Female Priests Among Christians and Mormons, Part 7

[You can find the whole series here.]
Scripture contains the word of God, in the words of human beings. Therefore each of these texts reflects the social and intellectual milieu of the people of their times. 1 Cor 14:33-34 reads something to the effect of “In all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent. For they are not permitted to speak but should be in submission, as the Law (of Moses) also says.”[1] In the Genesis creation/fall stories, Eve is told that Adam will rule her.
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Female Priests Among Christians and Mormons, Part 6

[You can find the whole series here.]
Continuing from the previous post, I’ll just note that Vatican II had a salutary effect on relations between scholars (at least biblical scholars) and theologians with the Roman Catholic church. Theologians/scholars have some responsibility to see that the Bishops have not opened themselves to theological danger no matter how sensitive the issues. There is a danger to any such covenant however, it arises from the far right and far left. The former see every investigation and study as a threat if it doesn’t conform to their own canonical thought, previous investment, or expression, and from the latter who scorn any serious theology or associated scholarship. Of course, everyone thinks this kind of language names those they oppose.
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Female Priests Among Christians and Mormons, Part 5

[You can find the whole series here.]
Modern knowledge, historical, scientific, theological, etc. is, or I think should be, part of a process that contributes toward reformation or modification of ancient (or just past) thought, yes, even doctrine. The important word here is contribute not control or dictate. No theologian, scientist, historian, etc., can formulate doctrine or perhaps a better word is teaching of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That’s an ideal I think and it also exists in other Christian denominations. When this boundary shifts it can be unhealthy for the institution and the individual. Scholarship of various sorts has to be assessed in the wider context of a church’s life as guided by the Holy Spirit. Yes, I think God is active in the guidance of sincere supplicants, be they lay persons, Popes, bishops, Mormon or not, and of course I don’t NEED to call this out but given the theme, women who lead in some church capacity.
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Female Priests Among Christians and Mormons, Part 4

[You can find the whole series here.]
I want to turn to theological issues now. As before, this continues to be merely my own thought process. I’m not seeking to be rigorous—I’m not going to multiply footnotes and references. That’s the hard work someone else can do. Here I’m just interested in exploring what I think and, of course, what you think as you respond in the comments.
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Female Priests Among Christians and Mormons, Part 3

[You can find the whole series here.]
Last time I was talking about potential for scandal among a sexually egalitarian clergy. I think that danger is overblown but it certainly exists. And if the past is a predictor of the future we might expect a conservative Mormon leadership to be as draconian about possibilities of scandal, given a few actual scandals, as they have been already. For Catholics, women in the priesthood has to mean women in the seminaries, the training ground for the Catholic priesthood. If there are female priests, won’t there be female bishops, archbishops, Cardinals, a Pope (some Anglican branches allow female bishops but no archbishops)? And of course the same goes for Mormon hierarchy. An interesting example that relates to both these groups is the Community of Christ. The CoC is in doctrine perhaps more like a mainstream Protestant faith than it is LDS. They still hold the Book of Mormon as a text useful in faith though many do not believe it to be a historical one and that is not a test of faith. The CoC has had a female clergy for many years now and while it did foment dissent when it was introduced, I don’t think there has been much scandal in the close association between men and women leaders in local congregations. Though I don’t know this as a statistical certainty.
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Female Priests Among Christians and Mormons, Part 2.

[You can find the whole series here.]
In the last part, I noted some parallels between certain Christian traditions (particularly Catholicism) and Mormonism. I’m not trying to argue anything about whether Mormons are “Christians” in some technical sense and I’m not going to address that here. Last time I mentioned some social factors that play into ordination of women.

During the ERA era (you see what I did there), there were more parallels between Catholics and Mormons. How much, for example has feminism touched the lives of typical Latter-day Saint women or women in Catholic parishes? It’s not at all unusual to see a woman in a Latter-day Saint pulpit (such as they are). But how would it affect the average Catholic wife, say, never mind her husband, if she suddenly saw a woman in the church/cathedral pulpit, playing a truly leading role in the parish? How would this work in a Mormon congregation? “Welcome to our ward, I’m sister Jensen, first counselor in the bishopric. Bishop Huxley has asked that I conduct this meeting.” It was certainly the case that Mormon women were divided over the ERA but it seems like there was a large segment of Mormon women who mobilized to oppose the passage of the ERA in the Mormon Corridor. They didn’t want it, and the scary predictions about a Huxley-future, had some real traction among Mormons and Catholics alike. Today, I think there is still a wide geography-driven difference in the way Mormon women (and men) see a future female priesthood. And would John Smith feel comfortable disclosing his recent sexual peccadillo to a female bishop? What is the, can I say real world, parity here with a women confessing sin to a male bishop? Does a female priest require already some kind of economic and social equality between men and women? And how does this play out in the Global South say, or for that matter perhaps the southeastern US?
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Female Priests Among Christians (and Mormons), part 1.

