Excerpts of Gay Rights Groups Take On Mormons by Karl Vick. (Washingtonpost.
As more states take up the debate on same-sex marriage, some advocates of legalization are taking a very specific lesson from California, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dominated both fundraising and door-knocking to pass a ballot initiative that barred such unions.
With the battle moving east, some advocates are shouting that fact in the streets, calculating that on an issue that eventually comes down to comfort levels, more people harbor apprehension about Mormons than about homosexuality.
"The Mormons are coming! The Mormons are coming!" warned ads placed on newspaper Web sites in three Eastern states last month. The ad was rejected by sites in three other states, including Maine, where the Kennebec Journal informed Californians Against Hate that the copy "borders on insulting and denigrating a whole set of people based on their religion."
"I'm not intending it to harm the religion. I think they do wonderful things. Nicest people," said Fred Karger, a former Republican campaign consultant who established Californians Against Hate. "My single goal is to get them out of the same-sex marriage business and back to helping hurricane victims."
The strategy carries risks for a movement grounded in the concept of tolerance. But the demographics tempt proponents of same-sex marriage: Mormons account for just 2 percent of the U.S. population, and they are scarce outside the West. Nearly eight in 10 Americans personally know or work with a gay person, according to a recent Newsweek survey. Only 48 percent, meanwhile, know a Mormon, according to a Pew Research Center poll.
Many Mormons also acknowledge a problematic public profile that could make it difficult for them to lead the fight against same-sex marriage. A 2008 poll by Gary C. Lawrence, author of "How Americans View Mormonism: Seven Steps to Improve Our Image," found that for every American who expresses a strong liking for Mormons, four express a strong dislike. Among the traits widely ascribed to Mormons in the poll were "narrow-minded" and "controlling."
"We're upside down on our image," said Lawrence, who organized Mormon volunteers in California, where on a typical Saturday 25,000 turned out to knock on doors. "People have misperceptions of us because of ignorance, because of the history of polygamy, and because we organize quickly, which scares some people."
Mormon officials have tried to stay out of the controversy that followed the California vote, when the church's prominent role in the marriage fight became clear. A spokeswoman in Salt Lake City declined to say whether the church is involved in debates going on in states such as New Jersey and New York, except to say that leaders remain intent on preserving the "divine institution" of marriage between man and woman. The faith holds that traditional marriage "transcends this world" and is necessary for "the fullness of joy in the next life."
"He is demonizing the opposition. It's Political Consulting 101," Lawrence said of Karger. "The average guy does not know the extent to which the Mormon Church was involved on Prop. 8."
A torrent of last-minute contributions from church members across the country financed well-framed TV ads in the final weekend of the campaign. Opponents' analysis of campaign-contributi
Rick Jacobs, director of the Courage Campaign, an advocacy group that produced a TV ad drawing attention to the Mormons' role in the campaign, said, "We have zero interest in demonizing anybody who believes in any religion."
In the spot, a pair of Mormon missionaries knock on the door of a lesbian couple, rifle their drawers and shred their marriage certificate in front of them.
Mormons "exist and flourish in this country because of the concept of equal protection," Jacob said, noting the persecution that drove members of the church to Utah in the 19th century. "I find it just an irreconcilable hypocrisy that a group that rightly thrives within the essence of the American system would seek to repress and deny rights to another. And it's even a little worse, because I certainly didn't choose to be gay. People make choices to be Mormons, or any other religion."
Suspicions that the church may be working behind the scenes in other states are encouraged by documents showing efforts by the church to cloak its participation in a late-1990s campaign that led to a ban on same-sex marriage in Hawaii.
"We have organized things so the Church contribution was used in an area of coalition activity that does not have to be reported," a senior Mormon official wrote in one document Karger posted on his Web site, and the church has not disputed.
Mormon headquarters contributed $400,000 in an effort to persuade Hawaiians against same-sex marriage but urged the Roman Catholics to take the lead in a group dubbed Hawaii's Future Today after polls showed that the other church had better public acceptance. A decade after the 1998 Hawaii vote against gay marriage, Lawrence wrote that the image problem remained: "The collection of negatives they are willing to apply to us suggests that they view us as a growing threat."
And favorability ratings declined for Mormons over the last year, Lawrence said, from 42 percent to 37.
"Is it fruitful to use the Mormon bogey?" said Mark Silk, a professor of religion and public life at Trinity College in Connecticut. "My sense is that there aren't great risks to it. Once a religious institution is going to inject itself into a public fight, which the LDS did in a straight-up way, then I think people are prepared to say, 'Well, okay, you're on that side and we're against you.'"
Friday, May 29, 2009
Excerpts of Gay Rights Groups Take On Mormons by Karl Vick. (Washingtonpost.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Truman Grant Madsen, 82, emeritus professor of philosophy at Brigham Young University and former director of the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies in Jerusalem, died today, May 28, 2009.
Mr. Madsen was considered a philosopher, essayist, teacher and biographer. He held the Richard L. Evans Chair in Religious Studies at BYU and had been guest professor at Northeastern University, Haifa, and Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif. Mr. Madsen had sponsored several symposia on comparative religions and was one of the editors and a contributor to the five-volume Macmillan Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Mr. Madsen's biography is published on his Web site,trumanmadsen.com.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
In choosing sides over the legality of gay marriage, two of the nation's top lawyers are saying, "I do."
Opposing attorneys in the 2000 election fight for Florida - David Boies, who represented Al Gore, and Ted Olson, George Bush's lawyer and later the U.S. Solicitor General - are teaming up to ask a federal court to throw out California's ban on same-sex marriage.
The two filed a lawsuit Friday on behalf of two gay men and two gay women, arguing that the marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process.
Olson said he hopes the case will wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
"This is a federal question," he said. "This is about the rights of individuals to be treated equally and not be stigmatized."
And they may go up against Ken Starr, the former prosecutor who almost got President Clinton removed from office over the Monica Lewinsky affair. Starr successfully argued before the California Supreme Court to uphold Proposition 8.
"Gay and lesbian kids are four times more likely to commit suicide than their straight brothers and sisters, and four times more likely if they come from an unaccepting environment," Black said. "I tuned in and I was watching the pundits on either side, and I was listening to the pundits who were afraid of equality saying gay marriage hurts their family and children. It's the exact opposite; it's the homophobic thoughts that hurt the citizens."
Gay rights groups are starting work to gather the 700,000 signatures required to place a repeal of Proposition 8 before voters in November 2010.
Both Equality California and the Courage Campaign, a political action group based in Los Angeles, said they had polled their members in recent days and found overwhelming support for going back to voters next year instead of waiting until 2012.
But they may still find an uphill battle: A poll of 600 California voters by CBS Station KPIX said that 56 percent agree with the Court's decision to uphold Proposition 8, although 60 percent agreed with the Court's decision not to nullify the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed last year.
