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...]

O Say What is Truth

 "The Church is true"  has got to be the most uttered phrase on the first Sunday of the month in LDS churches worldwide. But alas, it’s a phrase that has tripped me up since childhood. Not because I don’t believe it, but because those words, in that precise order, have never made sense to me.What does it mean to say the Church is “true?” Are we saying the Church is “honest?” Maybe that the Church is the “genuine article?” Or that it “conforms to the actual state and conditions of rea … [Read more...]

The Next Church Handbook Change: Tithing and Affinity Fraud

Shawn Merriman was a devoted family man, a diligent Mormon bishop, and, ultimately, a convicted fraudster. Dubbed the “Mormon Madoff”, Merriman, a self-described hedge-fund manager, ran a Ponzi scheme that swindled dozens of his friends and acquaintances, and even his own mother, out of millions of dollars. He used his ill-gotten gains to finance a luxurious lifestyle, purchasing Rembrandt prints, antique cars, and sports memorabilia. In March 2009, finding that he could no longer maintain his el … [Read more...]

Mormon Church Responds to Bundy-led Oregon Occupation

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has now officially condemned the actions of a group of armed militiamen in Oregon, led by Ammon Bundy--a Mormon--and fueled by right-wing ideology, mixed with a unique brand of Mormonstyle American exceptionalism. Here's the statement: While the disagreement occurring in Oregon about the use of federal lands is not a Church matter, Church leaders strongly condemn the armed seizure of the facility and are deeply troubled by the reports that those … [Read more...]

No, Mormon Women do not Oppose Female Ordination, and Here’s Why That Matters

When the topic of ordaining Mormon women comes up, one of the most common responses from top Church leadership as well as more orthodox members is that Mormon women are, in an overwhelming majority, against being ordained. Personally, I've heard a number of reasons for being against ordination, ranging from pseudo-science theories about female vs. male brains (theories about the brain that have been debunked), to insulting complaints that men would slack off if they weren't the only people o … [Read more...]

The “Thoughts and Prayers” Backlash is Deserved

After so many shootings this year, it just feels like nothing is ever going to change. But after the San Bernardino shooting, there was a decent amount of backlash against the many politicians who responded to the news with a very bland, “thoughts and prayers” tweet. Tweeting "thoughts and prayers" is right up there with American politicians' favorite past time of making excuses for why we can’t have any sensible firearm legislation.here’s a template tweet for all politicians to use. “My thou … [Read more...]

These Three Things Are True

Sharp divisions make it hard to pinpoint "how Mormons feel" about the policy barring children of same-sex married parents from blessing or baptism in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but these three things are true:Mormonism is charismatic. Mormonism is organized. Mormonism is Mormons.By “Mormonism is charismatic” (from the term “charismata”, or gifts of the Holy Spirit including visions, healings, prophecy, etc.) I mean that its existence as a religious tradition is … [Read more...]