Jesus Christ, Ph.D.

A friend recently pointed me to a new book, which claims that Joseph was not a carpenter, but rather a successful, middle class and highly intellectual architect, and that from ages 12 to 30 Jesus attended religious schools and became the highest ranking rabbi in the land. The self-published book, by Adam Bradford, is called The Jesus Discovery, and the thesis is described in this newspaper article. I’d like to explore the issue of Jesus’ occupation a little bit in response to this type of claim. [Read more…]

Handled with Care

Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.” Doctrine and Covenants 13

One of the things that frightened me most about getting divorced was the lack of a father figure in our home. I know I can accomplish a lot as a competent mother- but I also know, for both my sons and for my daughter, having a healthy idea of what a man is and does is vitally important. And this is something, no matter how good a mother I might be, I cannot provide. [Read more…]

Why not do it myself?

I recently read Preach My Gospel because I was asked to give a talk based on something in one chapter. What I found was what everyone had said about it: it is a concise, easy to follow guide to teaching people the teachings of the Church. Anyone with the desire to do so could carefully and prayerfully read the book and be prepared to tell a non-member what they need to know what the Church says they need to know in order to be baptized.

Which leads to this scenario:

Let’s say I have a friend who has seen my interaction with the church, and who I have talked to about my feelings about the gospel, and he says he would like to know more. Why would I call the missionaries? [Read more…]

The Silence of the Sinner

According to the current CHI, when someone is disfellowshipped or excommunicated, one of the stipulations associated with this status requires that the person should refrain from speaking in Sacrament meeting or giving public prayers. If the person was a Priesthood holder they are also asked to not use their Priesthood.  Despite not being explicitly stated, this counsel is often interpreted to be a restriction of public speaking during our Church classes or lessons.   I wonder how this prohibition functions within the context of the Church, why it is required and how this added expectation aids or inhibits the process of repentance?

[Read more…]

Thursday Morning Quickie #12

[Note: The following text was taken verbatim from the “M Men-Gleaner Manual, Love, Marriage, and You” used in 1956-1957. Previous entries in this series can be found here.]

Lesson 2

Why Prepare for Marriage?

In an American city in 1948 two girls, age seventeen, went roller skating one evening. Their parents were of the upper middle group and were well respected in the community. One of the fathers was a professional man and the other was in business. The parents had not approved of their daughters going skating by themselves, but the girls had gone anyway. During the course of the evening the girls met two handsome men who were about twenty one years of age. They skated together, they chatted, they joked with each other, and within a couple of hours the young men had proposed marriage to the girls. Each of the girls accepted the proposal believing that here was real romance and a life of thrills and happiness. [Read more…]

Music that Really Meant Something

My husband and I saw a Tom Stoppard play recently called The Real Thing. Compelling ideas, and a lot of clever banter—mostly about fidelity: whether we can truly be committed to another person or if we simply make daily bargains with them.

But enough of substance. I was fascinated by one of the play’s devices: the search for just the right music to signify or bring back important moments in one’s life. The final song of the play is the Monkees’ “I’m A Believer”—perfect, because the protagonist is declaring himself a believer in true and permanent commitment. Throughout the play, he has been experimenting with music, trying to find not only the song but the arrangement which takes him back to an important moment or transition in his life—something he can hold on to. He wants to find eight. [Read more…]

Must you believe in irrational numbers to go to heaven?

What is truth? The more I study it, the less I seem to understand it. How do we know it when we see it? How do we hold on to it? Is it stable? Are the truths of the present moment, the truths of the next as well? How can we tell? [Read more…]

Karl-Heinz Schnibbe, RIP

BCC notes the passing of an authentic Mormon hero.  Brother Karl-Heinz Schnibbe died on May 9, 2010, at the age of 86, in Salt Lake City.

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The new Dialogue website.