Earlier in the day, police arrested at least 175 protesters after a large crowd blocked a major intersection to protest the ruling.
In New York City, more than a thousand people marched from Sheridan Square to Union Square to rally support for same-sex marriage, reports CBS Station WCBS. New York state lawmakers are poised to make a decision on same-sex marriage legislation some time next month.
"Those who use anti-gay rhetoric in religion are practicing religious bigotry," said Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum.
"Children need families, people need to love and we need to move forward, not backward," Drew Barrymore said. "What defines a family? We do!"
On Tuesday, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints praised the decision by the California Supreme Court to uphold a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.
In a statement, the church said it "recognizes there are deeply held feelings on both sides, but strongly affirms its belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman."
The church said it believes marriage has profound implications for society that range from "what our children are taught in schools to individual and collective freedom of religious expression and practice."
Affirmation, an international support group for gay, lesbian and transgender Mormons, expressed regret over the ruling and the role that church played in Prop. 8.
"The church which preaches that family is to be valued above all else has squandered millions of dollars to tear our families apart," said David Melson of Silver Spring, Md., the organization's executive director.
"As much as people have tried to reach out during Proposition 8, we need to reach out even more now," said Laura Compton, a Mormon from Cupertino, Calif., who help create the Web site mormonsformarriage.com.
"I think there will be a lot of Mormons who are going to feel like they've been righteously upheld, that the court decision is a sign that God is on their side," Compton said. "I hope it doesn't lead to a rash of 'I told you so's.'"
Linda Stay of St. George quit the church last fall over the gay marriage issue. Tuesday's ruling was bittersweet for her family, who have been Mormons for several generations. Two of her nine children are gay. Both live in California, but only one was married during the window when gay marriage was legal last summer.
The court ruling did not invalidate those marriages.
"We're grateful that my son and his returned (Mormon) missionary husband's marriage gets to stand, but for my daughter, who didn't have someone she was ready to marry at that time, it's heartbreaking," she said.
San Francisco graphic designer and lifetime Mormon Lisa Fahey said she hopes that her church services on Sunday will be free of righteous messaging. For now, she said she won't let the differences of opinion keep her from church and she'll keep fighting for equality.
"I'm an active faithful member of the church. Just because we have different views on gay marriage doesn't mean I'm any less a member," Fahey said. "I like to say I'm a missionary for the church. A missionary showing that not all Mormons are against gay marriage."
Sunday, May 24, 2009
- Best Book: "Massacre at Mountain Meadows," (Oxford University Press) by Ronald W. Walker, Richard E. Turley and Glen M. Leonard
- Steven F. Christensen Best Documentary Award: "The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals, Volume 1 1832-1839," (The Church Historians Press) compiled by Dean C. Jessee, Mark Ashurst-McGee and Richard L. Jensen of the Church History Department.
- Smith-Petit Best First Book: "At Sword's Point: A Documentary History of the Utah War to 1858," (University of Oklahoma Press) by William P. MacKinnon.
- Ella Larsen Turner -- Ella Ruth Turner Begera Best Biography Award: "Mormonism's Last Colonizer: The Live and Times of William H. Smart" (Utah State University Press) by William B. Smart
- Ella Larsen Turner -- Ella Ruth Turner Begera Best Biography Award: "Leonard J. Arrington: A Historian's Life" (The Arthur H. Clark Co.) by Gary Topping.
- Leonard J. Arrington Award for distinguished and meritorious service to Mormon History: Edward Leo Lyman, distinguished scholar of Western transportation and community history, specializing in Mormon politics and migrations.
- Best Article Award: "An 'American Mahomet': Joseph Smith, Muhamed, and the Problem of Prophets in Antebellum America" by Spencer J. Fluhman (Journal of Mormon History).
- Honorable mentions for published articles: Samuel Brown for "The Translator and the Ghostwriter: Joseph Smith and W. W. Phelps" (Journal of Mormon History) and Matthew Bowman for "The Crisis of Mormon Christology: History, Progress and Protestantism" (Fides Et Historia, Journal of the Conference on Faith and History).
- Best Dissertation Award: Zion Rising: Joseph Smith's Early Social and Political Thought (Arizona State University) by Mark Ashurst-McGee.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Religion & Ethics Newsweekly's next broadcast (Sunday, May 24, 6:30 AM, KBYU and KUED) "covers the support of Proposition 8 by Mormon Church leaders" and can be viewed here.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
From Kristine at By Common Consent
Sacred Space Symposium – 3 June, BYU
First Session: Hinckley Center Assembly Hall
9:15 Welcome: Cecil Samuelson, President, BYU
9:30-10:10 Terryl Givens, Professor of Literature and Religion,
James A. Bostwick Chair of English, University of Richmond
"Contexts for an LDS Temple Theology"
Chair: Emily Gray, Assistant Professor of
History, Norwich University, Vermont
10:20-11:00 Richard A. Cohen, Professor of Philosophy, Director
Institute of Jewish Thought & Heritage, U of Buffalo (SUNY)
"Place, Sacred Space, and Utopia"
Chair: Ralph Hancock, Associate Professor
of Political Science, BYU
11:10-11:50 Jeanne Halgren Kilde, Director of Religious Studies
Program, University of Minnesota
"Foregrounding the Background: Power and
Proximity in Christian Space"
Chair: Wade Hollingshaus, Assistant
Professor, Theatre and Media Arts, BYU
12:00-12:40 Hamid Mavani, Assistant Professor of Islamic
Studies, Claremont Graduate University
"The Prophet Muhammad: 'The Whole Earth is a
Mosque (masjid) and is Sacred'"
Chair: Doris Dant, Associate Teaching
Professor, Linguistics and English Language, BYU
Second Session: Joseph F. Smith Building B192
2:00-2:40 Michael Fishbane, Nathan Cummings Professor of
Jewish Studies, Divinity School, University of Chicago
"Sacred Space and Divine Presence in the Hebrew Bible"
Chair: Brandie Siegfried, Associate
Professor of English, BYU
2:50-3:30 Steven Olsen, Managing Director, Church History
Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
"The Mormon Quest for Zion"
Chair: Richard N. Williams, Professor of
Psychology; Director, Wheatley Institution, BYU
3:40-4:20 Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Associate Professor of Religious
Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"The Clock and the Compass: Steering Toward Zion"
Chair: Reid Neilson, Assistant Professor
of Church History, BYU
8:00-9:30 Panel discussion; Richard Bushman, moderator
Papers & Authors
- An Introduction to The Book of Commandments and Revelation, Robert J. Woodford, Joseph Smith Papers, LDS Church History Department, Salt Lake City, UT
- From Manuscript to Printed Page: An Analysis of the History of The Book of Commandments and Revelations, Robin Scott Jensen, Joseph Smith Papers, LDS Church History Department, Salt Lake City, UT
