Showing posts from June, 2023

Response to The LDS Gospel Topics Essays: A Scholarly Engagement

I started reading this book, a collection of essays, edited by Matthew L Harris and Newell G Bringhurst. In it, various author, each a scholar focused on Mormon history and/or religious thought, analyze and respond to the Gospel Topics Essays that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (hereafter referred to as “the church”) published about 10 years ago. As a faithful member of the church, I had a lot of feelings about this book. The essays ranged from inane to intriguing. While I am lacking in credentials (I am neither a historian nor a theologian), I am not lacking in opinions. Since our church runs on lay people doing their best, I feel like my opinions as a long-time orthodox lay person mean something, so here they are. The introduction gives a bit of history of the coming forth of the Gospel Topics essays. This particular account frames the essays as being released by the church in response to the growing number of people that, equipped with the internet, were starting to

The Sin Of Apologetics

There is a mistake that I feel like a lot of apologists make and I almost made it. A critic will say, “Joseph Smith couldn’t have done this because of this,” or “the church can’t be true because of this”, and then the apologist responds with “well actually the church is true because of this physical evidence or because of thing that happened that contradicts your claim”. For example, a critic might say, Joseph Smith just made up the Book of Mormon, he’s a savant and was just able to dictate it on the fly. And then in order to refute that the apologists have to say, “Oh no that’s not true, look Emma said he couldn’t even write a well worded letter, he was a moron, he couldn’t have made it up.” First of all, rude. But also, what if it isn’t true? What if it’s a tradition that we keep passing on from one generation to the next to help convince ourselves that Joseph Smith couldn’t possibly have made up the Book of Mormon. I understand that we believe in the fallibility of prophets,


Today is the first day of June, Governor Cox just signed his yearly declaration that June will be Pride Month in Utah. He said it was a way to help foster a culture of hope, understanding, love, dignity and respect, and I agree that we should do those things, but I disagree with having a state sanctioned Pride Month. I disagree with it in the same way that I disagree with flying the pride flag at my house or in our schools to show our love and understanding to LGBTQ+ people everywhere. At a minimum the pride flag and pride month represent, to me at least, not a people, but a movement that has some very problematic aspects to it. And endorsing those symbols feels to me more like an endorsement of that movement and what it stands for, more that an endorsement of loving the people that make up that movement.  We need to be able to say, "We love and respect and understand you" without saying "We endorse how you are living your life and believe that it is a good life choice.&