how to translate 'restoration' and different views on religion

- kudos:

There are a couple of other things that I’d wanted to write about today, but a memory suddenly popped into my head just now, and I wanted to get it written down while it was still fresh. About a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, I was working with a Mormon studies organization to collect stories from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Community of Christ, and other denominations descended from Joseph Smith Jr.

faith in heaven vs. faith in hell

- kudos:

I’ve written a few posts recently trying (somewhat awkwardly) to express an idea that’s been on my mind a lot over the past few years: That I want to respect someone’s right to hold a particular belief while being more skeptical about their right to insist that others hold that belief. A few days ago, going through Day One’s “On This Day” feature, I found to my delight that I had written something to this extent a few years ago and then forgotten about it since.

falsifiability and Mormon apologetics

- kudos:

Back in early March, as part of my flurry of posts about the Kirtland Temple, I wrote something about some of the dubious historical bits associated with Latter-day Saint beliefs about the significance of a purported visitation of the biblical prophet Elijah to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple. That post has gotten a lot of hits over the past few weeks: According to my excellent, privacy-conscious analytics provider, it’s up to 70 hits over the past 30 days, 55 of which were over the week leading up to April 15th, when I got my last email digest.

religious authority, Mormonism, and Instagram

- kudos:

As I hinted at in a recent linkpost, something really interesting happened this week that serves as a sort of microcosm of my research interests related to online Mormonism and religious authority. Here’s a rundown of what happened, as reported by the Salt Lake Tribune (and republished here via MSN). First, a leader of the official Latter-day Saint women’s organization gave a sermon last Sunday, one quote from which was uploaded to the official Latter-day Saint Instagram account:

history, Elijah, and the Kirtland Temple

- kudos:

As I’ve written before, I don’t necessarily believe that the dubious historicity of a particular religious event ought to undermine its theological significance, but I do strongly believe that dubious historicity undermines the ability of an individual or organization to insist that others agree with their theological conclusions. To take a major example, the unlikelihood of a literal resurrection in scientific terms isn’t going to stop me from finding value in the resurrection story at Easter, but it sure as heck is going to stop me from insisting that my atheist spouse make that story an important part of her life.

more thoughts on Kirtland (with gratitude for Lach Mackay)

- kudos:

For as quickly as I felt like I came to peace with the sale of the Kirtland Temple, I’ve had conversations and encounters since yesterday’s post that make it clear that I still have a lot of work to do processing all of this in the weeks, months, and years ahead. I’ve heard from a lot of people in pain: people who have been to Kirtland dozens of times but never want to go again, ordained women in Community of Christ who are angry that the new owners of the temple can’t respect their ordination, and yet more.

coming to peace with the Kirtland Temple sale

- kudos:

Yesterday, Community of Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that the former had sold the Kirtland Temple, other historic sites, and some important documents and artifacts for $192.5 million dollars. As the title to this post suggests, I’ve pretty quickly come to peace with the decision, and I want to explain some of that process in this post. However, there are some conflicted emotions lingering beneath that peace, and I want to make clear that the goal of this post is not to tell anyone how to feel about this.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Kirtland Temple purchased by LDS church for $192.5 million'

- kudos:

I have my own (complicated) thoughts to share on this later, but more than anyone else, I’ve wanted to hear from David Howlett (and, okay, Lach Mackay). Appreciate Jana’s coverage here. link to “Kirtland Temple purchased by LDS church for $192.5 million”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Hungary's president resigns over a pardon to a man convicted in a child sexual abuse case'

- kudos:

Wondering how long it will be until implicit praise of her family values gets taken down from the LDS and BYU websites. link to “Hungary’s president resigns over a pardon to a man convicted in a child sexual abuse case”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'What is the Annotated Book of Mormon? – From the Desk'

- kudos:

Grant Hardy is doing great work with the Book of Mormon. I don’t see the text the same way that he does, but I’m deeply grateful for what he’s contributed to new readings of it, and I’m glad I have a copy if this. It surprised me in this interview to learn that the LDS Church forebade a reprinting of the semi-official study edition Hardy had recently worked on. I found that to be a tremendously helpful text, and I’m glad I have a copy since it’s apparently doomed to go out of print.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 pour Power from on High: The Development of Mormon Priesthood, par Gregory A. Prince

- kudos:

Rereading this book after a few years, and it continues to be great! The organization could be more clear, and it sometimes feels repetitive, but it provides important historical detail that allows the reader to understand Latter Day Saint priesthood in new ways.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for The September Six and the Struggle for the Soul of Mormonism, by Sara M. Patterson

- kudos:

This is an excellent, thorough book on the purity system of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the excommunications of the “September Six” and many others for their violations of that purity system. I bought the book out of personal interest, but I think it will be professionally valuable as well. I knew much of what was in the book, but what I didn’t know was important, and I am grateful for the volume and hope that many will read it to learn about this important period in Mormon history.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Restorations: Scholars in Dialogue from Community of Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by Andrew Bolton and Casey Paul Griffiths

- kudos:

This was an interesting read, and there are portions of it that I expect to come back to later. However, I was surprised by how often I felt like I already knew what was being covered. Given my familiarity with both faiths, I expect that I’m not the target audience (anymore) for this volume.

Alma the priesthood counter-example

- kudos:

Last Sunday, I attended a Latter-day Saint Elders Quorum meeting for the first time since March of 2020, when I taught Elders Quorum on the last Sunday before Latter-day Saint services shut down because of COVID. I had enjoyed most of the sacrament meeting (I took issue with some parts of some talks, but I have to admit that I miss the size, songs, and sense of community of Latter-day Saint services), but Elders Quorum turned out to be kind of a disappointment.

- kudos:

I think academia undervalues teaching and that teaching-focused faculty deserve more status, recognition, and compensation. Yet, I’m still suspicious of the new BYU-Idaho president’s comments on the need for “a faculty free of the obligations of research.”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Church Marks Indigenous Peoples' Day | News | Community of Christ International Headquarters'

- kudos:

I’ve been attending Community of Christ for over three years now, and I’m still surprised by all the little things it does that the LDS Church would never do. Both churches were born with problematic attitudes towards indigenous peoples of the Americas, but while Community of Christ isn’t perfect, I’m impressed with the steps it takes. link to “Church Marks Indigenous Peoples’ Day | News | Community of Christ International Headquarters”

upcoming research talk on DezNat for Bainbridge Latter-day Saint fireside series

- kudos:

A couple of months ago, Peggy Fletcher Stack of the Salt Lake Tribune mentioned the work that Amy Chapman and I have been doing on the far-right-influenced DezNat movement. Shortly after Peggy’s article was published, someone who coordinates an unofficial series of Latter-day Saint-related firesides reached out to us about speaking to their group about our research on the DezNat movement. Before accepting, we made it clear that our work isn’t devotional, neither of us are practicing Latter-day Saints, and our work could be understood as critical of cultural and institutional Mormonism; however, the fireside organizers said that they were used to getting into controversial topics related to Mormonism and that our work was welcome with them.

Leo Tolstoy and Nephi

- kudos:

One of the more awkward passages in the Book of Mormon (at least from an ecumenical perspective—there’s much worse in there) is in I Nephi 3:220-222, where an angel has this to say with Nephi, the current narrator of the book: “Behold, there are save two churches only: the one is the church of the Lamb of God and the other is the church of the devil. Wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.