Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Collection of Responses to the Recent NYT Article

The New York Times has recently run a story on Hans Mattsson, area authority seventy (note: this is not a General Authority) from Sweden who has (is?) experienced (experiencing?) a faith crisis. This has created a wide variety of responses from various corner’s of the internet. The following is a collection of links to such responses:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Why I am Excited for the 2013 FAIR Conference

Well, it is that time of year again! The FAIR Conference is just around the corner, and I thought I would take a few minutes to talk about what I am excited for in this year’s conference. And believe me, there is a lot to be excited for in this year’s line-up.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Joseph Smith and Plural Marriage: The Quest for the Hidden History Continues

Many who feel like the Church is “hiding” it’s history will mention Joseph Smith’s practice of plural marriage as one of their key examples. They tell all kinds of stories about being in the Church for decades and never hearing anything about it. They talk about how they asked others about it, and everyone they knew – all these faithful, long-standing members – knew nothing about Joseph Smith and polygamy. I have personally never been able to relate to this experience, because my experience has been exactly the opposite. I always thought the fact that Joseph Smith practiced plural marriage was common knowledge. I’ve known it since my childhood, and all my friends, so far as I could tell, seemed to know about it too. No big deal.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Nephi's Vision and the Founding of America: Some Thoughts for Independence Day

Nephi, the boy from Jerusalem who penned the earliest part of the Book of Mormon, had what is probably the most vivid vision of future events of any prophet, past or present. (Certainly is it the most vivid such vision we have on record.) A vision like Nephi’s – with such clarity and detail – is unprecedented within the current cannon of scripture. “As a truly great prophet with an unusually clear view of future developments, Nephi provides a vast sweep of God’s role in human affairs for the accomplishment of divine purposes.”[1] Through Nephi’s vision, the reader gains a lucid understanding of God’s involvement in recent historical events. Historian Roy A. Prete has noted, “The blending of Nephite history with this wider vision of world history paints in broad strokes for the providential historian – at least for the historian who believes in the Restoration – a significant part of the canvas depicting God’s designs and purposes in modern history.”[2] Among the future events Nephi witnesses, he sees, “Major chapters in the history of the development of America[, which] are thus transcribed in advance, with a clear indication that God has played a major role in them.”[3] Today, when we celebrate the founding events of our country,[4] I thought would be an appropriate day to post something on that part of Nephi’s vision.

Monday, July 1, 2013

REVIEWING THE REVIEW: VOL. 3 (1991)

Overview

The Review continues to take shape in this issue, only the third volume. While still full of “fluff” reviews of family (i.e., child) oriented scripture aids and what have you, an increasing percentage of the reviews are dealing with books critical of the Book of Mormon. This issue has 7, out of 23 total, which is approximately 30% of the reviews. In a page count, I’m sure the percentage of pages dedicated to critical material is even higher (since most are of the longer variety). The pervious issue only had 4 out of 30 (~13%) deal with critical literature, while the inaugural issue only had 1 out of 18 (~6%). In addition to the 7 reviews of critical literature, there are substantial reviews/papers on Mesoamerican Harvest festivals compared with the Book of Mormon, some Book of Mormon geography, and Book of Mormon warfare.