Beyond Family: Women’s Leadership in the LDS Church

 A recent flurry of debate and discussion over the issue of women’s roles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has provoked exasperation and hurt on multiple fronts. Advocates for an expansion of women’s ecclesiastical authority and responsibility point to the underrepresentation of women in church leadership structures (here, and here). For instance, during the four main sessions of the church’s worldwide General Conference last weekend, only two out of twenty-eight sermon … [Read more...]

A Review of Darren Wilson’s “Finding God in the Bible”

"Read any commentary and it'll pretty much explain the symbolism. My question is much, much simpler than that." -- Darren Wilson, Finding God in the Bible, pp. 193-194The title is intriguing: Finding God in the Bible. It seems meant to work against what is now a several-centuries-old tradition of interpreting biblical texts without reference to God, without insisting that scripture is to have anything more than canonical weight. And Bill Johnson's foreword to the book would seem to confirm … [Read more...]

Dan Brown’s “Inferno”: An Eternal Return

I just finished reading Inferno, Dan Brown’s latest book. I’m no expert on Brown, though I have also read The Da Vinci Code. He is justly derided as a bad writer, but he is a good storyteller and sets his attractive characters in compelling locations. I think that Brown’s popularity also comes from his ability to touch on big cultural issues and questions—sometimes overtly and sometimes more indirectly—in familiar, reassuring ways. He touches on them, but doesn’t resolve them for the reader. He r … [Read more...]

Hidden Cameras

“My mom is watching me,” my son’s six year-old friend Jared confided. Jared and my son had spent the entire playdate at the playground climbing and chasing without a single quarrel and I had just complimented Jared on his courteous behavior. “She has hidden cameras.”We had only recently arrived in Hong Kong and Jared’s mother Naomi had been one of the first people to reach out to our family. The ingenuity and authority implied by this “hidden camera” technique was one more piece of evidence c … [Read more...]

Put Your Mormon Where Your Mouth Is: Gender, Sexuality, and The Second Great Commandment

During Conference in October 2007, at the end of General Relief Society President Julie Beck’s now-famous talk, “Mothers Who Know,” I made a derisive sound from my perch on the living room couch. Once again, began a commentator’s voice inside my head, a talk for Mormon women that focuses largely on domestic roles: “nurturing,” “homemaking,” “cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home,” and “Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world.”My mother, who … [Read more...]

Conferences at the Crossroads of Mormonism

When April comes to Independence, Missouri, Latter Day Saints will go to conference. Community of Christ members will go to conference. Latter-day Saints will go to conference. Remnant saints will go to conference. Church of Christ (Temple Lot) members will go to conference. Saints who are first-generation Americans from Samoa will go to conference. Saints who have flown from Nigeria to Missouri will go to conference. And saints from dozens of other nations will go to conference. Members of the … [Read more...]

Benediction

However improbably, on Thursday Pope Benedict XVI will retire.  Much has been said and will be said about what this means for the Catholic Church, in terms of having a pope living within shouting distance of his living predecessor.  Benedict promises that his retirement will be a quiet one, dedicated to prayer and writing.  He is not giving up his calling as a consecrated servant of God, but admitting that at age 85 he no longer possesses the “strength of mind and body” to lead the church on a da … [Read more...]

On the Discourse of Dichotomy

Despite the fact that social scientists have yet to discover a single human society that is devoid of what we modern folk usually refer to as religion, it remains a highly contested category. Or, perhaps better, because of the ubiquity of religion, it’s a perspicuously polyvalent term that includes a massive variety of diverse expressions, and is thus notoriously difficult to pin down with precision. Still, however else one might understand the meaning and significance of religious ways of being … [Read more...]


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