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...]

Scripture Studies and Theory

With the arrival of Salt Press at the Maxwell Institute, we have finally entered an era of "theory" as part of mainstream LDS scripture studies. At the same time, we LDS have not fully processed the moves made in biblical studies. There was a short spurt of LDS feminist criticism in the 1990's, but this did not engage the scriptures as a primary point of inquiry. Poststructuralism, cultural criticism, and queer studies have had almost no impact on LDS scripture studies. … [Read more...]

Exploring the Iconic Nature of the Book of Mormon: Part I, Introduction

In his recent book The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book, Timothy Beal offers an insightful and timely assessment of what he calls the “the iconic cultural meaning of the Bible.” [1]  Beal proposes two main arguments in his work. First, that “there never has been a time when we could really talk about the Bible in the singular,” [2] and, second, that there is a marked difference between what the Bible actually is and the way in which many have come to view i … [Read more...]

Breaking the Ivory Ceiling

As a LDS studying religion, it's not uncommon to hear the claim that Mormons have a hard time getting hired in religious studies departments; especially if they study Mormonism.Before 6 or so years ago there were 3 LDSs I am aware of that had a tenured (or tenure track) position in a religious studies (or theology) department:* … [Read more...]

An (Updated) Bible Dictionary?

Let me just say upfront that I don’t have a problem in theory with the idea of a Bible dictionary accompanying the LDS version of the scriptures as a study help for members. Reading the Bible in English (or any other modern language for that matter) for devotional purposes these days presents enormous interpretive challenges, as it represents a translation (in the LDS case, a largely 400 year old translation) of a heterogeneous anthology of ancient Israelite, Jewish, and Christian literature tha … [Read more...]

Sam Gamgee and the Relief Society

samgamgee

Sam Gamgee and the Relief Society[1]Whenever I watch the film version of the Lord of the Rings, it strikes me that Sam, Frodo’s gardener, is the real hero of the story. Although Frodo is the protagonist, the ring-holder, the champion who saves Middle-Earth, Sam was the one who stood strong when the going was rough, filled in the gaps, supported and carried Frodo when he could no longer go on. This is how I view the history of the Relief Society. Though Joseph Smith, his wife Emma, and Eliza R … [Read more...]

What’s Wrong with the Topical Guide?

Last year I suggested some changes that I would make to the LDS Scriptures, which included getting rid of the Topical Guide.  There was some resistance to this recommendation in the comments. With the recent announced changes to the LDS scriptures, I thought now would be a good time to revisit this topic.  The new edition of the LDS scriptures makes no substantive changes to the Topical Guide, only corrected reference errors, formatting changes, and a few other typos.  (The list of changes app … [Read more...]


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