Blessed are the Divorced

Many of us have recently participated in the “Eternal Marriage” lesson from the Joseph Fielding Smith manual. The lesson’s final section carries the heading “As a husband and wife faithfully observe all the ordinances and principles of the gospel, their joy in marriage grows sweeter.” The paragraphs in the section, however, lean toward defining this joy negatively, in terms of avoiding divorce. This tendency can have the effect of making our divorced sisters and brothers seem “less than” those whose marriages are currently working.

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Review: Joseph M. Spencer, For Zion: A Mormon Theology of Hope

Did the law of consecration become effectively suspended or temporarily replaced by the law of tithing when the early Latter-day Saints couldn’t make it work out? Joseph M. Spencer answers with a definitive “no” in For Zion: A Mormon Theology of Hope. Spencer’s latest book offers an analysis of the law of consecration through a close and detailed reading of selections from Paul’s letter to the Romans and Joseph Smith’s revelation now canonized as section 42 of the Doctrine and Covenants. [Read more...]

Jesus in Isaiah 52:13-53:12

We in the Church—along with many other Christians—read the “Fourth Servant Song” in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 as transparently about Jesus. It’s kind of hard not to: phrases like “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” fit the Christological narrative almost too perfectly. And yet the presence of this passage in the Hebrew Scriptures suggests the possibility of a reading that has nothing at all to do with Jesus, because Jews obviously do not accept Jesus as the Messiah. So what is this other reading? More pointedly, why should we as Christians bother to look beyond the seemingly straightforward identification of the “servant” in this passage with Jesus?

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The Reorganized DHARMA Initiative

As Lost has been counting down its last few episodes, I’ve spent the past couple of weeks underground (literally) in a place eerily — and wonderfully — reminiscent of the DHARMA Initiative’s subterranean island stations. In the Lost universe, the DHARMA Initiative was a group headquartered here in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which sent teams of scientists and support crews to the show’s island in the late 1970s. The Initiative constructed a number of stations in a style that was ultra-modern for the 70s, but is quite dated now.

The 70s were a wonderful era for futuristic design because they represented the final gasp of modernism. Up until that time everyone always assumed that as we penetrated further and further into the future, everything would become more and more modern. Even dystopias like the city in Logan’s Run (filmed in 1976) were ultra-modern dystopias. As the 1980s dawned, this idea was abandoned, and people began to envision a future that was dark and dirty — compare the city in Logan’s Run to future Los Angeles in Blade Runner, filmed just six years later (1982). [Read more...]

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