It’s Time For Mormons To Be Scary Again

It’s Halloween time, so as usual I’m watching a lot of horror movies. Maybe this is why, by a mechanism purely driven by my own absurd imagination, I’ve loosely associated Meet the Mormons with the horror genre. Specifically, as a Dawn of the Dead-esque sequel to the 1922 silent film, Trapped by the Mormons.Disclaimer: I have not seen Meet the Mormons, and this is not as a criticism of the film itself, but an entertaining thought experiment meant to analyze the evolution of Mormons in cinem … [Read more...]

What Is a “Mormon” Reading of Scripture? Thoughts on Michael Austin’s “Re-reading Job”

Every four years, every Sunday School in the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints turns its attention to the Old Testament. Only a single lesson over the course of that year is dedicated to Job, of which biblical book Victor Hugo said the following: "Tomorrow, if all literature was to be destroyed and it was left to me to retain one work only, I should save Job." Forty minutes every four years---that's not even enough time to get Latter-day Saints interested in Job, let alone … [Read more...]

INTERNATIONAL MORMON STUDIES: MORE HELP WANTED!

 This is a report AND a call for input going forward from the directors of the International Mormon Studies Book Project, launched in February 2013 to encourage the expansion of Mormon studies research throughout the Mormon South (i.e. outside of North America). Part I: Report on IMS book placementsThe IMS Book Project organizers express our gratitude for the many generous individuals and institutions who have contributed to the cause of improving the quality and … [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...]

Visible Women

Primary girl with baby sibling in Likasi, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On June 24, I was at a national gathering of religious leaders and scholars in New York City. At dinner I struck up a conversation with the gentleman next to me, a Baptist theologian. When he found out that I was a Latter-day Saint, his interest was piqued because of the breaking news that Kate Kelly, Mormon feminist, had been excommunicated. Curious, I asked about his response to this news story.“Oh, it’s very negative, of course,” he replied. Candidly, he told me that this sort of news rein … [Read more...]

In Good Conscience…

Over the past six years or so, I’ve watched a number of my friends and acquaintances---and one family member---leave The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ve heard many of them (but by no means all of them) say something like the following when explaining or defending their decision to leave: “I can’t in good conscience (variant: in good faith) remain a member of the Church.” Often (but by no means always), this formula appears in the course of expressing a set of relatively traditio … [Read more...]

Second Life and the Second Estate

From a hillside in Missouri, one can look out upon a relatively nondescript valley verdant with seasonal crops. It is to here, it is said, that Adam and Eve fled upon expulsion from the Garden of Eden and offered prayer to God and it is to here, it is said, that Adam will gather his posterity at the last day. Adam-ondi-Ahman, as Joseph Smith called the valley, is a locus of human-divine communication and visitation in Mormon theo-history.There is, however, another Adam-ondi-Ahman in the … [Read more...]

No More Strangers

One of my most familiar childhood religious memories is waking up at the end of the General Conference broadcast, sprawled full-length on the floor with the marks of the carpet in my cheek. “This has been the [ordinal number] conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” the familiar voice intoned over the postlude. As the camera panned around the trees at Temple Square, I would pan around the living room to get the lay of the land. My father was asleep. My mother was asleep. My … [Read more...]


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