How I choose to see the revisions

"Christ in Gethsemane" By Heinrich Hofmann (Wikimedia Commons)

I write this as a heterosexual person, one who is not directly affected by the new strictures in the Church Handbook of Instructions (CHI). For that reason, this is all very easy for me to say. I do not blame those who are 'closer to' this situation if their reaction is different from mine. I do not blame those who will leave. However, let's get one thing straight from the beginning: those who made this decision did not relish it. The Brethren do not look for ways to kick people out of the … [Read more...]

The 5 Best References to Mormonism in the History of Television


So that Quantico show debuted a little while back. It's a show about FBI agents and stuff that critics seem to generally like, but Mormons are generally nervous about. Apparently there's a steamy hot Mormon hunk in the first episode who doesn't really make it to the second episode and there was a lot of anxiety over this because I guess his temple garments were visible in one scene (but less visible than originally intended, or something?).  Also, from what I gather the Mormon dude turns out to b … [Read more...]

A Review and a Farewell: Of Manuscripts and Seer Stones

I've been, as Mormons say, "less active" here at the blog for the past few months. A number of changes have forced me to contribute less---among them graduation ("Doctor Spencer," now!) and a move to Utah. And I'll now actually be signing off from the blog entirely. I'd like to make one last contribution before doing so, and that in form of a review. A few days ago, I had the opportunity to attend the press conference held in connection with the release of the newest volumes of the Joseph Smith … [Read more...]

“The Prophecy of This Book”

Believers in the Book of Mormon are inevitably acquainted with Revelation 22:18-19:For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.For as long as … [Read more...]

Consecrating the widow’s mite


The Filipino widow’s miteThe widow’s mite is a poignant story, but one in which we might be missing the point Jesus meant to convey. What if instead of admiring the woman’s sacrifice, he was instead lamenting that her condition was countenanced by the people all around her, particularly those with substantial means? What if he was criticizing both that the rich garnered public approbation for their generous donations made out of their surplus, and that the woman, after consecrating her all, … [Read more...]

What do we mean by “Another Testament”?

Before 1981, the Book of Mormon was simply the Book of Mormon; since then, however, it has borne the subtitle “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” I suspect that this addition had several purposes. First almost certainly was to draw attention to Christ in a church that many consider non-Christian.[1]  Second would be to clarify the relationship of the book to the Bible: not a replacement, but An Other Testament like the Old and New ones.Growing up, I always read “testament” as “testimony”: in … [Read more...]

The Restoration and War

A stray M16 on my pulpit in Shukvani, Afghanistan

Written on Memorial Day, 2014  This is my first Memorial Day home after combat.  In Afghanistan, I prayed over the injured, the dying, and the dead—and I suppose it's fitting to pray for all of them again, today.  I'm not as haunted by the dead as I am by these words, which I often heard when a casualty came in and a Marine or Sailor would respond, "Don't worry, Chaps: it's only an Afghan."  I suppose the moral wounds are greater than the physical. As a mili … [Read more...]

On Translation Theories and the Interpretation of the Book of Mormon

Since Blake Ostler's landmark article appeared in Dialogue in 1987, there's been something of a trend among believing Mormon intellectuals. Increasingly, the tendency is to account for the English text of the Book of Mormon by positing a kind of weave of several agents operative in the production of the Book of Mormon---one of them divine (God, in some form), one of them human but ancient (the original authors of the book), and one of them human but modern (Joseph Smith). The most elaborate … [Read more...]