Inerrancy among Church Employees about Church Materials

I recently had a conversation in a public Facebook group (since deleted by an admin) about the “printing error” in the 2020 Book of Mormon manual. I raised some substantial concerns, filled out with a number of links to my own research and posts about cursing in scripture (e.g. here and in my forthcoming posts on 2 Nephi 1-5). Two S&I (Seminaries and Institute) /COB (Church Office Building) employees responded by bearing testimony of the Curriculum and Correlation process and berating anyone who dared hold any other opinion.

These testimonies constituted de facto witnessing of inerrancy (not the first I’ve seen) and also violated Elder Ballard’s directive specifically to S&I teachers; “Gone are the days when a student raised a sincere concern and a teacher bore his or her testimony as a response intended to avoid the issue.” I even called them out on avoiding the central issues, which received no response.  Continue reading “Inerrancy among Church Employees about Church Materials”

Mormon History Association Conference 2020: Scripture, Science, Interpretation, and Fundamentalism

Notices are going out for the MHA Conference this year, to be held in Rochester NY, June 4-7. The schedule is not up yet, but a panel I organized has been accepted, entitled “Developing LDS Exegesis, Hermeneutics, and Epistemology from 1876-1980: Trends and Influences.” Continue reading “Mormon History Association Conference 2020: Scripture, Science, Interpretation, and Fundamentalism”

Come Follow Me: 1 Nephi 13-14

For those of you who are new to the blog (and the stats suggest there are a few), check out my suggested reading list on the Book of Mormon.

Nephi’s vision seems at times to border on the genre called apocalyptic [link to all my posts and podcasts talking about genre]. Apocalypses came up recently in my first post on Revelation. The genre is important to recognize, because it inform how we understand it. Continue reading “Come Follow Me: 1 Nephi 13-14”

Come Follow Me: 1 Nephi 1-7

These are the most familiar chapters to any Mormon, and I’ve literally spent weeks on them in Institute, going slowly and thoroughly. I’d wager many of us could recite 1 Nephi 1:1 from memory, and a good number of us in our mission language; not from trying to memorize it, just from having read it so much. Familiarity does not necessarily mean understanding, though. The following questions appear unrelated, but are clues to what’s going in in the initial chapters and indeed, all of 1-2 Nephi. And it’s quite different than what people assume. Continue reading “Come Follow Me: 1 Nephi 1-7”

The 1950s: A Fundamentalist Shift

Several scholars have identified a LDS shift in the mid-20th-century towards a kind of fundamentalism. In 1980, for example, Leonard Arrington reflected in his journal on the

[emergence] at BYU in the 1950s…. particularly in the College of Religion [of] A sort of Mormon Fundamentalism like Protestant Fundamentalism [which] Emphasizes Biblical literalism, rejects the Higher Criticism [in biblical studies, and] the law of evolution… Continue reading “The 1950s: A Fundamentalist Shift”

Canaanite Santa Claus, Handel’s Messiah, and the Real St. Nicholas

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 12.18.04 PMI’ve plugged Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) before, a great magazine (with pictures!) aimed at laypeople interested in the history, text, interpretation, and archaeology of the Bible. (Notably, there are some LDS in there from time to time!) It’s scholarly but accessible, includes multiple perspectives, and the letters to the editor are illustrative and amusing. Worth subscribing to. Continue reading “Canaanite Santa Claus, Handel’s Messiah, and the Real St. Nicholas”

A Missionary Reminiscence on Christmas in Western Europe

When the mission president announced to our small group of greenies that I was going to Strasbourg, France’s northeastern border, I shrugged the resigned shrug of a missionary who knew nothing about anywhere but was willing to go wherever. One of the sisters expressed jealousy; Strasbourg, she said, was one of the best cities in the mission.

She was right, and it would not be a good thing. Continue reading “A Missionary Reminiscence on Christmas in Western Europe”