Among Mormons motherhood is held up as the “highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind [sic].” One might discern, then, a vaguely Mary-shaped silhouette in our discourse in the negative space between our focus on Jesus as the consummate man and our insistence on the near-divinity of motherhood. In the heavenly realm we lack anything other than a wisp of an ultimate example of [...]
Recently I had the opportunity to attend a lecture by Ann Braude, a scholar of the religious history of American women, on the topic of the role Christianity played in the fight for women’s rights in the United States. I’ve heard Professor Braude speak in the past (once to Mormon women at an Exponent II series in [...]
Mormons tell more jokes about alcohol than anyone I know. There’s a simple reason for this, I think, and it’s not (in my reading of it) that many faithful Mormons are on the verge of losing their grips on the teetotalers’ wagon. Quite the contrary: the humor of such jokes derives specifically from the transgression [...]
According to this study, Mormons aren’t terribly likely to accept the proposition that “evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth” (however one interprets this statement).
- 27 August 2009
- Filed under: Science
Our insistence on an embodied (male) God leaves us open to all sorts of doctrinal head-scratchers, especially regarding the relationship between the universal and the particular: can God in some way be a prototypical human male encapsulating or representative of characteristics of all, or is he just one more specific example in the category “human male,” with his own [...]
Caller: Since we’re getting into the 21st century, President Hinckley, what is the chance that women may hold a priesthood in the Mormon church? Gordon B. Hinckley: Well, they don’t hold the priesthood at the present time. It would take another revelation to bring that about. I don’t anticipate it. The women of the church [...]
A popular feminist argument against Mormon patriarchy asserts that it is simply a cultural relic absorbed unquestioningly from the surrounding social textures of past prophets. We learn that Paul was a product of his time, that Joseph Smith made assumptions about women’s status consonant with his own cultural milieu, or that the Book of Mormon’s androcentrism can be dismissed as [...]
“I know it works in practice,” a French scholar (steeped in a tradition emphasizing Cartesian rationalism) is reported to have said, “but does it work in theory?” Certain churches may be the only institutions in this country that are more sexist in theory than they are in practice, as Mark Chaves suggests in his study Ordaining [...]
Recently I dreamed that it turned out Elder Richard G. Scott was some sort of intelligence agent sent to spy on a fellow apostle, a certain Elder Nat Ott. Elder Ott, in turn, had been hired by the Church to spy on Elder Scott. (Alas, the details of the operation escape me.) What does it all [...]
- 14 April 2009
- Filed under: Fun
Modesty, defined increasingly narrowly in the Church as deliberately dressing in ways that are not intended to be sexually provocative, or, even more rigidly, conforming to a dress code dictating the boundaries of acceptable non-provocative attire, is frequently understood in terms of its effects on (male) onlookers. When modesty is discussed as something individuals might do [...]
“And young women, please understand that if you dress immodestly, you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you.” (Elder Oaks, April Conference 2005) This statement raises a raft of thorny issues, several of which have been hashed out elsewhere and some of which I’m not entirely sure [...]
A few months back, “Lawrence” raised an interesting question at BCC: The temple covenants when my spouse and I took our endowments differ from the current covenants. When we are asked in an interview if we keep our temple covenants, does this refer to the covenants as they were for our endowments, or the covenants [...]
Recently I spent a pleasant evening with one of my sisters in a Catholic church, taking in the smell of the votive candles, the prominently placed mosaics depicting aspects of Jesus’ ministry, and the statuary, and I got to wondering about the way both sacred space and images operate in Mormonism.
We’re fond of the terms “conservative” and “liberal” to describe a spectrum of approaches to Church teachings, from unwavering compliance on the one extreme to thumbing one’s nose on the other. However, while certainly useful in a limited way, these terms fail to take account of the network of possible methods whereby members can interpret various Church teachings in light of [...]
The secrecy surrounding the temple can be viewed from several different angles, but in this post I’m interested in exploring how it functions with respect to time. Because investigating details of the ceremony is forbidden to the uninitiated and people are required to receive their own endowments before being allowed to do vicarious work, time–to [...]
Not infrequently statements from Church leaders contain instances of full-fledged Chicken Patriarchy in all its muddled, labyrinthine, self-contradictory splendor. But in other cases, both patriarchy and equality are being taught separately as appropriate ideals.
Although I find the field interesting, I have some suspicions about evolutionary psychology, and Satoshi Kanazawa is doing little to allay those reservations with his recent post on what evolutionary theory tells us about happiness (hat tip to BCC’s side bar). The crux of his argument seems to be: do whatever you want, because that [...]
In the turbulent aftermath of proposition 8′s passage in California, the Church made some noise about being unfairly singled out by gay rights activitists. Whether or not the Church served as a lynchpin in the coalition that pushed the proposition through, its centralization alone makes it a logical target. But here I’m interested in turning the question around: [...]
Surgeon General’s Warning: This post may result in skyrocketing blood pressure. For those who find theological speculation distasteful, please, stop reading immediately. Show some self-discipline and click away.