Quotes of Note- George Q. Cannon on Doctrine from the Stand

If we hear any principle taught from the stand that we do not understand, let us seek to comprehend it by the Spirit of God. If it be not of God, we have the privilege of knowing it. We are not required to receive for doctrine everything that we hear. We may say, "I do not know whether this is true or not; I will not fight it, neither will I endorse it, but I will seek knowledge from God, for that is my privilege, and I will never rest satisfied until I have obtained the light I require." If you … [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...]

Scripture, History and Myth: A Perfect Modern Example from NPR!

We’re way past Genesis at this point, but like the poor, the issue of non-historical scripture will always be among us. Most people know of the genre of "parable" because they’re in the Gospels, but "myth" is very poorly understood and the term carries a lot of negative baggage. You have to be very careful throwing around the term. One simple definition of myth is that myth is worldview in narrative form. That is, it's a way of explaining one’s  conception of how the world works, in everyday lang … [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...]

Faith and Knowledge Conference(s): Call for Papers and Past Experiences

Several years ago, a conference was organized by Richard Bushman, Terryl Givens, and several LDS graduate students. Concerned by perceptions of a general abandoning of faith among LDS grad students in religion-related fields, the conference's  focus was encapsulated in its title, Faith and Knowledge. … [Read more...]

Responses and follow-ups to KLS on teaching sexuality (updated)

Lots of people have read Kathryn Soper's excellent article on teaching sexuality to the youth (particularly the young women) in the last few days. In fact, it's the highest-viewed article at Patheos in the last week, in spite of being posted on Wednesday.Several blogs have posted their own responses or lengthy comments, and I think those are worth linking to. I'll update this as more links appear in our googleanalytics page. … [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...]

Adam-ondi-Ahman in Africa

For $100, you can learn your ancestors' migratory history on the earth.  National Geographic's Genographic Project is seeking to learn more about human migration by analyzing the DNA of people around the world, including National Geographic readers who are interested in submitting their own cheek swab and in return getting a map of either their patrilineal or matrilineal migration pattern out of Africa.The idea that all humans derive from a group of people in Africa who began their diaspora … [Read more...]

Announcement #1- Dialogue, FAIR, Sunstone, etc.

Patheos has informal partnerships with several of the established brands in Mormonism as well as the Church itself. (Mayhap you noticed two of our guest writers from SLC last week?)  As such, we're beginning a new long-term series. Each week we'll feature a select article from one of these partners for publication and discussion on the Mormonism Portal. These articles will appear in the "rotator" at the top of the portal page, and open with an editorial summary, personal meaning, or particularly … [Read more...]

Brigham Young, Studying Evil, and Living in a Bubble

It's been five years since I posted this, and it came up in a Church discussion the other day, so it's time for a repeat.I enjoy Orson Scott Card’s books. My in-laws feel that he portrays evil too much in them. OSC has his own defenses of this (cf. A Storyteller in Zion), but I thought of it when I came across these comments by Brigham Young. Shall I sit down and read the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Covenants all the time?” says one. Yes, if you please, and when you have done, … [Read more...]


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