Primary Sources

The question that kept me awake one night last week was this: what are the primary sources for my personal LDS faith practice?Recently, I read a terrific BYU Women’s Conference talk that Francine Bennion gave in 1987[1]. Bennion argued that theology matters, that it informs the way we act and the decisions we make. Therefore, we have to be careful and intentional about crafting our own theologies. She gave examples of scriptural figures who behaved in ways that baffle us today (Jephthah, f … [Read more...]

Visible Women

Primary girl with baby sibling in Likasi, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On June 24, I was at a national gathering of religious leaders and scholars in New York City. At dinner I struck up a conversation with the gentleman next to me, a Baptist theologian. When he found out that I was a Latter-day Saint, his interest was piqued because of the breaking news that Kate Kelly, Mormon feminist, had been excommunicated. Curious, I asked about his response to this news story.“Oh, it’s very negative, of course,” he replied. Candidly, he told me that this sort of news rein … [Read more...]

In Good Conscience…

Over the past six years or so, I’ve watched a number of my friends and acquaintances---and one family member---leave The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ve heard many of them (but by no means all of them) say something like the following when explaining or defending their decision to leave: “I can’t in good conscience (variant: in good faith) remain a member of the Church.” Often (but by no means always), this formula appears in the course of expressing a set of relatively traditio … [Read more...]

And After The Fire, A Still Small Voice

fire

Elijah the Tishbite stood on Mount Horeb, where Moses had stood centuries earlier to receive the tablets of the law from the Lord. Looking out on the dry valley, he reflected on the fate of that law, and of the Lord’s people whose ancestors He had brought out of Egypt to worship at that mountain. They hadn’t gotten any closer to the “kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” that the Lord had wished for their fathers. Elijah spoke to the Lord about his despair, “for the children of Israel have fors … [Read more...]

Book Review: Confessing History

John Fea, Jay Green, and Eric Miller, eds. Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian’s Vocation. (South Bend: Notre Dame University Press, 2010).A few years ago I witnessed an attempted revival at a university in suburban Virginia. A tall, lean young man with a short haircut and three days’ stubble stalked back and forth next to a table in front of the library. He called us to Christ and asked us if we feared sin, and the two teenagers tending the piles of tracts s … [Read more...]

Happy Pioneer Day

The following are excerpts from a lecture on “Mormonism and the American West” that I will be delivering at the Chautauqua Institution this Thursday, July 24, as part of their week-long series on “The American West:  Religious Evolution and Innovations.”Happy Pioneer Day!  Today [July 24] is the day we celebrate the Mormon pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.  Pioneer Day is actually more of a cultural holiday than a religious one.  There are no special religious rites or rituals … [Read more...]

Call for Papers – Faith and Knowledge Conference

LDS graduate students and early career scholars are invited to participate in and attend the 2015 Faith and Knowledge conference on the intersections of religious faith and scholarship. Below is the Call for Papers; more information can also be found at faithandknowledge.org  THE FIFTH BIENNIAL FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE CONFERENCE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA FEBRUARY 27-28, 2015 The Faith and Knowledge Conference was established in 2006 to bring together LDS graduate … [Read more...]

A few things you should read before you make up your mind about Hobby Lobby

I suppose this post is about a week and a half late, given the short attention span of online conversation. So if you find yourself wondering “Why on earth is this guy still talking about a Supreme Court decision from two whole weeks ago,” I totally understand—I, too, have trouble remembering anything that happened before Germany annihilated Brazil on Tuesday. That said, for the moment it's actually my full-time job to think about the Hobby Lobby decision, and if you’re still reading this post, … [Read more...]


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