Category Archives: Speculation

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.


Filed under Marginalia, Personal Issues, Speculation

Is Mormonism Euhemerism?

The ancient Greek thinker Euhemerus was a mythographer whose reputation has lived on until today as an influential theory for explaining religion. He argued that mythological accounts were records of actual events that developed and were embellished in their retelling. The practice of divinizing ancient leaders in Hellenic cultures (a practice shared by the Egyptians and later Hellenistic rulers, including the emperor cult of the Roman era) served for Euhemerus as an interpretive tool to unlock the significance of the myths. He suggested that they were all based on historical tribal leaders whose subsequent memory transformed them into the gods.
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Filed under Metaphysics, Speculation, Theology

Pick Romney….Please


With the Olympics started it looks like all of the VP chatter will have to wait until after the Summer Olympics. The question had been whether or not McCain, or Obama, or both would announce there veep choice before the summer games. Alas, that was mostly wishful thinking on the part of us political junkies.

 We Obama supporters (I have no idea as to whether this applies to anyone else at FPR, so I mean Obama supporters in general), are a bit concerned about the inability of the Democratic candidate to break away from McCain in the polls. There are of course a variety of reasons for this. The primary reason, in my political scientist opinion, is that we are not likely to see a huge popular victory not matter who wins. We are a deeply divided country and rather evenly divided between those of us who are red and those of us who are blue. So lingering with a two to five percent lead might be the norm through November. Either way Obama appears to have a strong electoral college advantage.

I have found a solution to the VP selection game that will make both conservative Mormons and me happy: Have McCain pick Mitt Romney. This act would help Mormons again feel safe within the GOP. They need to have an institutional home (we Mormons are big on institutional belonging), and feel spurned after having their golden boy rejected. I felt the same way about the Dems rejected Bill Bradley (though I do not quite categorize him as a golden boy).

I would be happy if they picked Romney, because it would ensure McCain’s defeat in November. What is better in a time of economic turmoil than for the Republicans to put a filthy rich guy in the VP slot. It would help to highlight the disconnect between the GOP and everyday economic troubles. The GOP takes pride in defending the economic interests of people like Romney. However, when they do it, they pretend that they are protecting the economic interests of the middle class common man. That is real faith base politics. Romney on the ticket would remind everyone of who the GOP really looks out for.


Filed under Marginalia, Mormon Studies, Speculation, Uncategorized

A Religious Studies Major at BYU Pt. II

In Pt I we looked at developing a curriculum and focused on “core classes”. That discussion is still on-going. This post will examine the develoment of an Introduction to Religious Studies course (which will be part of the core classes), and a required theories course which majors will take during the Sophomore (and perhaps Junior) year. The issue of language requirements was also raised so let’s toss that into the mix here. Continue reading


Filed under Speculation

A Religious Studies Major at BYU Pt. I

Okay, I know it will probably never happen, but… Continue reading


Filed under BYU, Mormon Studies, Speculation

The Holy Person in Mormonism?

Eve’s recent post at ZD on the magical GA got me thinking about how such a phenomenon fits in the larger history of Christianity. The LDS conception of religious potency is so closely intertwined with hierarchical leadership that it is not surprising that these businessmen and lawyers are able to receive such devotion by those seeking ecstatic or thaumaturgic experiences. What is interesting to me is whether or not the religiously potent can exist outside of the structures of LDS authority, as it has in so many other Christian traditions. If such a condition does not presently exist, can we expect it as a phenomenon that inevitably spills over?
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Filed under Leadership, Mormon Culture, Speculation

A Special Day at FPR (Updated)

Today we mark two important milestones at FPR. First, May 9th, 2008 is the third anniversary of our creation. Second, this composition is the 500th post. In light of this, we thought it proper to do something a bit special to mark the occasion.

Our founder, the illustrious John C., has posed a question and invited the rest of us to respond in 150 words or less. His response leads the roll; we follow in no specific order.

You may note that our number is not quite complete. We find ourselves unable to pry certain members out of various odd corners of the remote past in a timely fashion. This is a hazard of the occupation. We will, however, update this entry as their comments become available.

THE QUESTION: How has your decision to pursue academic research in religion or ancient history affected your faith?



My academic experience has taught me the value of having a flexible faith. For me, this means quickly paring down what is important to me in my faith to the bare minimum and then allowing the remainder of my beliefs to ebb and flow with the tide of evidence, experience, and inspiration. The academy encourages one to question everything in an attempt to see what survives. That is well and good, but there are some things that I have determined are going to survive no matter what answers or non-answers critical examination gives me. These are, primarily, my experiences with my God and they are, I believe, untouchable by rational inquiry. Rationality strikes me as a particularly temporal goal and endeavor and the pursuit thereof is best at enlightening human motivation and natural causes. It is very, very useful for learning how best to navigate, explain, and influence the world around you. It establishes good limits on what can and cannot make for proofs and arguments acceptable outside of your self. What it is best at is, I think, showing the limits of what we can legitimately claim to know. In rationality, all information is tentative, which is a very good thing. It just isn’t the basis of my faith. For all that, without the rational, I wouldn’t have the language, the reason, or the rationale to understand my own faith or others in even the imperfect manner I do today. I am as human as anyone else and we all examine ourselves rationally. The academy has given me the means to examine, articulate, experiment on, stretch, flex, and strengthen my own faith. For that, I am forever in its debt.

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Filed under Doctrine, Mormon Studies, Scripture, Speculation

The Record of John

Doctrine and Covenants 93:6-18 promises that if we are faithful, we shall receive the “fulness of the record of John.” The context of this promise is somewhat strange. Jesus Christ is the first person narrator, who begins to quote John’s testimony of Jesus. So, we have Jesus speaking in the first person quoting John speaking in the first person bearing testimony of Jesus in the third person. Okay, so that is kind of weird. But that is not all that is weird about this passage. It is not at all clear exactly who John is. These verses in the D&C bear close resemblance to the Gospel of John chapter 1. In this chapter, the unnamed narrator presumed to be John the apostle offers a prolouge about the identity of Jesus and speaks about John the baptist’s testimony. In D&C 93, are these two “John’s” are conflated so that the same John gives testimony to both the first part of the prologue, as well as the testimony of John the Baptist? Herein lies a mystery.
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Filed under Bible, Speculation

Feral Children and Divinity

I recently reintroduced myself to the study of feral children, children who have been abandoned for whatever reason at a very young age without any human contact, sometimes being raised by animals, for a number of years. I stumbled across the study of these children in some footnotes and was fascinated as I read around online about them. These children are critically important because their existence and behaviors challenge some of the most fundamental concepts of what it means to be human, showing that the line between human and animal is dangerously thin. Here, I am interested in how the case of feral children impacts LDS notions of divinization.
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Filed under Marginalia, Speculation

What if…?

What if someone ordained their wife to the priesthood? Let’s say that this husband wanted to have his wife assist in priesthood blessings in the home, or be able to perform blessings in his absence. She would not be ordained to any particular office, but given the priesthood power for specific ordinances. Let us also say that this woman received it, but never in fact used it. Let us also say that this husband is a bishop, and interviewed the candidate and determined her worthiness. If he did so without claiming that such a practice is or should be church doctrine, how would we understand this practice? A few things to consider:
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Filed under Doctrine, Feminism, Leadership, Speculation