- Insights on the Origins of Some Early LDS Revelations, Steven C. Harper, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- The Impact of The Book of Commandments and Revelations on Common Constructions of the Mormon Past, Grant Underwood, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- A Mission to Danger: Edward Hunter Snow and the Southern States Mission, 1886-1888, Thomas G. Alexander, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Nineteenth-Century Missiology of the Bedfordshire Conference, Ronald E. Bartholomew, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Closer to the Truth than All other Preachers: Missiological Analyses of the Turkish Mission, 1884-1895, Blair G. Van Dyke, Orem LDS Institute of Religion, Orem, UT
- Historical and Geographical Beginnings of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), R. Jean Addams, Woodinville, WA
- The Theology of Confrontation: How the Identity of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) Was Shaped by Its Responses to Other Latter Day Saints, Jason R. Smith, Duncan, OK
- The RLDS Transformation, 1958-2008, William D. Russell, Graceland University, Lamoni, IA
- Politics and the Nauvoo Conflict: Examining the Nauvoo Conflict Through a Sociological Lens, Jonathan J. Morgan, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Conflict during the Nauvoo Era: Examining How Unique Economic Conditions Produced Sociological, Implications Contributing to the Tension, James Phillips, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- The Nauvoo Economy: Unique or Just Another Western Boom Town?, Caye Wycoff, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- As Fire Shut Up in My Bones: The Publication of the 1840 Edition of the Book of Mormon, Kyle R. Walker, Brigham Young University-Idaho, Rexburg, ID
- Mother Tongue: KJV Language in Smith Family Discourse, Lavina Fielding Anderson, Editor, Journal of Mormon History, Salt Lake City, UT
- The Rise and Fall of Yelrome, Hancock County, Illinois: Isaac Morleys Pursuit of the Perfect Community, Douglas Major, Paso Robles, CA
- Edmund Durfee, the Other Martyr, Jesse M. Richardson, Hesperia, CA
- Virginia Race Records, Indian Identity, and Mormon Priesthood, Ruth Knight Bailey, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
- Is This Racial Freedom?: Student Perceptions of the Civil Rights Movement at Brigham Young University, Ardis Kay Smith, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Racial Folklore in McConkies Mormon Doctrine, 1958-2009: Exploring the Historical Context, Stirling Adams, Orem, UT
- Mormon Connections to Lincoln-Era Springfield, Bryon C. Andreasen, Research Historian, Abraham Lincoln, Presidential Library, Springfield, IL
- An Appraisal of Some Myths Surrounding the Trials of John D. Lee, 1875-1876, Robert H. Briggs, Fullerton, CA
- Myths, Responsibility, and the Mountain Meadows Massacre, Lawrence Coates, Brigham Young University-Idaho, Rexburg, ID
- The Bloodiest Drama Ever Perpetrated on American Soil: Staging the Mountain Meadows Massacre for, Entertainment, Melvin L. Bashore, LDS Church History Library, Salt Lake City, UT
- LDS Growth Patterns in the Southern States Mission, 1890-1920, Mark Brown, Baton Rouge, LA
- Mormon Missionaries in Southwest Texas, 1898-1915, Edward H. Jeter, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX
- The Un-gathered: The Religious Lives of Mormons in the American South, 1875-1910, Christopher C. Jones, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- I Wanted with All My Heart to be Good: Nancy Tracys Conversion Process, Rachel Cope, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
- Waiting for Her Children: Womens Conceptions of the Mother in Heaven, 1870-1920, Susanna Morrill, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR
- The Strange Case of the Browett Women: Four British Women on the Mormon Frontier, Amy Harris, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Your Second in an Affair of Honor: The Relationship of Brigham Young and Thomas L. Kane, Matthew J. Grow, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN
- Forging a Relationship: Young and Kane in the American Midwest, 1846, Ronald W. Walker, Salt Lake City, UT
- Food Safe: Domestic Science, the Word of Wisdom, and Leah Widtsoes Campaign to Save Souls through, Proper Nutrition, Kate Holbrook, Boston University, Boston, MA
- The Body Evil and the Body Celestial: Nineteenth-Century Shaker and Mormon Theologies of Embodiment, and Sacred Foodways, Stephen C. Taysom, Franklin College, Franklin, IN
- Escaping the Destroying Angel: Immortality and the Word of Wisdom in Early Mormonism, Samuel Brown, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT
- Tar and Feathers: American Mob Violence and Mormons, John Kimball Alexander, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
- Motives of the Carthage Mob, Debra J. Marsh, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
- Blaming the Jews: Revisioning Revisionist Accounts of the Mormon Expulsion from Nauvoo, Breck England, Bountiful, UT
- Before the White City: Exhibiting Mormonism in America, 1830-1890, Reid L. Neilson, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Was Early Mormon Millennialism Politically Revolutionary?: A Comparison with Two Other Mid-Nineteenth Century, Millennial Religious Movements, Lawrence Foster, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
- Gentile Poetry and Songs of the Utah War, Kenneth L. Alford, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Mormonism in Arkansas, Then and Now: The Dawning of a Brighter Day, Gregory K. Armstrong, University of Arkansas-Ft. Smith, Van Buren, AR
- Work Toward Reconciliation: A History of Efforts between Descendants Groups and the LDS Church, Barbara Jones Brown, South Jordan, UT
- We Shall Contend Inch by Inch: A Mormon Rhetoric of Civil Disobedience, 1882-1887, David J. Pulsipher, Brigham Young University-Idaho, Rexburg, ID
- Bickering Over Beck: Mormon Womens Petition Resistance to Julie B. Becks Mothers Who Know, Talk, Andrea G. Radke-Moss, Brigham Young University-Idaho, Rexburg, ID
- Long Shall His Blood . . . Stain Illinois: Carthage Jail in Mormon Memory, Brian Q. Cannon, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Skulls and Crossed Bones?: A Forensic Analysis of the Remains of Hyrum and Joseph Smith, Curtis Weber, Orem, UT
- Constructing an Identity: Latter-day Saint Architecture in Nineteenth-Century Illinois, Tiffany Taylor Bowles, Athens, IL
- According to the Pattern: Expectations of Unified and Scriptural-Based Models in Nineteenth-Century, Mormon Architecture, Brad Westwood, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- The Great God, The OverSoul, and Pluralistic Pantheism: Orson Pratts Intelligent-Matter Theory and the, Gods of Emerson and James, Jordan T. Watkins, Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, CA
- Rational Supernaturalism: Early Mormonism and Enlightened-Romantic Rhetoric, Benjamin E. Park, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Film Screening, Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons, Presenters: Margaret Blair Young and Darius Gray, Update on the Joseph Smith Papers and Website, Ronald K. Esplin, Joseph Smith Papers, LDS Church History Department, Salt Lake City, UT
- Getting the Most Out of the Smith Papers, Mark Ashurst-McGee, Joseph Smith Papers, LDS Church History Department, Salt Lake City, UT
- Advances in LDS Geographical Research and Cartography at the Joseph Smith Papers Project, Richard L. Jensen, Joseph Smith Papers, LDS Church History Department, Salt Lake City, UT