This is a series of posts about female ordination. In it I will briefly consider some aspects of history, tradition, and scripture, various ecclesiologies, and other stuff. There are 10 parts, unless I get enthusiastic for some reason. You can find the whole series here.

First, I want to be clear that I’m not talking about a ministry of females or even female ministers. That exists already for most of the confessions out there. What I’m going to address is, for lack of a better general term, female clergy. And even this should really be parsed further among churches whose clergy go by the title of “ministers” and those whose clergy go by the title of “priest” or “bishop” and a few variations on that (say, “patriarch”).

This series relates most to churches who use the title “priest” (or some cognate) for their clergy and who are ordained to such offices. This might seem like semantics, but it is historical fact that it’s among these churches (like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Roman Catholic, or Orthodox, or some branches of the Lutheran faith, Anglicans, and some others, indeed, Mormonism had developed, by 1835, a whole mythos about church bishops and Old Testament Aaron, the first Mosaic priest Cf. final version of D&C 68) where there has been heated dispute over the issue of female leaders. After decades of discussion, Anglicans may undergo schisms over this. What is the problem about female priests over against female ministers?
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The Pearl of Great Price in Brief

I wrote this little summary twenty years ago and a friend suggested that it might still be useful with a little updating, so I present it to you here. So much has been published on various aspects of the Pearl of Great Price (PGP) in the intervening years that I can only just gesture at it here. In particular, the Joseph Smith Papers contain still untapped riches on the subject, particularly in its Revelations and Translations series, and further work appears in recent volumes like Foundational Texts of Mormonism (Oxford, 2018), and the forthcoming, Producing Ancient Scripture (University of Utah Press, February 2020).


The Pearl of Great Price is the smallest volume of LDS scripture, comprising about sixty pages in the current 2013 edition (this includes footnotes and illustrations). The book was the last among those constituting the Utah church canon to be officially recognized (1880). Other groups claiming a common heritage with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, such as the Community of Christ, Restoration Branches, etc., reject it as canon either wholly or in part.

The book was originally compiled by European church head and apostle Franklin D. Richards in England in 1851. Hence it is fundamentally a text of the Brigham Young led Utah church though its contents originate with Joseph Smith.
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Book Review: Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question

David B. Ostler
Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question
Greg Kofford Books, Salt Lake City, Utah
July 2019, xiv+183 pages, Appendix, endnotes, index.
$32.95 hardcover, $18.86 paper (Amazon), $17.99 Kindle.

Bridges is a short volume that addresses one of the issues facing most religions in many parts of the world: people dropping out. Surveys suggest that there are many reasons for what has been called “the rise of the nones” an especially pertinent phenomenon among young adults. The relevancy of that Old Time Religion seems to be in question.
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Review: Brigham Young and the Expansion of the Mormon Faith

Brigham Young and the Expansion of the Mormon Faith.
by Thomas G. Alexander
The Oklahoma Western Biographies Book 31, University of Oklahoma Press, 2019
xxiii + 416 pages, Bibliography, Index.
Hardcover, and ebook (Kindle).

Thomas G. Alexander is well known to readers of Latter-day Saint history. He is the author of a number important works, perhaps most prominently his Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints, 1890-1930, recently republished by Greg Kofford Books in a third edition. Alexander, now retired, was a long time professor of history at Brigham Young University, and Transition was originally intended to be part of the Arrington “new church history” series when he was church historian.
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Lesson 28 #BCCSundaySchool2019: “What Wilt Thou Have Me Do”

