Contributing to the Ensign- Interesting Guidelines

I was looking for something in the Ensign, and noticed two little links at the bottom, "Submit an article to the Ensign. View our updated content submission guidelines."Really? Open submissions? Apparently so. How long has this been going on?The submission guidelines have some interesting things. For example, under the "General Ongoing Needs" section, one sees the first of several desired categories is "By Study and by Faith: These Church history and other academic or scriptural articles are … [Read more...]

Quotes of Note- President Packer on “Scientific neglect”

No, it's not what you're thinking. I believe this story is from when he served as mission president in  New England, 1965-68, and I'm still not quite sure what to make of this story, other than that President Packer is not always the "hard-liner" he is made out to be. … [Read more...]

Encultured prophets and the firmament: Peter Enns continued

In my last post (and hinted at in the one before that), I raised the idea that prophets tend to share the worldviews and myths of their culture, with myth properly defined as something like "worldview expressed in narrative." Their revelations are by necessity received and framed within that worldview. In other words, prophets in different times and places would understand the world differently, though they may share some revealed knowledge of the Gospel. Put very bluntly, some prophets in the … [Read more...]

Balancing tradition with faith and scholarship: a Mormon application of Peter Enns

In my own struggles to balance faith and tradition with scholarship, I find it useful to see how others have done so, particularly when I see close structural parallels between the two traditions. Peter Enns speaks from a Protestant perspective but Protestants aren't the sole source of useful insight. I've enjoyed Jewish perspectives more, explored in fictional narratives like The Chosen and The Promise. The tensions between traditional views and scholarship  that Enns highlights among … [Read more...]

Thoughts on wrestling with lesson prep, the manual, and teaching the teachers.

Over at FaithPromotingRumor, TT analyzes a collection of statements from various manuals about using "outside" materials in  preparing lessons.That's something I've wanted to do for a while, because I've  suspected that Church materials  are not entirely consistent with their directives about this. At one extreme is the unsigned Church News article (the authority of which can be debated), which more or less states that you can't even use uncorrelated materials to prepare a lesson and that "E … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine Podcast 34- Hosea

Edit: Some people are reporting errors, for others it's working. Please leave a comment or send me an email with the error message so we can get it fixed. If the links below don't work, try downloading from this alternate link.(Right-click and save here to download.)Opening clip: Loreena McKennit, "Marco Polo."Transcript Notes and references … [Read more...]

Jonah- the Insufficiency of the New Testament Argument

Other than tradition that Jonah is historical, there is the New Testament argument. This argument is fairly common and made by non-LDS as well as LDS, but on examination, I think it's insufficient to prove what its proponents claim. This also applies, by the way, to Lot's wife turning into a pillar of salt (Luke 17:32), and Job (D&C 121:10).What's really at stake here? Not much, I think, but perhaps an opportunity to break down a wall. Most often, I've seen the New Testament argument used … [Read more...]

Not a smidge o’ pink here!

The LDS church, if you're new to its intricacies, has a series of programs set up for children and youth to participate in and advance through.  For the boys, this is Boy Scouts.  For the girls, this is Achievement Days for the 8-11 year-olds and Personal Progress for the teens.This year, a new Personal Progress book was released with a smattering of updates.  I believe that the awards were even upped a notch.  Whereas before, a young woman received a necklace medallion for completing various s … [Read more...]

Easy Bible History for Dummies, with an excursis on why Persia is so much less threatening than Iran

Right about now in Gospel Doctrine classes, everyone should nearing the Divided Kingdom stories, when Jereboam breaks off and takes 10 tribes with him, and we get two Israelite kingdoms (Israel and Judah) with two Israelite kings (Reheboam and Jereboam.)And coincidentally  right about now, it gets darn hard to keep everyone straight. Instead of one  story, we're now switching back and forth between narrative of the northern kingdom and narrative of the southern kingdom, like in Lord of the R … [Read more...]

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Podcast on Gospel Doctrine lesson 21- 1 Samuel 1-3, 8

Another one! We just keep coming. As always, if you like it, share it. Tell your Gospel Doctrine teacher, your family, those poor people stuck in Primary and Nursery who crave mental stimulation, etc.....Right-click to download here.Here are the notes and references which turn out to be relatively short today. They may not make much sense without the podcast itself. … [Read more...]


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