37: Why Are Mormons Seen as “Dangerous” by Some Evangelical Christians?

June 14, 2011
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37: Why Are Mormons Seen as “Dangerous” by Some Evangelical Christians?

A recent article at the Patheos website by evangelical Christian writer and publisher Warren Cole Smith made a big splash both on that website and in Mormon circles because of Smith’s argument that a Mitt Romney presidency would be “dangerous” for many souls who could lose their salvation if they were led astray by Mormonism’s false teachings about God and Christ. Smith hangs his case for a president’s religious beliefs being a strong enough influence for something like this to happen on several claims that many, including other evangelicals writing at Patheos, find dubious. Yet, according to Smith (and the…

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35–36: Moving Beyond the “Negro Doctrine”

June 7, 2011
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35–36: Moving Beyond the “Negro Doctrine”

This month marks the thirty-third anniversary of the 1978 revelation extending the priesthood to “all worthy males” in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since that day, little has been said by Church leaders on any topic related to the ban, including the reasons for the ban, the doctrinal justifications for the ban, and the process by which the ban came into existence in the first place. Even without such clarifications, the Church has nevertheless successfully grown in Africa and in U.S. inner cities with large African-American communities. Mormon Matters is very pleased this week to for the…

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34: Self-Identifying as “Mormon”

May 31, 2011
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34: Self-Identifying as “Mormon”

Mormonism has always been a home to members with many different religious temperaments, levels of belief, attitudes toward authority, and commitment to and comfort within the community. Still, even with this diversity, Mormonism has often felt to many members (and certainly to most outsiders) as monolithic—if the diversity is there, it hasn’t always been easy to find those “like you.” Indeed, much of this sense and appearance of unity came as a result of the efforts of the institutional church to deliberately set and convey fairly rigid boundaries about what constituted orthodoxy and orthopraxis, and who was and was not…

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33: The LDS Church and Its Single Young Adults, Part 2

May 25, 2011
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33: The LDS Church and Its Single Young Adults, Part 2

Episode 31 provided a solid first framing of many of the issues faced by Mormon young single adults—of which group, some 80 percent are becoming inactive at least for a period of time, and many are deciding to leave the church altogether. This episode follows up on that discussion, but focuses on hearing the voices of those in this age group themselves, hearing in their own words about their spiritual journeys, their experiences in singles wards, the messages that are being taught from the pulpit, in classes, and through interactions with church leaders, and the ways these messages are being…

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32: Heavenly Mother in Today’s Mormonism

May 17, 2011
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32: Heavenly Mother in Today’s Mormonism

The most recent issue of BYU Studies features the article, “ ‘A Mother There’: A Survey of Historical Teachings about Mother in Heaven,” co-written by David L. Paulsen and Martin Pulido. (Here is a link to the article and also a blog post on it by Joanna Brooks.) The article presents an overview of research that attempted to find every printed or recorded mention of Mother in Heaven or Heavenly Parents by LDS leaders. It is a great piece of scholarship and much needed. In this podcast discussion, host Dan Wotherspoon and panelists Martin Pulido (article co-author), Tresa Edmunds, and…

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31: The LDS Church and Its Single Young Adults

May 10, 2011
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31: The LDS Church and Its Single Young Adults

Official statistics are hard to come by, but it has become clear over the past several years that Mormonism is seeing many of its 18- to 30-year-olds reduce their participation in the church or leave the faith altogether. Two recent actions confirm this trend and reveal the church’s initial responses in trying to stem the tide. First, in an effort to better track singles and help them feel connected to a local unit by providing new opportunities for callings and meeting other singles without “ward hopping,” the church has disbanded Utah student wards and reorganized them into singles wards in…

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30: Mormon Women and Equality

May 3, 2011
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30: Mormon Women and Equality

Michael Otterson, head of the LDS Church’s Public Affairs department, recently wrote a short piece for the Washington Post‘s “On Faith” blog titled, “What Mormon Equality Looks Like.” In his post, he cites three anonymous LDS women who assert their equality with men in terms of access to pulpits to teach and pray, their chances to preside over Church organizations, their equality “in the eyes of God, as equal halves of a divine pair and equal partners in his work, which includes the raising of families,” as well as equality in their rights to “direct access to God through prayer…