- Examining the FLDS Raid and Polygamy: Local and International ContextsPanel Discussion, Janet Bennion, Lyndon State College, Lyndonville, VT, Ken Driggs, Atlanta, GA, Gary Shepherd, Oakland University, Rochester, MI, Gordon Shepherd, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR, Arland Thornton, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, Linda F. Smith, S. J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
- Josephites, Brighamites, and Illinois Officials: The Role of the Churches and the State in the Restoration of, Nauvoo, Benjamin C. Pykles, State University of New York, Potsdam, Potsdam, NY
- Application of Ground-Penetrating Radar to Documenting the Nineteenth-Century Physical Environment of, Nauvoo: A Prospectus, John McBride, Brigham Young University Provo, UT
- The Return: The LDS Churchs Transforming Nauvoo from a Site of Dispersion into One of Intersection, Scott C. Esplin, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Habeas Corpus in Early Nineteenth-Century Illinois: Uses or Abuses, Jeffrey N. Walker, Joseph Smith Papers, LDS Church History Department, Salt Lake City, UT
- General Smith Goes to Springfield: Triumph amid a Gathering Storm, Morris A. Thurston, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- The Road to Martyrdom: The Expositor and Treason Cases, Joseph J. Bentley, Joseph Smith Papers, LDS Church History Department, Salt Lake City, UT
- James Adams: The Link between Abraham Lincoln and Joseph Smith, Susan Easton Black, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Sangamo Journals Rebecca and the Democratic Pets: Abraham Lincolns Interaction with the Church of, Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mary Jane Woodger, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Pragmatic Lincoln and Moralistic Garfield: How LDS Ties before Their Presidencies Affected Their White, House Views of the Saints, Michael K. Winder, Utah Board of State History, West Valley City, UT
- Ex-Apostle Lyman E. Johnson and the Nauvoo Mormons, Bill Shepard, Burlington, WI Mormons and the I & M Canal, Vickie Cleverley Speek, Minooka, IL
- An Illinois Farmer in Utah Territory: A. J. Rynearsons Illinois Farming Heritage and Eventual Return to, His Peoria Roots as a Mormon Missionary, Gerald M. Haslam, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- The Mormons and Americas Empires, Walter T. K. Nugent, Andrew V. Tackles Professor Emeritus of History, Notre Dame University, Notre Dame, IN
- Stephen A. Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Mormon Problem: The 1857, Springfield Debate, William P. MacKinnon, Independent historian, Santa Barbara, CA
- The Forgotten Story of Nauvoo Celestial Marriage, George D. Smith, San Francisco, CA
- Andrew Jenson and the Wives of Joseph Smith: Opening the Black Box, Don Bradley, Salt Lake City, UT
- Unpacking the Box: New Insights into Joseph Smiths Polygamy, Brian C. Hales, Layton, UT
- First Person Once Removed: The Pseudonymous Writings of Emmeline B. Wells, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Brigham Young University (emeritus), Salt Lake City, UT
- Emmelines Nauvoo Novel and Her Outreach to East Coast Literary Lions, Cherry Bushman Silver, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Inside and Outside 1890s Mormondom with Cactus, Home Literature Writer, Michigan Medical Student, Lisa Olsen Tait, University of Houston, Houston, TX
- Mary Ann Angell Youngs Nauvoo Experience, Jeffery O. Johnson, Joseph Smith Papers, LDS Church History Department, Salt Lake City, UT
- The Nauvoo House, Alex D. Smith, Joseph Smith Papers, LDS Church History Department, Salt Lake City, UT
- Mourning the Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo: Material Culture Surrounding Joseph Smiths Death in the, Context of 1840s Illinois, Mark L. Staker, LDS Church History Museum, Salt Lake City, UT
- Consecrating a Community: Uses and Perceptions of Holy Oil, 1834-1955, Kristine Wright, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
- No Uncommon Thing: Collaborative Male-Female Ritual Healing in Mormonism, Jonathan A. Stapley, Bellevue, WA
- Making Sense of LDS Sealings: A Liturgical Analysis, Kathleen Flake, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
- Alpheus Cutler at Nauvoo: Another Interpretation of His Experiences, Roles, and Activities, Danny L. Jorgensen, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
- The Crucible: Lucius Nelson Scovils Nauvoo Experience, Kristine Wardle Frederickson, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Nauvoo, Illinois, Family and Local History Sources, Kip Sperry, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Authors and Book Titles, E. Leo Lyman, Amasa Mason Lyman, Mormon Apostle and Apostate: A Study in Dedication (Salt Lake City:, University of Utah Press, 2009), Matthew J. Grow, Liberty to the Downtrodden: Thomas L. Kane, Romantic, Reformer, (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2009)
- Believing Blood in the Borderlands: Early Mormon and Protestant Missionary Efforts on the U.S.-Mexico, Border, Jared Tamez, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
- Red, White, and Mormon: Race and the Making of a Mormon-Indian Body, W. Paul Reeve, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
- Gathering the Scattered Children of Lehi: Constructions of Whiteness and Israelite Lineage in the Pacific, Islands Missions, Stanley J. Thayne, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Mormon Enigma, Emma Hale Smith Revisited: Twenty-Five Years LaterPanel Discussion, Jan Shipps, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (emeritus), Bloomington, Indiana, Paul M. Edwards, Center for the Study of the Korean War, Graceland University, Lamoni, Iowa, Linda King Newell, Co-author, Mormon Enigma, Salt Lake City, UT
- Constructing Mormon Communities: A Theoretical Approach, An Approach to Mormon Worship, 1830-2008, Matthew Bowman, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
- Framing Early Twentieth-Century Mormon Pilgrimage: Photography, Contestation, and the Kirtland Temple, David J. Howlett, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
- Itinerant Mormons: Cultural and Religious Interlopers in Jacksonian-Era Illinois, Rick John Taylor, Urbana LDS Institute of Religion, Urbana, IL
- Nauvoo in the Civil War, Kevin W. Bryant, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL
- Wilford C. Wood and the Nauvoo Masonic Hall, J. Taylor Hollist, State University of New York-Oneonta, Oneonta, NY
- Garden Grove, Iowa: Analysis of a Mormon Way Station, 1846-52, Jill N. Crandell, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- 1852: The Traffic Jam Year on the Mormon Trail that Completed the Nauvoo Exodus, William G. Hartley, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- When the Saints Came Marching In: The Latter-day Saints in St. Louis, Fred E. Woods, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Let Them Importune at the Feet of the President: Joseph Smiths Journey to Washington, Jeffrey G. Cannon, Joseph Smith Papers, LDS Church History Department, Salt Lake City, UT
- John Wentworth and His Political Support for the Mormons, Richard K. Behrens, Midway, UT
- Judge Popes Federal Courtroom: Scene of Joseph Smiths Hearing, December 1842-January 1843, Kathleen S. Thomas, Old State Capitol Foundation, Springfield, IL
- Render unto Caesar: The Plight of Nineteenth-Century Polygamists, Kathryn M. Day
But last semester (Winter 2009), the BYU-Idaho administration announced that both the College Republicans and the College Democrats, (both student-run political organizations), would be dissolved in an effort to comply with changes to the BYU-Idaho political neutrality policy.
