This week: Lesson 29, “Building the Kingdom of God in Nauvoo, Illinois” (D&C 124:1–21, 87–90, 97–110; 126).
For instance, did you know that the LDS Church, in America, has more racial diversity than several other religious traditions who routinely criticize us for our “racism.” Mormons are 86% white, compared with other predominantly white faiths, such as “Jews (95% white), members of mainline Protestant churches (91% white) and Orthodox Christians (87% white).” The diversity among Mormons is growing, as well, as only 72% of converts are white—a statistic that would have been unthinkable only a generation ago.
[Read more…] about Living One’s Religion: An External Analysis
This week: Lesson 28, “O God, Where Art Thou?” (D&C 121:1–33; 122).
In what will hopefully become a recurring feature on the FAIR blog, we present a list of issues that could come up as you teach or participate in your ward’s Gospel Doctrine class. Each issue is linked to an examination and response by FAIR.
This week: Lesson 27, “They Must Needs Be Chastened and Tried, Even as Abraham” (D&C 101; 103; 105).
A few years ago, I made a foray onto a message board for individuals who have left the Church. I was open in my identity both by name and also regarding my status as a full, believing member (TBM as they call us). I went there looking to learn, hoping that I might somehow gain some insight that would help us with people who have floundered in their faith. What I failed to do was identify my association with FAIR. I tried engaging in an email exchange with Steven Benson, grandson to President Benson and a nationally recognized cartoonist who famously left the Church. The result was Steve employing his journalistic skills and “outing” me as a FAIR board member. I was banished and ridiculed as a “troll” as if I was someone spying on their open message board with a hidden identity. But there were a few who witnessed my sincere and respectful efforts approached me independently and offered to share their experiences.
[Read more…] about Forays amongst the disaffected
Recently I put together a reference guide for Mormons that are potentially in discussions with other Christians that have some interest in early Christian priesthood structure. In this post, I have confined myself to helpful LDS treatments that are available online. Perhaps in a separate post, I will consider compiling a list of articles and books written from a non-Mormon perspective, that are nevertheless worthy of attention. The most important LDS treatment, High Nibley’s Apostles and Bishops in Early Christianity has not been put online yet. Please feel free to comment on any of this literature or point out additional resources that you find helpful.
[Read more…] about Literature on Early Christian Priesthood
A vision given to Nephi in chapter thirteen of the first book that bears his name contains a statement that has raised the eyebrows of critics. It reads in verse 28:
“Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and aprecious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.”
Critics challenge Latter-day Saints to itemize those plain and precious items that are found missing in the Bible and that are unique to the Book of Mormon. Believing that this challenge will be impossible to meet, these critics seek to undermine the confidence of Mormon’s in this keystone book of scripture. Such an approach becomes a “catch 22” trap. Whatever doctrine that is mentioned in the Book of Mormon that is unique is used against us to prove that we do not believe in Biblical teachings. Whatever is pointed to as evidence in the Book of Mormon that is also in the Bible is dismissed, because it proves the same plain and precious truths are also in the Bible, undermining this passage.
[Read more…] about Plain and Precious Things
The rise and fall of John C. Bennett is one of the great cautionary tales of early Latter-day Saint history. [Read more…] about John C. Bennett and D&C 124:16–17
Title: A Pillar of Light: The History and Message of the First Vision
Author: Matthew B. Brown
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Year Published: 2009
Number of Pages: 268
Reviewed by Trevor Holyoak
In the October 1998 General Conference, Gordon B. Hinckley said that “our entire case as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the validity of this glorious First Vision….Nothing on which we base our doctrine, nothing we teach, nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration.” (Page ix.) In April 1984, James E. Faust pointed out that “since no one was with Joseph when this great vision took place in the wooded grove near Palmyra, a testimony concerning its reality can come only by believing the truthfulness of Joseph Smith’s own account or by the witness of the Holy Ghost, or both.” (Page x.) With these statements in mind, it is not surprising that the First Vision has been one of the favorite things for critics of Joseph Smith to attack. In this book, Matthew Brown lays out the historical facts from which one can be helped to gain a testimony of the event, strengthen existing convictions, and help answer any doubts or confusion arising from critics’ claims.
[Read more…] about Book Review: A Pillar of Light
This is my second installment where I tackle the accusation that Joseph Smith was a rake (Ken Jennings wouldn’t say so either.) before he ever received a revelation about plural marriage. I am partial to Dan Bachman’s theory that section 132 was received in stages as he lays out in “The Ohio Origins of the Revelation on Eternal Marriage” in a JMH 1978 article. Critics have likewise turned to the Ohio period to frame Joseph Smith as a sexual predator before the revelation was made public. Clark Braden, in his 1884 debate with an RLDS apostle pursued this agenda. He claimed that the [March 24,1832] tar and feathering was brought about by Eli Johnson’s brotherly outrage of Joseph Smith’s impropriety against Eli’s sister, Marinda Nancy Johnson. I am going to present some new information about Eli Johnson, but if I don’t make much sense please see the following links for background information: 1 2 3 .
[Read more…] about “Brother” Eli Johnson