Wednesday, January 30, 2008

President Hinckley and the Will to Believe

An interesting article detailing President Hinckley's journey of faith:

Gary James Bergera "'The Challenges of Those Days,' President Gordon B. Hinckley and the Will to Believe"

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Life of Mormon church President Hinckley

Life of Mormon church President Hinckley
By JENNIFER DOBNER - Associated Press Writer --

SALT LAKE CITY --Timeline of the life of Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th
president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt
Lake City:

June 23, 1910 - Hinckley born to Bryant S. and Ada Bitner Hinckley in
Salt Lake City.

April 28, 1919 - Baptized at age 8 into the Mormon church.

June 4, 1932 - Graduates from the University of Utah with degree in arts.

June 1933-35 - Serves a church mission based in London.

August 22, 1935 - Hired as executive secretary of the first Church
Radio, Publicity and Mission Literature Committee.

April 29, 1937 - Marries Marjorie Pay in the Salt Lake temple.

1943 - Leaves church employment for position as assistant
superintendent of Salt Lake City Union Depot and Railroad Company;
moves to Denver in 1944.

1945 - Returns to Salt Lake City and resumes church employment.

1951 - Called as executive secretary of church's General Missionary
Committee to assist in creating uniform missionary lessons.

April 6, 1958 - Called as assistant to Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

April 1961 - Called as member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

July 23, 1981 - Called as second counselor to President Spencer W. Kimball.

December 2, 1982 - Called as a second counselor to President Kimball
after reorganization of First Presidency.

November 10, 1985 - Called as first counselor to President Ezra Taft Benson.

June 5, 1994 - Called as president of the Quorum of the Twelve and
first counselor to President Howard W. Hunter.

March 12, 1995 - Ordained as president of The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints.

Nov. 13, 1995 - Meets with U.S. President Bill Clinton and Vice
President Al Gore at the White House.

Sept. 23, 1995 - Issues "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," a
statement of Mormon family values.

May 19, 1996 - Dedicates Hong Kong, China Temple. First of 76 temples
to be dedicated during his presidency.

Nov. 2, 1996 - Announces establishment of Latter-day Saints Charities,
beginning the delivery of humanitarian aid worldwide.

February 14-22, 1998 - Makes first visit by a church president to West Africa.

March 31, 2001 - Announces creation of Perpetual Education Fund, to
assist returned missionaries with financing higher education.

Sept. 9-10, 2002 - Becomes first Mormon church president to visit
Russia and Ukraine.

April 4, 2004 - Marjorie Pay Hinckley dies.

June 23, 2004 - Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President
George W. Bush.

December 2005 - Marks the 200th anniversary of birth of church founder
Joseph Smith with visit to Smith's Vermont birthplace.

January 2006 - Hospitalized for removal of a cancerous portion of his
large intestine.

March 31, 2007 - Reopens Salt Lake Tabernacle after two-year
renovation and seismic improvements.

June 26, 2007 - Announces church membership had surpassed 13 million.

Jan. 27, 2008 - Dies of complications arising from old age.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What Is It About Mormonism?

I listened to this podcast and thought others might find it
interesting. One thing Feldman talked about is how the church is
changing to become more mainstream. He cited as examples of doctrine
changes the dropping of polygamy and giving the Blacks the priesthood.
I guess as a naive member of the church, I thought our doctrine has
remained the same since its inception. Are there other example of
changes in doctrine?


1/15/2008: What Is It About Mormonism?

Doug Fabrizio

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (2008-01-14) Tuesday on RadioWest, we're asking
whether the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney has revealed a form of
religious bigotry in this country. Harvard professor Noah Feldman has
been writing about the issue. He joins Doug to talk about how Mormon
culture and religion are perceived by mainstream America - and what it
means for the LDS Church's relationship with the Republican Party.

