The Restoration and War

A stray M16 on my pulpit in Shukvani, Afghanistan

Written on Memorial Day, 2014     This is my first Memorial Day home after combat.  In Afghanistan, I prayed over the injured, the dying, and the dead—and I suppose it's fitting to pray for all of them again, today.  I'm not as haunted by the dead as I am by these words, which I often heard when a casualty came in and a Marine or Sailor would respond, "Don't worry, Chaps: it's only an Afghan."  I suppose the moral wounds are greater than the physical.   As … [Read more...]

On Translation Theories and the Interpretation of the Book of Mormon

Since Blake Ostler's landmark article appeared in Dialogue in 1987, there's been something of a trend among believing Mormon intellectuals. Increasingly, the tendency is to account for the English text of the Book of Mormon by positing a kind of weave of several agents operative in the production of the Book of Mormon---one of them divine (God, in some form), one of them human but ancient (the original authors of the book), and one of them human but modern (Joseph Smith). The most elaborate … [Read more...]

Feed My Lambs

Primary kids from the Liahona Children's Foundation website

“The Church may or may not be true,” quipped my father-in-law, who was at the time serving as a stake president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “But it is organized.” Born of the theological basis of hierarchical priesthood authority and of the practical exigencies of running a worldwide church with mostly volunteer labor, Mormon organization is indeed a force to be reckoned with. When the Church organizational machinery rumbles into motion, it mobilizes labor and … [Read more...]

Sneakers and Salvation

Dirty_sneakers

Several years ago, I took a trip to Egypt with a group of students at the BYU Jerusalem Center.  We spent several days touring the country, and returned to Cairo from Luxor on a sleeping train that Thursday night.  The accommodations were dirty and bug-infested, and we arrived at the hotel on Friday morning tired, dirty, and road-weary. Since Friday is the Muslim day of prayer, we used it as our Sabbath (just as we celebrated the Sabbath on Saturday while we were in Israel). Because of limited … [Read more...]

Mormons and the FBI – A Bleg

The Associated Press reported in the early 1980s that “The CIA does some of its most successful recruiting in predominantly LDS Utah.”[1]  … [Read more...]

The Faith of Our Fathers

While chatting with a new LDS convert recently, he asked how long I had been a member of the Church. I told him that I’d actually been one from the very beginning—that my parents had been practicing members of the faith when I was born, and that I had been raised in a more or less orthodox household. In fact, I mentioned, much my family’s participation in the Church ran back some five or six generations, when early forbears made the choice to embrace the faith and let it completely … [Read more...]

Going to Church in Exile..or Why Denominations Still Matter

As I have moved farther and farther away from the Independence, Missouri headquarters of the Community of Christ (RLDS church) over the past decade, I have attended increasingly smaller congregations. First, it was church with 30 people in Iowa City during grad school. Then it was church with 20 people in Worthington, Ohio when I took my first academic job. Third, it was church with 15 people in Freeport, Maine. And now, I live in an area of upstate New York without a Community of Christ … [Read more...]

Foodism?

I am excited to read the new collection of essays on food and religion in North America (Religion, Food, and Eating in North America), published by Columbia University Press and edited by Benjamin E. Zeller, Marie W. Dallam, Reid L. Neilson, and Nora L. Rubel. We don’t know nearly enough about the intersection of food and religious practices and religious identity. And this extends beyond institutionally based religious identity and to the intersection between food and what Catherine Albanese … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X