College Football has undergone some seismic shifts in the past few years. The BYU-Utah rivalry took a big hit when the Pac-10 Conference decided to take Utah (from the Mountain West Conference) and Colorado (from the Big Twelve Conference), changing its name from the Pac-10 to the Pac-12 Conference. Other conferences have expanded by raiding other conferences. The Big Ten (with eleven teams) added Nebraska (from the Big 12), Maryland (from the ACC), and Rutgers (from the Big East), leading other teams to shift conferences. (The Big 10 now has 14 teams but kept the name Big 10.) The SEC added Missouri and Texas A&M from the Big 12 (breaking up the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry.) The Big East then lost powers Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Miami to the ACC. This left the Big 12 and Big East Conferences scrambling. The Big East lost other teams as well, and it is no longer a major player in NCAA football. The Big 12 (now with just 10 teams) added Texas Christian University and West Virginia in 2010 and is seen as the most likely conference to be picked off by the other 4 major conferences (ACC, SEC, Pac-12, and Big 10. Together with the Big 12 conference, members of these leagues are now called “Power 5 schools.”) Texas and Oklahoma were invited by the Pac-10 back in 2010 (when Colorado left), and according to Oklahoma president David Boren were within 30 minutes of joining the Pac-10 Conference when they changed their mind and decided to remain in the Big 12. Continue Reading »
Utah is leading the way for republicans who can’t stand Donald Trump AND Hillary Clinton. A recent Deseret News poll showed Trump, Clinton, and relative unknown Evan McMullin in a statistical tie! This poll took the statisticians at FiveThirtyEight.com by surprise, and they promised “We’re going to be adding McMullin to our model in Utah — give us a day or two on that. But in the meantime, we could also really use another poll or two of Utah to confirm or contradict this result.” They also posted an article describing McMullin’s longshot to win the White House. (Incidentally, a new Monmouth University poll put Trump ahead of Clinton 34-25% with McMullin coming in at 20%.)
Many have asked what’s up with Utah, a solidly republican state. Jake Tapper of CNN asked “When did Mormons leaders became stronger in Jesus Christ than Christian leaders?” and an Evangelical explains why! (skip ahead to the 3:00 mark if you want to hear the question and answer.) Continue Reading »
Many of you are familiar with the story documented by Greg Prince in his biography of David O. McKay where blacks in Nigeria discovered the Book of Mormon and asked for missionaries in the 1960s. Nigeria wasn’t the only place; Dr. Emmanuel Abu Kissi has documented a similar history in Ghana in his book Walking in the Sand.
The roots of missionary work began when Dr Raphael Abraham Frank Mensah was introduced to the Book of Mormon in 1962 by a woman who had received a copy of the book in England. She gave the book to Mensah, though she did not join the church herself. Mensah sent a letter to President David O. McKay. Of course in 1962, the church had a ban on blacks to participate in priesthood and was unsure how to proceed. Mensah did his best to spread the word, and was often disappointed with the responses he got from Salt Lake City. Continue Reading »
I’ve heard about the Law of Adoption as an LDS theological point of the past, but never really understood it very well. I enjoyed reading Brian Hales discussion of the concept in his book, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Volume 3. (This is a follow up post on the book; I previously discussed Hales position that there is no spirit birth.) Hales discusses the idea in Chapter 11 of his book (page 170)
An immediate concern among Latter-day Saints as they contemplated their sealings to their “parents” was whether they should be sealed to their biological ancestors or to some unrelated person, such as a Church leader (either living or deceased). Fears that their own deceased progenitors might not accept the gospel in the afterlife fueled worry that their chain might lead back a few generations and then stop due to disbelief of a dead forebear. Fears existed that righteous individuals could possibly be eternally stranded outside the chain leading back to Adam and Eve. Continue Reading »
A friend asked that a read a book about the first black man ordained to the LDS Priesthood after the 1978 revelation: Joseph Freeman. (I’ve documented about 6 black men who were ordained in the 1830s and 1840s, as well as a few others who avoided the restriction despite the ban.) The book was a nice, short, entertaining read, written in a first person account by Joseph Freeman himself. Published in 1979, In the Lord’s Due Time almost seemed to be a time capsule. For example, I wasn’t expecting to Joseph to refer to himself as a “negro” so often.
Freeman was a descendant of slaves. Continue Reading »
It’s been a while since I read Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Volume 3 by Brian Hales. I read volume 3 first because (1) it was the shortest (a mere 281 pages compared to the other volumes), and (2) Brian Hales recommended we read it first since it was the first time anyone had tried to tackle the theological reasons behind polygamy. I intended to write my review sooner, but knew it would take some time, and put it off for far too long. As I reviewed my notes, I realized that I could probably do a post on the topic of spirit babies. Mormons have long believed that if we are sealed in the temple and live worthily, we are able to have unnumbered offspring forever. This has led many to believe that some women will be eternally pregnant, and also why more women are needed for eternal gestation. Some women have remarked that they don’t want to be pregnant forever.
It turns out that might be a folk doctrine that Brian Hales attacks in this book. Continue Reading »
I was pleased that Deseret Book sent me a copy of Joseph Smith’s Seer Stones to review. I know a lot of people have complained church members have complained that we always reference the Urim and Thummim, but not seer stones. There is also the complaint that the artwork is incorrect concerning Joseph translating the plates. It appears Deseret Book is out to change that perception and give more information regarding this topic with this new book. It is a welcome book that is easy to read, and uses footnotes to give the reader scholarly information on Joseph’s Seer stones (plural). While the Church recently published a photo of the brown, chocolate colored stone, the cover of the book shows an artist’s rendition of a white seer stone Joseph used, and there was also talk of a green seer stone used by Joseph. Apparently Joseph preferred the white one over the brown one (that he used to translate the Book of Mormon), and gave the brown one to Oliver Cowdery in 1830. He kept the white one throughout his life, and some of the revelations from the D&C were received through this white seer stone! A chart on page 128-9 indicates Joseph got the brown stone sometime between 1822 and 1830 (there are 4 theories that do not mesh well), got the “Nephite interpreters” between 1827-1829, and had possession of the white stone between 1822-1844. There is talk of a green stone, but not sure when he had it. Continue Reading »