Evangelium secundum Matthaeum et tres porci minores

Matt 7:6 …neither cast ye your pearls before swine… (The three little pigs? No, just coincidence.)Matt 7:7-8 …knock and it shall be opened unto you… (Hmm.)Matt 7: 15 … but inwardly they are ravening wolves… (Well.)Matt 7:19 ... and cast into the fire … (Uh. Fire. Pot of boiling water.)Matt 7:21 Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter … (Little pig, little pig, let me in!?)Matt 7:23 … depart from me … (Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin. Yes. Je … [Read more...]

Modern Mormonism and Christianity’s Legacy of Holy Misogyny

In recent weeks there seems to have been a significant uptick in online discussion and exploration of the place of women in LDS theology and their relationship to priesthood. Joanna Brooks has been holding an insightful study session on what priesthood has meant at varying periods of the Church’s history, suggesting that the concept has been far more ambiguous and malleable than generally thought, while a number of blogs and other forms of media have given prominence to issues that bear directly … [Read more...]

Maimonides and a new Torah Scroll Controversy

Photo: Alma Mater Studiorum Universita' Di Bologna

My ears perked up when I heard the news that Mauro Perani, professor of Hebrew at the University of Bologna, has found what he believes is the world’s oldest complete Torah scroll. Perani was updating the University library's Hebrew manuscript catalogue in February, when he realized the scroll had been wrongly dated by the last cataloguer in 1889.The 1889 cataloguer, a Jew named Leonello Modona, had described the letters in the scroll as "an Italian script, rather clumsy-looking, in which c … [Read more...]

Event at Benchmark Books Tonight: Mormons and the Bible

If you are in the area of Benchmark Books, stop by to hear Philip L. Barlow and to pick up a copy of the updated edition of his book, Mormons and the Bible: The Place of the Latter-day Saints in American Religion, which has just been reissued in paperback with a new preface and updated bibliography.And if you are not in the area, get a copy online.First published by Oxford University Press in 1991 and featuring such chapters as “The Mormon Response to Higher Criticism,” the book should be … [Read more...]

The Value of an Outsider’s Perspective


Several years ago I was asked to accompany an investigator to church.We showed up a few minutes early and sat in the chapel. On the way to church, this investigator explained that he had never been to a Christian service before. He seemed quite eager to take in the experience.After I briefly introduced what takes place in a sacrament meeting service, we sat quietly in the chapel. Several moments went by as he looked around, and then asked, "What does that mean?" He was pointing to the organ p … [Read more...]

Exploring the Iconic Nature of the Book of Mormon: Part IIa – Manuscripts and Editions of the Book of Mormon

In my last post, I introduced two lines of questioning that Timothy Beal has raised in his book The Rise and Fall of the Bible concerning biblical texts. Part of Beal's intent in writing is to introduce the reader to how a bunch of disparate religious writings came to be known as "The Bible." Two main points are important in such a discussion: (1) that there are a great number of biblical manuscripts in existence today, and (2) that there are a significant number of differences in how these … [Read more...]

Priesthood, Women, and Non-Agency

Two anecdotes: 1) Recently our bishop was teaching an Aaronic Priesthood lesson to a small group of young men that included a newly ordained deacon, the only deacon in the ward and the de facto president of the quorum. The earnest (and highly educated) bishop was zeroing in on the deacon, explaining that as the deacon's quorum president he was one of only four people in the ward who hold the power to turn keys. 2) A (different) bishop was teaching a sharing time lesson in Primary in which some … [Read more...]

Boat, Bible; Ship, Scripture

*follow-up to this.Three vociferous cheers for Old Joe and his Indian Bible notwithstanding, a lot of what the Book of Mormon says about colonization and colonialization is liable to make current readers squeamish. After all, it has been some time since the president of the United States, for instance, was systematically removing Native Americans to west of the Mississippi. Today there is actually concern about the loss of Native American languages, if not religions.It doesn’t matter m … [Read more...]