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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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Atheist in a Foxhole: The Tillman Story

Pat Tillman pictured as a soldier, and NFL linebacker

I watched an interesting documentary last week, The Tillman Story.  Pat Tillman played NFL football for the Arizona Cardinals, and unexpectedly quit the NFL and enlisted in the army rangers following the September 11 attacks.  I knew he had been killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004, and there was a coverup, but didn’t really know all the details.

The film interviews many of Tillman’s family, friends and fellow troops.  Private First Class (PFC) Bradley O’Neal described his surprise at seeing Pat Tillman reading the Book of Mormon.  O’Neal noted that Tillman wasn’t religious at all (a huge understatement, Tillman is an atheist), but Tillman said he respected religious people.  O’Neal offered to answer any questions Tillman had because O’Neal is a Mormon. Continue Reading »


Parenting Taboos – Part 1

Rufus-AlisaWith Father’s Day here, maybe it’s a good idea to talk about parenting Taboos.  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) where they discussed parenting taboos.  I created a transcript, and here’s what they had to say. Continue Reading »

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MHA 2015 in Review

The Annual Mormon History Association meetings came to Provo last night.  Last year it was in San Antonio, and next year it will be at Snowbird Resort in Utah.  Sometimes I like it better when it’s out of town, because I can attend all the sessions.  When I’m home, there’s just too much going on, so I have to miss some of the session.  Anyway, here’s a recap of the sessions I attended. Continue Reading »


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