Acts 6 Acts 7 Acts 8 Acts 9

These chapters are crucial to understanding the development of the early Christian church and there is just no way to discuss everything in them. Moreover, the lesson manual is very brief, so consider this a supplement to the material in the manual. These chapters include the conversion story of Paul (Acts 9) and since that story is so well known, I’m not going to emphasize it. Instead, I will focus mostly on how these chapters deal with cultural differences in the Jerusalem church and what that reveals about how the early church was getting on in the period shortly after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and departure. Even so, we will barely scratch the surface, yet I hope there will be something useful for the lesson this coming Sunday. One important thing to keep in mind is that Acts, like the Gospel of Luke (they likely had the same author) was written with a great deal of hindsight. I mean, much had taken place between the time of Jesus and the composing of Acts, most importantly perhaps, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army in 70 AD. Thus, the author is including events with a purpose: to explain through early origin stories (likely the subject of preaching during the apostolic and post-apostolic years) how the church of circa 90 AD got where it was and help explain the Christian position relative to the Empire since Luke more than the other writers of the Gospels is writing to people in a broader Roman world.
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Easter and the Final Days of Jesus

A few years back, I wrote a series of posts on the last days of Jesus’ mortal life. I have edited a few of them for this year but mostly my thoughts expressed in the series remain unchanged. Since we are once again approaching my favorite holiday, I offer them again for your perusal. You can find all of them here (scroll to the bottom to read the first entry). God bless, and happy Easter 2019!

Review: Thunder From The Right: Ezra Taft Benson in Mormonism and Politics

Matthew L. Harris, ed. Thunder From the Right: Ezra Taft Benson in Mormonism and Politics.
Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2019.
Hardcover, 260 pages.
Footnotes. Bibliography. Index.
Cloth: $99.00. Paper: $27.95. Kindle: $14.95. [Kindle not paginated.]
ISBN-10: 0252042255
ISBN-13: 978-0252042256

Ezra Taft Benson, whose life spanned most of the twentieth century, was an important figure in US politics and religion. Several times a candidate for president of the United States, he was a prominent anti-communist and John Birch Society supporter. An LDS apostle from 1943 until his death in 1994 (Benson became the 13th president of the church in 1985), he was a powerfully conservative voice on traditional roles of women at home rather than the workplace and was the founder of an influential thread of Mormon political philosophy. These themes and others are explored in a new volume edited by historian Matthew Harris (Colorada State Univ-Pueblo), from the University of Illinois Press. Harris recruited a number of familiar voices from the world of Mormon studies, including Gary Bergera, (noted Mormon author), our own Matthew Bowman (assoc. prof. of history, Henderson State Univ.), Newell Bringhurst (emeritus prof. of history), Brian Q. Cannon, (prof. of history, BYU), Robert Goldberg (prof. of history, Univ. of Utah), J. B. Haws (assistant prof. of history, BYU), Andrea G. Radke-Moss (prof. of history BYU-Idaho).

Each of the eight essays provides penetrating scholarship on various aspects of the career of one of the most important and influential Mormon figures of the last century.
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Conference Notice: Finale of the James K. Polk Project

James K. Polk, serendipitous president of the United States, exercised a remarkable–if unintentional–influence upon the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was Polk, in a sense a Jackson redivivus, who made Deseret a default property of the United States, and so eventually a Territory, consequently a focus of Republican moral reform and hence brought polygamy to an end. Whew. Polk’s correspondence has now been published by the James K. Polk Project.

James Polk, ca. 1849. Manifest Destiny on steroids.

Begun in 1958, the project is about to finish its fourteen-volume letterpress and digital series of the Correspondence of James K. Polk. These volumes, featuring annotated transcriptions of thousands of letters from 1817–49, enable twenty-first-century readers to use the nineteenth-century documents.

Latter-day Saints will be familiar with such projects through the beautifully curated Joseph Smith Papers Project and the forthcoming Brigham Young Project.

A conference commemorating the final volume in the Polk Project will be hosted by the University of Tennessee History Department. The Association for Documentary Editing notes that “the conference will be held at the East Tennessee Historical Society, in Knoxville, on April 12–13, 2019. Academic scholars, public historians, and community members will take stock of what we now know about the eleventh U.S. president and assess the contributions of the project to historical study. Presentations will include a keynote address by Amy S. Greenberg, a roundtable of Polk experts chaired by John C. Pinheiro, and a screening of a Polk documentary by Brian Rose.”

To read the preliminary program, register, and book your hotel room, go to https://polkproject.utk.edu/conference. Registration is free. Contact jameskpolk@utk.edu if you have questions.

The Book of Abraham: Joseph Smith Papers Revelations and Translations, vol. 4.