"We are trying to ensure that BYU-Idaho is a politically neutral campus," said Andy Cargal, a BYU-Idaho public relations representative. "As a private institution and being affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we feel that it is in the best interest of our university to be politically neutral.
PBS stations are debating the limits of one of public television's basic commandments: Thou shalt not broadcast religious programming. The discussion, some station managers fear, could lead to a ban on faith-oriented programs that have appeared on public stations for decades despite the prohibition.
The Public Broadcasting Service's board is to vote next month on a committee's recommendation to strip the affiliation of any station that carries "sectarian" content.
Under bylaws enacted in 1985, PBS stations are required to present programs that are noncommercial, nonpartisan and nonsectarian. The rules were put in place to ensure balance and fairness among PBS-affiliated stations.
The definition of "nonsectarian" programming has always been loosely interpreted, and the rule has never been strictly enforced, according to PBS officials.
The current proposal would deem "religious services of faith-based groups" as inappropriate. "The intent is for [PBS stations] to show editorial independence," Lawson said.
KBYU in Provo, Utah, for example, is operated by Brigham Young University, which in turn is affiliated with the Mormon Church. The station airs much of the usual PBS fare -- "Arthur," "Barney," "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer" -- but also broadcasts two hours a day of "BYU Devotional," which includes lectures from leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Content for the station comes from the vast archives of the Church, along with several new series created specifically for this station. The Mormon Channel also features great programming from various partner organizations, including Deseret Book, Bonneville, the Deseret News, LDS Business College, and the campuses of Brigham Young University.
You can listen to the Mormon Channel live online anytime at radio.lds.org. There are also downloads and podcasts of content available at the same address.
More can be read here.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Location: Claremont Graduate University,
Held in cooperation with the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies and the Claremont Mormon Studies Student Association.
"Upon All Nations - Religious Pluralism"
Abstracts of presentations
Sharon Adams - Looking at Mormonism and Shambhala Buddhism Through the Lens of Religious Pluralism
One way to approach the topic of religious pluralism from an LDS perspective is to focus on a comparative study between Mormonism and the teachings, sacred histories/texts and means of divine revelation from a different religious tradition. In this paper I will demonstrate how Shambhala Buddhism may offer, not only in its developmental historical trajectory but also in its core teachings, a clarifying and in some ways complementary reflection of certain aspects of Mormonism. In providing a comparison of how Mormonism and Shambhala Buddhism fits within their respective "western" and "eastern" traditions, I will focus on how each provides a type of "restoration" of Christ's and the Buddha's original and most sacred teachings. Implicit in this comparison is the role that Joseph Smith and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche played as prophet, seer, revelator, and tertön (treasure discoverer) in restoring the authoritative power and teachings in their respective traditions. Through my comparative analysis I attempt to bring forward aspects of both lineages that emphasize the need to move toward a more inclusive and ecumenical approach to the study of religion. I argue that efforts in exploring religious pluralism in such a manner will lead not only to greater understanding from the standpoint of each tradition, but it may also encourage greater opportunities for inter-religious dialogue.
Jacob Baker - "God With Us": Panentheism, Pansyntheism, and the Mormon Concept of God
"Though originally developed over two centuries ago in Western thought, the concept of panentheism has become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional theism and pantheism. It seeks to avoid both isolating God from the world (the absolute transcendence of traditional theism) and identifying God with the world (the absolute immanence of pantheism), by seeking a middle position that asserts that the Being of God penetrates the whole universe, so that every part of it exists in him, but that His Being is yet more than the universe. Proponents of a panentheistic view of God argue that panentheism fulfills theology's central task of articulating the appropriate harmony between immanence and transcendence, as well as a satisfactory reconciliation with contemporary science. To date there has been no extended treatment of a comparison between the Mormon concept of God and panentheism. Such an exercise in comparative religion would serve to help insert the Mormon concept of God into contemporary scholarly discourse. This paper seeks to lay a groundwork for such a comparison. There are interesting parallels and dissimilarities between the two concepts, but I will ultimately argue that the Mormon concept of God does not fit comfortably into theistic, pantheistic, or even panentheistic categories. Instead, the Mormon concept of God might more accurately be described as "pansyntheistic," a term coined by theologian Ruth Page and closely related to panentheism."
Brian Birch - "Treasure them Up": Providence, Pluralism, and the Plan of Salvation
As the LDS Church moves into a more inclusive phase of its development, questions of religious diversity will become increasingly relevant. A well-known maxim among Latter-day Saints is Joseph Smith's declaration that "we should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true 'Mormons.'" One important means of gathering and treasuring these principles is the effort to make theological sense of them. Questions thus emerge: What are possible candidates for these "principles"? Can Mormons declare as true a Hindu, Muslim, or Catholic principle? How tradition-specific can religious concepts be in order for it to possess this kind of truth-value? What concept of truth is required for this kind of inclusivism? This paper will explore these questions and examine some theological implications of a Mormon theology of religions.
Richard Bushman - On Being Ill at Ease in the World
Mormonism, like every other American cultural system, is nestled in the midst of the great cultural systems dominating our time: science, democracy, and capitalism. With none of these is it perfectly at ease. Despite the efforts of individual Mormons to demonstrate compatibility with each one of these systems, Mormonism chides and chafes each one of them. Efforts to achieve perfect harmony not only lead to the idolatries of our era, they dilute Mormonism. Implicit in our belief is a potent critique of culture which it would be a mistake to dissipate in our eagerness to fit in. Our task is to make the most of the creative tensions with the ambient culture and to enjoy being ill at ease.
James Faulconer - The Secular and the Sacred
Secularity is a necessary condition of contemporary democracy. One need know little history to know the horrors that a nonsecular government can wreak. Nevertheless, we are short-changed if secularism is not augmented by "prophets" in a broad sense, by the ethical intuitions of thosethrough whom at least the sacred and perhaps also the holy are revealed. Secularism seems to have no need of prophets. It cannot understand them because they stand outside the horizon of its possibilities. Yet it is precisely that position outside that makes the prophets valuable to secular society. Being outside, the prophets can bring the sacred into secularism, raising the question of justice and giving secularity a ground from which to make just decisions.