In the past few years, it has become increasingly clear that Dialogue cannot survive as strictly a print publication. A new generation of thoughtful Saints and scholars who would benefit from becoming acquainted with Dialogue’s rich history will never find that content if it is languishing in library stacks. Thus, with some trepidation, the Board has decided to make all of Dialogue’s archive accessible online, retaining only the last two years’ content as premium content available by subscription*. [Read more…]

Review: The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman

My rating: 2/5

Here’s the story: Mary has twins — Jesus, a religious weirdo, and Christ, the politician. Encouraged by a mysterious stranger, Christ makes plans to turn Jesus’ provincial message in to a world religion.

I sort of wanted to like this book, if only so I could resist the holy religious outrage which often accompanies anything written by the pop atheists nowadays. Religions would most of the time be better off confronting the abuses of faith that are pilloried by people such as Pullman, rather than pretending they don’t exist. [Read more…]

Are We Not All Mothers?

This is a passage from a sermon delivered for Mother’s day by Susan Harriss, one of the first women ordained by the Episcopal church in the United States.

Happy Mother’s day, everyone! [Read more…]

Joseph as Proto-Catholic?

The story of Mormonism’s origins begins with the young Joseph’s experience with Christian pluralism in the Burned-Over District of upstate New York in the early 19th century. He was deeply affected by and resistant to the fragmentation of the faith all around him. Surely there should be one Lord, one faith, one baptism, but that was not his lived reality at the time, and it bugged him more than most, so much so that he took his concerns to God himself in the grove that famous spring morning. We’re all of course familiar with this seminary version of what happened. [Read more…]

The Top 10 LDS Musicians You’ve Never Heard Of, No. 1

Arthur Hatton is a connoisseur of music and the founder of Linescratchers, a site that highlights LDS musicians who play music other than LDS-themed music. We’re pleased to have him as our guest for a special series of posts.

When I created Linescratchers, I began with a desperate hope that I wasn’t commencing on a long wild goose chase. After all, the idea that I could create a website featuring talented LDS musicians who don’t write LDS music was based wholly on two premises: 1) that they exist somewhere, and 2) they are easier to find than, at minimum, Bigfoot. The next two years of hard work have completely paid off. I’ve been tirelessly scouring the Internet for musicians who happen to be LDS, and I’ve been surprised to find out that LDS musicians are EVERYWHERE. They’re just not always open about their faith, so sometimes they’re
hard to pin down.

There are a few reasons for this. If I went into all of them, I would end up wasting lots of space here, but the short answer is, their record labels don’t take kindly to them yapping about religion all the time, and the Mormon community doesn’t seem incredibly interested in financially supporting music that emotionally challenges them. I could lament this last bit, too, but that’s not my intention in this series.

I’ve decided to write a series highlighting, one at a time, the Top 10 LDS musicians I’ve encountered all around the world. This isn’t meant to be all-inclusive of course, I might end up having more than just 10, and I make no claims to objectivity. These are just my all-time favorites. Each one is unique and special. I’m proud to say that these musicians would be in my playlist even if they weren’t LDS, and that’s the great thing about these people. So now, without further ado… [Read more…]

Mormon Buzzwords

Or, words and phrases we don’t need.

Have you ever listened to a presentation or speech and realized that you are hearing so much jargon and hype that the words themselves have become meaningless?  In my field of work I’ve listened to so many sales pitches which promise to synergize a new paradigm that will enable us to leverage technology so we can hit the ground running at the end of the day that my eyes now automatically glaze over.  The words are used to obfuscate rather than enlighten, and their very presence indicates that the speaker isn’t serious about what he is doing.

[Read more…]

BCC SoCal Bloggersnacker!

Don’t you think it’s time we met?

[Read more…]

Thursday Morning Quickie #11

[Note: The following text was taken verbatim from the “M Men-Gleaner Manual, Love, Marriage, and You” used in 1956-1957. Previous entries in this series can be found here.]

Lesson 20

Preparing for Children

This lesson is to be taught separately to M Men and Gleaners

JACK AND MARY “fell in love” during a period of two and a half years of dating and courtship. They wanted to marry and both wanted children. She was twenty-one and he was twenty-five. How could they get married and have a family and still allow Jack to finish his professional schooling? [Read more…]

Where have all the Lamanites gone?

