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Preview: Dave's Mormon Inquiry

Dave's Mormon Inquiry

History, doctrine, culture, books

Published: 2017-12-06T16:25:24-07:00


Teaching the Old Testament: An Official Statement About Interpretation


The course of study for LDS Gospel Doctrine classes for 2018 is the Old Testament, which is a problem for some teachers because the manual has so many Mormon misreadings of Old Testament verses as well as adopted Christian misreadings...

Fiction and History


I'll give you a couple of book discussions after one short paragraph on fiction and history. Both fiction and history are a form of narrative. Historical narrative is (ideally) constrained by facts and historical evidence; both fiction and history are...

What the LDS Can Learn From the NFL


It has been a tough year for the NFL. Football is a sport; the NFL is a brand. After years of growing viewership, energetic fan support, spiking television revenue, and multiplying sponsorships, a series of largely self-inflicted mishaps has tarnished...

The Brigham Option: Living in a Post-Christian Nation


I have heard a lot about Rod Dreher's The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation (2017), so I finally got a copy and read it. Short summary: Christian writer figures out Protestants no longer enjoy the...

Review of Perspectives on Mormon Theology: Apologetics


After a few warm-up posts last month (here, here, and here), it's time to get serious about apologetics. Greg Kofford Books just published Perspectives on Mormon Theology: Apologetics, edited by Blair G. Van Dyke and Loyd Isao Ericson. The book...

Practical Apologetics: What's Wrong With You?


How do you talk to an Ex-Mormon? Or a less-active Mormon who you bump into at church or a ward activity or the grocery store? Here are some examples of what *not* to say: What's wrong with you? Why don't...

Practical Apologetics: The Doubting Elder


Time for another installment in this occasional series. As reported in the Deseret News, Elder Christofferson delivered a presentation to new mission presidents at the Provo MTC in June. He first discussed the use of the Book of Mormon as...

What's Worse, Bad Apologetics or No Apologetics?


The golden era of Mormon apologetics ran from Nibley to FAIR and Old FARMS. With so many distinctive doctrines as well as a high public profile, Mormonism attracts a lot of criticism, so the urge to publicly defend Mormon beliefs...

Review: A Peculiar People, or How Protestants Viewed Mormons in the Nineteenth Century


So I finally got around to reading J. Spencer Fluhman's book "A Peculiar People": Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America. I was expecting another account of "beat up the Mormons" episodes in the 19th century. Instead, it...

6 Questions for Tom Kimball on the Kirtland Temple


The Sunday School curriculum is currently covering the Kirtland period of LDS history, including a full lesson on the Kirtland Temple. While we often treat that temple as part of 19th-century history, it is still around, it is still used...

Religion and Self-Deception


I just finished The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life (Basic Books, 2011) by Robert Trivers, a Professor of Anthropology and Biology at Rutgers. The book covers a lot of ground, moving from deception...

Let's Talk About Sorcery


Borrowing the title from my good friends at BCC, let's talk about sorcery, another interesting topic that is discussed in the April 2017 Ensign article "The War Goes On." The central claim of the article is that gay marriage is...

Mason on the Professionalization of Mormon History


Millennial Star posted links to a podcast discussion with Patrick Mason on the development of Mormon History since the formation of the LDS Church and the recent emergence of academic Mormon Studies programs over the last ten years or so....

MormonLeaks Posts Additional Documents


The MormonLeaks site continues to periodically post documents providing a bit of inside information on the operation of LDS bureaucracy and leadership. The latest batch of posted documents includes a powerpoint graphic showing various threats to the Church. Well, included...

The Evolution of Adam


That's a book by Christian scholar Peter Enns: The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn't Say About Human Origins (BrazosPress, 2012). The arguments in the book are directed at Evangelicals, but Mormons can quite profitably read along...

Mormonism in the (Post)Modern World


The Wheatley Institution hosted a conference at BYU last month, "Reason for Hope: Responding to a Secular World." Video of the presentations may be posted at the Wheatley website at some point, but for now we have the Deseret News...

Sunday School 2.0 (sort of)


Love it or hate it, it's still around: Gospel Doctrine in LDS Sunday School. The SL Trib has a long story detailing the upgrades to the curriculum for the upcoming year, "New scholarship coming to Mormon lessons, but will instructors...

The Misguided Quest for a Common Moral Framework


The Mormon Newsroom just posted a new think-y piece titled "The Quest for a Common Moral Framework." A few years back the Newsroom posted a number of these reflective essays, such as "Approaching Mormon Doctrine", but not so much recently....

The Policy: Year One


Happy birthday, Policy, you are one year old today. In January I posted "Policy or Revelation?" which outlined the public timeline of the messy initial release of the Policy, along with links to relevant documents. Time for an update on...

Five Possible Wrong Turns for Religion


I've read several books and essays in the science versus religion genre, some by secular scientists or philosophers (such as Stephen Jay Gould's Nonoverlapping Magisteria essay) and some by Christian scientists (such as Karl Giberson's Saving Darwin: How to Be...

Conditional Love Is Back


The recently announced LDS doctrine of conditional divine love comes from President Nelson's 2003 Ensign article "Divine Love," in which he stated: "While divine love can be called perfect, infinite, enduring, and universal, it cannot correctly be characterized as unconditional."...

Future Mormons?


This is a review of and a response to Adam Miller's recent book, Future Mormon: Essays in Mormon Theology (Greg Kofford Books, 2016). This book and others like it are part of the solution to one of the biggest problems...

Classroom Discussion: Productive or Not?


The LDS Sunday School General President posted this short article at (in the Church News section). Here is his observation about LDS classroom discussion:[W]e hear of many inspired classroom discussions. Occasionally, however, we hear of discussions that are open...

Korihor the Witch


Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. (Ex. 22:18)I recently read Peter Charles Hoffer's The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History (Univ. Press of Kansas, 1997). How could a bunch of dedicated Christians become convinced that their neighbors, some...

"Come Back" -- with some thoughts on why they left in the first place


A couple of weeks ago I taught Lesson #12 in the Howard W. Hunter manual, titled Come Back and Feast at the Table of the Lord. The title comes from Pres. Hunter's remarks at the press conference given the day...

Thoughts on Planted: Apologetics in an Age of Doubt


Patrick Q. Mason's Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt (2015) is the latest entry in the New Mormon Apologetics field. From the credits page: "This book is the result of a joint publishing effort by the Neal...

The New Harmonized First Vision Account


Sunday night, Elder Richard J. Maynes, of the Presidency of the Seventy, delivered a CES Devotional on the First Vision. In particular, he made explicit reference to the four first-person accounts of the First Vision authored by Joseph Smith that...

Calling All Millennials


The most interesting talk at UVU's just-completed Mormonism and the Art of Boundary Maintenance Conference was by Jana Riess: "Mormon Millennials: Assimilation or Retrenchment?" Jana gave a preliminary report of research she is doing for a new book on the...

Review of Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings


I enjoyed reading Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings (OUP, 2016), a 300-page collection of articles and essays on Mormon feminism spanning the 1970s to the present. That I enjoyed it says a lot, as feminism isn't really my thing. The editors...

Elder Ballard on Building a Better Boat


In October 2014, Elder Ballard delivered his "Stay in the Boat" talk at General Conference, highlighting "faith crisis" as an emerging problem for members of the Church and likening it to white-water rapids. In October 2015, he followed up with...