FAIR provides an “Ask the Apologist” service to which people send questions. In recent months many well-meaning individuals have asked why FAIR has not endorsed DNA Evidence for Book of Mormon Geography, a DVD created and promoted by Rodney Meldrum.
As almost anyone not living in a cave is aware, the California Supreme Court recently ruled that the statute which limited “marriage” to a man and a woman was in violation of the state’s constitution, thus opening the door for thousands of gay people to enter into legally sanctioned marriages.
Even more recently, a voter petition to amend the California constitution was approved in California and will be on the ballot this fall. If approved, the constitution will be amended to state that marriage in California is between a man and woman. It would effectively override the ruling of the California Supreme Court.
The LDS Church has issued a letter to the Saints in California, seeking their active participation in getting the amendment approved by the voters. The letter represents a real threat to supporters of same sex marriage in California because, as was the case a few years back when a similar voter initiative was on the ballot, LDS members in California are numerous, organized, and have to the potential to swing the vote in favor of the amendment.
I have been involved in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints all my life. I was raised into it, nurtured by it, and used it as a crutch to lean on when things in life became difficult. And things were often difficult. My childhood was spent in the small Santa Cruz mountain town of Boulder Creek, California. Population 8,000 where true civilization is miles away and there are more tattoo parlors and tie dye shops than grocery stores, drug stores and gas stations combined. [Read more…] about Real Life as a Teenage Mormon
John Gee started his presentation on the Book of Abraham by detailing the provenance of the collection of some mummies and papyri taken as spoils in Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt. The items were shipped to America and put in a traveling pay-per-view show. Various buyers bought pieces of the collection, most notably the father of John Wilkes Booth. The Mormons in Kirtland also purchased a number of scrolls and mummies. Part of the Mormon collection ended up being burned in the 1871 Chicago fire and some of it ended up in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met knew what they had. Dr. Gee showed us a 1948 publication that associated their collection with Joseph Smith. Not wanting to caught in the cross hairs of a religious controversy, the Met officials arranged for the papyrus to be turned over to the Church of Jesus Christ. You can read about this transferal in Gee’s latest article in the FARMS Review.
Last evening there was a fireside in the Tabernacle, on Temple Square, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the announcement of the revelation extending the priesthood to all worthy males. This was a joyous time for most people in attendance. Many there remember that day 30 years ago, as do I. Many remember the feelings of joy that the will of the Lord had been revealed to those we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators.
Today a panel of the US Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals (Denver Colorado) issued a ruling that is of special interest to FAIR and this writer. In a unanimous decision, the court upheld the earlier ruling of the District Court relative to the case originally brought by Utah Lighthouse Ministry against me, my company, my wife, FAIR, and FAIR’s president.
Last night I attended another in a wonderful series of firesides hosted by the Olivewood bookstore. Tyler Livingston was also there and took good notes, so I will refer everyone to here. The speaker used his knowledge of Mesoamerican languages and interpretations of murals, stela, and other Classic period art to draw intriguing parallels with various passages in the Book of Mormon.
Earlier this month I wrote a post detailing seven admirable things about Islam. Though the actual idea was my colleague Mike Parker’s idea, I thought it necessary for several reasons:
1. True Latter-day Saints know that there is good in every religion.
2. I wanted to show that LDS opinion on Islam was knowledgable and even-handed. Most Latter-day Saints I know are not willing to accept the worst of Islam just because some loudmouth says so.
Over on Jeff Lindsay’s blog, Mormanity, he examines Gary Swank’s confusion about the differences between LDS and FLDS beliefs, and Swank’s serious use of Jeff’s satirical web site MormonCult.org as a source.
Check it out:
In my explorations, the first person to actually use the term pious fraud in conjunction with Mormonism was Mark Twain in Roughing It. Surprisingly, the reference was not to Joseph Smith, but to Brigham Young allegedly dressing up as Joseph Smith. This is Twain’s take on the narratives about assuming the prophetic mantle. More recently, Dan Vogel’s biography is essentially a book length defense of an earlier 1996 essay championing the pious fraud model as the most plausible solution framed by Jan Shipps in “The Prophet Puzzle:”
What we have in Mormon historiography is two Josephs: the one who started out digging for money and when he was unsuccessful, turned to propheteering, and the one who had visions and dreamed dreams, restored the church, and revealed the will of the Lord to a sinful world.