Congrats Stephen Smoot

We here at FPR have learned that Mr. Stephen Smoot has been accepted into the MA program at Trinity Western in Biblical Studies. This is a significant first step for Stephen and we are very pleased to offer both our congratulations regarding his acceptance and our best wishes for his future. He has chosen a tough and complicated path but we are confident that he will also find it to be as rewarding as have we. I might also add,… Read more

Authority is Our Sacred Cow, and It Must be Domesticated

I believe that there are members of our faith that would engage in acts of terrorism if asked by the leaders of our Church. For instance, in a discussion about two years ago on M*, one of the perma-bloggers said the following with regard to Abraham attempting to sacrifice Isaac: “Smallaxe, with the testimony I have of the living prophets, if President Monson were to call upon me to sacrifice one of my children, I would do so.” If someone is… Read more

To the General Presidents of the Women’s Auxiliaries

Dear Sisters, As a Relief Society president in a small unit outside of Utah I have watched with interest the roll-out of the Church’s policy on gay marriage, cohabitation, and the children of gay parents who live or have lived in stable relationships. I would like to ask one question and make one request. My question is this: Were the three of you consulted about these policies? (more…) Read more

Tips on Being an Independent Scholar: Cheryl L. Bruno

1)Tell us about your background, education, and career goals when you were just starting out? Did they change over time? I graduated from a small liberal arts college with a B.S. in Physical Recreation and Recreation, while working as a swim coach. Upon graduation, I served an LDS mission. When I returned, I enrolled in a Master’s program at BYU in Educational Psychology. I married a few months after beginning the program, and in less than a year delivered the… Read more

Tips on Being an Independent Scholar: Ardis Parshall

1) Tell us about your background, education, and career goals when you were just starting out? Did they change over time? I don’t have any formal education or training for what I do, which is Mormon history. No one knows better than I do what a handicap that is, or how much I regret my lack of opportunity, but being self-taught is not anything to be ashamed of, either. I have a knack for history, for analysis of documents and… Read more

Tips on Being an Independent Scholar: Blake Ostler

1) Tell us about your background, education, and career goals when you were just starting out? Did they change over time? I grew up in Sandy, Utah at a time when it was growing from around 8,000 to 75,000 residents over 10 years. I am the second of 6 children. My parents were both pioneer descendants — 75% Swedish and 25% English. My mother was active in the LDS Church and for many years my father was somewhat active. I… Read more

Polygamy and Same-Sex Marriage: The Contagion Theory

The recent policy changes in the LDS church treat polygamy and same-sex marriage as analogous in two ways. First, they are explicitly defined as “apostasy,” resulting in automatic church discipline. Second, the children of such relationships receive the highest level of scrutiny before they are allowed to join the church. Why are these two kinds of relationships, and the children of such relationships, subject to such treatment? We might note that other sexual and relationship sins will result in church… Read more

Tips on Being an Independent Scholar: Kevin Barney

1) Tell us about your background, education, and career goals when you were just starting out? Did they change over time?  When I went to BYU as a freshman in 1976, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so I just took general ed classes. At the end of that year I still didn’t have a clue (although I recall some thought about psychology, as is common among college freshmen). It was on my mission… Read more

Tips on Being an Independent Scholar: Julie Smith

We are pleased to welcome our first entry in this series from Julie Smith. 1) Tell us about your background, education, and career goals when you were just starting out? Did they change over time? So I started out getting an English degree and teaching certification (from UT-Austin) because those seemed like practical things to do. One of my mentors began a lecture (I think this was a 17th century British Literature class, but it’s been a few decades so… Read more

New Series: Tips on Being an Independent Scholar

Over the years, primarily under the leadership of smallaxe, FPR has amassed an amazing series for LDS interested in pursuing graduate education in religious studies. It consists of interviews, best practices, an orientation to the process, and things to consider about this career path. It also has interviews and tips from people who have studied at different schools, and even interviews from those who have gotten tenure track jobs. We have now decided to launch a new series about another… Read more