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29: David Brooks, The Book of Mormon Musical, and Rigorous Religion

April 27, 2011
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29: David Brooks, The Book of Mormon Musical, and Rigorous Religion

New York Times columnist David Brooks very much enjoyed the Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon,” but, as he articulates in his 21 April 2011 column “Creed or Chaos,” he believes the play’s authors end up celebrating a “vague, uplifting, nondoctrinal” type of religion that can’t last and doesn’t motivate people to perform “heroic acts of service,” such as serving missions to third-world nations. As a result, he uses the musical as a springboard for celebrating the virtues of thriving religions, which he says have “communal theologies, doctrines and codes of conduct rooted in claims of absolute truth.” In this…

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28: Racism in Honor Code Enforcement for BYU Athletes?

April 19, 2011
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28: Racism in Honor Code Enforcement for BYU Athletes?

On 13 April 2011, Deadspin.com published a fast-trending article, “The Truth about Race, Religion, and the Honor Code at BYU,” that highlights possible racial factors at play in the way BYU enforces its Honor Code among its athletes. The story states: “Since 1993, at least 70 athletes have been suspended, dismissed, put on probation, or forced to withdraw from their teams or the school after running afoul of the honor code. Fifty-four of them, or nearly 80 percent, are minorities. Forty-one, or almost 60 percent, are black men.” In this episode, one of the article’s co-authors, Darron Smith, joins Mormon…

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27: Mormons and Their Leaders

April 12, 2011
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27: Mormons and Their Leaders

This episode, which was recorded a couple of days after the close of the April 2011 General Conference, explores the interplay between Latter-day Saints and those who are called to lead them as prophets, seers, and revelators. Why do some church members want to elevate leaders’ words delivered at conference almost to the level of scripture? Why is there so much adoration of leaders even as they regularly acknowledge their own humanity and fallibility, and even speak of the adulation they receive as one of their biggest challenges? To whom do church leaders aim their words, and why? How much…

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25-26: Theologies of Nature – Mormon Resources for Thinking about Natural Disasters

April 1, 2011
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25-26: Theologies of Nature – Mormon Resources for Thinking about Natural Disasters

This two-part episode uses the recent Japanese earthquakes and tsunamis as a springboard for a robust discussion of nature, and especially natural disasters. Often we hear claims that the upheaval and suffering caused by earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, tornados, famine, and the like are “God’s will,” that God is sending a message through these events. And certainly there is certainly scriptural precedent for that view, and even modern prophetic utterance. But are there other, more nuanced and perhaps more ennobling ways to frame natural disasters within a theistic worldview? And if there are ways of seeing these upheavals that can…

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24: Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Glenn Beck and the 2012 Election

March 23, 2011
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24: Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Glenn Beck and the 2012 Election

This episode features a panel discussion of the potential candidacies of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman as they consider a run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Have American attitudes towards Mormonism shifted significantly since Romney’s first campaign was often sidetracked by the “Mormon Question”? Has the Church’s involvement with Prop 8 helped or hurt the Mormon image for Republican voters? Does Glenn Beck being a high-profile Mormon have any effect on the potential electability of LDS candidates? Please enjoy host Dan Wotherspoon and panelists Joanna Brooks, Jenny Nettesheim, and Jennifer Liddell as they discuss these and other issues related to Mormonism…

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23: The King James Version and Changes to Race-Related Book of Mormon Chapter Headings

March 15, 2011
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23: The King James Version and Changes to Race-Related Book of Mormon Chapter Headings

In this episode, Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon and panelists Kristine Haglund, Dallas Robbins, and Philip Barlow discuss two topics: The LDS Church’s recent reaffirmation of the King James Version as is its official Bible translation and The changes it has made to chapter headings in the online version of the Book of Mormon (changes that will be carried forward in future printings) that de-emphasize the idea of darker skin as a curse from God. What is the significance of this renewed commitment to the KJV instead of switching to newer, more scholarly Bible versions based on older manuscripts, translated…

