Posts Tagged ‘ scripture ’

207: Teaching the Old Testament to Latter-day Saints

December 24, 2013
By
207: Teaching the Old Testament to Latter-day Saints

One of the most difficult but important things we can do as Mormons who are alerted to the complexities of cultural differences and sacred writings is to learn how to share in church settings insights we’ve gleaned from our studies. We have a dual challenge: (1) to try to be as faithful as possible to the scriptural text and the context in which it was written and the people who lived in those places and times, while (2) still honoring in some way the Christian and LDS overlays that have become deeply ingrained in ours and others’ faith journeys and…

Read more »

206: At Peace with Human Prophets–Personal Journeys

December 14, 2013
By
206: At Peace with Human Prophets–Personal Journeys

The recent official statement on Race and the Priesthood has highlighted in a fresh way the difficult issue of prophets and apostles who are subject to the influences of culture and largely unexamined assumptions of their day that color their understandings of and impact their statements about sometimes very important matters. If this is so, how then should we view them and the nature of “prophetic inspiration”? What does it mean for us as church members when we come to understand “revelation” as a much more human-saturated process than the “hotline phone with God” model that we perhaps once assumed?…

Read more »

135–136: Racism and the Book of Mormon

October 28, 2012
By
135–136: Racism and the Book of Mormon

This episode examines the status of the claim that the Book of Mormon teaches that dark skin is a curse from God, that because of their wickedness God cursed a group of people and actually brought about a miraculous change in their skin color so as to make them seem “loathsome” and not enticing to a more righteous group with whom they were in conflict. This claim relies upon a literal reading of various passages in the Book of Mormon that seem to draw this conclusion, as well as an extremely strong view about prophetic and scriptural inerrancy. But is…

Read more »

123–124: Emergence Christianity and Mormonism

August 29, 2012
By
123–124: Emergence Christianity and Mormonism

It goes without saying that religion is intricately entwined with culture. And since this is so, when we find that the various ways of thinking and institutions that create culture are shifting, so will we find religion in all its forms asking new questions, sorting through “the way things have always been done” and asking if these ideas and forms are meeting today’s needs, lamenting the decline in previously transformative energies and searching for revitalization. Many claim that such shifts are happening today, and within western Christianity, the upheaval and reconfiguration that is taking place has been labeled “Emergence Christianity.”…

Read more »

117–118: Truth in Revelation and Scripture

August 8, 2012
By
117–118: Truth in Revelation and Scripture

What does it mean to still claim that scripture is “true” or “inspired” when we fully recognize that much of it is fictional (parable, allegory, poetic, mythic, clearly “shaped” to achieve certain effects) or when some scriptural claims clash with other scriptural claims or with historical and scientific facts? Once revelation or scripture has begun to shed for us some of their “authoritative” status and become more obviously a product of human hearts and minds or a divine/human admixture, why does or should it remain compelling? What are other ways to read and gain from prophetic utterance or scripture that…

Read more »

48: Mormonism and Evolution

August 23, 2011
By
48: Mormonism and Evolution

This year marks the one hundredth anniversary of the controversies over the study and teaching of evolution at Brigham Young University that resulted in the resignations or firing of three of Brigham Young University’s prominent faculty members and a significant blow to the university career of another. This Mormon Matters episode tells key elements in the story of those 1911 events, but it primarily uses them as a launching pad for a tour of the history of LDS views and approaches to evolution from then to now, as well as more specific reflections on the various tensions between Mormon scriptural…

Read more »

Sophia of the Proverbs and the Feminine Divine

August 14, 2010
By
Sophia of the Proverbs and the Feminine Divine

OT SS Lesson #31 Feminist readers of the scriptures are well aware of the passages in Proverbs 8 which personify Wisdom (GK Sophia, HEB Hokhmah). These passages affirm that Sophia was there when God made the earth and acted as a partner with God in the creation. This idea fits in well with my conceptualization of the male/female duality of the Divine. The passages can be interpreted as instructions to the earnest seeker to discover and follow the promptings of a Heavenly Mother:

Read more »

Wandering Mormons as Nephites

June 27, 2010
By

More than two years ago, the Holy Spirit began insisting that I re-read the Book of Mormon. Of course, I didn’t immediately recognize the impulse as anything but a good idea originating within my own intellect. That’s what I do with anything – process it intellectually first. I knew spending more time reading scriptures would be the spiritual equivalent of walking more for my heart, so I put it on my to-do-list. You know all about the to-do-list that never seems to get any shorter because of emergencies and recurring requirements. So, re-reading the Book of Mormon stayed on the…

Read more »

Homosociality and the Friendship Between David and Jonathan

June 17, 2010
By
Homosociality and the Friendship Between David and Jonathan

OT SS Lesson #23 The story of David and Jonathan is one of the most inspiring examples of true friendship anywhere.  Our LDS SS manual firmly places this lesson within the mainstream view of Biblical exegesis, presenting the two as strong personal and platonic friends.  As I studied the covenant made between these young men in 1 Samuel 18, I was touched by the loyalty shown by the young Jonathan, because he “loved [David] as his own soul.”  Because of this love, Jonathan relinquishes his hopes for his father’s throne in deference to God’s choice.  In a symbolic and ceremonial gesture,…

Read more »

Choice Seer, Spokesman, and Scribe

June 12, 2010
By
Choice Seer, Spokesman, and Scribe

Guest Post by Christopher C. Smith Chris has a BA from Fresno Pacific University in Biblical Studies, an MA from Wheaton College in History of Christianity, and is pursuing a PhD from Claremont Graduate University in Religions in North America. In the tradition of Jan Shipps, he is a non-Mormon with a particular focus on Mormon Studies and Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon records in 2 Nephi 3 a very interesting prophecy attributed to the biblical patriarch Joseph of Egypt, according to which a “choice seer” would be raised up from the fruit of Joseph’s loins in the latter…

