Roberts, who spent many years of his life writing about and defending the BM, discussed the presence of NT phraseology and ascribed the phenomenon to … [Read more...]

Paul and the three degrees of glory

Even though D&C 76 was prompted by revision of John 5:29, it also creatively draws from Paul’s discussion of resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.Because the revelation of the three degrees of glory is framed as lost biblical material (see the section heading), it can come as a surprise to learn just how different Paul’s views of heaven were from modern LDS beliefs.In 1 Corinthians 15:40-43 (KJV as always), we do find the words celestial and terrestrial as well as reference to the glor … [Read more...]

What was not discussed in Sunday school this week

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul, on the one hand, takes it for granted that women pray and prophesy alongside men – historical evidence of female prophetic roles.On the other hand, he distorts scripture in order to argue that women should do so veiled. The distortion is not always recognized much less challenged, in part because of its longstanding influence on Christian culture and society.Paul distorts the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 by using bits and pieces of both, while i … [Read more...]