Hell and Zion: A Review of “Undertale”

 Note: Undertale is a game best experienced without spoilers; I include some details below, however, in an attempt to convince the reluctant among you that it’s worth your time.In the game Undertale, your adventure begins when you fall into the underworld—a sort of hell that turns out to be quite Mormon. [1] That is to say: it is not the typical Christian hell of punishment and torment, fire and brimstone. The underground’s inhabitants, monsters banished and trapped there by huma … [Read more...]

Review: The Mormon Jesus

Perhaps my devotional life’s greatest flaw is that I forget about Jesus. Intellectually, of course, I know that I cannot ignore the Savior when speaking about theology, but much of the time my musings tend to amble away toward questions of divine-human ontology, creation, exaltation, and eternal family relationships instead.Therefore, I was curious what John Turner would have to say in his The Mormon Jesus, published by Harvard University Press last month. Through his Brigham Young: Pioneer P … [Read more...]

Ritual and Renewal in Zootopia

If you haven’t seen Zootopia, go. Despite the fact that it is a Disney animated feature, it deals with some pertinent and broadly applicable social issues with nearly unmatched thoughtfulness. And the thoughtfulness isn’t accidental--the team that made the movie put a lot of effort into crafting it. It’s well worth your time and, as the post below is mostly about the ending of the film, I don’t want to spoil it for you.Furthermore, the use of animals here isn't juvenile, a sort of cutesy Noah … [Read more...]

Ammon, before Trump

On social media I passed along a quip that, while Donald Trump is applying to be president with no political experience, listing for even menial entry-level positions include years of experience as prerequisites.Several minutes later, someone I know--a young, high school-educated, lower-class, white male--privately messaged me the following: Give it a rest, loser. Trump’s going to be President and you can’t stop him. ^^ He will send my RACIST co-workers [context note: they are non-white] bac … [Read more...]

Emergent Theology: Steven Peck’s “Evolving Faith”

Drawing dragons got me seriously thinking about evolution for the first time.My earlier attempts at drawing had almost all been tracing, but I found none of the images of dragons I found satisfactory. What was more unfortunate was that dragons didn’t exist (spoiler), so I had no reference photos. Consequently, I had to break them down into their component parts. For the first time in my life, I found myself studying bones and muscles.I not only studied how my own muscles expanded and … [Read more...]

Narnia, the Solstice, and Heaven

I.Some of my fascination with The Last Battle, the last in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, might stem from the draw of the bittersweetness of finality and my awe (in the dual senses of “awesome” and “awful”) at apocalypse. But good portion of it derives from Narnia’s heaven, one of the most compelling visions of a literal, Christian heaven in literature.Mr. Tumnus explains a key aspect of this heaven: there, “no good thing is destroyed.” At its most straightforward, Mr. Tumnus is refer … [Read more...]

Polygamy and the New LDS Policy: Two Thoughts

 MichaelMany, including Elder Christofferson, have noted that the LDS Church’s new policy toward gay couples and their children is a carbon copy of the Church’s policy toward polygamous families, on the books since the 1920s. (If you’re curious, see Ardis Parshall’s post about it.) Most of these people have focused on how the Church is applying the old policy (re: polygamy) to a new situation (gay marriage).But there’s another arrow of influence. The Church is turning the attitud … [Read more...]

These Arguments are Weak.

That “Insight into new LDS Church policies on same-sex couples and their children” post, written by a Michael Worley on Kathryn Skaggs’s blog, is making the rounds. Others like him have been circulating. People seem to think they offer compelling arguments. But beyond its presumption (the author has no special insight into God’s and Church leaders’ minds, but claims he does) and its condescension (“Bill Nye voice”) lie false analogies and rickety rationalizations.Before I analyze Worley’s arg … [Read more...]