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Thoughts on Sunstone, MHA, and FAIR

From Thursday to Saturday is the Sunstone Conference in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah, and here is the conference program.  Sunstone, Mormon History Association, and the FAIR Conference have always been very interesting to me because it is a time to get more serious discussions that you get in Sunday School.  As I’ve reflected on my time at these conferences, it occurred to me that the environment of the three is different.

Sunstone usually has a more open, liberal flavor.  Presentations range more wildly than the other venues.  Some can be faith-promoting, while others can be down right antagonistic.  I’ve learned better which presenters are antagonistic and I do a better job of avoiding them.  It does seem to me to be more diverse.  Some presentations are very academic in nature, and some are very personal and non-academic. Continue Reading »

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The Frustration of Temple Symbolism

I’ve really enjoyed the past few posts by Guy Templeton over at Wheat and Tares regarding some topics of the temple.  I’ve also enjoyed the interactions with Jettboy and Forgetting here at by blog.  Guy has discussed temple symbolism.  I have expressed frustration at this symbolism, because to me it seems just like a puzzle  I have said in my previous post,

I suck at symbolic language. It’s very difficult for me. The temple is repetitive, and I don’t know what I am supposed to notice. To answer Jettboy’s question, as Guy posted [last week] at W&T, am I supposed to notice the carpet and butterfly symbolism, or is this straining at gnats? If it is what I’m supposed to be noticing, then I suck at symbolic language. Because it feels like straining at gnats to me. Some people may enjoy this puzzle and may find personal inspiration and enjoyment out of looking at carpet and butterflies, but my brain just doesn’t work that way, and I find it frustrating if my brain is supposed to work that way. Perhaps that is why I don’t get much from the temple.

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Female Priesthood would Require Changes in the Temple Ceremony

There is an interesting post over at Wheat and Tares by Guy Templeton.  He first asks about whether female temple workers hold priesthood, writing

In nearly all blessings and ordinances, priesthood members perform the blessing or ordinance under the “authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.”  I noticed recently at the temple that the ordinances are performed merely “by authority.”  As I understand it, women repeat words nearly identical to men when performing initiatory rites.  There has been some debate about whether women actually hold the priesthood when performing temple ordinances.  Elder Oaks recently said “With the exception of the sacred work that sisters do in the temple under the keys held by the temple president, which I will describe hereafter, only one who holds a priesthood office can officiate in a priesthood ordinance. All authorized priesthood ordinances are recorded on the records of the church.”

Guy concludes with a poll asking Continue Reading »

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The Biggest Differences Between Strangites and Mormons

William Shepard

William Shepard

Back in May, I had the pleasure of getting acquainted with William Shepard at the Kirtland Sunstone Conference.  Shepard is both an impressive historian in his own right, but also a member of the Strangite Church, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  (Yes the name of his church is more than just a slight variation of the LDS Church.)  If you haven’t heard of Strangites, here is a very brief history.

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Parker on Excommunication

Natasha Parker, who blogs at the Mormon Therapist has written several Facebook posts that I think are spot on. Continue Reading »

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Kirby on Kate

I stayed up really late trying to find out what would happen to Kate Kelly, and now we’re told that a decision will come Monday or Tuesday.  Hmmm, I need a humor break.  So here are some of Robert Kirby’s words from the Salt Lake Tribune. Continue Reading »

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Excommunication is Counter-Productive

Does excommunication do more harm than good?  I think the answer is unmistakably yes. It is just simply a bad idea to turn loyal members into enemies.  There is the old adage that “they can leave the church, but they can’t leave it alone.”  I think when the church excommunicates someone, the church create their own enemies, and causes more bad will, not goodwill.  It is simply counter-productive.  Case in point:  the most vehement anti-Mormons are former Mormons.  The church could do more to control anti-Mormonism if they simply didn’t create so many enemies via excommunication.

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