Read Noah Feldman's article What Is It About Mormonism?
in the January 6th New York Times Magazine

Monday, January 21, 2008

Relief Society / Priesthood Manual & Polygamy

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

For the first time in recent memory, a new manual Mormons will use to study the writings of founder Joseph Smith acknowledges Smith's role in introducing the practice of polygamy.
   The acknowledgment may not seem groundbreaking to many Mormons or historians, nor will it likely satisfy most critics, but its inclusion in an official course of study is a departure from past practices and may signal a new openness about Mormon history.
   The change is "not a response to critics who think the church has not been straightforward about its involvement with plural marriage in the 19th century," said David Marsh, manager of curriculum development for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "It is included . . . to illustrate a few of the doctrines or principles that do not have application to our day and which are therefore not included in the book."
   Still, it is noteworthy.
   The church launched its church presidential writings course in 1998 with Brigham Young. In Sunday meetings, the all-male priesthood and the all-female Relief Society used the same manual to separately examine Young's thoughts on a particular topic. Critics quickly noted, though, that the book's biographical sketch of Young listed only one wife, not the more than 50 women he had married. The volume made no mention of polygamy, a practice Young followed and defended throughout his life.
   Nor was polygamy acknowledged in the manual about President Joseph F. Smith, who had five wives, or the one about President Heber J. Grant, who had three.

Continue reading here

Friday, January 18, 2008


Within a few weeks the Deseret Morning News will launch Mormon, an ambitious new Web site for and about members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are doing everything we can to make Mormon a safe, healthy and robust online community, but we are still missing the most critical element: you.

Mormon will feature news and information from around the LDS Church, with online contributors who will make it lively and entertaining. But we are also going to rely on our readers to add to the site with their own experiences, wisdom and knowledge through several interactive features. Many of these interactive features are going to require that you see them before you can contribute. But there are others that you could start thinking about immediately.

For example, you are going to be the movie critic for Mormon That's right: all of you. Rather than have one designated film critic, we're going to ask all of you to share your thoughts and insights on the films you've seen here, so others can benefit from your experience. Of course, we won't be reviewing any "R" or "NC-17"-rated films, and we will limit the films that are reviewed to those that fit within the standards outlined in the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet and in the 13th Article of Faith ("virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy"). But if you've seen a movie that fits those standards (or you'd like to warn us about one that doesn't), please feel free to send your review to us at Start sending them in now and they'll be posted on Mormon when we launch!

Similarly, an online feature called "Mormon Experience" will pose a series of questions and ask for you to share your own personal experiences with these subjects. We believe this sharing will allow us to learn from each other, and edify one another with the blessings and opportunities of our lives. Here are the first questions you'll see when Mormon launches:

"What is the single best preparedness tip you've ever received?"

"How did you help your little ones learn to be reverent in Sacrament Meeting?"

"How did a home or visiting teacher really make a difference in your life?"

"What's your all-time favorite moment from a Sunday School lesson?"

"Can love survive a Valentine's Day disaster?"

Your input on these subjects would be greatly appreciated, and would help us launch Mormon with more good and insightful ideas for all who will sample this new Web site. Again, the place to send your responses to our "Mormon Experience" questions is:

And if you have ideas for upcoming "Mormon Experience" questions, send those in, too!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Baptist classification of Mormonism changing?

At the Pew Forum's biannual Faith Angle Conference on religion, politics and public life, John Green said
"I have heard, and you would want to run this down rather than quote me, that the leaders of the Baptist Convention are thinking about revising their view of Mormonism to no longer classify it as a cult, but to classify it as another form of Christianity, which is a view that a lot of sociologists and historians would adopt, but maybe not a view theologians would necessarily accept."

Has anyone heard  about this?  This would quite win for the church.

7th Annual LDS Film Festival



Tickets for all events are available beginning Monday, January 7, at 801-225-ARTS, online at or at the door. Click here for admissions information.

All events will take place at the SCERA Center for the Arts in Orem (745 South State Street) and are open to the public.


The 2008 LDS Film Festival Program is now online. A number of high-profile feature films, two strong short film competition programs and several noteworthy special screenings make this the most exciting line-up in the festival's history.

Get ready for an exciting festival beginning Wednesday, January 16.

To look up the program by schedule, click here.

To look up the program by event, click here.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Living History: Diary a glimpse at complexities of plural marriage

Living History: Diary a glimpse at complexities of plural marriage
The Salt Lake Tribune/January 6, 2008
By Kristen Rogers-Iversen

In 1884, Charles Ora Card divorced his first wife, Sarah Jane
(Sallie) Birdneau. As Charles wrote in his diary, their 16-year
marriage had been troubled with "difference in our faith." In a time
when Mormons practiced polygamy, Sallie believed "no man wants more
wives than one except to gratify his lust."