Alonzo Gaskill - Mormonism, Hagiography, and the Virgin Mary: A Look at the Role of Patron Saints in LDS Belief and Practice
Throughout the church's history, Latter-day Saint leaders have occasionally publically expressed their discomfort with the place of patron saints in Roman Catholic worship and practice. It seems fair to say that such criticisms are, more often than not, the result of misunderstandings as to what the official teaching of the Roman Catholic church is on saints, their role and powers. This paper will seek to do two things: (1) establish what the official position of the Catholic church is on patron saints, and (2) show that Mormonism has their own patron saints that function in ways very similar to Catholic saints.
Farooq Hassan - Pluralistic practices in the life of prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
The concept of pluralism and its dimensions promoted in Islam has been attested to by comments from the international community in various publications and fora. Islam is being labeled as the "enemy of the civilization," but the fact is that pluralism was a reality that Islam addressed at its very beginning 1400 years ago. Islam approves of tolerance among individuals, groups, states and family members. The teaching of the Quran and the transparent life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) prove the pluralistic approach and utmost tolerance in Islam at all levels in life with all human beings. Muhammad (PBUH) preached and practiced tolerance and acceptance towards non-Muslims in every walk of life. Islam can be properly understood by nonMuslims if projected theoretically as well as practically in the right spirit by Muslims in general and scholars in particular. Muslims and people of all other religions face common challenges and dilemmas which have to be understood. All of us have to share the planet Earth; no matter what religion we belong to. So why should we not do it gracefully—in the true, pluralistic way?
Blair Hodges - C. S. Lewis, Latter-day Saints, and the "Virtuous Unbeliever"
"You ask me my religious views," an 18-year old C.S. Lewis responded to lifelong friend Arthur Greeves. "I believe in no religion. . . Superstition of course in every age has held the common people, but in every age the educated and thinking ones have stood outside it." Almost fifteen years later he confessed to Arthur, "How deep I am just now beginning to see: for I have just passed on from believing in God to definitely believing in Christ—in Christianity." Since the 1950s various Latter-day Saints have shown particular interest in Lewis's religious and fictional works. This paper will make use of Lewis's recently published collected letters to argue that Lewis's transition from atheism to Christianity led him to view conversion in general as a process of "coming home" to God by retaining good and rejecting evil. For Lewis and Latter-day Saints alike, various beliefs can be seen as stepping stones or signposts pointing to higher truths on the road home. Part of Lewis's wide appeal results from an ecumenical view of other religions that is similar to (though looser than) that of Latter-day Saints. Lewis sought for ways to hope for those not converted to Christianity during mortality—those whom he referred to as "virtuous unbelievers." Because Lewis never came close to joining the LDS Church, he raises interesting questions on the eternal status of non-LDS inspired voices; to Latter-day Saints, Lewis is the virtuous unbeliever. Often quoted by LDS General Authorities, teachers and authors, Lewis is representative of God"s inspiration which Latter-day Saints believe can (and does) exist apart from official LDS channels.
Jennifer Lane - I Am among You As One that Serveth
The status of women in LDS doctrine and practice is currently vigorously debated. This paper briefly highlights points of doctrinal distinctiveness in relation to traditional Christianity, but argues that to emphasize these doctrines above the life and imitation of Christ is a profound misunderstanding of Church doctrine and the message of Christianity. Efforts to emphasize the divine identity and role of women are important, but must also be seen in light the radical demands of the imitation of Christ and the model of servanthood that he offers. This discipleship of service is, however, a path that each must freely embrace.
Jared Ludlow - Uniting All Peoples by the Gospel
As an apostle, David O. McKay undertook a world mission tour in 1921. One of his stops was Laie, Hawaii, where he "witnessed a most impressive and inspiring sight" as 127 children from many nationalities participated in a U.S. flag raising ceremony. When President McKay later recalled the flag raising ceremony of 1921, he referred to it as a "melting pot." This paper explores McKay's vision of bringing together diverse ethnicities and backgrounds—taught in American principles (and even language), but especially unified under the gospel of Jesus Christ—and compares it with the concept of the "melting pot" which originated in an early 1900s Broadway play. In this play, actors in various ethnic costumes descended into a "melting pot" and then reemerged from the other side dressed as "Americans." Was this the international experience President McKay envisioned when using the term "melting pot"?
Paul Miller - Subjectivity and the Sovereignty of God: Engaging with Karl Barth on Revelation Theology
While a propositional model of revelation is vital in developing doctrine and legitimizing priesthood authority, my paper focuses on the comparable need for an experiential model that clarifies how ordinary people receive and interpret divine revelation. As a theological ethicist, I am interested in the role of prudential judgment in discerning God's will for the present moment. In taking the reality of continuing revelation seriously, Latter-day Saints are well aware of the problems associated with spiritual discernment. Mormon leaders appeal to various principles to assist members in understanding the revelatory process, such as the claim that revelation applies to each person's stewardship and that God honors human agency. My paper seeks to clarify and evaluate these criteria by exploring the revelation theology of Karl Barth. I highlight his warnings against anthropocentrism, his central concern with acknowledging the freedom and sovereignty of God, and his views on the role of inspiration in transmitting canonized doctrine to succeeding generations.
Jason Monson - Mormonism and the Religious Other
There are numerous reasons for Latter-day Saints to be interested in the 'religious other' and a variety of positions one can take in approaching them. These various positions are fully addressed in Schmidt-Leukel's theological typology which considers all logical possibilities of theological approaches to other faith traditions within the categories of exclusivism, inclusivism, and pluralism. The diversity of views in Latter-day Saint scriptures, and particularly in the words of LDS Church leaders, allow them to be used to justify each of these theological positions by placing emphasis on particular passages at the expense of others. Although the inclusivist position appears to be the most common in LDS teachings and the most widely accepted, exclusivist notions are still evident and the possibility remains for a form of 'Mormon Pluralism.'
Mark Olsen - On the Corruptibility of Matter: The Possibilities for a Material Version of an Immortal Soul
Jan Erik Jones argues that Mormon materialism, together with certain assumptions about the corruptibility of matter, require the belief that the functional elements (or Lockean "nodes") of the soul are constantly transferred by God to other actual material constituents in the face of traumatic physical events. I argue in this paper that such a view of constant transfer of functional elements is not necessary, and that furthermore, it defies Mormon orthodoxy in insisting that matter is inherently corruptible. In the process of resolving, however, the problems raised by Jones's argument, I propose a view of matter that allows that some middle sized objects may be affected by radically traumatic physical events without dissolution.
Randall Paul - Sociality: Pluralism in the Experience and Thought of Joseph Smith, Jr.
While Joseph Smith did not directly address the topic of religious pluralism in a systematic theory, he seemed to decry it in the First Vision but embrace it in Nauvoo when he made practical appeals for reciprocal religious acceptance. I will discuss how he negotiated this tension with his radical belief that the love of God could not be coerced and really be love—nor could God win a believing heart by any power other than persuasion. Religious freedom (which means religious pluralism) was a theological tenet of his religion based in the sociality of a God who desires loving unity and real difference. After detailing the theological structure of Mormon pluralism, the sociality of gods, I conclude by discussing how some of Joseph Smith's statements pertaining to religious pluralism and conflict might be useful for advocates of any tradition.
