Mormons and the Politics of Mother’s Day

Mother's Day is a big deal in Mormonism. By some measures, Mother's Day has the most elaborate rituals of any holiday celebrated in the LDS Church. Like Christmas and Easter, Mother's Day is typically filled with special musical numbers and talks dedicated to the topic of the day. In addition to this, adult women receive a gift that is passed to them at the end of Sacrament Meeting. This year, my ward is also planning a special meeting in the third hour for all adult women. LDS adoption of … [Read more...]

How Mormons Read the Bible

A little more than a week ago, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released an update to its online edition of the Bible and other authoritative texts, with a print edition to follow later this year.  Some of these changes reflect better historical knowledge of LDS history, as well as improved study aids, and some historical contextualizing of some important LDS texts.  The new edition of the LDS Bible is incremental, offering a few minor spelling and punctuation updates to the King J … [Read more...]

Issues in Mormon Feminism

In 1993, high-ranking LDS leader Elder Boyd K. Packer famously warned that feminists, intellectuals, and homosexuals were the three "dangers" to the Church.  A decade later journalist Peggy Fletcher Stack asked, "Where Have all the Mormon Feminists Gone?" (Salt Lake Trib. 10/04/2003).  Twenty years after Packer's warning, and ten years since Stack pronounced them extinct, Mormon feminists have made a roaring comeback and these days regularly make national news.  There are stars like Joanna Br … [Read more...]

The Heavenly Mommy Wars

Mormonism's notions of the divine realm are distinctive from traditional Christian views in primarily two ways.  The first is that God has a material body.  The second is that in addition to the traditional depiction of the divine realm consisting of the three persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, there exists also a Mother, a divine female figure.This teaching of the Heavenly Mother remains among the most controversial in Mormonism both in and out of the faith.  The teaching is af … [Read more...]

Mormonism and the Christianity Police

If one were to rank the issues about which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is most sensitive, near the very top of the list would be the persistant accusation that Mormons are somehow not Christians.  This is literally the first question in the FAQ section at responding to this charge over many decades, the church has sought to emphasize its Christian identity. Besides numerous discourses on the subject, the Church has projected a Christian image through the … [Read more...]

The Truth About Mormon Stereotypes

A decade ago, during the last “Mormon Moment” when the Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, Newsweek ran a cover story about Mormonism that represented it as fundamentally conformist, where men and women of different races all wore identical white shirts and black slacks.  The image suggested that beneath the apparent racial diversity of modern Mormonism, there remains a culture of obedience and conformism.  The photograph was an image of Mormonism’s enduring symbolic place in American hi … [Read more...]

Is Mormonism Ridiculous?

In The Book of Mormon Broadway musical, the central character Elder Price sings, “I Believe...” followed by a mixed series of benign and ridiculous claims. The genius of the song is that it so perfectly performs widespread American perceptions about Mormonism in the early 21st century.  Elder Price, and Mormons in general, are presented as harboring some naive and strange ideas, but in the end being good people with good intentions who might actually be able to help people.Mitt Romney's upco … [Read more...]