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...]

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

First Presidency and the Twelve, circa 1898 (Wikimedia Commons).

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...]

Why Didn’t We Do This By Common Consent?

Wikimedia Commons

Reactions to the recent church policy changes concerning the children of married homosexual couples (which you can read about here here here here here here here here here here here here here here here and here) have made it very clear that this is an issue of great concern to many members, independent of their orthodoxy in the faith. That is to say, this isn't something that divides cleanly along "active" and "inactive," or "believing" and "doubting" membership lines.What's more, it is very … [Read more...]

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...]

Matt Bowman and Ben Park Talk Seer Stones On RadioWest

Photograph by Welden C. Andersen and Richard E. Turley Jr., Courtesy The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 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...]

The Risks and Revelations of Protest and Lament

On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave voice to the unspeakable injustice of American slavery in an address unrivaled either before or since. As a former slave, he spoke from profound experience. As an orator, he spoke with deft and sharpened words. “What, to the American slave,” he asked his white audience, “is your 4th of July?” The answer: “a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.” This was not celebr … [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...]

Doubting at Zion’s Gate

Through happenstance, two of my recent reads synergistically centered on doubt and the thresholds of religion.In the first, Elmer Miller’s Nurturing Doubt, the author reflects on his time as a Mennonite missionary in the Argentine Chaco (exactly where I served my LDS mission) and his later return as a professional anthropologist. He relates how his experience in ministering to the Toba, an ethnic group native to the Chaco, caused him to question the utility of the Christian message and A … [Read more...]