Chris Smith - Sibling Rivalry: Mormonism and Pentecostals
Pentecostals and Mormons have more unfavorable views of each other than of other Christian groups. To a large degree, this animosity stems from their similarities rather than from their differences. The two groups sects share a common ancestry, similar maps of the universe, similar theologies and experiences, and similar missionary ambitions. Despite modest strides toward reconciliation in the United States, it is likely that mutual demonization will continue for the foreseeable future, especially as the two faiths compete for converts in the global south. Both groups must overcome significant theological and cultural obstacles to dialogue if they are to leave sibling rivalry behind in the spirit of Christian brotherhood.
Joseph Spencer - Omnipotent Weakness: Toward a Mormon Doctrine of God's Omnipotence
John D. Caputo has, in The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event, argued that the traditional distinction between God as ontologically existent and God as ontologically non-existent should be deconstructed, making way for a third possibility—one might worship God as ontologically deferred. In the end, however, such a move can be revealed to be an essential politicization of God: the ontologically deferred God is the evental God of politics. Alain Badiou and Jean-Luc Marion provide a possible framework for making sense of what is ultimately at stake in Caputo's politicization of God, opening the possibility of there being a fourth category for God's essence. If orthodoxy regards God as ontologically strong (omnipotent), the critical tradition regards God as aesthetically weak (impotent), and the Derridean movement regards God as politically weak (potently impotent), Mormonism might be said to regard God as amorously weak, such that omnipotence is redefined as all-loving-ness. This, in the end, cannot be separated, however, from the Mormon idea that God is a gendered person.
Tyler Stoehr - Do Mormons Really Believe That?
Although the LDS faith has enjoyed increased recognition in recent years, apparently its doctrinal message is still rather cloudy and obscure, as evidenced by the fact that Francis J. Beckwith, Carl Mosser, Paul Owen and Gregory C.V. Johnson have all recently been quoted as saying that "trying to figure out just what constitutes Mormon theology is like trying to nail Jell-O dipped in olive oil to the wall." In this paper I will argue that part of the explanation for this conclusion arises from the fact that when it comes to the LDS prophetic tradition, scholars (and perhaps even lay members), both within and without the Church, don't seem to be sure about the role said tradition is supposed to play when it comes to the interpretation and presentation of LDS doctrine. Furthermore, I will argue that in recent years LDS apologists have been trending towards a view of LDS doctrine that borders on sola scriptura, which has only served to contribute to the confusion already surrounding the LDS belief in continuing revelation and prophetic guidance. I will then assess recent attempts to approach this issue and argue that despite these efforts the LDS have yet to offer a consistent approach to their tradition. I will then offer a few suggestions for how this question might be approached.
Sheila Taylor - Doctrinal Development and Continuing Revelation
In the nineteenth century, John Henry Newman proposed a model of doctrinal development as a way of understanding revelation in the church. In this process of development, one does not add new truths to the deposit of revelation, but continues over time to unpack and better articulate the truths contained therein. This kind of approach can also be seen in the work of twentieth-century Catholic theologian Karl Rahner, who distinguishes between original transcendental revelation and its categorical articulation. In this paper, I will look at these ideas in relation to the LDS notion of continuing revelation, and argue that the differences between contemporary LDS and Catholic approaches at least partially arise from different understandings of what revelation is. I will also consider the question of how much the models actually differ when it comes to practical application.
Margaret Toscano - The Jesus Rivals: Authority and Salvation in the Mormon-Protestant Debates
Why does the position of Jesus continue to be the focal point in the debate over the Christianity of Mormons? In this paper, I suggest that the issue of authority is crucial for understanding this tension. And I take this in two different directions. First, I assert that each of the theological objections that evangelical Protestants have to the Mormon Jesus centers on the sovereignty of Christ and the Protestant rejection of an intermediary priesthood authority as necessary for salvation. Second, I link this theological question to the dynamics of the debate itself to explore the question of why LDS people want Protestant approval, especially that of evangelicals, and why Protestants won't fully give it. The crux of the issue is that Mormons can accept Protestants as Christians without giving up their authority; Protestants cannot. In both cases, Jesus is the emblem of that authority.
Miranda Wilcox - Teaching Religious Pluralism and Brigham Young University
As violence perpetuated in the name of religious ideology escalates around the world, experts of comparative religions advocate that one of the most crucial, though neglected, ethical responsibilities of a contemporary world citizen is to develop religious literacy, literacy that promotes respectful communication rather than confrontation among people of faith. These experts suggest that religious literacy ought to be a component of every college and university curriculum. Such a goal seems particularly feasible at institutions, such as Brigham Young University, where religious education is already a fundamental aspect of the curriculum. However, BYU's comprehensive focus on the Mormon tradition discourages students from encountering and engaging with alternate religious perspectives and developing a deeper understanding of their own tradition by engaging dialectically with another. Students of Brigham Young University share the responsibility of being religiously literate in multiple traditions as ethical citizens, as charitable Christians, and as faithful Latter-day Saints. Nevertheless, specific complications arise when considering the pedagogical implications and possibilities of teaching religious pluralism to a homogenous student body living in a homogenous environment. This paper will consider theological implications and practical solutions to these questions.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
An English chemist has found the hidden gateway to the RNA world, the chemical milieu from which the first forms of life are thought to have emerged on earth some 3.8 billion years ago.
He has solved a problem that for 20 years has thwarted researchers trying to understand the origin of life — how the building blocks of RNA, called nucleotides, could have spontaneously assembled themselves in the conditions of the primitive earth. The discovery, if correct, should set researchers on the right track to solving many other mysteries about the origin of life. It will also mean that for the first time a plausible explanation exists for how an information-carrying biological molecule could have emerged through natural processes from chemicals on the primitive earth.
The author, John D. Sutherland, a chemist at the University of Manchester, likened his work to a crossword puzzle in which doing the first clues makes the others easier. "Whether we've done one across is an open question," he said. "Our worry is that it may not be right."
Other researchers say they believe he has made a major advance in prebiotic chemistry, the study of the natural chemical reactions that preceded the first living cells.
The spontaneous appearance of such nucleotides on the primitive earth "would have been a near miracle," two leading researchers, Gerald Joyce and Leslie Orgel, wrote in 1999. Others were so despairing that they believed some other molecule must have preceded RNA and started looking for a pre-RNA world.
The miracle seems now to have been explained. In the article in Nature, Dr. Sutherland and his colleagues Matthew W. Powner and Béatrice Gerland report that they have taken the same starting chemicals used by others but have caused them to react in a different order and in different combinations than in previous experiments. they discovered their recipe, which is far from intuitive, after 10 years of working through every possible combination of starting chemicals.
