March 15th, 2007

The People Of The Restoration

I happen to work in a largely Jewish area. Within that vibrant community there is tremendous diversity: ultra-orthodox, Lubavitch, Reform, secular/athiest, Zionist, you name it. Yet by and large, they all acknowledge each other as Jews. The bond is implicit, and understood. The rare person who tells another “You’re not really a Jew” is a marginal figure. Read the rest of this entry »

March 7th, 2007

LDSLF is taking submissions!

Several people have mentioned lately that they’d like to see LDSLF active again. Well, RT and I would like to see it active also, but due to time constraints and the extensive exploration we’ve already made of LDSLF’s emphasized themes, we aren’t able to contribute much new stuff at the moment. However, it’s occurred to us that we aren’t the world’s only leftist Mormons; we aren’t the only socially progressive Mormons; we aren’t the only Mormons who focus on redemptive theology. In fact, we know a lot of other people who share our interests. People who probably have things they’d like to discuss. People who could type up some nifty posts.

We have therefore decided to take submissions from interested parties. We will gladly consider posting pieces which fit LDSLF’s mission statement, or which fit in with other themes we’ve dealt with here. If you’d like to submit something but you’re shy about your writing skills, we’ll gladly work with you to produce a post. And of course, pseudonyms are par for the course here, though for internal purposes we’d prefer to know who you are.Please email me if you’re interested in contributing.

February 16th, 2007

Abolition-R-Us

I’ve been listening to some podcasts dealing with David Batsone’s new book, Cry Freedom (that link will take you to Sojourners’ Magazine; you’ll need to complete a free registration to read the article). I lived in Berkeley when the Lakireddy case broke there. A reporter at the Berkeley high school newspaper actually discovered some of the Lakireddy family’s slaves, two adolescent women who had been smuggled into the country and forced into unpaid labor and sexual slavery. Read the rest of this entry »

February 13th, 2007

Even Educated Fleas…

The BBC reports on a recent Norwegian museum exhibit which documents the presence of homosexual behavior and pair bonding in hundreds of species. The penguin couples are particularly noteworthy because, well, they just look so darn gay. Read the rest of this entry »

October 10th, 2006

The Purposes of LDSLF: An Email Conversation

From time to time, the folks here at LDSLF receive inquisitive or even confrontational email messages from people who wonder whether our purpose is to harm the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or to undermine people’s faith. I don’t really know why these ideas come up; my wife and I are both loyal to the church as our divinely-chosen gospel community. Nonetheless, such dialogues have been an occasional feature of our experiences running this website. With the goal of answering such questions for any readers with the idea that we’re working against the church who haven’t yet written me an email, I’m posting a recent email exchange of this kind, with a young man not named Robert Smith. Read the rest of this entry »

September 26th, 2006

Women, Priesthood

One of the most frequent, and perhaps most important, conversations among people inclined to talk about their Mormonism involves women’s responses to the church’s current policy of sex-based priesthood restriction. In these conversations, a major issue involves trying to intuit what Mormon women want — no references to the terrible Mel Gibson movie intended. Read the rest of this entry »

September 22nd, 2006

Anna: “Separating Religious Belief from Authority and Structure”

At the beginning of the year, LDSLF hosted a series of posts with the theme “What Next,” asking people who had passed through a crisis of Mormon faith to describe the experience and especially their approaches to resolving that crisis. With a similar goal of promoting understanding for those experiencing pain, we will now be running a three-part series in which active, church-attending Mormons who have lost belief in fundamental LDS truth claims discuss the experience of loss of faith. The focus is not on whether these (pseudonymous) individuals are right or wrong in what they believe, but rather on understanding how it felt to walk a mile in their shoes. The first of these interviews is with a woman not named Anna.

RT: When you found yourself losing belief in the claims of the Mormon church, how did that affect your self-conception?

should i get a professional cv for teaching position Anna: At first, it was liberating - meaning I felt that I’d discovered a secret no one else around me knew about. I felt, I guess, superior to people who were just plodding along subservient to the church when I really knew the truth. But this was mostly superficial. For the most part I felt frustrated and bitter because I wasn’t able to be happy doing the things everyone else seemed happy doing. Read the rest of this entry »

September 17th, 2006

Why Do We Have Sunday School?

Each Sunday, we devote roughly a third of our worship service to Sunday School. For new converts, this time is devoted to a year-long series of lessons in basic Mormon doctrine and practice. For children and teenagers, a unique curriculum exists with its own merits and weaknesses. For established adults who don’t have anything better to do (callings, etc.), this time is devoted to Gospel Doctrine class. Why do we encourage long-term adult members of the church to participate in Sunday School? Is there a meaningful account of the goals of such continuing adult education that fits comfortably with the actual practice of Sunday School? Read the rest of this entry »

August 17th, 2006

Backwards in Time

As everyone knows, we use places where major events have occurred to structure our understanding of our history, and to embed our landscape in our narratives of the past. That’s why we build memorials at concentration camps, battlefields, places where Gods are crucified.

Mormons, of course, do the same thing. We’ve built historical commemorations in New York, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wyoming, Utah, California, and other places. Monuments celebrate visions of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the birth- and death-places of leaders and sacred heroes, the locations of calamities and triumphs. The Sacred Grove, the Kirtland temple, the Independence temple lot, Nauvoo, Carthage, Temple Square. These places are occupied by thoroughly modern monuments and visitors’ centers, and yet they symbolize to us our sacred moments from the 19th century. Read the rest of this entry »

June 20th, 2006

Praying for Strength

I have to finish my dissertation by the end of this summer. Speaking realistically, things are going well; finishing and filing by the deadline probably isn’t going to require a major miracle. Just a modest one; I need to survive a process that is exhausting, time-consuming, and isolating. It will probably happen, but it still feels too big for me. So I feel inclined to pray to God for strength. Read the rest of this entry »

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