What Paul did not mean by apostle

Paul claims to be an apostle by virtue of his vision/s of Jesus.He does not claim to be an apostle by virtue of Jesus ordaining him to any priesthood.He does not claim to be an apostle by virtue of Peter, another of the twelve, or anyone else ordaining him to any priesthood either, though he does want to point out that years after the fact James and Peter and John accepted him (Galatians 2:6-10).When he refers to apostles (arguably including the woman Junia in Romans 16:7) and … [Read more...]

“Are Mormons Christians?”: A Blog Round Table (Updated)

Author's Note: This post is cross-posted at Approaching Justice.Are Mormons Christians?For most Mormons, the answer to this question is obvious. Yes, yes they are. They believe in Jesus Christ. This settles it for themFor people from other religious perspectives, the answer is obvious but in the negative. Mormons are not Christians. The reasons for this response is varied.For some, few answers are obvious. Instead, this question is more one of inquiry. For me, the question … [Read more...]

Korihor: An Anachronistic Exemplum of Atheism and Infidelity?

In a recent post TT made some interesting observations about Korihor and secularism in the context of the BoM narrative. He expressed skepticism that Korihor should be understood as an anachronistic representative of Enlightenment atheism and provocatively suggested that the narrative is actually arguing in favor of secularism if understood as the separation of ecclesiastical from political powers. I don’t find this reading of the narrative to be persuasive, however, even though many of TT’s que … [Read more...]

BYU Professor’s Mormonizing of the Old Testament

When I opened up my new issue of the BYU magazine, I immediately encountered a short article entitled “Ask the Expert: Hebrew School” that attracted my interest. The article was a brief discussion of several Hebrew names/terms by Donald Parry, a professor of Hebrew, accompanied by a rather large photo of him holding some Hebrew scrolls. I was interested to see what Parry had to say, since he is a well-known Dead Sea Scrolls/Old Testament scholar who has published widely, and to find out why BYU … [Read more...]

Korihor and the Defense of Secularism

Generally, Korihor is understood as a kind of anachronistic representation of secularism by many modern interpreters.  However, it is not at all clear that Korihor represents secularism.  Indeed, his confession notes that a religious experience is what motivated him.Secularism may be defined in various ways, and indeed has enjoyed a rigorous critical discussion over the past decade or so.  For the purposes of this post, I want to examine just two important ways for thinking about the se … [Read more...]

Doubt and the Dangers of Reading Alone

A lot has already been said about the Hans Mattsson article in the NYT. One issue, however, that I feel needs further exploration is how crises of faith might be approached from a more therapeutic or pastoral angle. Below are some excerpts from a sacrament talk I delivered at the beginning of this year. I hope it might contribute to the recent discussions of doubt and faith crises in Mormonism.This invitation to speak coincided with a presentation I attended on Islam. The presenter studied … [Read more...]

Exploring the Iconic Nature of the Book of Mormon: Part IIb – The Fluid Nature of the Text of the Book of Mormon

I here continue my series of posts dealing with the iconic nature of the Book of Mormon (BoM). For my introduction to this series, see here. For the first half of the current section on textual criticism and the BoM, see here.In my last post I gave a brief description of the various manuscripts and editions of the BoM. I would now like to examine what I have found to be several very interesting textual variants in the BoM textual witnesses. As I stated in my last post, anyone interested in … [Read more...]

Hans Mattsson and Joseph Smith’s polygamy

The online LDS response to the NYT article describing Hans Mattsson’s struggle with doubt about the Mormon faith that he had once believed in has been interesting to watch. Most responses have been generous and sympathetic, realizing that some serious soul-searching within the community is in order, while others have been more reactionary. One aspect of this discussion I have found particularly interesting has been the conversations that have ensued over Mattsson’s confusion and concern over Jos … [Read more...]


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