The diary does not reveal much of the beginnings of the strained
relationship, but in 1878 Charles wrote, "My wife Sallie came to me &
begged my pardon for the opposition She had made to my Self & in
regard to the principle of É [plural] mariage & Said she had a great
desire to do better. I forgave her & told her to seek the Lord & I
would help her." (Charles had married his second wife in 1876.)

The next hint of trouble came in April 1879 when Sallie was discovered
in "Intimacy" (whatever that means!) with Lewis Palmanteer. The
incident devastated Charles.

In 1883, Sallie filed for divorce. Charles wrote, "During the Last
nearly 7 yrs I have sought to avert anything of the Kind that my
family might be preserved intact and Labor in the spirit of the Gospel
for a Salvation in the Kingdom of God. Many is the day I have tried to
drown those afflictions with hard Labor & Seeking the Lord for

"After Supper a passedt an hour with her and advised her to repent for
the step she had taken was on the downward course and would lead her
to death and degradation. After which I retired tired & weary &
considerable annoyed at the course of my wife."

The following March, while Charles was courting his third wife, Sallie
again insisted on divorce. He wrote, "I am not guilty of that which I
will have to acknowledge to appease the wrath of an unjust woman who
has not faith in God and his purposes."

Fortunately for Sallie, divorce laws in Utah were relatively liberal,
and it was fairly easy for women, at least, to initiate divorce.
According to Kathryn Daynes, Mormon divorces were "simple,
non-legalistic, and participant-run. [The church] acknowledged that
irreconcilable couples were better off apart. Divorced, each could
then marry a compatible partner."

The divorce cost Card financially and personally. "I am 'dancing' to
the tune of about $2000," he wrote. Sarah got a new home and
guardianship of their two children. In January 1885, Charles asked her
"to allow our children to walk in the ways of the Lord" and told her
he was not her enemy. She wept at his "kind words."

But three months later, after an explosive run-in with his ex-wife, he
wrote, "After Laboring so hard for the Salvation of my dear children I
have to ask my God how long Shall a wicked & ungodly mother have an
influence over them."

Beliefs, interests, dispositions and commitment all contribute to the
success of modern-day marriages. Charles' diary entries give glimpses
into the added complexity and the tangle of lives and emotions that
existed in plural marriages of the time.

Was it Card's plural marriage to Sarah Jane Painter in 1876 that led
Sallie to seek intimacy outside her marriage? Why would he court other
women while trying to hold onto his first wife, whose main complaint
was that her husband was a polygamist? How do we explain Sallie's
weeping in front of her ex-husband? We can only begin to surmise the
conflicting emotions they must have felt.

As for Sallie, she went on to marry Benjamin Ramsel and testify in
court against her ex-husband on charges of unlawful cohabitation.

Sources: The Diaries of Charles Ora Card: The Utah Years, 1871-1886,
edited by Donald G. Godfrey and Kenneth W. Godfrey; More Wives Than
One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840-1910, by
Kathryn M. Daynes. To see more documents/articles regarding this

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Mormons and Jews:Early Mormon Theologies of Israel

Now Online,
Mormons and Jews:
Early Mormon Theologies of Israel

Steven Epperson

Signature Books; Salt Lake City, Utah
© 1992 by Signature Books.
Table of Contents:

Judaism in Early Nineteenth-century America and England
Jewish Identity and Destiny in the Book of Mormon
Joseph Smith's Encounter with Biblical Israel
Joseph Smith and Modern Israel
Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery: Identity of Israel and the Church
Orson Hyde and Israel's Restoration
Eschatological Pluralism


[p.vii] In the early part of March last 1840, I retired to my bed … and while contemplating and inquiring out, in my mind, the field of my ministerial labours... the vision of the Lord, like clouds of light, burst upon my view. The cities of London, Amsterdam, Constantinople, and Jerusalem all appeared in succession before me; and the Spirit said unto me, "Here are many of the children of Abraham whom I will gather to the land that I gave to their fathers, and here also is the field of your labours … Speak comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished—that her iniquity is pardoned."