A permanent identical “I” is a fiction—we are not what we believe ourselves to be—the truth is very different from what we are inclined to believe —-Derek Parfit [1]

The Book of Abraham has been both a puzzle and a sort of definition of ultimate reality. At least one such definition. The text of the book arises out of a milieu where many believed that Egypt like the Hebrew language (what many at the time thought of as a near descendant of the tongue of Eden) held answers to ultimate mysteries of self and time and being. Even though few Americans at least had any real notion of what things like hieroglyphics meant. When Michael Chandler brought his traveling mummy show to Kirtland, Ohio, Joseph Smith and a number of his friends saw deep value hidden in the artifacts and purchased them for a handsome sum even though they were already submerged in an expensive and daunting temple building project. In fits and starts through the last half of the year 1835 they (Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, William Phelps, and Warren Parrish) worked to construct some kind of logic that made sense of ancient writings found in the collection. These scrolls date from roughly the period of the book of Daniel (ca. 200 BCE) to the time of Christ (that is, the second temple period).
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First Presidency on Coming Schedule Changes in Church Meetings

Just released letter from the First Presidency on Sunday Meeting Schedule beginning January 2019. Thoughts?
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Gödel, Einstein, Smith part 2: Troubles with the Constitution

Gödel about 10 years before this story I think.

Eight years ago I wrote a post here about the mathematician, physicist, logician, philosopher, Kurt Gödel (1906-1978). I can’t remember exactly why I did this except that it had some relationship to Gödel’s belief in ghosts/evil spirits and that’s tangentially Mormon I suppose. This time, there is also a tangential reason to blog about the man again because it’s about the Constitution of the United States, a topic of interest in Mormonism since its founding days. Anyway, I noticed recently that the long-rumored story of Gödel’s application for US citizenship found more historical support. One of the participants in the episode, Oskar Morgenstern, left a memo on the incident and this was made public a few years ago. I’ve collected a number of stories about Gödel over the years but this one never had a solid basis in fact as far as I could tell. Now it does.
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Conference Notice: John Whitmer Historical Association

Late registration fee starting September 1, 2018. Come and enjoy a scholarly adventure this year. Richard L. Bushman will be giving the Howard Lecture.  Register here.

Joseph Smith’s Sermons: MHA 2018

One of the sessions at the Mormon History Association this year (Boise, Idaho, June 2018) focused on a new volume from Oxford University Press titled, Foundational Texts of Mormonism: Examining Major Early Sources. (edited by Mark Ashurst-McGee, Robin S. Jensen, and Sharalyn D. Howcroft) One the chapters was written by yours truly, “Joseph Smith’s Sermons and the Early Mormon Documentary Record.” Since I think this volume deserves a continuing readership I’ve decided to post my talk at the panel session—based of course on my chapter in the book. I hope it tempts you to add the book to your Mormon text library. I’ll be reviewing some of the other chapters in the book from time to time. I hope this will intrigue you enough to take a look for yourself.
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In Memoriam Stephen E. Robinson, 1947-2018

Friend of the blog, historian/theologian Janiece Johnson, was kind enough to offer her thoughts on long-time BYU religion professor Stephen E. Robinson.

[Cross-posted at Maxwell Institute blog]

Believing Christ was published in 1992, though I first read it on my mission. Though not on the approved reading list, my grandma sent it to me in Argentina. It was a critical time for me, no matter how early I got up and how hard I worked, I never felt like I had done “all I could do”—Nephi’s words felt more like a weapon than a balm. Though Robinson himself might have tired of his bicycle parable, it was the first significant turn that Latter-day Saints took toward grace. Many have built on it, but Robinson’s work was the foundation. (Listen to Robinson’s comments from the conference on grace sponsored by the Wheatley Institute for the 25th anniversary of Believing Christ here.) For me personally, it was vital. It was the first time I actually began to recognize that no matter how much I worked, I could not earn God’s grace. I had to choose to receive the gift, and only then could it change me.
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Making Your Calling and Election Sure IV. Hard Times. When Pioneer Living is not Enough.

I was in the LDS Church History Library some time back, dwelling amid the dusty productions of yesteryear as is my wont, when I came across a transcription of the diary of James Cantwell.[1] Cantwell was an Irishman. Cantwell became a Mormon in 1842, but financial issues kept him in Britain until 1850 when he took his family to St. Louis. Six years passed before he could get to the Valley.
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When Your Calling and Election is [in Doubt]. III. Fundamentalism (part 2).

