Are we too tied up with Evangelicals?

November 30, 2007

Mormonisms biggest critics (outside of and including ex-mormons), publishers of the greatest anti-mormon material seem to be Evangelical Christians.  These Christians are the ones who generally seem to be a big competitor for conversions so it is no surprise that they have a vested interest in portraying us as negative.

Since possibly the 1950s we have found ourselves increasingly siding with Evangelicals on issues of the day.  So there has been a move, especially if you are a politician, to try and continue that relationship as much as possible.  But I question that we have enough in common or even really need to work with the larger Evangelical community.  Especially when it comes to be being seen as acceptable in their eyes.
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How trustworthy are memoirs or after the fact memory

November 28, 2007

As someone looking a history I find us relatively hypocritical over what we accept as a primary source material.  Some times this has to do with the paucity of material, such as in the dark ages or roman period or earlier.  Some times it just seems like a selective choice.

Case in point Zebedee Coltrin is credited for having linked the idea of a the Priesthood ban to Joseph Smith as opposed to Brigham Young.  Coltrin is pulling from a memory over 35 years old when he is looking at the issue in 1879.  I mean how many of us can remember incidents clearly a year ago let alone 35.  But at the same time you cannot devalue it out of hand.

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Looking like a trickle

November 27, 2007

This week I have been studying about the mass immigration to the United States of Germans in the 1830s-1840s.  Specifically I have been looking at Jewish migrants. 

So while looking at this I came across a very interesting set of figures.

1.5 million Irish moved to America in those years.
1.5 million Germans moved in that same time period.

The numbers of Jews during that period went from 3,000 at the end of the Revolutionary War to 50,000 in 1842 and to around 150,000 by 1857. 

Now compare that to the Mormon population of Utah in that period.
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My conversation with Errol Louis

November 26, 2007

On Sunday Errol Louis published an article on Mitt Romney.  It to my way of thinking was slightly disingenuous when speaking of our beliefs or the beliefs of Governor Romney. 

For me there was two big things, based on an essay I am writing for my fourth year US Civil rights class, so here is what I wrote.
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Cross post – Symposium on People of Paradox

November 26, 2007

Times and Seasons is having a symposium on Terryl Givens People of Paradox.  I think it is a great idea, I think the premise of Givens’ book is a very good starting point for understanding the Mormon (LDS) culture.  As someone whose parents converted when I was a little sprog I did not have the grounding in the culture of my wife who is a multi-generation.

However, just because you are a convert, or in my case a demi-convert I have noticed that the culture is just so prevalent that you cannot escape it in a real sense.  We all call Joseph Smith Jr. by his first name, we take up the ideas of the norms quickly.  This sense of joint history and culture has produced an interesting effect on LDS society.

See just because you do not live in Utah does not take the Utah out of the religion as it were.  At least in the sense that we carry on a distinctively Mormon cultural identification which is built upon many of the paradoxes that Givens talks about.  The idea that someone in Cardiff Wales, Lethbridge Alberta or Centerville Utah can speak in a language which all three people can understand yet the outsiders are gentiles to the culture at least.

Anyways, I would encourage you to check it out.

Sephir Zohar and Joseph Smith

November 25, 2007

I am presently taking a class at university about Judaism.  Tuesday we were talking about Jewish Mysticism.  In discussing the Sephir Zohar (the book of Splendor) we discussed the idea of Elohim. 

Elohim can generically mean God or Gods depending on how it is used.  At least according the professor.  He points out that Sephir Zohar is in its discussions brings out the idea that Elohim in Genesis made the Gods.

On this subject he then went on to say that this is in part is where Joseph Smith got the idea for Gods who made the world and other Gods.  My immediate thought, ignoring the fact that we believe in this idea of who God is as being revealed,  was Joseph even familar with the Sephir Zohar?
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Hugh B. Brown an interesting life

November 24, 2007

I have been reading Hugh B. Brown’s memoirs (An Abundant Life) a very nice entertaining book.  I found myself very involved in the book as he talked about his early life and it just continued from there on.  His views on Priesthood leadership and on his mission were fascinating to read. 

I also found it interesting to note how much he loved Canada.   It made me very happy as a Canadian and I understood his fish out of water perspective of a Canadian in Utah.  I was wondering if anyone else has seen more books written about his life.  For someone who was such a piviotal figure in the church during the 1960s it would be interesting to learn more about him. 

 I also think it would be nice to get a more scholarly book about Ezra Taft Benson who was another bigger than life figure in that period.  Again I may just have missed them but something along the lines of Rough Stone Rolling or David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism.

Personally I would like to see more expansion into the lives of men who may not be known well in our day but were teachers and leaders in their own right.