—Orson Hyde, A Voice from Jerusalem... (Liverpool: Parley P. Pratt, 1847), iii

In April 1840 a small Christian denomination sent a missionary to the Holy Land who did not proselytize or teach against Jewish learning and worship. Rather, Orson Hyde was sent from the Nauvoo, Illinois, conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) to "converse with the priests, rulers and elders of the Jews and obtain from them... the present views and movements of the Jewish people" (ibid., iv); to convey words of comfort, forgiveness, and blessing from the Lord; and to call them to gather to the Holy Land of [p.viii] Promise because of a "great desolation" which placed European Jewry in peril. On the morning of 24 October 1841, Hyde climbed the Mount of Olives overlooking the city of Jerusalem and blessed the land of Israel for the gathering of "Judah's scattered remnants," for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its Temple, and for the restoration of a distinct, independent Jewish nation and government with Jerusalem as its capital (ibid., 29-32).

The intense interest of nineteenth-century Mormons in the Jewish people, Hebrew Scriptures, and the Holy Land was shared by other Christians. However, Mormon belief and practice differed from typical Christian interpretations and performances. This book presents American and British attitudes about Jews and Judaism during the early to mid-nineteenth century and then contrasts Joseph Smith's theology of covenant Israel. It discusses how the Book of Mormon and sections of the Doctrine and Covenants articulated this theology. It demonstrates how Joseph Smith interpreted Hebrew Scriptures (the "Old" Testament) and Apostolic Writings (the "New" Testament) to support the gathering of the Jewish people to Palestine and the restoration of its national commonwealth. It also examines Smith as student of Hebrew and publicist of the Jewish/Mormon encounter. The sum of Smith's contribution was the creation of an independent Christian theology of Israel which affirmed the autonomy, integrity, and continuity of covenant Israel-embodied in the life and witness of the Jewish people. Furthermore, Smith bore record, in his writings, sermons, and actions, to the ongoing importance and reality of Israel's witness to the church.

Smith's vision was not shared by all of his co-workers. Some of his closest associates propounded a different version of the relationship of Mormons to Jews. This other position bears a stronger resemblance to traditional Christian understanding which viewed Jews and Judaism in negative terms. The "extraordinary mission" [p.ix] of Mormon leader Orson Hyde to Europe and Palestine in 1840-42 was the most important early expression of Smith's vision and manifested solidarity with restorationist aspirations of the Jewish diaspora. Brigham Young, Smith's disciple and successor, continued Smith's views. His independence from classic sources of Christian theology and eschatology (teachings about "last things," "the end of the world," "life after death," etc.)—largely through ignorance of their existence—made possible a more positive view than scholarly familiarity with these traditional sources might have yielded.

Secrecy to Avoid Bigotry

The New York Times has a well done, lengthy article ("What Is It About Mormonism?") [HT Mormon Stories] discussing the church's need for, and use of secrecy from it's inception to today.  It argues that Romney's candidacy has opened another such chapter, needing to represent itself as mainstream Christians in order to avoid the "soft bigotry" in American politics.  I've included a few excerpts below, but the entire article is worth reading.

"Mormonism's political problem arises, in large part, from the disconcerting split between its public and private faces. The church's most inviting public symbols — pairs of clean-cut missionaries in well-pressed white shirts — evoke the wholesome success of an all-American denomination with an idealistic commitment to clean living. Yet at the same time, secret, sacred temple rites and garments call to mind the church's murky past, including its embrace of polygamy, which has not been the doctrine or practice of the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or LDS, for a century. Mormonism, it seems, is extreme in both respects: in its exaggerated normalcy and its exaggerated oddity. The marriage of these opposites leaves outsiders uncomfortable, wondering what Mormonism really is."

"Like Mormon ritual, much of Mormon theology remains relatively inaccessible to outsiders. The text of the Book of Mormon has always been spread to a broad audience, but the text is not a sufficient guide to understanding the details of Mormon teaching. Joseph Smith received extensive further revelation in the nature of sacred secrets to be shared with only a handful of close associates and initiates within the newly forming church."

"Growth brought publicity — and with it came not merely prejudice but outright persecution. This external persecution created a second, externally driven source for secrecy: protection."

