History

Bad Memes

July 18, 2016
US President Eisenhower with Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson.  He later called Eisenhower "a tool of the communists."

If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen many of these memes.  I’d like to point out some of the ones that I’m not much of a fan of.  Take this one from Elder Ezra Taft Benson. On the one hand, it seems to be intended for conservative leaning folks, those who can’t seem to stomach […]

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Posted in History, LDS, Mormon, Mormon Culture, Politics | 14 Comments »

Doctrinal History of Vicarious Ordinances

July 11, 2016
Doctrinal History of Vicarious Ordinances

A friend asked me about the doctrinal history of why Mormons, and specifically Joseph Smith, came up with the doctrine of baptism of the dead, and vicarious ordinances.  He noted that in Elder Bednar’s 2011 General Conference talk, Bednar tied vicarious work not only with the visit of Elijah to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland […]

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Posted in Church Policy, History, Joseph Smith, LDS, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Temple, theology | 34 Comments »

Does D&C 132 support Polyandry?

June 26, 2016
Does D&C 132 support Polyandry?

This past week, we’ve discussed polyandry–the idea that a woman can have multiple husbands.  (Polygyny is the concept where a husband can have multiple wives.  Polygamy encompasses both polygyny and polyandry.)  The reason this came up was due to a presentation I attended at the Mormon History Association meetings.  Many people have charged that Josephine’s mother […]

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Posted in Church Policy, History, Joseph Smith, LDS, Morality, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture, Patriarchy, Polygamy, Prophet, theology, Women | 6 Comments »

Joseph’s DNA Test #MHA2016

June 20, 2016
Ugo Perego and Brian Hales

The most exciting, newsworthy event at the 2016 Mormon History Association meetings was the announcement of the DNA test of Josephine Lyons.  As the story goes, Joseph Smith had more than 30 polygamist wives.  Except for Emma, none of these wives had children via Joseph.  There had been a few rumored children but John Reed Hancock […]

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Posted in History, LDS, Morality, Mormon, Polygamy, Reviews, Science and Religion | 64 Comments »

#MHA2016: Memories of Missouri & Sexual Violence

June 16, 2016
#MHA2016: Memories of Missouri & Sexual Violence

This past weekend was my first time attending MHA – it was amazing and I want to give a standing ovation to the organizers.  I suppose I’m one of a few dozen of the crowd that happily attend both MHA and Sunstone, there was a group that I recognized from both – which was fun. […]

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Posted in Feminism, History, Honor Code, Mormon Culture, Reviews, Women | 4 Comments »

Why didn’t someone tell me — Just what “eternity” means

June 2, 2016
Why didn’t someone tell me — Just what “eternity” means

A dear friend of mine died last year.  As she aged she reflected that while it used to be that waiting for Christmas seemed like years — and the wait was 25% of her life, it now seemed like it came once a week (or about 1.25% of her life).  The conversation was interesting because […]

Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Culture, History, Mormon Culture, Premortality, Technology, Uncategorized, understanding | 13 Comments »

Oh Say, What Is Truth? — and what is a lie?

May 27, 2016
Oh Say, What Is Truth? — and what is a lie?

Is the LDS church based on lies? What does it mean to lie?

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Posted in doubt, Faith, faith crisis, History, Joseph Smith, LDS, Mormon, Truth. Lying | 105 Comments »

Canaanite Dieties

March 21, 2016
Canaanite Dieties

It’s Easter time again (next Sunday is Easter if you weren’t paying attention.)  Easter is that one holiday that Mormons observe, but don’t really celebrate.  With Easter comes the story of the Passover.  (This is one of those strange years in which Easter occurs a month BEFORE Passover.)  In the past, I’ve blogged about various […]

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Posted in Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Christian, Faith, History, Israel, Jewish Studies, LDS, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Religion, scriptures, theology | 23 Comments »

Temple Dedications

March 20, 2016
Kirtland Temple

Today the new Provo City Center Temple (previously the Provo Tabernacle) is being dedicated.  My daughter said that this is her third temple dedication (others were Brigham City, Payson).  How many temple dedications have you been to?  (It used to be once-in-a lifetime.) It got me thinking about the Kirtland Temple dedication.  According to LDS.org Joseph […]

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Posted in History, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Temple | 27 Comments »

Does God Agree With Your Politics?

March 16, 2016
Does God Agree With Your Politics?