Read more »

You Can’t Ride Two Donkeys With One Ass: Saul and Spiritual Rebirth

June 10, 2010
By
You Can’t Ride Two Donkeys With One Ass: Saul and Spiritual Rebirth

OT SS Lesson #22 Ever since I was introduced to the word “liminal,” I have claimed it as my own. This word describes a threshold or a transitional position — a balancing point between two states of being. For many years I have felt poised on the threshold between two totally different ways of viewing the world. One is scientific and rational. The other is a place where angels materialize and shake your hand, where dreams have meaning, where God’s words come out of men’s mouths when they lay their hands on your head.

Read more »

Binding the Broken-Hearted

May 23, 2010
By
Binding the Broken-Hearted

Nothing is more painful than a broken heart. When this kind of sorrow gets deep into a person’s soul, all troubles are magnified, blessings are unseen, and it seems almost impossible to bear the daily experience of life. Getting out of bed is misery. Living is torment. A broken heart can cause such an intense reaction that many of us feel our lives have been completely stripped of meaning. Jobs, hobbies, and friends no longer hold any joy for us. In fact, some even experience physical pain with a tight chest, nervous stomach, or terrible insomnia. Nobody understands a broken…

Read more »

Feminist Musings on the story of Jephthah

May 20, 2010
By
Feminist Musings on the story of Jephthah

OT SS Lesson #19 You are going to talk about the Biblical Judges in this week’s Sunday School class, and the lesson’s got it pretty well covered (including a discussion of the Judge/Prophetess/Mother in Israel Deborah, yay!) You’ll have to let me know how your respective teachers covered her.  But some of the Judges are peripheral and didn’t make it into the lesson materials.  As is my wont to do, I’d like to investigate the marginal; the story that isn’t mentioned in the manual — that of Jephthah. Whenever I come across an odd story in the Old Testament, I…

Read more »

Circumcision Rock & Roll

May 13, 2010
By
Circumcision Rock & Roll

OT SS Lesson #18 The advantage of blogging the SS lessons instead of teaching them is that I get to cover the chapters that are totally skipped by correlation. (This one [Joshua 5] probably for good reason, but it deserves a mention SOMEWHERE.) Everyone knows that good Jews are circumcised. God instituted the covenant with Abraham, and faithful Jews have been performing this ordinance on their 8-day-old males ever since, right? WRONG!

Read more »

The Angel and the Ass

May 6, 2010
By
The Angel and the Ass

OT SS Lesson #16 The story of Balak and Balaam is a study in the marvelous complexity and richness of Biblical literature.  The pericope includes five narrative sections, four poetic prophecies, and a fable (the tale of the angel and the ass).  It also includes commentaries found elsewhere in the scriptures.

Read more »

A Rational Theology Part 2: The First Four Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel

April 30, 2010
By
A Rational Theology Part 2: The First Four Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel

In my previous discussion of “A Rational Theology” by John Widstoe, I discussed two methodologies of deriving a full LDS theology in use during the time Widstoe was writing this book.  We then compared such strategies with modern church apologists. In this installment, I’d like to discuss the first four principles and ordinances as we view them today, and contrast them with what Widstoe lays out in his rational theology.

Read more »

Joseph Fielding McConkie and the Lens of Literalism

March 30, 2010
By

In a recently published book ‘Between the Lines: Unlocking Scripture with Timeless Principles’ (2009), Joseph Fielding McConkie tries to deal with the issue of discerning between what is ‘Literal’ and what is ‘Figurative’ in the scriptures. I think there are large problems in his brief account and I want to try and deal with them here. These problems arise because he (inadvertently?) wants to establish a particular set of orthodox readings for two different groups of readers.

Read more »

What Dreams May Come

March 24, 2010
By
What Dreams May Come

OT SS Lesson #12 Whether dreams come from the unconscious mind or directly from God, they are valuable sources of revelation. Dreams can tell us important things about ourselves and our relationships that may remain veiled deep in the psyche if we are unskilled at interpreting the symbolic language from which they present. The great attainment of Joseph of Egypt and the message this scriptural character brings to readers of the Old Testament is the importance of developing an ability to decode symbolic dream messages and using them to integrate our conscious and subconscious knowledge.

Read more »

The Virgin and the Whore: Thinking Beyond Dinah and Potiphar’s Wife

March 10, 2010
By
The Virgin and the Whore: Thinking Beyond Dinah and Potiphar’s Wife

OT SS Lesson #11 Lesson 11 in the Old Testament manual employs several stories from Genesis 34-39 to develop the theme of sexual morality. Joseph’s actions embody the “Lord’s standards” for morality and are contrasted with the actions of Shechem, Reuben, and Judah. You may notice that the featured characters in the lesson are all male. What shall a woman do with a lesson like this? I think the idea is for women to identify with Joseph — to be virtuous when facing temptation. But Joseph is a man, his responses are male-oriented, and intentionally or not this approach will…

Read more »

Is God Still Progressing? (Poll Included)

February 23, 2010
By
Is God Still Progressing? (Poll Included)

Last month, one of the RS/PH lessons was about the nature of God.  Since the lesson was only about a page and a half long, the discussion in RS ended up raising the question whether God is still progressing or whether, being God He has arrived and is no longer progressing.  Read and and share your views.

Read more »