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22: The Suspension of BYU Basketball Player of Brandon Davies and the BYU Honor Code

March 8, 2011
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22: The Suspension of BYU Basketball Player of Brandon Davies and the BYU Honor Code

A spirited and in-depth discussion of the suspension of BYU basketball player Brandon Davies for an Honor Code violation. After reviewing the basic issues at play in the Davies incident, the panel turns its attention to the Honor Code itself. Do the values the Honor Code promotes and the way the code is administered at the university lead to a culture of honesty, integrity, and genuine spiritual growth? What are the costs and benefits of standards that seem to equate external appearance, specific behaviors, and unquestioning allegiance to institutions with spiritual health? Are there better methods for instilling Christian values…

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21: Sex and Immigration

March 5, 2011
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In this re-launching of Mormon Matters podcast, Dan Wotherspoon leads a panel consisting of Joanna Brooks, Heather Olson-Beal and John Dehlin, to discuss: Sex Nicole Hardy’s NY Times piece entitled: Single, Female, Mormon, Alone The SL Tribune’s response, entitled: Sex and the Single Mormon LDS mother re-releases short video on her Prop 8 opposition and becomes leading trending topic on Reddit The father of the 5 Browns, Keith Brown, admits to sexually abusing 3 of his daughters. Immigration Activist delivers petition urging Mexico to curb LDS missionary visas LDS on illegal immigration: Don’t split families Doctrinal divide confronts Mormons on immigration…

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Psychology a legitimate field?

October 21, 2010
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My brother studies psychology at the University of Buenos Aires. Some members of the church told us that a member of the church should not become a psychologist!!!

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How do I help my wife overcome sexual trauma?

October 15, 2010
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I am a 50+ year old life-long member who is eternally committed to a talented and caring LDS woman and our 30+ year temple marriage. We have struggled with intimacy and sexual dysfunction our entire marriage. Not withstanding that we were chaste during our dating and short engagement, there seemed to be passion in our relationship and she seemed to enjoy kissing. It seemed to me that she was just as anxious as I was (if not more so at times) for sexual relations after marriage. During our engagement, she disclosed that she had engaged in some petting with some…

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Why is no one addressing women watching porn?

October 9, 2010
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The only time porn is brought up is in the Priesthood session. I’m positive a lot of girls grow up not even realizing that some of what they’re engaging in is wrong because it’s never brought to the attention of women, particularly when they’re young girls and teenagers. The YW manuals never once mention any such problems; the only chastity lessons they get are how to keep boys at arm’s length. Why is no one addressing this issue? Why do women have to wait until they’re already addicted before anyone will help them not be addicted? Why is it that…

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How forthright should parents be about their past transgressions with their children?

October 7, 2010
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How forthright do you think parents should be about their past transgressions with their children? What about when a teenager or young adult is struggling with issues that a parent struggled with (word of wisdom, sexual immorality, etc.) is seeking empathy and guidance from a parent? Should the parent disclose what they’d been through for the purpose of helping the child? Would teenagers/young adults be mature enough to handle information about their parents without losing their trust and confidence in the parent(s)? Would telling them about past sins encourage bad behavior under the premise, “well my parents turned out okay,…

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Richard Dutcher’s Spiritual Journey

October 3, 2010
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Mormon Stories podcast just published a 4-part interview with filmmaker Richard Dutcher, conducted by Dan Wotherspoon.  This is the final portion, where Richard discusses his own spiritual journey. Please support Richard’s lastest film Triptych by donating here, and by purchasing his DVD collection here.

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Sexual Naivete – pros and cons?

