Jacob 2:30 – “Raising Up Seed” and The Polygamy Question

Polygamy was, is, and likely ever will be Mormonism's defining doctrine.  Even though the Church officially ended the practice with Wilford Woodruff's 1890 "Official Declaration 1," spiritual polygamy, one man sealed to two or more women, is alive and well.   LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson is sealed to two women--his first wife, Dantzel (d.... Continue Reading →

“Urim and Thummim” and the Revision of History

A few weeks ago I had a Facebook discussion with two individuals resolute in their belief that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon via "Urim and Thummim" and insisted Joseph was consistent in using the term from the beginning of the church.   As one might expect, there's considerable difficulty with that claim.  It didn't... Continue Reading →

Why Do We Baptize Children?

"And the first fruits of repentance is baptism." (Moroni 8) In the LDS tradition we baptize children at eight years old.   It's an important rite of passage in our culture and usually accompanied by a program (prayer, song, talk, song, prayer), a family get-together, a lunch or dinner, and an outpouring of love for the... Continue Reading →

The Curious Case of D&C 45 (“Wounded in the House of My Friends”)

It's interesting to go back and reread things with a new perspective and see what I might have missed the first time or ten--especially with Joseph Smith's revelations. It's now pretty easy to recognize when Joseph draws on on the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament in constructing his revelations. D&C 45 is another revelation... Continue Reading →

The Meridian of Time v. The Fulness of Time

In the Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ formally adopted on April 6, 1830 we read, "...that as many as would believe and be baptized in his holy name, and endure in faith to the end, should be saved—Not only those who believed after he came in the meridian of time, in the flesh, but all those from... Continue Reading →

Jesus Was Born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem

“And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.” (1 Nephi 11:13) The Birth of Jesus is the most well-known birth story in all... Continue Reading →

“Right Arm to the Square” Isn’t Stipulated in Scripture

Why is raising the "right arm to the square" part of the Mormon baptism ritual? It's not stipulated in the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Book of Mormon or D&C. However, on LDS.org we read the steps required for valid baptism into the church. The priesthood holder, "Under the direction of the presiding authority, a priest... Continue Reading →

“Our First Parents” – How the Book of Mormon redefines “Adam and Eve”

"You don't need me to tell you that human civilization is very, very old." So began Yale professor Christine Hayes' introduction to the Hebrew Bible course. She's right, of course. The earth, and humanity, has been around a lot longer than 4,000 B.C., a date traditionally accepted by orthodox Christians and, unsurprisingly, Joseph Smith, as... Continue Reading →

“Seven Women Shall Take Hold of One Man” (Isaiah 4:1)

I was reminded recently of Isaiah 4:1, which has often been used as prooftext for polygamy. It reads: "And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach." The key... Continue Reading →

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