Posts Tagged ‘ history ’

131–132: The Word of Wisdom

October 15, 2012
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131–132: The Word of Wisdom

The Word of Wisdom has been in the news again, triggered by a claim about caffeine made on a network news show, which led to an official LDS Newsroom statement clarifying the church’s position, which led to fascinating discussions and events, including hilarity at BYU over its policy of serving only de-caffeinated drinks, as well as some church members exulting that now they have an official statement that they can use to tell others to back off when they try to force their “spirit of the law” Word of Wisdom interpretations on them. What is it about the Word of…

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96–97: Mormonism and Its History—Past, Present, and Future

May 10, 2012
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96–97: Mormonism and Its History—Past, Present, and Future

Every religion has many dilemmas when it comes to its history. How does a group incorporate the idea of a God or Universal force or will that acts in the development of that group and/or the unfolding of world events when such things are not acceptable claims in academic disciplines? How does a tradition balance the doing of history for the purposes of community and faith building through the creation and maintenance of a shared story with other ideals, such as telling the truth about missteps and all the humanness and frailties that are also present in each event? Should…

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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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Why Mormon History is Not What They Say

August 2, 2010
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Why Mormon History is Not What They Say

Our controversial guest post today is from Rock Waterman.  Check out the original unabridged post at his blog, Pure Mormonism, so titled from his observation that the organic religion founded by Joseph Smith was nondogmatic and libertarian. A couple of weeks ago Jeff Riggenbach sent me his latest book, Why American History Is Not What They Say: An Introduction To Revisionism. I’ve had a passion for revisionist history for as long as I can remember, but something I read in Riggenbach’s informative volume caught me up short. It was an essential factor that I had never known or considered before,…

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Pyramids-R-US

July 31, 2010
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Last week I spent a supper hour (it took that long) reading an article called “America’s Ruling Class – And the Perils of Revolution” by Angelo Codevilla. The overall article is well worth reading to better understand current political debates, but that wasn’t what called my attention to it as a possible subject for Mormon Matters. Rather, the following paragraph toward the end of the Article startled me: “Nothing has set the country class apart, defined it, made it conscious of itself, given it whatever coherence it has, so much as the ruling class’s insistence that people other than themselves…

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Church History: Principles

May 18, 2010
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Church History:  Principles

There has been a lot of discussion in the b’nacle about what the church can do from a practical standpoint to address the thorny issues in church history.  The current approach has been to: 1) keep the curriculum uplifting and free from controversy, 2) to never speak ill or contradict leaders of the past or present (even if they have been demonstrably wrong), 3) to let FAIR and FARMS apologetics address any tricky issues raised by external critics, and 4) to remind people that ”we simply don’t know” when it comes to conclusions about the trickiest issues.  With the internet and ready access to…

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Putting Things on a Shelf

April 29, 2010
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Putting Things on a Shelf

People like to talk about putting things that bother them about the church on a shelf.  Of course, the problem is that for some, the shelf gets pretty full and comes crashing down like Fibber McGee’s closet.  So what’s on your shelf, and is there a better model for dealing with problematic church doctrines?

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Symonds Ryder and a Crisis of Faith

April 15, 2010
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Symonds Ryder and a Crisis of Faith

Once again, the story of Symonds Ryder has been misused to illustrate a point about leaving the Church over something inconsequential.  Undoubtedly there have been Latter-day Saints who have apostatized from the Church over a small slight.  However, the two tales which are often cited when warning of this danger, the Thomas B. Marsh strippings of milk story and the Symonds Ryder misspelled name story, are likely inappropriate in this context.

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Bombshell at the BYU Studies Symposium

March 13, 2010
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Bombshell at the BYU Studies Symposium

A small crowd at the BYU Studies Symposium yesterday was on hand to receive Richard Holzapfel’s self-proclaimed Mormon history “bombshell.”  He presented the morning plenary session on Wilford Woodruff’s 1897 recorded testimony, the first sound recording made of an LDS General Authority.  The audience was treated to hearing parts of this recording, which is also available at the BYU Studies website.

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Memorialising the Holocaust: Post-memory and the Latter-Day Saints

February 28, 2010
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Memorialising the Holocaust: Post-memory and the Latter-Day Saints

According to Arrington and Bitton, “most individual responses of modern Mormons involve a kind of tie with the past”[1] . History is central to the Latter-day Saint faith. Stories from Latter-day Saint history reverberate out from their local settings and have a global impact in the lives of many, for both good and ill. How and/or why does this happen?