October 1, 2010
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The following question is one I recently received on my blog that I have not answered yet.  Who wants to help me out?  What advice would you give? I’m a pretty naive Mormon girl, raised in a super conservative environment. I have a boyfriend and I’m just discovering kissing, but since I know next to nothing about sex and physicality, I don’t really know if I’ve done anything wrong. For instance, I just found out what dry humping is and I’m worried I’ve done it, but I still don’t know what it is and what it means. Can you help…

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Erotica versus Pornography…

September 30, 2010
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Seeing as how we are doing some restructuring at Mormon Matters, I am going to take advantage of this “space” to encourage communication around issues and questions that often come up on my blog.  Because sexuality represents such a high percentage of what I’m being asked about by LDS members, I am currently working on my “sex therapist” accreditation.  Although I am qualified to do sex therapy as a Marriage & Family Therapist, I am wanting extra training in this area.  So please bear with my topic and join me in sharing your thoughts on these types of  “Mormon Matters.” …

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Looking for a Few New Collaborators/Writers/Podcasters

September 29, 2010
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Mormon Matters is looking for a few new collaborators to re-work the design and purpose/mission of the blog.  We are basically considering 2 things: Bringing back the weekly panel podcast format, adding in live calls from listeners to the mix (like we’ve done a few times on Mormon Stories), and Looking to turn Mormon Matters into more of a Huffington Post-like blog for Mormon issues

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Mormon Therapist on Stress Affecting Marriage

September 29, 2010
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My husband and I have been married for 15 years and we have 7 children. We obviously have had a healthy sexual relationship and we are best friends. We do everything together. I need to be a stay at home mom, with no options for childcare ($ + 7 kids). About a year ago, my husband lost his job. I know that many others are going through the ups and downs of this economy like we are.

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What do you think of a Mosque at Ground Zero?

September 28, 2010
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What do you think of a Mosque at Ground Zero?

I posted this at my blog, but wanted to see reactions here at MM.  Over the past few weeks, I have driven by a billboard titled “Remember 9/11″ with an image of the collapsed World Trade Center.  In smaller print on the right, it said “Stand up and be heard.  No mosque at ground zero.”  You can see the sign on a video at this website.

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Mormon.org FAQ: Modesty & Chastity

September 28, 2010
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We’ve explored some of the answers members have posted on the mormon.org site in the church’s new profiles campaign.  So far, we’ve discussed member answers to questions about polygamy, women& the priesthood, politics, parenting, prophets, and priesthood ban.  Today, let’s see what members had to say about chastity & modesty.

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God is a What?! Part Two

September 27, 2010
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When you think of God, do you envision? a proper English gentleman a modernized Biblical patriarch an erudite English professor at a Ivy league university a tame Lion (returning to the C. S. Lewis reference)? Do you recreate God in your own idealized image?

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Undo

September 25, 2010
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This post has been removed, along w/ all comments. It was found to be totally objectionable by virtually everyone: believers and unbelievers alike….including most of the perma-bloggers on this blog. What a disaster. The Management P.S.  For a first-hand account of the meeting w/ Elder Marlin Jensen, click here.

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Best & Worst of Mormonism: Mission Experiences

September 24, 2010
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Right up there with primary, this is a sacred cow for me – perfect for this series. I’ll list off my own best and worst experiences, and you can do the same in the comments! Worst: The MTC: For the first few weeks I didn’t want to be there, and for the last few weeks didn’t want to leave. Something about that doesn’t sit right with me. I also loved singing in groups in the dorms, but the men in charge routinely banned singing in the halls, which I never understood. People also got into arguments over vending machine use…

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Teaching From the Manuals

September 24, 2010
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Teaching From the Manuals

Mormon Heretic’s blog post this week, Comparing Correlation with the Supreme Court, inspired me to find out, or try to find, exactly what the manuals and LDS leaders say about teaching lessons from the church-provided lesson manuals. A survey of the manuals and talks as well as the Sunday School website will lead one to the following conclusion: It’s not that clear. Surprised?  I didn’t think so.

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6 Interpretations of Isaiah that Should Not be Perpetuated

September 23, 2010
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6 Interpretations of Isaiah that Should Not be Perpetuated

OT SS Lesson #36 LDS Sunday School students will soon take a quick leap through 66 chapters of Isaiah in five forty-minute lessons. All too often, some uniquely Mormon interpretations are given to these chapters which merit a critical analysis. In this post I present six Mormonisms often used with the first few chapters of Isaiah which I believe hinder a deeper and more accurate understanding of these prophetic writings.  Let us know if any of these interpretations show up in your Sunday School class!

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