I Even Remain Alone?: Reflections on Eve Tushnet’s “Gay and Catholic”

About two years ago Ralph Hancock, a BYU professor of political philosophy, met with the Claremont Mormon Studies Student Association. As I reflected on the ensuing conversation, which had quickly veered into the troubled waters of Mormonism and same-sex marriage, I formulated two questions which I feel would have turned the discussion down less well-trodden—and hence potentially more productive—paths.First, I would have asked Hancock, “As non-heterosexuality poses existential questions categ … [Read more...]

Post-Civil War Communalism and the Lamoni Order

RLDS church in Lamoni, circa 1907. Courtesy of Alma Blair.

Few experiments in religious communalism better exemplified the blending of American industry with religious socialism than did Joseph Smith, Jr. and the Mormons. Despite failed attempts by the Mormons to establish permanent communal societies in Ohio and Missouri, the ethos of religious socialism persisted, and in many ways still persists, within the Latter Day Saint restoration movement. Among the various institutions that sprang from Joseph Smith, Jr.’s innovations, many attempted to maintain … [Read more...]

The Liberal Soul, by Richard Davis

“How can a good Mormon be a Democrat?”If you’re Mormon and politically conservative, you’ve probably asked yourself that question. I certainly have, though it’s been a very, very long time. (Another question on my mind back then: “Why do people hate the Backstreet Boys?”)I had thought a lot about my faith and my politics—I’d read my Pres. Benson and my Rush Limbaugh, my Joseph Fielding Smith and my Ayn Rand—and I’d concluded that the one led pretty directly to the other. The War in Heaven … [Read more...]

“Toxic Religion”? The Parable of the Pan

DSCF2811

There are “winners and losers” in the wake of the acknowledgment by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that its founder, Joseph Smith, practiced polygamy [and in the subsequent media coverage] . The church itself is a clear winner. This step in the direction of transparency signals Mormonism’s maturity and adaptability in the twenty-first century. The acknowledgment is also vindicating for Mormon intellectuals who have worked hard to promulgate a nuanced narrative of Mormon history t … [Read more...]

Consecrating the widow’s mite

GCtalks

The Filipino widow’s miteThe widow’s mite is a poignant story, but one in which we might be missing the point Jesus meant to convey. What if instead of admiring the woman’s sacrifice, he was instead lamenting that her condition was countenanced by the people all around her, particularly those with substantial means? What if he was criticizing both that the rich garnered public approbation for their generous donations made out of their surplus, and that the woman, after consecrating her all, … [Read more...]

Helvetica

According to the official style guide of The Church, “Mormon” implies an individual, not an institution. But while it can be a label for a person, “Latter-day Saint” remains the preference. "Mormons" the guide explains, is “acceptable."And acceptable it is. Swaths of Latter-day Saints have now deemed themselves “Mormons,” not only in speech but in their Facebooking. The words “I’m a Mormon” (or “ Soy Mormon,” or perhaps even “Ich bin ein Mormone,” but lets not get ahead of ourselves) are now … [Read more...]

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...]

Faith and History Conference: 2015

A reminder to our readers that the Fifth Biennial Faith & Knowledge Conference will be held at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville on February 27 and 28, 2015. The submission deadline for proposals is November 7, 2014. Please note that, unlike previous years, the conference is now officially open to LDS graduate students and early career scholars in religious studies and related academic disciplines interested in the intersections of scholarship and religious faith. … [Read more...]


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