Missing Grace

Salvation by grace is all over the Book of Mormon like white on rice. And by grace, I don’t mean the modern Mormon misconception of a little dollop doled out by God after we have done everything we can possibly do. I mean the superabundance of grace God gives us to be saved without our doing anything at all. A grace separate and...

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The Woman Taken in Adultery in History and the Gospel of John

The question of what is original and what is not to the earliest version of any book of scripture can be a very sensitive subject. This is compounded when you are discussing a section of one of the Christian gospels that deals specifically with a well-known story in the life of Jesus. The reason it can be controversial is because...

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Look Up and Be Healed!

In II Kings 18:4, King Hezekiah of the Southern Kingdom of Judah tears down the Brazen (Bronze) Serpent Moses had set up. This was in response to the rampant idol worship of the people. The Northern Kingdom of Israel had recently been carried away into captivity by Assyria, never to be heard from again. Assyria also posed an...

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Moses, The Sound of Music, and Storm Troopers

As the lights dimmed in North Medford High School’s Sjolund Auditorium, my nine year daughter put her little hand in mine and with my other I held my wife’s hand. Captain von Trapp blew his whistle for the youngest to step forward. “I’m Gretel!” My daughter looked up and with her smile whispered,...

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To Progressive LDSs on Book of Mormon Historicity

A common (but not universal) sentiment among progressive Latter-day Saints is that the Book of Mormon is valuable simply because we, as the readers, find moral value in it. It has shaped our lives and history whether or not it is truly a historical record. I think this is largely correct. Some progressives go so far as to say they...

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The Possibility of the Book of Mormon as Inspired Fiction

While critics and apologists of Mormonism disagree with each other on just about every issue, there is one matter in which they often share a moment of agreement –Mormonism rises or falls on the historicity of the Book of Mormon. As Elder Holland proclaimed in a 1994 CES conference at BYU: Not everything in life is so black and...

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Reflections on Faith and Freetown

“Is Faith Supposed to be this Exhausting?”  Bro Abubakar asks. It’s one of many favorite quotes I took away from the movie Freetown.  I remember when I first saw a promotional video for Freetown.  I was leaving the movie “Selma” in January. I had watched it with a group of friends, most of whom are also Black...

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Spoken of for a Memorial of Her

“Symbolic language conceals certain doctrinal truths from the wicked and thereby protects sacred things from possible ridicule. At the same time, symbols reveal truth to the spiritually alert.” (1) Women are not allowed to preside over the Sacrament; yet the Sacred Feminine is ever-present in the Sacrament itself. You just have to...

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My First Name is Not “Apologist”

Currently the issue of Joseph Smith and plural marriage is receiving a great deal of attention both in the media and on the blogosphere. As the author of a relevant trilogy, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: History and Theology, coauthor of the newly released Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding, co-webmaster of...

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Knowing Better from the Margins, Doing better from the Center

There’s a beautiful thing that happens when 9 verses are removed from a chapter and given a chance to expand into healing scripture.  This is one of the things that has troubled me about the correlation of LDS curricula – all of the answers are there. There’s little room to explore much more than what’s already been said and...

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