Category Archives: Doctrine

Creation in Genesis 1-3 (Part 1-Introduction and Temporal Clause)

In this series of posts I intend to look at ancient Israelite concepts concerning creation by exploring two important biblical creation texts—Genesis 1.1-2.4a and Genesis 2.4b-3. Continue reading

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Filed under Bible, Doctrine, Mormon Studies, Scripture, Theology, Uncategorized

An American Prophet

Mormons are not the only prophetic tradition in America. The African American spiritual community also has its own prophetic roots, and Martin Luther King, Jr. is the paradigmatic figure from that tradition. It is true that these two traditions define prophetic leadership differently. For Mormons, today even more so than in our past, the prophetic mantle is held by right of institutional authority. The prophetic responsibility is to testify to the world of Christ, and to teach the faithful. This vision of prophesy hearkens back to ancient prophetic schools which saw prophesy as a vocation, and moreso in recent times, as a tool for the preservation of traditional social values. In the African American tradition, the prophetic tradition takes the role of charismatic cultural critic, especially around issues of injustice. This tradition hearkens back to a biblical tradition of speaking out against authority in the hopes of transforming society.
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Filed under Book of Mormon, LDS Church History, Leadership

The Piety of Errant Scriptures

The errancy/innerrancy debate in biblical theology is often framed in terms of levels of “belief” in the Bible. The errancy position holds that the Bible is not a perfect document that represents the direct word of God in every minor (and even some major) instance. It admits human involvement in the production and transmission of the text. In inerrancy position holds that the Bible is the perfect word of God. Though there are many different subtlties in the various versions of these two positions, they actually rest on the same set of assumptions.
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Filed under Bible, Doctrine, Studying Religion, Theology

Myth, Modernity, and Mormonism

The category of “myth” is arguably the most important for evaluating the Bible in the last few hundred years. The very earliest critics of the Bible employed the category of “myth” in evaluating the stories and histories recorded there. D. F. Strauss (Das Leben Jesu, 1835) employed the term for making sense of the life of Jesus, among the first to suggest that the gospels were not literal history.

Besides the difficulty in identifying and defining myth, the most important interpretive problem comes in trying to figure out how to understand the significance of myth. In sum, is myth a good thing or a bad thing? Basically, two different options emerged that dominated 19th c. biblical studies.
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Filed under Bible, Doctrine, Marginalia, Mormon Studies, Scripture, Speculation, Studying Religion, Theology

“How Sweet is Your Love”: Finding Meaning in the Song of Solomon

Introductory Note: Some time ago here at FPR TT wrote a post concerning the Song of Solomon Continue reading

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Filed under Bible, Doctrine, Mormon Studies, Scripture, Sexuality, Theology, Uncategorized

Christmas and Mary

1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. Revelation 12:1-6
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Filed under Bible, Feminism, Theology

The Divine Council

There has been serious discussion among Mormon scholars over the past several years regarding the divine council in the Hebrew Bible and its implications for Mormon thought. For instance, very recently Blake Ostler published his third volume of Exploring Mormon Thought, in which, among other issues, he discusses at length various aspects of the heavenly council in the Hebrew Bible and what their implications might be for Mormon theology. David Bokovoy, a Mormon PhD student studying at Brandeis University under noted biblical scholar Marc Brettler, also had a lengthy exchange with Evangelical scholar Mike Heiser in a recent issue of the FARMS Review that included serious discussion of the council motif. Moreover, this exchange itself was provoked by an even earlier essay by BYU Professor Daniel Peterson that included an analysis of the heavenly assembly and its relevance for Mormonism. Kevin Barney also mentions the topic in his article “Examing Six Key Concepts in Joseph Smith’s Understanding of Genesis 1:1″ for BYU studies. There has also been some discussion here at FPR regarding this topic. Given, then, the importance of this topic among Mormon scholars in recent years, I thought that in addition to pointing out these articles to those who might otherwise be unaware of them, I might also briefly describe the divine council as referred to in the Hebrew Bible, as well as some of its historical analogues. I invite any comments following that reader’s might feel to be of relevance to the divine council and/or its relationship to Mormon thought.

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Filed under Bible, History, Mormon Studies, Scripture, Theology, Uncategorized

The Always Placid Mormons

…is how we are described by the Catholic blogger who writes as “The Anchoress.” I read her pretty much daily. On the whole, she’s usually a refreshing combination of entertainment, spiritual insight, and wisdom. My kinda person, and especially so since I teach from within her tradition.

It’s always interesting to find out how you’re viewed by others. And I don’t mind being “always placid.” If, through this Proposition 8 tempest, one of the labels that sticks to us is “placid,” it won’t be such a bad thing.

In fact, I could go for the placid thing on my tombstone: Here lies Mogget, usually reasonably placid unless you get frisky with the 2nd Amendment or you proof text from the Bible…

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Filed under Marginalia, Personal Issues

The Trinity, Two Formulations

Yesterday, I heard St. Augustine’s formulation of the Trinity. He gives it as a series of logical propositions as follows:
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Filed under Doctrine, Metaphysics, Theology

No Time

The 20th comment on David Clark’s “Mormon Anxieties” post comments that the request to support a “yes” on Proposition 8 was “time sensitive.” After comparing this to President Hinckley’s recent directive to read the BoM before the beginning of the year, this same author writes “we didn’t have the luxury of weeks and months to ‘gain a testimony’ of it.”

There are instances where we must react based without detailed thought. For example, those who use firearms regularly in their line of work rely on decisions made earlier, in more leisurely moments, about how they will react under certain legal conditions and circumstances. But moral-political propositions presented for a vote with an understanding that there is insufficient time to seek genuine spiritual confirmation seem to me to be similar to $700 B bailouts for which we likewise somehow lack the time for public debate. Katy. Bar. The. Door.

Like David, I am not going to open a debate on the Prop. 8 issue. But I am interested in the idea that there might be circumstances in which we should act without spiritual confirmation on some major political or moral decision. This does not seem likely to me, because the LDS lifestyle seems to be full of at least anecdotal evidence of major life changes made on the basis of rather sudden spiritual inspiration. I am, however, open to learning more from those who have given it some thought.

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Filed under Marginalia, Personal Issues, Speculation