Posts Tagged ‘ mormon ’

The Divided Kingdom Today

July 15, 2010
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The Divided Kingdom Today

OT SS Lesson #27 “Take an old piece of clothing,” our SS lesson advises, “or a piece of paper that is cut in the shape of a piece of clothing and tear it into 12 pieces. Explain that toward the end of Solomon’s life, the prophet Ahijah prophesied that Jeroboam, one of Solomon’s 12 superintendents over taxes and labor, would take over much of the Israelite nation. To illustrate this, Ahijah seized the garment from the back of Jeroboam, tore it into 12 pieces, and gave 10 of the pieces to Jeroboam.”  The lesson teaches that the influence of wicked…

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Understanding the Atonement

July 13, 2010
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Understanding the Atonement

The atonement is to Christianity what enlightenment is to Buddhism:  the foundational concept.  How do you feel about the atonement?  I admit to some mixed feelings on the concept of atonement.

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Free Will vs. Determinism…FIGHT!

July 7, 2010
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Free Will vs. Determinism…FIGHT!

One of the most basic and fundamental premises of Mormonism is the idea of free will. While we take this for granted in Mormonism, in the secular world the debate is far from settled. In fact, the debate over determinism vs. libertarianism (not the political philosophy but the metaphysical philosophy) has raged on and on for centuries.

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Ward Cliques

July 6, 2010
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Ward Cliques

Does your ward have cliques?  Are cliques a good or bad thing?

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Song Practice: Not Music to Our Ears

July 3, 2010
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Song Practice:  Not Music to Our Ears

“We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all Song Practice Ladies, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.”—Fabricated Quote from Joseph Smith circa 1842.  Today’s guest post is by Matt Workman.

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Faith, Knowledge, Belief, and Stochastic Theory Part 4: Finding Truth – An Optimization Problem

June 30, 2010
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In part two of this series I discussed Bayesian inference. Specifically, I discussed how Bayesian inference provided us with a mechanism for deciding in what we should place our confidence given all the information we possess and will yet obtain. This was all framed in the context of confidence. I’d like to discuss an alternative way of looking at Bayesian inference – namely optimization.

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Priesthood as a Puberty Rite

June 29, 2010
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Priesthood as a Puberty Rite

A unique aspect of Mormonism is that all males over age 12 can hold an office of the priesthood, and that they are expected to use that priesthood in service to both the community (sacrament, callings) and to individuals (healings, blessings, and acts of service).  When the church was first organized, most of the offices of the Aaronic priesthood were held by adult males, not teens.  Has teenage priesthood ordination evolved into a form of puberty rite?

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Mormonism: Nature Religion or Social Religion?

June 22, 2010
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Mormonism:  Nature Religion or Social Religion?

“God against Man.  Man against God.  Man against Nature.  Nature against man.  Nature against God.  God against nature–very funny religion!” ~Dr. D. T. Suzuki.  Is Mormonism as a restorationist church a “nature” religion or a “social” religion or something in between?

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How Many Mormons Does It Take to Screw in a Lightbulb?

June 19, 2010
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Today’s post is by Matt Workman.  I waited backstage with my small troupe of comedians. One more act to go, then it was our turn to perform. Would the act on before us whip the crowd into a frenzy? Take all the steam out of the room? Perhaps overshadow our under-rehearsed sketch? The performance started and it took us a while to figure out what was happening, but soon it was painfully obvious: our lead-in act was a PowerPoint presentation. It may not surprise you to learn that the venue for this particular comedy performance was a church activity organized…

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Faith & Doubt

June 19, 2010
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Today’s guest post is by Glenn.  When I was at BYU, I got interested in the study of folklore – the way that traditional culture informs our understanding of the world. I worked in the BYU folklore archives cataloguing missionary stories – encounters with the three nephites, miraculous experiences (some easier to believe than others), initiation stories of greenie missionaries, cautionary tales — just a whole bunch of really interesting stuff. I was hooked.

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Faith, Knowledge, Belief, and Stochastic Theory Part 2: Inductive Reasoning

June 18, 2010
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Faith, Knowledge, Belief, and Stochastic Theory Part 2: Inductive Reasoning

Deductive reasoning is a form of reasoning in which the conclusion can be drawn directly from the premises. The idea is to show that the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises. For example: Bridges built using sound engineering principles are safe. The Bay Bridge was built using sound engineering principles. Therefore, the Bay Bridge was safe (at least when it was built). This form of reasoning is reliable, at least as far as logic goes, producing correct conclusions from the premises.

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Equal Parenting: Feasible or Not?

June 15, 2010
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Equal Parenting:  Feasible or Not?

There was an interesting article in NYT about the parenting equality in Sweden.  Sweden’s practices are probably the most advanced in terms of creating parental equality, although they go a little too far for my tastes.  As a business person things like 120 paid days of sick time per year for child care seem a little tough to work around.  Nevertheless, the article highlighted some of the obstacles to creating true equality in parenting.

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Mixed Belief Marriages

June 8, 2010
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Mixed Belief Marriages

What should a church member do if their spouse is a non-believer?  This is something that many couples encounter, either because one spouse ceases to believe or because one spouse converts and the other does not.  What should the church advise these believing spouses who ask?  What is the “doctrinal” implication in these situations?  Does this put the believing spouse’s salvation at risk as some fear?

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Eternal Progress vs. Eternal Increase: A Poll

June 1, 2010
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Eternal Progress vs. Eternal Increase:  A Poll

One of the distinct LDS doctrines is that of eternal progression:  the idea that we continue to grow and develop as individuals throughout eternity unless through our own choices we stop progressing.  But there are two different interpretations of this doctrine that both seem to be supported by authoritative statements.  Are both interpretations correct?  Or is one correct and the other incorrect?

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Does God Squash ETs: How Human is Human?

May 29, 2010
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Distinctly Mormon doctrines relating the physical appearance of humanity to God’s own “preferred” form grew gradually in early Restoration history rather than springing forth in full. Although there are references in the Book of Mormon to the Brother of Jared seeing the “finger” and then the full vision of Christ (the earliest recorded of Joseph Smith’s prophetic writings), even the earliest published accounts of the First Vision do not feature descriptions of two personages appearing as does the “official” version eventually recorded several years after formation of the church. This doesn’t mean that later descriptions were contradictory to the first…

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AZ Immigration Law vs. LDS Interests?

May 25, 2010
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AZ Immigration Law vs. LDS Interests?

A recent article in the Arizona Republic highlights the negative impacts to the LDS church of the new Arizona law that steps up enforcement of state immigration lows.  Due to the large population of Mormons in AZ (6% of the state are LDS), and the large population of Latinos (1.8 million, including many who are LDS), this issue is one that poses internal conflicts for members.

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The Death of McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine

May 20, 2010
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The Death of McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine

Last night on KUTV in Utah, an announcement was made which signals the end of an era.  It was reported that Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine will no longer be published by the Church, and that it will not be sold by Deseret Book.  Since I didn’t see the newscast, I’m not sure what reasons were given, but one viewer stated, “Why? For tighter correlative control, because of the book’s embarrassing clarity, and because of some controversial assertions in the book.”  He also said that the publisher asserted the book was withdrawn because of poor sales.

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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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Mormonism and Catholicism: Who Can Mock This Church?

May 4, 2010
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Mormonism and Catholicism:  Who Can Mock This Church?

There was a great article in the New York Times this week:  Who Can Mock This Church?  While it was about Catholicism reeling in the wake of the pedophilia scandal, it raised a few points relevant to critics of any church.

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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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