Friday, March 30, 2012

Church unhappy with BBC interview of Elder Holland

The BBC has produced and aired a documentary on Mormonism and Mitt Romney. "The Mormon Candidate" will air in the U.S. later this year. BBC reporter John Sweeney interviewed Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of Twelve, a church spokesman, polygamists, Mitt Romney's cousin, disaffected Mormons and others for the production. 

Mormon History Association: Calgary Conference

Mormon History Association Conference

"Mormonism In Its Expanding Global Context: Invitations to New Interpretations and Understanding"

DATES: June 28-July 1, 2012
PLACE: MacEwan Conference and Event Centre, University of Calgary, Canada

Sunday, March 18, 2012

JSP provides additional context to D&C 130

One of a series of diagrams of observed "signs of the
times" recorded
  in  Joseph Smith's journal shortly
the concepts of D&C 130 were taught
One of the more interesting sections of the Doctrine and Covenants are "items of instruction" presented by Joseph Smith while visiting Ramus, Illinois. Just over a year before his death, Joseph Smith was teaching concepts that would further distinguish Mormonism from other religions. He had already removed the barrier between the spiritual and physical by defining spirit as imperceptible physical matter, and by placing God physically in time and space. But in April, 1843, he further solidified a theological foundation of materialism by stating that God's place of residence was a "Urim and Thummin" resembling a globe of glass and fire; that God's body is made of physical material including "flesh and bones" and that God is living in time, albeit in a time reference not associated with earth.

These, and other ideas taught in Ramus were eventually added to the Doctrine and Covenants as section 130, a rare example of concepts from informal teachings being canonized.

While these doctrines are familiar to Latter-day Saints, new information regarding the circumstances from which these instructions were taught have been made available in The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals Volume 2 (Jv2). 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Exploration of Experiences and Psychological Health of Same-sex Attracted Latter-day Saints

Selections from "Exploration of Experiences and Psychological Health of Same-sex Attracted Latter-day Saints," a Utah State University Research Project based on a survey of 1,635 LGBTQ Latter-day Saints.

Friday, March 09, 2012

LDS Radio station stands behind Limbaugh

Excerpts of "LDS Church-Owned Radio Station Stands By Rush Limbaugh" by Joanna Brooks, Religious Dispatches
No other religiously-owned or affiliated radio network in the country airs Rush Limbaugh—except the LDS-owned Bonneville International.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Jane Manning, black Mormon pioneer

Jane Manning James
Excerpts of  "See Jane pray — remembering a black Mormon pioneer and her decades of devotion," Peggy Fletcher Stack, Salt Lake Tribune
"Jane" is Jane Manning James, a friend of Mormon founder Joseph Smith and his wife, Emma. James was also a servant in the LDS prophet's Mansion House. In 1894, she was "sealed" to Mormonism's first couple "not as their spiritual child but as their eternal 'servitor,' " Mueller notes.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Chronology of events leading to black men being restricted from the priesthood

BYU Professor Randy Bott's controversial comments to the Washington Post earlier this week elicited a response by the church which said in part:

"For a time in the Church there was a restriction on the priesthood for male members of African descent.  It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began in the Church but what is clear is that it ended decades ago. Some have attempted to explain the reason for this restriction but these attempts should be viewed as speculation and opinion, not doctrine. ... We condemn racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church."

The following chronology provides a sense of events leading to the establishment of the priesthood ban.

Friday, March 02, 2012

First Presidency letter on Baptisms for the dead

Feb 29, 2012: Letter to be read in Sacrament Meetings

Complete translation of the Joseph Smith Papyri published

 The relationship between the Book of Abraham and the Joseph Smith Egyptian papyri continues to receive scholarly attention from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. For a century now, professors and LDS students from this leading institute of Egyptian studies have analyzed and debated the papyri and its relationship to Joseph Smith's translation. The translation was called "The Book of Abraham" and incorporated into the Pearl of Great Price which became the fourth foundational scripture of the LDS church.

Considered one of the country's foremost Egyptian scholars, Dr. Robert Ritner is the latest University of Chicago Egyptologist to turn his attention to the papyri. His book, The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition, includes the first ever complete translation of the papyri.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Utah legislators concerned about Martin Luther King plates

"Utah Afraid License Plates Honoring Martin Luther King May Support Abortion" by Robin Marty,

  • --
Usually when it comes to controversies over license plates and choice issues, the instigating factor are "Choose Life" plates being created by the states, with donations going to fund religious, anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers.
But in Utah, an abortion debate is being fought over a different type of plate — one honoring the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.