Feb 25

Toward an LDS Theology of Religions

“Theology of religions” has been a particularly pressing concern in Christian thought since at least the middle of the twentieth century. The term refers to the effort to make theological sense of other religions. It involves questions like, from the perspective of a Christian, is God involved in other religions, or are they merely human constructions? Is Christianity the only true faith–and if so, why hasn’t God revealed it to everyone? As I’ve posted about before, theologians often speak of three general approaches to the problem: exclusivism (Christianity is the one true faith and there is no way to salvation outside of membership in it), inclusivism (only Christ can save, but explicit belief in or knowledge of Christ is not necessarily required for this to happen), and pluralism (there are multiple true paths and ways to salvation, and Christianity is only one of them.)

I’ve often thought about what an LDS theology of religions might look like. Continue reading

Feb 23

Inequality: perception or reality?

Comments on various threads here have made me think about an issue I’ve always had. People (women, blacks, Latinos, just about everyone) complain about inequality a lot, but in my experience there is more complaining than there is inequality. This is not to say that inequality doesn’t exist. But I still think it’s sometimes more perceived than real. Continue reading

Feb 22

A Lectionary of Snarky Politesse

In this Our Lovely Deseret, we place a high premium on niceness, as well we should. There is much to be said in favor of civility, and it’s probably impossible to say too much in its favor in fora such as these, but of course the snarkier, more unfeminine emotions such as irritation and anger are not thereby eradicated, and after a time our stock phrases begin to experience significant and inevitable semantic leakage, following some sort of pattern the sociolinguists among us can, no doubt, identify with far more precision than I. My nominations for my least favorite, most tiresome phrases (both Bloggernacle and offline) follow. Continue reading

Feb 21


When I look at the religious conversations I’ve had again and again, the papers I’ve written, the books I’m fascinated by, I can’t help noticing how frequently I find myself coming back again and again to some of the same themes. There are certain questions which have haunted me for years; I feel almost compelled to keep returning to them, to explore them further, to try approaching them from yet another angle. When it comes to these particular problems, you might fairly accuse me of being somewhat obsessed (my siblings and friends could certainly attest to this). Some examples: Continue reading

Feb 19

Turning the Other Cheek

But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. –Matthew 5:39

A recent post reminded me of an experience I had my first couple years in graduate school. It was a difficult, painful experience that taught me a lot about anger, forgiveness, and what it means to be Christlike when another person is trying to manipulate you. Continue reading

Feb 17

A Cafeteria Feminist Manifesto

In the spirit of fostering further discussion, I’d like to gently unravel several issues from the tangled skein of Seraphine’s Separate but Equal thread below and give each its own consideration. One of these is a fundamental difference in the role authority plays in Mormonism and feminism and the differing degrees of skepticism and partial embrace thus consistent with each.

Continue reading

Feb 16

Lost Things

I don’t know quite what I think about petitionary prayer; once you raise those sticky questions about God intervening in the world sometimes but not others, it all gets so complicated. But I’m more than a little skeptical of any theory of prayer that treats God like a vending machine who dispenses blessings if only you can come up with the correct combination of change. Rather, I’m drawn to the idea that the point of prayer is relational, that it’s not so much about coaxing stuff out of God as about developing a relationship with him.

That’s how I like to think about prayer in the abstract, at least. But to be honest, I don’t necessarily live that way. Continue reading

Feb 05

Results of Poll on Feminist Concerns

A while back we put up a poll asking commenters to vote on their top feminist concerns with the Church. The table below shows a few results, based on responses from the 78 people who have voted as of today (although second and third concerns each received only 75 total responses). Note that the “weighted votes” column assigns votes for #1 concern a value of 3, #2 concern a value of 2, and #3 concern a value of 1. The “votes” column simply counts the number of times a concern was voted for without weighting.

The major result of this poll is that limited female participation in Church administration is by far the top concern of those who voted. Continue reading

Feb 03

The Positives of Religion

Before I got sucked into the world of Mormon blogging, I spent a lot of my online time participating in a community which dealt with mental health issues. I met a lot of great people there, and I learned a lot. While I appreciated the thought-provoking and informative discussion on topics like surviving depression, I was also particularly interested in the lively conversations which took place about issues related to faith and spirituality. Many expressed extremely negative views of organized religion; I heard repeatedly that it was to blame for all the problems of the world, that it was something for the immature who didn’t want to think for themselves, etc. At one point I attempted to explain why, despite some of my reservations, I’d stuck with it. This is what I came up with. Continue reading

Feb 02

On Outlawing Abortion: I Have a Question

The Utah state legislature is looking to pass a law that outlaws abortion. (Thanks to Matt Evans at T&S for the pointer.) In line with the Church’s position on abortion, it would allow for three exceptions. A woman could have an abortion if the pregnancy endangered her life (or her health, in a major and permanent way), or if it resulted from incest or rape.

If this law were passed, I wonder if this last exception might not be problematic. Continue reading