"The Mormon path to normalization over the course of the 20th century depended heavily on this avoidance of public discussion of its religious tenets. Now that plural marriage was out of the picture, the less said the better about the particular teachings of the church, including such practices as the baptism of the dead and the doctrine of the perfectibility of mankind into divine form. Where religious or theological conversation could not be avoided, Mormons depicted themselves as yet another Christian denomination alongside various other Protestant denominations that prevailed throughout the United States."

"If 19th-century Mormon secrecy was a matter of survival, 20th-century Mormon reticence was a form of soft secrecy, designed to avoid soft bigotry. Revealing Mormon teachings would no longer have led to lynch mobs or federal arrest, but it certainly would have fueled the kind of bias that keeps politicians out of office."

"Faced with the allegation that they do not believe in the same God as ordinary Protestants, or that their beliefs are not truly Christian, Mormons find themselves in an extraordinarily awkward position. They cannot defend themselves by expressly explaining their own theology, because, taken from the standpoint of orthodox Protestantism in America today, it is in fact heterodox."

"What is more, what began as a strategy of secrecy to avoid persecution has become over the course of the 20th century a strategy of minimizing discussion of the content of theology in order to avoid being treated as religious pariahs. As a result, Mormons have not developed a series of easily expressed and easily swallowed statements summarizing the content of their theology in ways that might arguably be accepted by mainline Protestants. To put it bluntly, the combination of secret mysteries and resistance in the face of oppression has made it increasingly difficult for Mormons to talk openly and successfully with outsiders about their religious beliefs. "

"If the reality of soft bigotry does not today pose an existential threat to Mormons as explicit oppression once did, it would nevertheless undercut the hard-won public face of Mormonism as a distinctively American religion characterized by worldly accomplishment. For conservatives to reject a Mormon because he is a Mormon would be an especially harsh setback for a faith that has accomplished such extraordinary public success in overcoming a history of painful discrimination."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Mormons mourn Postum's passing

From the Salt Lake Tribine:

Generations of faithful Latter-day Saints have stored a jar of caffeine-free Postum in the cupboard, making this instant hot beverage as much of a Utah icon - or joke - as the beehive hairdo or the green Jell-O mold.
   Lately, though, Postum lovers have been stirred by emotion after learning production of this powdered coffee substitute has stopped.
   "Basically the overall demand for the product, both on a national and regional level, declined to the point that we decided to discontinue the product," said Rene Zahery, a spokeswoman for Kraft, which purchased the Post-brand products several years ago.
   "Whatever remains in the marketplace is all there is of Postum," she said.
   That's bad news for Postum lovers such as Don Corum. The Salt Lake City resident finished a jar about a month ago and hasn't been able to find a replacement at any Utah grocery stores. Desperate, he looked on the Internet, but refused to pay $8.50 for a jar that normally costs $3.50.
   Like many people, he's trying to find a substitute. There are several caffeine-free beverages from Europe, such as Pero or Cafix. But nothing has the beloved cereal-flavor of Postum.
   "I'll miss it," Corum said.
   In 1895, C.W. Post, a Seventh-day Adventist, created the powdered drink as a healthy, caffeine-free alternative to coffee. At the time it even was called Postum Food Coffee.
   Not long after its introduction, Postum became the elixir for faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who eschew coffee and tea. It became such a part of Mormon culture that instead of having a "coffee table" in the living room, some families called it the "Postum table."

Finish reading the article here

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Sunstone Podcasts

Sunstone Podcast is a weekly podcast presenting an interview or roundtable discussion with prominent LDS and non-LDS autors, artists, speakers, humanitarians, and others with interesting views on Mormon history or contemporary life.  Designed to cross-fertilize with and other Sunstone forums, it will often draw its guests from authors featured in current and recent issues of Sunstone magazine, from symposium presentations and panels, and from discussions and suggestions generated on the blog.

