Remembering William Jennings Bryan

I’ve been watching the PBS television series “God in America” on Apple TV. It’s a history of religion in America told in six one-hour segments, beginning with the Massachusetts Bay colony and ending with Obama. If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend it highly – it’s very well done and I learned a lot.One of the segments devotes some time to William Jennings Bryan and the Scopes Trial. I have a lot of respect for William Jennings Bryan, in spite of the fact that he was on the wrong side of the … [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...]

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...]

Gospel Doctrine Podcast #35- Amos

This podcast is long delayed and the first podcast on Isaiah has been written already. Various things have prevented me from posting it so far. General Conference this weekend gives me a chance to catch up, so I'll try to post several podcasts in the next 7 days.Right-click here to save mp3TranscriptNotes to follow later. Look for a (u) in the title (for "updated".) … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine Podcast 33- Jonah (u)

(Right-click and save here to download.)Openining clip: Loreena McKennit, "Marco Polo."Transcript (I ad libbed a bit more this time.)Notes and references: … [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...]

Changing Racial Perceptions of the Japanese: LDS Rhetoric between 1901-1930 (Part II)

This is continued from my post on changing racial perceptions of the Chinese in LDS rhetoric at the turn of the 20th century.  Both sections here are adapted from research I conducted as a fellow during the Joseph Smith Seminar in 2007.In 1890 there were only four documented “persons of Japanese ancestry” in the entire territory of Utah.[1] Contrasted with the Chinese, Utahns had no contact whatsoever with a significant Japanese population. Subsequently, the Japanese were easily romanticized, e … [Read more...]

Changing Racial Perceptions of the Chinese: LDS Rhetoric between 1880-1901

Browsing through library databases and catalogues today, it is difficult to find even a handful of hits on Mormonism and Asian race. Even Armand Mauss’ recent sweeping study, All Abraham’s Children, notably omits any specific inquiry on the subject, though he meticulously dissects an LDS understanding of Blacks, Native Americans, and Jews.[1] Yes, some inferences may be made by delving into historical studies on missionary work in the Far East, but a comprehensive look into what it meant to be As … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine podcast lessons 29-30(u)

It's been busy around here, putting together the Future of Mormonism series. Other things too. But we're back, trying to make up lost time. Here's the podcast on lessons 29-30, which cover Elisha and then Hezekiah and Josiah.TranscriptDownload link for MP3 (right-click and "save as" Notes: … [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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