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Church Growth and the Tendency toward Liberalism

January 31, 2010
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Some time ago, as a guest I wrote a post entitled ‘Academic freedom in the Church‘ which tried to explore some of liberalizing tendencies seen in LDS culture since the September Six, but particularly over the last decade.  Having recently read an excellent (as usual) article by D. Michael Quinn on the development of the ‘Sacral Power Structure‘ of Mormonism, I wanted to re-visit this issue as a result of some of the reasons he gives for the increasing authoritarianism and conservatism in the Church.  Quinn argues that the expansive growth of the Church during the 1950-1970′s led the hierarchy to…

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The Church in 20 Years

December 14, 2009
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The Church in 20 Years

Where do you see the Church in 20 years?  Today’s guest post is by David Heap.

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The Surprising Truth About Mormon Employment Discrimination

September 12, 2009
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The Surprising Truth About Mormon Employment Discrimination

Religious discrimination in the workplace is barred in the United States.  It has been that way since the 1960s.  This prohibition is across the board, and applies whether the employer is a public or private entity.  If you discriminate against your employees on the basis of religion, you could easily end up as a defendant in federal court, sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Many states have anti-discrimination laws as well. Of course, we know about the persecution of Mormons in the 19th Century and the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 1930s and ’40s.  We also…

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Trying to Understand My Friends Who Didn’t Leave the Faith

June 9, 2009
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Here is a modified excerpt from a 60-page writing that I made for close friends and family members when I decided to leave the church a few months ago. It was my attempt at helping them understand my view. I think most of them didn’t bother reading it. I wasn’t looking forward to the conversations that I would be having with them, but I was surprised to find myself not having those conversations. Today’s guest post is by Michael. In the spirit of Mormon Stories, he was invited to share his experience.

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Temple ceremony, the stabilizer for mystical enthusiasm

December 24, 2008
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I’ve been thinking lately about the differences between the LDS Church we participate in today compared to what attracted and retained early members in the days of Joseph Smith.  Joseph Smith was a religious mystic, recognized as a founding “prophet” of our modern church.  The core of the story of Joseph and the restoration is a number of intense, other-worldly, divine encounters.  He seemed to be ever concerned with bringing the Church into the presence of God.  This took a worldly form in the cause of gathering to Zion, a utopian society perhaps like the City of Enoch.  It also…

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The Problem of History – First a Fake Example

November 24, 2008
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In my past posts I discussed the impossibility of knowing what really happened in history as well as the problem that, believe or disbelieve, we all have much riding on how Mormon history is interpreted. Either way, it’s your personal religion at stake.  The problem with me saying that is that, well, we all know it’s true — for other people. But due to the narrative fallacy, we think we’re the exception not the rule. To prove that, at times, we’re all the rule, I am forced to start with a fake example because it is the only way to…

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History as Narrative Fallacy aka What Type of Apologist Are You?

November 18, 2008
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“History is opaque. You see what comes out, not the script that produces events, the generator of history. There is a fundamental incompleteness in your grasp of such events, since you do not see what’s inside the box, how the mechanisms work. …the minds of the gods cannot be read just by witnessing their deeds. You are very likely to be fooled about their intentions.” (The Black Swan, P. 8 ) In a previous post I discussed the realities of The Black Swan, those improbable events that rule our lives but we pretend don’t and can’t happen. I also discussed how in…

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Thorns in the Side: Villains in the Mormon Mind, Part I

October 31, 2008
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Thorns in the Side: Villains in the Mormon Mind, Part I

Everyone loves a good villain…the bellowing laugh with hands thrown up in the air utter triumph. As a child, I found Dr. Claw of Inspector Gadget fame to be wildly amusing. The Joker has quickly reached pop-culture stardom as people would practice their Joker impressions of “Why So Serious?” Good cartoonish villainy makes for good parties.

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Righteous Gentiles Part II

October 24, 2008
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Righteous Gentiles Part II

So methinks that we have a few clairvoyants on-board. That said, behold the top four “Righteous Gentiles.” A few caveats… A) No, C.S. Lewis fans…he did not make the list and for good reasons–primarily because his spot is being reserved a future, top-10 list that Arthur and I will co-arthur, I mean, author (*drum riff for comedic effect*). B) I must give Howard Hughes a hat-tip…while he doesn’t make the official list (his contribution wasn’t wide-reaching enough to really lodge himself in the Mormon mind beyond esoterica), he fits well within the tradition of businessmen appreciating Mormons for their discipline…

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How should we know? Ask him yourself!

September 17, 2008
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Today’s post is by Wade Nelson.  I served my mission in Quebec in the mid 1970’s and hate to admit it but spent more time studying Church history and doctrine than I did teaching the Gospel. I was a lousy missionary. Our Mission President was Wayne Owens a Neal Maxwell protégé who was very lax with rules and our work regimen. Incidentally my companion during those years was Lyn Jacobs who was to become an associate of Mark Hoffman. Jacobs acted as front man for Hoffman in the 1980’s and was the individual who sold the Church the Salamander Letter…

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