There is a contradiction between a Church tightly held together by a strong hierarchical authority, which will nevertheless be filled with practitioners of heartfelt devotion. There are, of course, people whose devotional life is enhanced by the sense that they live under this kind of authority, but for the masses who do not respond this way the choices are either to knuckle under, or leave, or live a semi-clandestine life.

So far this peripatetic series has wandered from the Jerusalem Bishopric to Intelligent Design, and now to 20th-century Physics™ and Conservative Christianity (see part 1).

I’m afraid it’s nothing this interesting.

Election has been a Christain puzzle for two thousand years since Paul and then the Johannine community and all these posts hover around it with one or another valence. This post is part 2 of a previous post on Christian fundamentalism mostly conceived in terms of biblical literalism. This time I’m really wandering, with seemingly unconnected dots—to evoke Steven Peck.
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“Confessions of a Mormon Historian” The diaries of Leonard J. Arrington. A Review.

Confessions of a Mormon Historian: The Diaries of Leonard J. Arrington, 1971-1997. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, April 30, 2018. $150.00. 2,600 pages in three volumes.

Gary James Bergera, ed.

Foreword by Susan Arrington Madsen. A (delightful) introductory essay by Rebecca Foster Bartholomew on some of Arrington’s ancestors and his life to ca. 1971.

Each volume contains a chronology by Joseph Geisner and Lavina Fielding Anderson in the front matter. Editor Bergera provides helpful short biographical notes on persons who appear in the diaries along with citations for work LJA mentions and other brief but important bits of context, along with generally unobtrusive expansions of the text when LJA is terse with names, places, etc.

Volume 1: Church Historian, 1971-1975 876 pages (including an appendix listing LDS historians and some associates for the years 1830-1985) + front matter.
Volume 2: Centrifugal Forces, 1975-1980 922 pages.
Volume 3: Exile, 1980-1997 803 pages (includes an index for all volumes) with an Afterword by Thomas G. Alexander and an Arrington bibliography by Jeffery O. Johnson.

Signature Books very kindly gave me a look at their forthcoming publication of Leonard J. Arrington’s (LJA) diaries covering the period of his appointment as LDS Church Historian to two years before his death in 1999. The recent Arrington biography by Gregory A. Prince quoted liberally from LJA’s diaries, housed at the Merrill-Cazier Library at Utah State University in Logan, Utah.[1]
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Visiting Ministering: Alice Smith

Alice C. Smith was an extraordinary woman. I won’t take time to recite her achievements here but I do want to quote from one of her sermons (for the curious, we are not related-though I do possess some of her personal reminiscences courtesy of her family). This address took place October 1, 1969 and it continues to impress me. I’ve read it several times.[1]

I leave you these excerpts without comment except to say that I think the points raised are symbolic. Like loaves of bread. And that I think the sort of thing Alice speaks of happens all the time. Not every time. It will be different for different people. I’m hoping that the new organizational changes in visiting teaching will make for more outreach. Women have always been at the heart of Christianity, leading, teaching, doing. Culture from the deeps of time has hidden much of this from our discourse.
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Joseph Smith Papers: Documents Volume 7 Teaser

The Joseph Smith Papers Project has just released volume 7 of its Documents Series. Recently, Steve Evans and I sat down with three of the editors of the volume and had the chance to ask them about it. Volume 7 covers the Nauvoo foundational era, specifically between September 1839 and January 1841.

Left to right, editor Chris Blythe, lead editor Matthew Godfrey, editor Spencer McBride, associate editorial manager, Riley M. Lorimer

Since these volumes focus on Joseph Smith’s “papers” —the representation of events is naturally focused on Smith. Other personalities who are mentioned in the documents get some time in the extensive explanatory notes and an important Biographical Directory. Maps, geographical and organizational charts, source notes and chronologies are just some of the many materials that assist the reader with context.
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Baptism for the Dead, A Momentary Memoir

