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Birth of the Devil

Abraham is known as the father of monotheism.  Growing up in a culture of polytheism with both good and bad gods, Abraham declared that there was only one god, YHWH.devil

Egyptologist Kara Cooney has narrated a Discovery Channel series (now on Youtube) has said that archaeological evidence has shown that ancient religions have always been polytheistic, believing that gods had both good and bad characteristics.  (Hinduism pre-dates Judiasm, for example, and some Hindu temples have been dated to 7000 BC, and some claim it might be 20,000 years old.)  However, when people began to be monotheistic, specifically around 3000 years ago, monotheistic believers not only believed in a single God representing all that is good, but made Satan a single individual, encompassing all evil.  Polytheistic gods became personalized in a single devil, rather than countless devils, representing all aspects of evil.  She said, Continue Reading »

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Sunstone Testimonies 2015

I’m a few weeks late with my recap of Sunstone.  The one thing about Sunstone is that you can find all kinds of different sessions, both pro and anti church.  People seem to concentrate on the anti-church presentations, but there are some others I would like to talk about.  The people I have highlighted below bore amazing, strong, powerful testimonies and I would like to dedicate this post to them and their good example to all of us.

Ed Smart

Ed Smart

Ed Smart headlined a group of people who are working to help sex trafficking victims.  The session started with a song and a prayer (unlike some of the other sessions), and Ed briefly discussed some of the experiences of his famous daughter Elizabeth, recounting a time when Elizabeth was cornered in a church bathroom by a woman who asked questions like “You loved Brian David Mitchell, didn’t you?  You miss him, don’t you?”  Ed was furious with this woman’s interrogation of his daughter. Continue Reading »

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Mormon Pageant Season

MH pageantThis year my family has tried to attend several pageants (Manti Pageant, Hill Cumorah Pageant) but schedules haven’t worked out.  Last night, we attended the Clarkston Pageant.  Never heard of it?  Neither had my wife.

Clarkston is definitely off the beaten path.  It is about 30 minutes northwest of Logan, Utah, just 10 miles or so from the Idaho border.  Every other year, they host the “Martin Harris Pageant:  The Man Who Knew.” Continue Reading »

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Greg Kearney on Masonic Origins on LDS Endowment

In one of John Dehlin’s first podcasts (September 14, 2005), he interviewed Greg Kearney, a member of FAIR (Foundation of Apologetic Information and Research, a pro-Mormon think tank), and a several generation Mormon  and master mason.  Greg attended BYU, and is the member of a Farmington, Maine ward that has been around longer than any wards in Utah!  He gave an interesting history of Mormons and Masonry.  John discussed Greg’s background for the first almost 20 minutes, and at that point the conversation got into the history of Masonry and how it influenced Joseph Smith.  Continue Reading »

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Greg Prince on “Polarizing Packer”

Elder Packer

Doug Fabrizio interviewed Greg Prince on KUER this past week on the passing of Boyd K. Packer. (You can listen to it here.) Prince is a businessman, a historian of LDS church history, and a board member of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought and The Journal of Mormon History. He’s author of the books Power from on High: The Development of Mormon Priesthood and David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism.

Prince noted the stark contrast between the comments made regarding Elder L. Tom Perry’s death, who passed away just a few weeks ago, to Elder Packer’s death. While Perry was nearly universally praised, some revered and venerated Packer as “the glue that was keeping the church together” for decades. Others called him a “bully” and lauded his death as it would prevent him from being the church president and furthering his influence. It got me thinking about how polarizing Elder Packer was. I think he was the most polarizing apostle since Bruce R. McConkie. Here’s some of the polarizing things, both good and bad about Elder Packer that I took from the interview. Continue Reading »

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Atheist finds Garden of Eden

Where is the Garden of Eden?  I watched a really interesting documentary, part of the Myth Hunters series found on Netflix, Youtube, and CafeMom.  They noted that the garden story is so vague that it could be anywhere.  The film notes that a Boston University president felt is was in North Pole, Mormons felt it was in Missouri, Columbus thought it was in Venezuela and others have claimed China.  Does it even exist?  Of all people, an atheist believes he may have found it!

Researcher Juris Zarins from Missouri State University noted that every civilization has had a creation story, and some of the stories pre-date the story told in Genesis.  He wondered why so many cultures tell this story, and wondered if the Garden of Eden may have actually existed.  He noted that the Bible story bears remarkable resemblances to the Epic of Gilgamesh.  Some of the details are quite similar to the story of Adam and Eve.  He felt the Bible stories were plagiarized by the Hebrews who heard these stories from the Sumerians who have an older creation story that is 8000 years old. Continue Reading »

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Parenting Taboos – Part 2

I wrote a TED Talk transcript of Parenting Taboos previously.  Parents Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman (I guess she didn’t take his last name–maybe that’s another taboo) gave an interesting TED Talk (episode 3 available on Netflix.) In part 1, they gave 2 parenting taboos.

  1. Taboo #1:  You can’t say you didn’t fall in love with your baby in the very first minute.
  2. Taboo #2:  You can’t talk about how lonely having a baby can be.

Here is part 2 of the transcript, and we pick up on Taboo #3. Continue Reading »

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