Leo Tolstoy and Nephi

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.

supersessionism and burdens of proof

On a friend’s recommendation, I’m currently reading (well, listening to) James Goodman’s But Where is the Lamb?, an interesting volume taking a look at the story of Abraham and the Binding of Isaac. This passage stood out to me yesterday: To say that you prefer your church and its stories to another church and its stories is one thing. But to say that your church annuls another church (completes it, voids it, supersedes it) is quite another.

new revelation that confirms old ideas

I’m a fan of Dan McClellan’s YouTube channel—he posts a lot there (nearly everything is a repost from TikTok), and I watch most of what he posts. Yesterday, he posted an interesting video on the “Lucifer” name and character in the Bible, describing how traditional Christian ideas about the figure are all post-biblical innovations that don’t neceessarily line up with the text. In particular, the name “Lucifer” is an artifact of the Vulgate, and even in the Vulgate, the name itself is a reference to a Babylonian king, not to a fallen angel who became the devil.

a nearly-forgotten memory of failing to stand up to Islamophobia

[Mit einem Glasdach überdachter Vorplatz des Staßburger Bahnhofs, by Dr.-Ing. S.Wetzel, is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0] I don’t remember exactly where we were, but I’m pretty sure it was near the Strasbourg train station. Maybe we were in the station, or maybe we were somewhere nearby. We must have come to Strasbourg from Colmar, where we spent most of our time. It was a shop of some kind: Were we buying breakfast?

thoughts on an in-press article—and on names and legitimacy in Mormonism

One of the highlights of the summer has been getting an article accepted in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. This article takes as a starting point Cragun and Nielsen’s argument (also published in Dialogue) that: what is really at play in the debate over the use of “Mormon” is legitimacy. Cragun and Nielsen are writing in 2009, at a time when Big Love is on the air and the April 2008 FLDS Temple raid is (or was recently) on the news.