"My assumption is that we are here on this planet as a fundamental consequence of organic chemistry," Dr. Sutherland said. "So it must be chemistry that wants to work."
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Articles (available online)
- Joseph Smith as a Creative Interpreter of the Bible, Heikki Räisänen
- The Holy Spirit in Mormonism, Douglas J. Davies
- Enlarging the Memory of Mormonism: Historian Andrew Jenson's Tales from the World Tour, 1895–1897. Enlarging the Memory of Mormonism: Historian Andrew Jenson's Tales from the World Tour, 1895–1897, Reid L. Neilson
- William Phelps's Paracletes, an Early Witness to Joseph Smith's Divine Anthropolog, Samuel Brown
- George Ramsden, the Guion Line, and the Mormon Immigration Connectio, Fred E. Woods
- The Mormon Factor in the Romney Presidential Campaign: European Perspective, Massimo Introvigne
- 19th Century Missiology of the LDS Bedfordshire Conference And its Interrelationship with other Christian Denomination, Ronald E. Bartholomew
- Reactions of Lutheran Clergy to Mormon Proselytizing in Finland, 1875–1889, Kim B. Östman
- Proclaiming The Message: A Comparison of Mormon Missionary Strategy with other Mainstream Christian Missions, Johnnie Glad
- The Martyrdoms at Ammonihah and the Foreknowledge of God, Graham St. John Stott
- The Experience of Mormon Children in English School-Based Religious Education and Collective Worship, Ronan James Head
- Justification, Theosis, and Grace in Early Christian, Lutheran, and Mormon Discourse, Grant Underwood
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The State Assembly approved legislation on Tuesday night that would make New York the sixth state to allow same-sex marriage — a pivotal vote that shifts the debate to the State Senate, where gay rights advocates and conservative groups alike are redoubling their efforts.
In a sign of how opinion in Albany has shifted on the issue, several members of the Assembly who voted against the measure in 2007 voted in favor of it on Tuesday.
The final vote was 89 to 52, including the backing of five Republicans.
"The margin of victory and the balance of where the people come from who voted for this is broadening," said Daniel J. O'Donnell, a Democratic assemblyman from the Upper West Side who led the effort in the Assembly to gain support for the bill. "The state is demanding that we provide equality, and that's the message here."
Despite the conservative pressure, two Republicans spoke on Tuesday about why they dropped their opposition to granting same-sex couples the right to marry. Three Democrats who voted no in 2007 switched their votes to yes.
"There's that little voice inside of you that tells you when you've done something right, and when you've done something wrong," said Fred W. Thiele Jr., a Republican who represents the Hamptons. "That vote just never felt right to me. That little voice kept gnawing away at me."
Forthcoming: Post-Manifesto Polygamy, The 1899-1904 Correspondence of Helen, Owen, and Avery Woodruff
The 1899-1904 Correspondence of Helen, Owen, and Avery Woodruff
edited by Lu Ann Faylor Snyder and Phillip A. Snyder
These letters among two women and their husband offer a rare look into the personal dynamics of an LDS polygamous relationship. Abraham "Owen" Woodruff was a young polygamous Mormon apostle, and the son of LDS President Wilford Woodruff, who is remembered for the Woodruff Manifesto, a divinely-inspired call for the termination of plural marriage.
The Woodruff Manifesto eased a systematic federal judicial assault on Mormons and made Utah statehood possible. It did not end polygamy in the church. Some leaders continued to encourage and perform such marriages. Owen Woodruff, himself married to Helen May Winters, contracted a secretive second marriage to Avery Clark. Pressure on the LDS church revived with hearings regarding Reed Smootâ€™s seat in the U.S. Senate. After church president Joseph F. Smith issued the so-called Second Manifesto in 1904, polygamy and its more prominent advocates were mostly expunged from mainstream Mormonism.
Owen Woodruff had often been "on the underground," moving frequently, traveling under secret identities, and using code names in his letters to his wives, while still carrying out his administrative duties, which, in particular, involved supervision of the nascent Mormon colonies in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming. He was never excommunicated, as some of his apostolic colleagues were. Both he and his first wife, Helen, while living with Avery in Mexico and preparing for a mission to Germany, contracted smallpox and died suddenly in 1904. Avery later returned to Utah with her children along with those of Helen and Owen.
A Study in Dedication
by Edward Leo Lyman
The early history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is filled with fascinating characters, but few led a more tumultuous life than Amasa Lyman. Though he has been largely forgotten, this new biography provides a unique and revealing account of the early days of Mormonism and Lyman's role in creating that history. He served as a missionary in the "burned-over" district of upstate New York and in Ohio before moving to Kirtland, where he suffered in the infant church's financial crisis. He participated in the conflicts with hostile Missourians and emigrated to Nauvoo, Illinois. There, he became a leader in the church and a close associate of Joseph Smith. Lyman then led a company of pioneers across Iowa to Winter Quarters and on to the Salt Lake Valley. He was sent to the California gold fields and led the colonization of San Bernardino, where he became its first mayor, before returning to Utah, and he traveled to Europe as head of the church's European missions.
Having spent more than thirty years in the service of his church, Lyman began to move away from its teachings after a series of conflicts with its second leader, Brigham Young. Lyman was one of the first Mormons to criticize the Mountain Meadows Massacre, which led to his dismissal as an apostle. He was excommunicated in 1870 and became one of the foremost spokesmen of the Godbeite Church of Zion movement before his death in 1877. Author Edward Leo Lyman chronicles Amasa Lyman's life and interactions with Mormon history with an honesty true to his ancestor's freethinking spirit.
A historian says the Mormon church is working diligently on an application to secure National Historic Landmark status for Mountain Meadows, the southern Utah site of a pioneer wagon train massacre.
Assistant Church Historian Richard Turley says initial feedback from National Parks Service staff to a summary proposal has been positive. The final proposal will be submitted to a U.S. Interior Department committee.
In 1857, 120 men, women and children from an Arkansas wagon train were murdered at Mountain Meadows by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mountain Meadows is already on the National Register of Historic Places. Landmark status would guarantee public access to the land, most of which is owned by the church.
Monday, May 11, 2009
- Skousen was never “closely associated with J. Edgar Hoover”.
- Skousen was NOT “one of two FBI agents authorized to speak about communism”. On sensitive subjects such as communism or internal security matters, the Bureau almost always authorized as a speaker either the FBI Chief Inspector (their expert on communist matters) OR somebody who worked within their Domestic Intelligence Division (DID) – usually a Supervisor or Section Chief. Skousen never worked in DID and he never had significant exposure to data concerning communist matters --- as his performance review comments below demonstrate. His expertise was primarily administrative (which is why you will see so many references below to his participation in FBI Field Office inspections).
- And, as the summary presented to Associate Director Tolson (quoted above) points out, “from 1947 until he resigned there were no abstracts under his name for either the internal security or espionage classifications.”