“The Hand of God” by the Numbers, & the Democracy of Starting Wars

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Mosiah 9:13: Therefore it came to pass that king Laman began to stir up his people that they should contend with my people; therefore there began to be wars and contentions in the land.

There’s always a certain democracy to starting a war in the BoM. The king doesn’t just say “to horse!” and they go after the Nephites. They always have to get them worked up first. I suppose there’s always some politics involved, the world-over. But it’s certainly not like a powerful Pharaoh who’s army’s always seem ready for war, and are his to command. Maybe that has something to do with them being “lazy and […] idolatrous”? Continue Reading…

‘And whisper religion in their ears’ – Teaching Primary Children Deeper Gospel Understanding

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I wrote most of this post a couple years ago when we were teaching the 9-year-old primary class in our ward in Saratoga Springs, UT. Now we live in the St. George area and after we both taught Sunbeams for a while my wife is in the Primary Presidency. I found this nearly-complete post and decided it’s time to complete it.

My wife and I teach the 9-year-olds in primary. I’ve received a new calling (several by the time I’m publishing this), but still attend class for now until they get her a new co-teacher. On Sat. night, just a few weeks ago, Jill told me the lesson the next day was on the parable of The Good Samaritan and asked if I had any ideas or insights about what to teach them. Continue Reading…

Things For Mormons to Remember in Our Post-Election World

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I recently reshared this article from Feminist Mormon Housewives on Google+. Trying to help add a little humor and encourage people to chill out, seemed to backfire generally. In addition to the over 400 comments that article received, I got quite a few (for me) on my Google+ post. I thought it appropriate to post my response here, where others could read as well. I merely wanted to go through some points that so many LDS people seem to forget quickly when something as small in the eternal scheme of things, as a single US election, doesn’t go the way they wanted it: Continue Reading…

The Fallacy of An Expectation of Perfection In the Church & Restored Gospel

brontosaurus US postage stamp 1989

I was just listening to the award-winning FAIR podcast the other day while I was working. Some of my design work I can do while listening to something, without slowing down. This particular episode was an interview with a Brother Kevin Christensen who’s an amateur scholar (meaning he doesn’t have advanced degrees in his subjects) been published in the FARMS Review, Sunstone, and other scholarly publications. He started talking about something that struck me so strongly, that I stopped working, and just sat there listening, trying to mentally keep up and process what he was saying. Continue Reading…

Restore FARMS

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John (Jack) Welch

I wanted to tell you a story. Back in 1979 a great man named John W. Welch and some others got together and decided that there was a need for a place for LDS scholars could publish their findings about Mormon things, in a way that could be easily distributed to any members of the Church (and anyone else) who were interested. Shortly thereafter an organization called The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies(FARMS for short) was born. Over the years this organisation published a great deal of scholarly work on topics ranging from Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon in a Mesoamerican context, the Pearl of Great Price and how it came about, and what modern archaeology has to tell us about the Book of Mormon, Bible, and Pearl of Great Price. They also contributed in a big way to publishing and preserving the works of Hugh Nibley. Continue Reading…

Saturdayswarrioritis

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Note from Tevya: this is another guest post from Curtis Ross. Curtis is an amazing web developer who’s put together an incredible webapp that makes scheduling home teaching and visiting teaching, super easy. He also likes to study the doctrines of the gospel and has kindly volunteered to post some of his thinking and the results of his study here.

Saturdayswarrioritis is a very common disease among members of the church. And by definition those who have it, don’t know they have it. The worst part about this disease is that it is hereditary; so many latter-day saints have been affected by it because their parents initially contracted the disease. Continue Reading…

Ignorance of Christ, Ignorance of Gospel Scholarship

Bertel Thorvaldsen's Christus
Bertel Thorvaldsen's Christus

Bertel Thorvaldsen's Christus

I posted the following today on Facebook & Google Plus. But because Facebook won’t allow people to reshare a post, I’ve decided to post it here, so people can reshare it, and hopefully to get the message outside of my circles of friends & followers.

I’m saddened & troubled today by ignorance.

On the one hand the ignorance and un-Christian attitudes of some members of my LDS faith troubles me deeply. If people leave our Church, are gay, or otherwise live in a way we don’t believe is right, we should still treat them with complete respect and love. It’s what Christ would want us to do.

On the other hand, I’m saddened by the ignorance that seems to surround Mormon scholarship. This recent article, written by somebody who left the Church states “While many faiths’ irrational claims are obscured by centuries of myth and rubble, the LDS church lacks the moderation and scholarship of its older peers.” This is simply untrue! When it comes to historical research, apologetics, etc, Mormons are at the very top. Continue Reading…

How Does He Know When You’re Ready?

Note from Tevya: this is another guest post from Curtis Ross. Curtis is an amazing web developer who’s put together an incredible webapp that makes scheduling home teaching and visiting teaching, super easy. He also likes to study the doctrines of the gospel and has kindly volunteered to post some of his thinking and the results of his study here.

When we chose to follow the plan of our Heavenly Father we then started on a path which has two goals: a physical body and knowledge. Here on earth we can learn in the most effective way possible, experience. When we experience pain, pleasure, temptation, and righteousness we gain a reference where we can access true knowledge. The problem is, that is not all it takes. In order for it to be true knowledge in the sense I am referring to, it has to have been provided by or testified of by a member of the Godhead. Because of the veil we do not have the ability to gain true knowledge on our own.

Why is that? Why didn’t our Father give us the ability of finding true knowledge on our own? The answer is, because He loves us. The gaining of knowledge also brings more accountability. He loves us too much to let us have control over our own level of accountability. Continue Reading…