November 4, 2015

Fellow LDS-Mormon Patheos blogger James Faulconer has argued that people in the LDS-Mormon community should resist the impetus to identify with “schools of thought”, or sects.  He’s clearly got the best of intentions.  In conjunction with his resistance to systematic theology, Faulconer’s antipathy to factions in LDS-Mormonism aims to preserve a unity of the faith.  Jesus himself warned his followers that he would disavow them if they were not “one”.  So there’s some scriptural weight behind Faulconer’s interest in a church… Read more

October 19, 2015

One way to dismiss the story and all that it says about how to get god to behave is to concede that Isaac’s son Jacob is a lying sack o’ isht.  He is, of course.  The wrongs—plural—he does his brother Esau hardly commend Jacob as a model of prophetic rectitude.  But if we simply admit that Jacob’s a bad guy, we open a giant, yawning hole in scripture that will never close. I don’t mind calling Jacob a rat, and… Read more

October 6, 2015

O, Faithful of the Great Pushback, take note of Pope Francis before Congress.  Selecting four Americans to note as exemplary in an address to the U.S. Congress and the collective United States, Pope Francis commended Lincoln, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Thomas Merton.  Only two of the short list were Catholic, and these two, in their lifetimes, were pushed to the margins of the Catholic community. Which is to point out: it can happen more quickly than one… Read more

October 2, 2015

The fundamental myth of the Judeo-Christian tradition has a distinctly patriarchal tone to it, justifying all the chauvinism in the elaborate myth-making that follows from it.  Eve and Adam, we are told by the tome, are placed in paradise, and then Eve ruins everything. I’ve asserted before that Mormonism provides us with a promising revision of that story—an early nineteenth-century transmogrification that elevates Eve’s role in the affair.  Never mind how the text that provides this revision came to be (not… Read more

September 20, 2015

What we really need to do, as a modern, scientifically-enlightened, empirically-minded, rational society is ban hula hoops. For one thing, the term hula is clearly racist. For another, hula hooping is clearly irrational. Think about it, now: what exactly is the point of standing there, gyrating, so that a plastic hoop goes round and round and round? The hoop’s spinning serves no practical end, confirms no intellectual propositions, explains nothing of how one came to be standing on the spot… Read more

September 15, 2015

At one of the several crucial moments of the narrative, Jesus tells his followers that they have to give everything up.  Whoever will save his life will lose it, he says.  Whoever will lose his life for me will find it.  If you’re going to be a Jesusite, he insists, deny your self. Conventionally, we read this as an injunction to serve each other so earnestly and with such commitment that we lose track of our own interests, our selfishness… Read more

September 3, 2015

I’ve been hearing a lot about “God’s Law” in my local congregation, recently.  Particularly the tune that “God’s law doesn’t change”—being sung with the conviction that if it were only 1980, again, all would be well.  The motif is a piece of the deeply suspect scheme of the few, who are hopelessly stuck to the past, to make the many live there with them. Respectfully, we have no idea whether god’s law changes, because we have no idea what god’s… Read more

August 17, 2015

I don’t know anything about “Fair Mormon”, apart from the fact that whoever came up with the group’s name has a cold river of snark running in his or her veins.  I know: takes one to know one.  But surely it’s not only not fair, but downright passively-aggressively hostile, for the name of one’s group to imply that other groups of people who talk about Mormonism are inherently un-fair. Fair Mormon held a conference a couple weeks ago.  I imagine… Read more

August 5, 2015

(Editor’s Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on the Future of Mormonism in America. Read other perspectives here.) Before we prophesy anything about Mormonism’s future, let’s concede one crucial thing about its present and its past: Mormonism is not yet two centuries old.  Today, the religion defies definition, has no orthodoxy, studiously eschews theology, and clings to its past as though it is certain there is no future.  We could, of course, read this cloud of… Read more

August 3, 2015

My first inclination upon hearing that the LDS church plans to reexamine its relationship with scouting was to reexamine my relationship with the LDS church. But, I climbed down from that peak of indignation. In a sincere effort to avoid the trap of recriminations and to elevate the discussion, I’d like to offer the following thoughts on the LDS church’s recent, and rather stunningly petulant, threat to abandon the BSA ship. Because I’m on record as not regarding myself—Mormon though… Read more

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