Episodes available are:

  • Sunstone Podcast #13—Don Bradley: The Grand Fundamental Principles of Mormonism: Joseph Smith's Unfinished Reformation
  • If you've thought there was nothing new to discuss about the connections between Masonic influences on early Mormon history and theological development, you haven't yet read Don Bradley's article "The Grand Fundamental Principles of Mormonism: Joseph Smith's Unfinished Reformation" in the April 2006 Sunstone. But even more than the new understandings about Mormonism and Masonry, [...]
  • SunstonePodcast #012–John Gustav-Wrathall: A Gay Mormon's Testimony
  • This podcast is an interview with John Gustav-Wrathall, author of a recent essay in Sunstone magazine titled "A Gay Mormon's Testimony" that describes his journey out of Mormonism and then back again. He asks and gives wonderful, compassionate answers to the question of why God would lead him to leave the LDS Church and then, [...]
  • SunstonePodcast #011–Irreconcilable Differences: Emily Pearson Tells Her Story
  • We're excited to announce the posting of a new SunstonePodcast!  In it, Emily Pearson, daughter of Gerald and Carol Lynn Pearson, reflects on the ways her life has been affected by growing up as the daughter of a gay man and then, years later, marrying one. Many SunstonePodcast listeners may know that former husband: [...]
  • SunstonePodcast #010–Mormon Mantras: A Journey of Spiritual Transformation
  • In this podcast, Sunstone editor Dan Wotherspoon interviews Phil McLemore, author of the cover article of the April 2006 issue, "Mormon Mantras: A Journey of Spiritual Transformation." In it, Phil speaks about his experiences as a Mormon convert turned Church Education System employee turned Air Force chaplain who, after thirty years of struggle to attain [...]
  • SunstoneClassic Podcasts #005 & #006–Carol Lynn Pearson's Story, and the Book of Mormon as an "Anti-Masonic Bible"
  • We proudly announce the release of 2 new (old) Sunstone Classic Podcasts:
  • SunstoneClassic 005: Carol Lynn Pearson–Personal Recollections of Marriage, Life, Love and Death: In this Sunstone Classic episode, Carol Lynn Pearson (LDS poet and author) discusses her journey with her husband, Gerald, as he struggled with homosexuality, AIDS, and ultimately death. This presentation was first [...]
  • SunstonePodcast #009–Tracking the Sincere Believer: "Authentic" Religion and the Enduring Legacy of Joseph Smith Jr.
  • In this edition of SunstonePodcast, Sunstone magazine editor Dan Wotherspoon interviews Professor Laurie Maffly-Kipp, author of the article, "Tracking the Sincere Believer: 'Authentic' Religion and the Enduring Legacy of Joseph Smith Jr.," in the December 2005 issue of Sunstone and available here.
  • Maffly-Kipp discusses the obsession with Joseph Smith's "sincerity" as the lens for looking at [...]
  • SunstonePodcast #007: Cool Mormons Everyone Should Know — Jana Riess
  • In this edition of SunstonePodcast, Dan Wotherspoon interviews Jana Riess, religion book editor for Publisher's Weekly, co-author (with Christopher Bigelow) of Mormonism for Dummies, and author of five other books including The Book of Mormon: Selections Annotated and Explained (Skylight Paths, 2005), and What Would Buffy Do? The Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide (Jossey-Bass, 2003). [...]
  • SunstonePodcast #006: "Confessions of a Mormon Boy" Arrives Off-Broadway
  • Actor, playwright, and stand-up comedian Steven Fales debuted his one-man play, "Confessions of a Mormon Boy," as a reading at the 2001 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium. In this play, Fales tells the captivating story of his failed attempt to overcome his "same-sex attraction" through "reparative therapy," which resulted in his divorce and excommunication from the [...]
  • SunstonePodcast #005: Godwrestling
  • In this episode of SunstonePodcast, Dan Wotherspoon interviews Rick Jepson about his November 2005 Sunstone article entitled, "Godwrestling: Physicality, Conflict, and Redemption in Mormon Doctrine."
  • Rick is a nursing student at Utah Valley State College in Orem, Utah. He is married with two children. He trains and competes in several styles wrestling. He presented an early [...]
  • SunstoneClassic Podcast #004:  Ostracize, Condole, or Congratulate: What to do When Missionaries Come Home Early
  • Missionaries who return early from their missions for any reason face an unusual problem of re-entry into conventional Mormon life. This session from the 2002 Salt Lake Sunstone symposium addresses several questions surrounding early missionary return, including: What percentage of missionaries return early? Why do missionaries who are given an honorable release for medical reasons [...]
  • SunstonePodcast #004: Richard Dutcher - God's Army 2 - States of Grace
  • Today we interview Richard Dutcher, often dubbed "the grandfather of Mormon cinema", about his latest movie: "God's Army 2: States of Grace".  To catch the trailer, click here.
  • Throw away all your preconceived notions about "Mollywood" (as it's now being called). "States of Grace" is unlike any "Mormon movie" yet to be released.  As [...]
  • SunstonePodcast #003: The New Missionary Discussions and the Future of Correlation
  • In the latest edition of Sunstone Magazine, John-Charles Duffy explores "The New Missionary Discussions and the Future of Correlation".
  • In this podcast, John-Charles discusses the history of official missionary discussions within the Church, the new LDS missionary program entitled "Preach My Gospel", and the future of correlation.
  • Click here to listen.
  • SunstoneClassic Podcast #003: Jan Shipps & "No Mormon Church?  What's Going on Here?"
  • This SunstoneClassic podcast hails from the 2001 Washington D.C. Sunstone Symposium.  It was released around the time that the LDS church made the formal announcement regarding how they wished to be referred to in the media (LDS Church, not Mormon Church, etc).
  • SunstonePodcast #002: The Mormon Struggle with Assimilation, An Interview with Armand Mauss
  • Ever wonder why the LDS church started out so revolutionary/controversial, then made huge strides towards becoming more mainstream and even progressive, and then retrenched itself a bit into increased orthodoxy or convervatism?  In this SunstonePodcast episode, we interview Armand Mauss, author of The Angel and the Beehive: The Mormon Struggle with Assimilation.
  • SunstoneClassic Podcast #002: "Mormonism and Science: Issues for the Coming Century"
  • This SunstoneClassic podcast hails from the 2001 Salt Lake City Sunstone Symposium.  It features Duane Jeffery, professor of zoology at Brigham Young University, in a discussion of science in general, and evolution in specific, as they relate to the LDS church, Brigham Young University, and young LDS scholars.  Moderating the discussion is Keith [...]
  • SunstoneClassic Podcast #001: "A Last Look at Lowell's Legacy"
  • Lowell L. Bennion was a legendary LDS educator, author, and humanitarian. He taught at the University of Utah Institute of religion for twenty-seven years, and then served as Associate Dean of Students and Professor of Sociology for another ten. Among many other accomplishments, he also founded a directed the Teton Valley Boys Ranch, and directed [...]
  • SunstonePodcast #001:  Sunstone Past, Present, and Future
  • For those of you who are not aware, we recently published our first podcast at Sunstone, entitled: "Sunstone Past, Present, and Future".
  • In this inaugural episode of SunstonePodcast, we interview Mike Stevens, Board Chairman of the Sunstone Education Foundation, and Dan Wotherspoon, editor of Sunstone Magazine.

