What is the Moral Lesson of Genesis?

Latter-day Saints are studying the Old Testament this year.  Unfortunately, many LDS readings of the Old Testament adopt a hermeneutic wherein the stories in Genesis provide moral role models.  It seems that we have come to see the scriptures as a kind of guide book for living a moral life, in spite of the fact that the stories never tell their readers to emulate any of the characters.  If we adopt this reading strategy, we miss important ways of engaging in moral reasoning, and quite … [Read more...]

Remember that one time God totally denied having a body in restoration scripture?

There I was looking at all the fascinating differences between the First Book of Moses called Genesis in the KJV and the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price … such as the global change from third person to first person (e.g. Genesis: “God said” > Moses: “I, God, said”) … when to my surprise I saw this anti-anthropomorphism: Genesis 3:8 KJV And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the … [Read more...]

The Myth of “Listening” to the Scriptures

So, I am still thinking about the interpretive claim made by another blog that "God is a child sacrificing, misogynist, racial bigot."  I started writing a post about the nature of interpretation and the naivety behind the myth that the scriptures contain a meaning prior to human interpretation. What I have found objectionable about this particular reading is not simply its conclusions, but the way it presents these conclusions as the outcome of an unbiased reading of scripture.  While I was … [Read more...]

“Generous Orthodoxy” and Continuous Revelation

I recently came across a phrase from feminist theologian Hannah Bacon that I really liked.  She talked about a "generous orthodoxy," a term used "to identify orthodoxy as an emerging, incomplete process that is never closed in on itself, always receptive to the voice of the other." (See Bacon, "A Very Particular Body: Assessing the Doctrine of Incarnation For Affirming the Sacramentality of Female Embodiment," in Women and the Divine: Touching Transcendence, eds. Gillian Howie and J'annine … [Read more...]

A Mormon Tribute to MLK

Given some of the discussion of Martin Luther King, Jr. in some LDS venues, I thought it would be a good time to reread my own tribute written five years ago. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithpromotingrumor/2009/01/an-american-prophet/   … [Read more...]

Who wrote Ether 3? Or, Why Mormons do not fear the Documentary Hypothesis

The story of the appearance of Jesus Christ to the brother of Jared is one of the highlights of the Book of Mormon.  Searching out who exactly the author or authors of this chapter are can be illuminating. Let’s take a look: I can see five authors – how many do you count? 1. Moroni. The Book of Ether, we are told, is transcribed by Moroni on to plates. Ether 1:1 states: AND now I, Moroni, proceed to give an account of those ancient inhabitants who were destroyed by the hand of the … [Read more...]

Even More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha

I once wrote about the Jacob (pseud)epigraphon in the book of Alma, which I said I would follow up on but never did, and I won’t do it here. Because there are even more Old Testament pseudepigrapha to write about that are not old but new! The current issue of the Ensign features an article written in the first person as though by Adam. It looks to be the initial article in a series called “Old Testament Prophets,” coinciding with the year’s gospel doctrine topic. Apparently, soon … [Read more...]

Repost: Ethics as an Interpretive Lens

This is a repost of an earlier post of mine that seems relevant today. How should we evaluate and adjudicate doctrinal and practical matters? As LDS we look to scripture, authoritative statements by leaders, and to the history of LDS practice and thought. Appeals to these sources of authority, however, not only fail to yield definitive answers, but also obscure the authority with which they are invested. The authority by which these sources are invested is never itself investigated. The … [Read more...]


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