The other day, I participated as a proxy for a dead relative in a baptism (actually a confirmation). As I was sitting there, hands were laid on my head and I experienced a bit of proxy deja vu. In my mind’s eye I observed the intense feelings among early Latter-day Saints of mid-August 1840 as Joseph Smith announced that those Saints could be baptized for their dead ancestors. Weeks later, people began to go to the Mississippi and men were baptized for dead grandparents, women for a beloved deceased brother or parent. It was joyous. In the few moments that I sat experiencing my proxy position for three long-dead men in turn, I thought through Smith’s acts here. I don’t know precisely where his logic/inspiration was tipped over to surety. He knew the Pauline text certainly.[1] But what else played into this? A clue about one of those things is represented in his one prewritten sermon, delivered at the October conference the same year. In that sermon he lays out a new and rather extraordinary idea. It may be his most profound instruction ever, since it links to things like sealing, polygamy, temple ritual, priesthood, sacraments, and so forth. I imagined myself sitting there in that conference, listening to his clerk, Robert Thompson, read that sermon (Joseph composed the sermon at Thompson’s elbow and one other man in the room later remarked that he felt God’s presence more powerfully than at any other time in his life as they worked through that composition). Its content was wide-ranging and feels a bit odd to me now as I reread it but it was a turning point.
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When Your Calling and Election is [in Doubt]. III. Fundamentalism (part 1).

So far this intermittent series has wandered from the Jerusalem Bishopric to Intelligent Design, and now to 20th-century Physics™ and Conservative Christianity. Also, it’s Old Testament-ish.

A Kid Gets Lost

In my eighth grade of public school, I had a physical education class, a science class, an English class, some kind of arithmetic class, something called “social studies,” a technical education class (“shop class”), and I don’t recall what else now. In trying to think through that period in my life, I realize there wasn’t much in the way of encouragement to think about hard problems of the day. That applied to social problems and civil rights, scientific issues, or even academic kinds of things. I vaguely remember my English teacher asking us to compose “themes,” the term for short essays in the day. I had no facility with that. I remember trying to puzzle through a paragraph or two on some topic for the class and coming up dead empty. I’m sure she modeled what she wanted us to do, but I was probably more concerned with the social dynamics of the classroom than whatever she said. Being concerned with those dynamics occupied a good portion of my day. Usually by formulating strategies for being invisible, except maybe to Susan Wilcox [not her real last name because I just don’t remember it now] and her very tall, haughty, Greek Orthodox friend, Olive. Olive [also not her real name for the same reason] showed up in a high school science class where she snubbed me as a science fair partner—rightly perceiving me as just wanting to hang on to whatever she was doing so I wouldn’t have to do anything myself.
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Cedar City Utah LDS Temple

A new LDS temple has been completed and dedicated in Cedar City, Utah. Another Utah temple may seem like overkill, but sites are selected by potential use statistics and corresponding travel reduction. It’s a remarkable design reminiscent of early Mormon temples. Here are some photos [all photos courtesy LDS Church]:

Elements of Nauvoo, St. George, and other early temples.



Celestial room

A sealing room

Memories. Mysteries Solved. Mysteries Made. Wilford Woodruff’s “Book of Revelations.”

When Charles W. Nibley[1] was eleven he came to Utah and settled with his family in the Cache Valley. From the start, Nibley had a knack for business and became successful in retail, lumber, and land. When he was a teenager, Nibley met Ira Ames, an early 1830s convert to Mormonism and he loved to listen to Ames tell stories about the early days of Mormonism. Late in life, Nibley related a incident where Ames told the story of being out on the streets of Kirtland, Ohio one night when he saw Sidney Rigdon walking by. Rigdon stopped and spoke to Ames and told him he had just come from witnessing a long and glorious vision (D&C 76). He told Ames of the beautiful vision. Nibley carried this experience to his grave as one of the more memorable scenes of his youth. There was a problem though. Ames was not in Ohio in February 1832 when the vision occurred, he wasn’t even a Mormon—and Rigdon was living in Hiram, Ohio when he experienced the shattering vision. Nibley felt humbled and strengthened by a fiction.
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Getting rid of the Ensign, New Era, and Friend!

So, the Church magazines have had their present names since 1971. That’s going on 50 years. “Ensign” is ok, has some scriptural backing I guess. New Era is clearly borrowed from the old Improvement Era, and the Friend inherited its name from its predecessor, The Children’s Friend (which stole the name of some other rag, I think). Liahona came from the old Liahona The Elders’ Journal. So now you’re faced with a problem. What about new magazines? Should there be hard copy mags? How many? One for all adults world-wide? Or ten or fifteen regional mags? BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, WE HAVE TO GIVE THEM NEW AND BETTER NAMES! Get with it and tell me what to do.