Posted on January 28, 2010 by Joe O.
This is the first in a five-part series on marriage, wherein I discuss charity in marriage, why the gay community should favor marriage between a man and a woman, and why Latter-day Saints are not positioned well to defend against gay marriage.
In all three scriptural accounts of the physical creation, Adam is created of the dust of the earth, while Eve was created of Adam (Genesis 2:7, 21-22; Moses 3:7, 21-22; Abraham 5:7, 15-16). Adam, upon seeing woman for the first time, notes the significance of this division when he calls woman bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. What is striking to me is what Adam says next: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (v. 24 in Genesis and Moses, emphasis mine). Were they not already one flesh before God removed the rib from Adam’s side?
Filed under: Faith, Mormon Culture, Relationships, Scripture | Tagged: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Faith, Folk Theologies, LDS Church, marriage, sanctity of marriage, Scripture, traditional marriage, women | 15 Comments »
Posted on January 5, 2010 by Joe O.
I once heard it said when I was a young undergraduate that the creation accounts – particularly that of Abraham – fit very well with evolutionary accounts of creation. A casual read of Abraham seems to confirm this: earth, void; waters divided from earth; plants come up from the earth; fish and fowl; beasts of the earth; man. This sort of progression would make sense from an evolutionary perspective – creation evolves from simple to complex.
But add Moses’ account into the mix and things become a little dicier. (more…)
Filed under: Culture, Folk Theologies, Science | Tagged: creation, evolution, Faith, Good ol' Abraham, LDS, Mormon Culture, Mormon Doctrine, Moses, Philosophy, Science, Science and Religion, Scripture | 5 Comments »
Posted on June 2, 2009 by Joe O.
I’m not usually a literalist about the scriptures, but I’m a little baffled by a verse I read today and the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 137. This section is the account of a vision Joseph Smith had of the celestial kingdom. He names Adam and Abraham, as well as his parents, as inhabitants, likely those who were saved “by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.“
And then he mentions his brother, Alvin. Joseph “marvels” that his brother Alvin is there, “seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins.” And then the great revelation that “All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God.” Of course, this revelation plays a big part in understanding why we do work for the dead in our temples…right?
Here’s my question: What was Alvin doing there in the celestial kingdom when his work hadn’t been done yet?
Filed under: Scripture, Theology | Tagged: Alvin Smith, Celestial Kingdom, Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants 137, Folk Theologies, Gospel of Jesus Christ, interpretation of scripture, Joseph Smith, Latter-day Saints, LDS, life after death, mass confusion, Mormon Church, Mormons, Resurrection, Scripture, scriptures, Temple work, temples, Theology, unanswered questions, work for the dead | 14 Comments »
Posted on March 24, 2009 by brentm
“Can you be a good Mormon and want to be a millionaire?”
This question, or something very much like it, was posed in my Sunday School class last week. I think the very question says something interesting about the asker, but since my short answer (“No”) would not have gone over terribly well, and my longer and more justified answer would’ve taken over the lesson, I thought a blog entry might be a good place to explore the issue.
Filed under: Scripture | Tagged: Brigham Young, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, economics, eye of a needle, Gordon B. Hinckley, Hugh Nibley, Jesus Christ, King Benjamin, Latter-day Saints, love of money, Mammon, Mormons, rich young ruler, riches, Scripture, Solomon, Sunday School, wealth | 34 Comments »
Posted on September 24, 2008 by Joe O.
Whenever I hear people talk about the kingdom of God, it seems like it’s always referred to in the future tense. Lately, I’ve begun to wonder if the kingdom of God isn’t already all around us.
Filed under: Mormon Doctrine, Relationships, Theology | Tagged: baptism, Book of Mormon, children of God, Christ's visit to America, Doctrine of Christ, Gift of the Holy Ghost, God, Gospel of Jesus Christ, Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ, Kingdom of God, LDS, Love, Mormon theology, Mormons, Scripture, sons of God, Theology, Two Great Commandments | 10 Comments »
Posted on September 18, 2008 by Jeff Thayne
Many of us compartmentalize our lives in a way that would seem strange to scholars of past centuries. We talk about our religious lives and our academic lives as though they were two separate things, divided in a way that protects one from the effects of an error in the other, as a bulkhead on a ship may protect other compartments from being flooded by water. However, this modern separation of our academic and spiritual life is a very recent development. I believe that the division between spiritual and secular knowledge is a false distinction, and, as Richard Williams has pointed out, found nowhere in scripture.1
Filed under: Mormon Doctrine, Philosophy, Science | Tagged: apostasy, Carl Rogers, compartmentalization, Dallin H. Oaks, Great Apostasy, knowledge, Neil A. Maxwell, Philosophy, potter's clay, progression, Restoration, Restoration of All Things, Restored Gospel, Richard Williams, sacred, Science, Scripture, secular, truth, turning of things upside down, unconditional positive regard | 16 Comments »
Posted on August 20, 2008 by Joe O.
