Salvador: The Truth Behind the Fiction, Part 4

...[B]ut the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:11-13 (KJV)I am struck by how much I DON'T remember about Chulac and the miracles I saw there.  As I have spoken with others to help me remember without my own filters, I have thought about Joseph Smith's various accounts of the First Vision.  My actual memory f … [Read more...]

Salvador: The Truth Behind the Fiction

“At some point, God will ask you to sacrifice on his altar not only your stories about your own life but your version of his stories as well. Your softly lit watercolor felt-board version of scripture stories and church history must, like all your stories, be abandoned at his feet, and the messy, vibrant, and inconvenient truths that characterize God's real work with real people will have to take center stage. If they don't, then how will God's work in your hungry messy, and inconvenient life e … [Read more...]

I Think I’m In The Wrong Room

I prepared my conference paper with a particular audience in mind—the one I know: Mormons, specifically academic Mormons. The conference was the American Academy of Religion, Seattle, and I (so I thought) would be part of the Mormon contingent. I went to my session with Blair Hodges, who was also set to present. As my readers would expect, I had prepared a presentation on race and Mormonism—specifically what we mean by the recent Church statement, “We condemn racism, including any and all past … [Read more...]

Letter to a Struggling RM

He could be anyone. I might have made him up. Or this might be the template letter I sent to every missionary I wrote to after they returned. Someone once told me that we need a post-mission MTC--the RMTC. The struggles missionaries encounter upon their return when they are suddenly without a companion, back in the "real world," and in culture shock when they enter their own bedrooms deserves some special treatment.So here is my letter:Dear R.M.I want to do this the way I did for two … [Read more...]

For My Friend, Who’s Going through the Temple for the First Time

Dear Ms. C:I received this in an email from a Congolese friend, Aime Mbuyi, two years ago: Long before I went into the Ghana temple as a missionary, I knew that it was the House of God. Two years earlier, my cousin had come to me and told me that he had had a discussion with some people who had just been in the USA. He said that these people had told him bad things about the Church and its temples. He told me many things against the Church and especially the temple. I was troubled. My … [Read more...]

Bruce Loves Margaret (and visa versa)

Our courtship is slightly famous.  Bruce gives his students copies of the essay he wrote about it, and I have my students read it as well.  And then, to boldly move it into the public blogosphere, Rosalynde Welch wrote about it here.The truth is, Bruce had been assigned by his friend Phil Barlow to write the essay for a book, but he hadn't finished it by the 1984 deadline.  Actually, he hadn't started it--though he had good ideas. He thought he'd write about faith and love.  But how do you do … [Read more...]

Official Declaration 2 PLUS

 It’s slightly old but very good news now.  The LDS Church has added to its scriptures.  For me, the addition to Official Declaration 2 (the statement that “all worthy males” could now be ordained to the priesthood, undoing the policy restricting those of African lineage from priesthood and associated privileges) is particularly significant:  Book of Mormon teaches that ‘all are alike unto God,’ including ‘black and white, bond and free, male and female’ (2 Nephi 26:33). Throughout the … [Read more...]