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...]

Wait, What Is The White Horse Prophecy?

Americans rarely unilaterally agree on anything, but there has risen one important break from that trend; we’re all convinced that the 2016 election is next level bonkers. All of us. Including, apparently, Mitt Romney.As of this post, Romney is posed to make a big speech at the University of Utah tomorrow morning, which has some eager politicos wondering if he’s making some sort of play as a late addition to the race, a wishful thought for anyone feeling hopeless after Donald Drumpf’s dismal … [Read more...]

Mistakes in Mormonism; or Why the Church Handbook isn’t Doctrine

By Gary AshcroftLet me preface my comments with a few statements. I am Mormon. I’ve been one for my entire life. I believe that the Gospel is true and that it can bring us happiness. I also believe that the Church is led by a prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and that he speaks for God. I am proud of my membership in the Church and wish in no way to disparage it, abandon it, or equivocate as to my beliefs.That being said, I also recognize that the Church and the Gospel are not the same. The G … [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...]

Death, Sealing Power, and “Trusting into Transformation”

[Preliminary note: This is the first of two posts relaying insights from a few years of reflecting on Mormon ideas about salvation and family in light of Sam Brown’s masterful study of early Mormonism, In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death.] My favorite invocation/description of what Mormons call “the sealing power” comes from the eulogy that inspired the King Follett Discourse, Joseph Smith’s boldest challenge to the brand of Calvinism popular among ma … [Read more...]

Matt Bowman and Ben Park Talk Seer Stones On RadioWest

 For the lucky few vacationing in isolated corners of the world without internet access, you may have missed the furious hubbub surrounding Joseph Smith’s seer stone. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in conjunction with the Community of Christ released previously unseen photographs of the stone along with a new volume of manuscripts from the Joseph Smith Papers Project, sparking a conversation among Mormons about its significance and relevance to faith.Former Peculiar P … [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...]

Joseph Smith Papers: Documents Volume 3

A couple of weeks ago, I participated---by Skype---in the launch event for the newest Documents volume of the celebrated Joseph Smith Papers Project. I assume the project needs no introduction at this point, having already published more than a half-dozen volumes. The installment I'll review here is already the third published volume in the Documents series (though note that seven or more volumes are projected in this series!). I'll just say a bit about this volume, and perhaps about the … [Read more...]


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