Now that I have kids in primary, I find myself falling into the same trap that I’ve ridiculed in the past: when I want my kids to be quiet in church, I don’t say “be quiet!” Instead, I say, “be reverent,” as though the two were the same thing. Often times, being reverent means, in part, being quiet. After reading a story in the newspaper about an autistic boy who was kicked out of church, and the judge that upheld it, I began to think more about what it might mean for my own kids to be reverent. (more…)
Filed under: Mormon Culture, Relationships, Theology | Tagged: autism, children, Family, Jesus Christ, King Benjamin, LDS, Mormons, reverence, sacrament, Scripture, silence, worship | 11 Comments »
Posted on May 2, 2008 by Dennis
The following is a paper I wrote a few years ago in a history class about Joseph Smith from Grant Underwood at BYU.
Released in 2005, Richard L. Bushman’s Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling has been hailed by many as the definitive biography of the Mormon founder. It is only natural, then, to put the book in the ring with Fawn M. Brodie’s classic, No Man Knows My History—without question the most famous, and controversial, biography of Joseph Smith to date. In this paper I compare the two biographies according to four criteria: (1) key similarities and differences, (2) characterization of Joseph’s personality, (3) coverage of key events, and (4) interpretation of teachings and doctrine. (more…)
Filed under: History, Mormon Doctrine | Tagged: biography, Book of Mormon, Fawn Brodie, First Vision, History, Joseph Smith, Knopf, Mormon Doctrine, No Man Knows My History, plural marriage, plurality of gods, prophets, psychobiography, Richard Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, Scripture, Theology | 29 Comments »
Posted on April 17, 2008 by Dennis
In the spirit of my wanting more posts that comment on specific scriptural passages, I am providing this commentary on Abraham 2:16. I wrote the following as a brief paper for a Pearl of Great Price course that I took as an undergraduate at BYU:
After He rescued Abraham from the murderous priest of Elkenah, Jehovah led Abraham and his family to the land of Haran (Abr. 2:3-4). While there, they avoided the sore famine of their native Ur, prospered economically, and “won” many souls unto the Lord (vv. 5, 15). Haran was not Abraham’s final destination, however; while there, Jehovah promised to send him to “a strange land,” the land of Canaan, where he and his future posterity, if obedient to God, would dwell forever (v. 6). Abraham’s journey from Haran to Canaan must have had special significance, considering the way Abraham writes about it: “Therefore, eternity was our covering and our rock and our salvation, as we journeyed from Haran by the way of Jershon, to come to the land of Canaan” (v. 16).
Why did Abraham speak of his journey in this way? (more…)
Filed under: Scripture | Tagged: Abraham, Atonement, Canaan, Eternity, Gospel of Jesus Christ, Haran, intelligences, Jehovah, Jershon, Jesus Christ, John Greenleaf Whittier, Kolob, Pearl of Great Price, Rock of Heaven, salvation, Scripture, stars | 2 Comments »
Posted on April 13, 2008 by Dennis
A brief play from Wendell Berry’s Life is a Miracle:
Isaiah (finger in the air and somewhat oblivious of the historical superiority of the modern audience): The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as of the flower of the field.
Edward O. Wilson (somewhat impressed, but nevertheless determined to do his bit for “evolutionary progress”): But . . . but, sir! Are you aware of the existence of the electromagnetic spectrum?
Filed under: Science | Tagged: E.O. Wilson, Faith, Isaiah, Noah, Philosophy, Science, Scripture, the Flood, Wendell Berry | 4 Comments »
Posted on March 30, 2008 by Candice
This post comes from a presentation I gave this semester in response to a lecture on Mayan weaving given by Allen Christensen, a talented Maya scholar at BYU.
I am also writing this in response to the discussion on relationships with China that Doug raised several days ago.
There is an interesting correlation between how Mayans and Christian Americans connect themselves with their religious narratives and how they produce clothing. This is one small way of exploring how Americans have become insensitive to human suffering in relationships with China and other poor countries. (more…)
Filed under: International Relations, Politics, Scripture, Theology | Tagged: Atonement, China, Economy, Elaine Scarry, globalization, Jesus Christ, Mayans, Mormon Culture, narrative theology, Paul Ricoeur, Politics, Scripture, suffering, Theology, weaving | 7 Comments »
Posted on March 27, 2008 by Dennis
As I have mentioned before, I am giving a presentation tomorrow afternoon (Thursday, March 27) at the University of Utah, for the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology conference. My presentation is entitled “Toward a Latter-day Saint Theology of Possibilities.”
The basic logic of the underlying problem I tackle in my presentation is that (a) there is a tenuous relationship between authority and freedom in the Church, (b) there is not a clear cut authoritative theology that is sufficient to guide Latter-day Saints in all matters of life, (c) Latter-day Saints cannot help but construct folk beliefs, (d) folk beliefs are not bad in themselves; the problem occurs when these beliefs are seen as closed folk beliefs (CFBs), rather than open folk beliefs (OFBs). (more…)
Filed under: Folk Theologies, Mormon Doctrine | Tagged: Atonement, Folk Theologies, Isaac Watts, Jesus Christ, Joseph F. Smith, Mormon Culture, Mormons, piercings, pragmatism, Resurrection, Scripture, Spencer W. Kimball, tattoos, Theology, William James | 4 Comments »