My opinion is not a popular one, especially among Mormons. It’s based on one of my foundational beliefs that I still maintain from my days as a centrist: both sides of our political divide are founded on sound principles that are imperfectly applied – because we’re humans. (Just like I believe our Church organization is […]

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Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, America, economics, Freedom, History, money, Mormon Discussion, Politics | 20 Comments »

The Mormon Church and Blacks

February 8, 2016
BlackMormons

February is Black History Month.  I recently finished Matthew Harris & Newel Bringhurst’s most recent book, The Mormon Church & Blacks:  A Documentary History.  The black priesthood ban has been a pet topic of mine; I have written nearly 60 posts on the topic over the past 8 years. For me, this has been one of […]

Posted in Church Policy, History, LDS, leadership, Mormon, Mormon Culture, Priesthood, Prophet, Race Relations, Reviews | 14 Comments »

A Short History of Robbers and Insults

January 15, 2016
A Short History of Robbers and Insults

The Oregon standoff has included the frequent use of the word “terrorism” to describe the Bundys and their associates. Because of my research into revolutionary warfare, I’m not surprised that words like “terrorists” are used as tools to delegitimize political actors.[1]  My research projects have included insurgencies into the Late Roman Empire, samurai warfare in […]

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Posted in History, LDS, Morality, Mormon, Mormon Culture, Violence | 12 Comments »

Prophets < Apostles?

December 29, 2015
Prophets < Apostles?

Which is a bigger deal?  Being a prophet or being an apostle?  If you’re like me, you would probably assume that the title “prophet” is higher than “apostle,” but I recently read some interesting information on the history. I was curious to know when we started to call the quorum of the twelve “prophets, seers, […]

Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Anti-Mormon, Apostasy, Blind Obedience, Christian, Church Policy, Criticism, Culture, Doctrine, doubt, Excommunication, Faith, faith crisis, Freedom, History, LDS, leadership, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture, Mormon Discussion, Prophet, theology | 67 Comments »

Halloween (weekend poll)

October 31, 2015
Halloween (weekend poll)

Halloween, originally known as All Hallows Eve, seems to have eclipsed All Saints Day (Nov 1) in importance. (What’s All Saints Day anyway?) Here are some questions for you about Halloween. Some Christians think Halloween is too Satanic to celebrate, but apparently Mormons don’t have that problem.  Martin Luther was born on October 31, so […]

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Posted in History, Mormon, Mormon Culture | 6 Comments »

Highlights of Lester Bush’s Address

October 19, 2015
Highlights of Lester Bush’s Address

Last week, Lester Bush spoke at the Black, White, and Mormon Conference at the University of Utah.  I posted a longer version at my blog, but wanted to highlight some of the cool notes from his address. (I typed as fast as I could–some of my notes are a little cryptic.)  Paul Reeve introduced him. Reeve […]

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Posted in Church Policy, History, LDS, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Premortality, Priesthood, Race Relations, Reviews, theology | 17 Comments »

Someone Should Have Told Me — Genocide in the Bible

September 17, 2015
Someone Should Have Told Me — Genocide in the Bible

Before I get into the information that isn’t as clear as it could be, a short quiz. Who can remember the story of Zipporah in Exodus? Who knows the story of what happened when Moses’ other wife showed up in the Israelite camp? Who knows the story of Aaron and the golden calf? Who can […]

Posted in Christian, Faith, History, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Religion, scriptures | 6 Comments »

The Martin Harris Pageant

August 17, 2015
The Martin Harris Pageant

This year my family has tried to attend several pageants (Manti Pageant, Hill Cumorah Pageant) but schedules haven’t worked out.  Last night, we attended the Clarkston Pageant.  Never heard of it?  Neither had my wife. Clarkston is definitely off the beaten path.  It is about 30 minutes northwest of Logan, Utah, just 10 miles or so […]

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Posted in Apostasy, Book of Mormon, Excommunication, faith crisis, History, Joseph Smith, LDS, Mission, Mormon, Mormon Culture, scriptures | 6 Comments »

A Sunstone Newbie

July 31, 2015
A Sunstone Newbie

Imagine if someone were to create a community where all interested or connected to Mormon thought in any way, shape, or form were welcomed and accepted? It exists, and it’s meeting in SLC this weekend. I just returned from my first day of Sunstone (ever), and I have to sit and process what I just […]

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Posted in faith crisis, History, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture, Polygamy, Reviews, Uncategorized | 13 Comments »

Restoring York Minster – An Analogy

July 23, 2015
Restoring York Minster – An Analogy

Having just returned from a few days away in York, I wanted to comment on York Minster. I mentioned on a similar post last year that family holidays don’t seem complete without at least one visit to a place of worship. York Minster is particularly spectacular, and is the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe. […]

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Posted in Christian, Culture, Education, Faith, History, LDS, Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Atheist Finds Garden of Eden

July 13, 2015
Atheist Finds Garden of Eden

Where is the Garden of Eden?  I watched a really interesting documentary, part of the Myth Hunters series found on Netflix, Youtube, and CafeMom.  They noted that the garden story is so vague that it could be anywhere.  The film notes that a Boston University president felt is was in North Pole, Mormons felt it […]

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Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Christian, Faith, History, Holy Land, LDS, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Reviews, Science and Religion, theology | 16 Comments »

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