BYU Studies Volume 46, no. 3

In this issue of BYU Studies, Bruce A. Chadwick and others present "A Survey of Dating and Marriage at BYU." In 2002, the authors conducted an extensive survey asking BYU undergraduates about their attitudes and practices in "hanging out," dating, and deciding to marry. The results provide evidence that BYU students do in fact act quite differently from their counterparts at other American universities, making BYU unique. Here find data about the surprising frequency of hanging out and dating and how BYU students overwhelmingly keep the law of chastity.

Also included in this issue, Julie K. Allen and David L. Paulsen present "The Reverend Dr. Peter Christian Kierkegaard¹s 'About and Against Mormonism' (1855)." This document publishes for the first time in English a polemical tract written by the brother of the famous philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. While most clergy mocked or slandered Mormonism in its early years, it is interesting to see that some engaged it seriously, even if not completely respectfully. Peter Christian argues against Mormonism, as he saw early LDS missionaries come to Denmark and convert many of his parishioners. A Mormon reply to the tract's points of doctrine is made in footnotes. An excellent introduction provides history and context of the tract.

A fascinating article by Max H Parkin examines the United Firm, a business Joseph Smith established to oversee Church properties and commercial interests in Ohio and Missouri. Parkin's article also addresses misunderstandings that have persisted in the Church because of pseudonyms that were inserted into certain sections of the Doctrine and Covenants, particularly section 104, which disbanded the United Firm and distributed its properties.