Brother Miller and Me

Nov 17, 13 Brother Miller and Me

Posted by in Featured, Forgiveness

I learned something important the other week.  Once again, one of those unexpected lessons. A few weeks ago I wrote a post, Why the Church is Truer Than the Gospel,  about me not wanting to attend church on a particular Sunday.   Part of the reason for not wanting to go was my concern of how the Gospel Doctrine class would go.  That day, the lesson was on the succession crisis following the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith.   In the post I described my experience as follows: “…I held my tongue during the Sunday School lesson.   I kept my eyes closed during most of the lesson.  I swear my tongue was going to bleed because I was biting it so hard.  At one point my wife leaned over to me during one particular part of the lesson that she knew just wasn’t historically correct.   I looked at her and said, ‘No.  I am not going to say anything.’  Toward the  end my bishop sat next to me…” That Sunday I received a call from Brother Miller,  our Gospel Doctrine teacher.   He said he had read my blog and appreciated the compliment I gave him at the beginning.   He then read the above quote, “…I held my tongue during  the Sunday School Lesson.  I kept…” I had two immediate and simultaneous, opposing responses: One  was, “Holy crap.  I’ve offended Brother Miller.  WHAT DO I DO?” The other was, “Mike Barker, hold your ground and defend yourself.  Don’t back down.” I decided to listen to the former and something wonderful happened. I asked Brother Miller if I had offended him with my blog-post.   He responded, “No, I am not offended. I am concerned. Mike, I do not want you to be miserable or uncomfortable when I teach. What can we do together to address this?”   He completely disarmed me. We talked about the difficulty he has as the Gospel Doctrine teacher in providing an atmosphere where faith can grow while...

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LDS Christianity and our Common Christian Tradition

Mar 19, 13 LDS Christianity and our Common Christian Tradition

Posted by in Featured, Theology

LDS Christianity and our Common Christian Tradition Collaborative Efforts Between the Faith Communities By Tom Roberts, PhD   As religious traditions evolve over time the interfaith dialogue generally begins with the academic and professional sectors.  As far back as the 1950’s, BYU faculty have interchanged cultural and theological findings.  In 1955, the Sabbath was being discussed when several position papers and various experts weighed in on the lunar aspects of the Sabbath.  (See the book The Latter Day Saints and the Sabbath by Russel J. Thomsen published by Pacific Press.) Later outside attacks came from Walter Martin, John Anchorburg and many other evangelical ministries.  While these men had some training in apologetics, their scholarship was non-existent.  Stephen E. Robinson and Craig L. Bloomberg in their joint publication How Wide the Divide along with the writings of Millet began to change the former trajectory into a much more positive course. Today, LDS ministries such as Mormon FAIR will present publications where LDS scholars actually give credit to their colleagues in other faith traditions. At an increasing level, Mormon scholars give credit to other academics for contributing to their growth and development as an individual.  LDS writers are showing an increasing awareness of evangelical thought and philosophy.  Two examples of this trend are the popular book Understanding These Other Christians – An LDS Introduction to Evangelical Christianity by Richard G. Grant and Roger Keller’s book Reformed Christians and Mormon Christians.  It gets even better.  In the book Salvation in Christ – Comparative Christian Views edited by Roger R. Keller and Robert L. Millet, is a report of a symposium where scholars and speakers from across the spectrum echoed their views about salvation and gave a critique of the positions held by their counterparts.  This monumental work was a collaborative effort and truly is a milestone in Mormon and traditional Christian thought. The University of Washington promoted a position paper given in Seattle by Jordan Vajda, OP, entitled “Partakers of the Divine Nature”, a comparative analysis of...

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Nearly a Year in the Bloggernacle – Thoughts and Reflections

Nov 28, 12 Nearly a Year in the Bloggernacle – Thoughts and Reflections

Posted by in Featured, News

It has been almost a year since my brothers and I started this small blog.   So, we thought it would be fun to do a little reflecting on what we have done, what we have learned from our blogging experience so far, and what we hope to do in the future. Over a year ago, my youngest brother, Jonathan, as well as some of the  young men in my ward, approached me about starting a blog.  I was very reticent to the idea.   It seemed a bit ostentatious to think that people other than my brothers, Jonathan and Paul, would have even the smallest interest in reading my thoughts.  One day Jonathan called me and said he started a blog and that I needed to write something.  So, the three of us talked some more.  We didn’t want to do an apologetic web-site; that was already covered by FAIR and Maxwell Institute.  We didn’t want to be too cerebral;  By Common Consent, and Times and Seasons had that covered. We didn’t want a blog that just regurgitated what you heard at church;  we felt Mormonism is just bigger than that.  We wanted a place where we could just talk about Mormonism – the beauty, the craziness, the quirkiness, the scholarship, the complexity, the messiness of our amazing faith tradition. Our first post was on the Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrine lesson, which corresponded with the upcoming lesson.  A few more Book of Mormon posts were written before I could coax my wife into writing a post.  She finally found something worth writing about  – The City Creek Mall. Her first (and still only) post was to report that City Creek Mall was going to be renting space to Abercrombie and Fitch.  She found this news to be very bothersome.   In her post, she addressed her concerns, posted a copy of the letter she had written to the company managing City Creek, and encouraged others to e-mail their concerns; many did e-mail...

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The Top Ten Anti-Mormon Statements of 2011. Really?

Mormon Voices, a branch of FAIR posted this list and it was picked up by Deseret News.    There are problems with their choices, as almost none of them are actually anti-Mormon, nor bigoted. Furthermore their rebuttals……not so good.   Let’s discuss! 1. “By any standard, Mormonism is more ridiculous than any other religion.” Bill Maher, October 15, 2011, George Washington University, as reported by Maureen Dowd in The New York Times, October 18, 2011. 2. “[Mormonism is] one of the most egregious groups operating on American soil.” Christopher Hitchens, Slate, October 17, 2011. 3. “The theology comes across as totally barmy. We can become gods with our own planets! And the practices strike me as creepy. No coffee and tea is bad enough. But the underwear!” Michael Ruse, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 30, 2011. 4. “The current head of the Mormon Church, Thomas S. Monson, known to his followers as ‘prophet, seer and revelator,’ is indistinguishable from the secular plutocratic oligarchs who exercise power in our supposed democracy…” Harold Bloom, The New York Times, November 12, 2011. 5. “That is a mainstream view, that Mormonism is a cult…Every true, born again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian.” Robert Jeffress, Values Voter Summit, October 7, 2011. 6. “I believe a candidate who either by intent or effect promotes a false and dangerous religion is unfit to serve. Mitt Romney has said it is not his intent to promote Mormonism. Yet there can be little doubt that the effect of his candidacy—whether or not this is his intent—will be to promote Mormonism.” Warren Cole Smith,, May 24, 2011. 7. “Yes, it is my opinion that an indoctrinated Mormon should never be elected as President of the United States of America.” Tricia Erickson,, July 7, 2011. 8. “Mormonism is not an orthodox Christian faith. It just is not…it’s very clear that the founding fathers did not intend to preserve automatically religious liberty for non-Christian faiths.” Bryan Fischer, Focal Point radio show, September 2011. 9....

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