So here’s how this started: a Mormon friend of mine had never heard living people referred to as Lamanties, as in ‘our Lamanite brothers and sisters in Mexico.’ He’s Finnish and has never lived in the States, but still: I thought using the term ‘Lamanite’ to refer to indigenous peoples of North America, South America and/or Polynesia was fairly basic in Mormon culture. (I’m no social scientist, so forgive my clumsiness in dealing with these terms.) I grew up with the word ‘Lamanite,’  hearing it from people my parents’ age. I’ve tried to recall whether I heard it used by BYU students or missionaries other than ironically, but I can’t remember much from those years other than ironically , so who knows? Certainly, the leadership of the church referred to those populations as Lamanites throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. I assumed that if they stopped it was probably because of the DNA controversy of the last few years.

With a hypothesis and a song in my heart, I went to, and I did a search for the term ‘Lamanite’ in General Conferences. The church magazines are online starting from 1971, so that was my beginning point. I got 120 hits, and then read through them to see if the talk referred to Lamanites in The Book of Mormon or Lamanites being alive and well, so to speak. (I ignored the ‘News of the Church’ entries.)  I found 26 references to contemporary Lamanites [1]: [Read more…]

The End of an ERA

Sunny Smart returns for a second guest post.

I grew up in the shadow of Phyllis Schlafly and the Eagle Forum. Phyllis was the founder of the STOP ERA movement of the ’70s and early ’80s and is largely credited for the ultimate failure of the ERA. Once the ERA had passed congress and had been sent to the states for ratification, Phyllis, the LDS church–and my mom–went into action. While we lived in California, my mom was heavily involved in STOP ERA efforts. Then, not long after moving to Utah, my mom became the Utah Director for STOP ERA. And how. [Read more…]

Religious Art: ‘Saint Francis Standing in Ecstasy’

Francisco Zurburan (1598-1664), ‘Saint Francis Standing in Ecstasy’, c. 1640, oil on canvas; Museo Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona.

A few years ago another blogger started (but never continued) a series of posts on Religious Art.  As someone with an uninformed, amateur interest in Art I thought that it might be interesting to give it another go.  The first painting I have selected, though feel free to make suggestions for future posts, is a painting by Zurbaran entitled ‘Saint Francis Standing in Ecstasy’. [Read more…]

A reader’s question

A number of units in my stake are having issues with a mission president who insists that baptism is needful for all. The statement “they are better off baptised than not!” has been heard by my own ears on two occasions by our soon to be departing mission president. Unfortunately, in my opinion, there have been numerous baptisms of people with very little or no understanding of the gospel. I would appreciate any thoughts the commenters have on this matter as it seems to contradict recent addresses by the brethren and the doctrines associated with the “Articles of Faith.”

Fond Thoughts of (Fill in Your Mission Here)…and Recipes

I’ve often wondered how much of an effect foreign missions have had on the culture of the church and its members.  I know that for individuals, two years or eighteen months living in a different culture is life changing.  Often missionaries return to change their majors, career plans etc.  I also know many returned missionaries who have chosen to live overseas, recognizing from their mission experiences that they enjoy the adventure of it. [Read more…]

The abused becomes the abuser

Troubled with the carnage unleashed by Moses, a friend wrote me the following: [Read more…]

Brainwashing for Jesus

I’ve been catching up on General Conference, since I was unable to experience the April broadcast. The other day I was listening to President Eyring’s talk, “Help Them on Their Way Home,” and a particular line caught my attention: “[T]he family has the opportunity at the start of a child’s life to put feet firmly on the path home.” [Read more…]

Growing Up On The Blogs

BCC is thrilled to welcome Sunny Smart as our newest guest blogger. If there’s one thing Sunny wants you to know about her it’s that she peed her pants while horseback riding. She was 17 at the time. If there’s anything you should know about horseback riding it’s that urine eats the color right off a saddle. If there’s a social tip Sunny can give you it’s that you shouldn’t pee on someone else’s saddle. Lesson learned.

In light of the recent revelation on BCC Zeitcast 3.9.0 that BCC Permas can look back through all of a commenter’s participation, I have had cause to reflect on my own questionable and embarrassing foray into the blogosphere. [Read more…]