President Brigham Young wrote that we must “struggle, wrestle and strive until the Lord bursts the veil and suffers us to behold his glory, or a portion of it.” Indeed, once the angel has departed, Jacob names the place of conflict “Peniel” or “the face of God”, and explains, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Gen. 32:30).

Is Revelation Just Divine Dictation? – The LDS.org Book of Mormon Translation Essay

As part of their “Gospel Topics” essays, the Church released an article on the translation of the Book of Mormon [1]. Some of the controversial topics discused include the use of the “seer stone” vs the “Urim and Thummim” and the use of a hat along with these stones. The most interesting section to me, however, was “The Mechanics...

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Mixed Messages and Missing Doctrine

This post was co-authored by Jake Abhau and Lori Burkman. After having many discussions on the current events and press conferences of late, we wanted to put our thoughts into an essay that describes the lack of clarity on so many things. Where did we come from? Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we going? It’s the set of...

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A Lack of Knowledge

by Michelle Wiener Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge: because thou has rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” In this verse, Hosea is condemning the Northern Kingdom of Israel for...

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EQ lesson on Race and Priesthood

It has now been a year since the church first released the Gospel Topics essay about race and the priesthood. The following is a transcript of the EQ lesson in my ward on the first Sunday in December. I thought it was a great discussion and is a interesting case study in how such lessons might play out. I’d love to hear your...

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14 Fundamentals in Falsifying the Prophet

A bomb went off in Salt Lake City in the 1980’s. But this bomb wasn’t set by Mark Hofmann. It was set by Ezra Taft Benson, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The trigger was his famous speech, The Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, which he delivered to a packed house at BYU’s Marriott Center on...

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Christ is Not Leading a Petty Church

There is a common cautionary tale I hear retold within Mormon circles. This tale goes something like this: Once upon a time the LDS Church was going to do something progressive, and amazing. However, these measures were abandoned when some person or group (often unknowingly) decided that they would engage the media regarding a...

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The Answer to All the Hard Questions: Um…Maybe Not.

by Michael Barker The December 2014 issue of the Ensign has an article by R. Val Johnson entitled, “The Answer to All the Hard Questions.”  It’s intended audience seems to be those in faith transition, but the author attempts a reductionistic-like answer to “all the hard questions.”  It’s almost...

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The Information Age is Over. Welcome to the Opinion Age.

“I think we risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance” -Reuben Blades Information has no power to convince. It can’t motivate us to action or modify behavior. Convincing, or conversion, is an emotional process. Info + emotion = conversion. The resulting ideals become our opinions....

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The Rise of Modern Mormonism

I volunteered to give the presentation on Mormons, it sounded like a good idea at the time, for my New Religious Movements class. My presentation pulls form the work of Rodney Stark. At the time of his work, he asserted that the LDS Church is the fastest growing religion in the world. While I had heard Starks work quoted...

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Scripture as Totem: Religion and the Importance of the Text

It is easily recognized that throughout the history of religious traditions texts have served an important role in the continued conceptualization and endurance of the individual faith traditions.[1] In the history of studies on religion, monographs, essays, articles, and books have mostly focused on attempting to interpret these...

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