I gave a short talk recently, and it was suggested that I post it up here for others to read. I borrowed some of the information in the talk from a past president’s message I gave in the FAIR Journal. But, I still hope you find it valuable. Here it is:
In Mosiah 7-19 we are told that Ammon and other Nephites from Zarahemla stumbled upon their brethren in Lehi-Nephi. We are told that the Lehi-Nephite decline started when King Noah raised income taxes from 10% to 20%, and culminated in their subjection to the Lamanites, who taxed them at a rate of 50%. Modern readers may wonder at this; why would the Nephites feel enslaved when many “free” nations nowadays have had much higher tax rates? (The USA had rates as high as 91%, and when Ronald Reagan won the US presidency in 1980, the top tax rate was 70%.) The “supply side” school of economic thought may provide an answer.
Walker Lewis is a key figure in early Mormon history as one of the few African-Americans that had the Melchizedek priesthood bestowed upon him. Before the restrictive priesthood policy tightened, Brigham Young singled out Lewis as “one of the best Elders.” [Read more…] about Walker Lewis
Over on By Common Consent, john f. has has started an excellent discussion on managing — or failing to manage — the “grey areas” of the gospel. Excerpt:
…I suggest that members who retain their faith/belief often do so by taking a nuanced view of Church life and policy — seeing many aspects of how culture or policy apply to real life situations as falling into a gray area that their flexible faith is able to accommodate.
By contrast, I have observed ex-believers saying that members of the Church view things as black and white and that things are really gray. But in taking this approach, I have seen some ex-believers attribute black and white type of beliefs to members of the Church that very few, if any, believing members actually hold.
While Latter-day Saints (I think) rightly claim that we are the “only True Church,” many of us forget that others have large amounts of truth that we can–and should–incorporate into our faith. As Joseph Smith put it, “We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true ‘Mormons'” [HC 5:517].
For example, there are too many Latter-day Saints who do not realize their need for a Saviour–in spite of statements from our “Standard Works,” and our General and local Authorities to that effect. There are even memos from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraging members to testify to this fact on Fast Sundays.
I have been thinking how better to introduce the members of the Church to the issues surrounding church history and Masonry. One of the biggest issues here is that most Latter-days Saints know next to nothing about the subject and neither do their leaders.
FAIR has announced the dates for the 2008 FAIR Conference. It will be held August 7th and 8th at South Towne Expo Center in Sandy, Utah.
This is the tenth year for the FAIR Conference, and every one gets a bit better and bigger than the year before. The speaker lineup has not been announced, but is being finalized. (FAIR does take serious suggestions for speakers and topics, by the way.)
Additional information, as it becomes available, will be on the FAIR Conference page.
The Danzigs were both volunteer members of the Orchestra at Temple Square, a Church-operated orchestra that is the instrumental equivalent of the Tabernacle Choir. In June 2006 the Salt Lake Tribune published a letter from Peter Danzig opposing the Church’s effort to pass a federal Constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman only. Danzig’s letter also expressed support for Jeffrey Nielsen, a BYU adjunct professor whose contract had not been renewed after he had publicly opposed the Church’s support for the amendment. In his letter Danzig accused Church leaders of exercising “intellectual tyranny” in the Nielsen case, and called Church efforts an “injustice.”
Following the publication of his letter, Peter Danzig was suspended from his position in the Orchestra at Temple Square, apparently at the behest of Church leaders. Mary Danzig later resigned; the Tribune article says she “felt unwelcome in the orchestra.” Over the next year and a half the situation apparently rose to the level of local Church discipline. Rather than face that, the Danzigs resigned their membership in December 2007.
In the wake of this tragic event, I’d like to make a few comments about Church discipline and how stories like these are portrayed in the media. [Read more…] about Thoughts on the media and Church discipline
Arriving late at a venue whose existence I was unaware of until just a week ago, I joined a standing room only crowd to listen to the pioneering Book of Mormon archaeologist speak. The atmosphere at the Olivewood bookstore in Provo was electrifying for a student of all things FARMS like myself. There was nary a saccharine, fluff-filled book to be found on any of the shelves, in contrast to the typical fare offered at Deseret Book. Art depicting scenes from the Restoration riddled the walls and was a welcomed relief to the poor quality stuff I have been subjected to from a recently publicized antagonistic website. What caught my attention most was the very enticing Neil A. Maxwell Institute reading room.
We’ve recently posted some new videos to our YouTube channel, including clips from forthcoming FAIR productions, Hugh Nibley talks, and previous FAIR Conference talks.
If you haven’t seen our YouTube channel (or haven’t seen it lately), please take a look!
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