There’s a quote from Jonathan Haidt’s “The Happiness Hypothesis” that has haunted me ever since I read it many years ago:
As in Plato, Christian love is love stripped of its essential particularity, its focus on a specific other person. Love is remodeled into a general attitude toward a much larger, even infinite class of objects. Caritas and agape are beautiful, but they are not related to or derived from the kinds of love that people need. Although I would like to live in a world in which everyone radiates benevolence toward everyone else, I would rather live in a world in which there was at least one person who loved me specifically, and whom I loved in return. (emphasis added)
I have long and easily felt God’s love in the general sense, “stripped of its essential particularity”. I know that God is good, and because God is good He treats everyone kindly and patiently. Of this I have no doubt. But am I loved, in particular? I know the answer is yes, but I have long struggled to actually feel that love.
Continue reading “Feeling God’s Particular Love”
What did President Russell M. Nelson mean when he said to “never take counsel from those who do not believe”?
Why is it possible to create miracle-free alternatives to sacred history?
Should we be unsettled when we read that someone has created a narrative of our sacred history that denies miracles?
What is the role of memory in retaining the stories of miracles in our sacred history?
We discuss these questions and more in this presentation. YouTube narration below:
Continue reading “When Scholars Dismiss Miracles”
Sola Scriptura is the idea that scripture is the only authority for doctrine and for resolving questions of faith. It’s common in protestant sects, but it’s also embraced by fundamentalist-minded Latter-day Saints and Mormons. Our version of sola scriptura manifests itself in conversations like these:
Church leadership: we are announcing a new policy on accessing church computer systems in meetinghouses.
Critic: I don’t see any revelation in the scriptures on that! Show me in the D&C where we have a revelation on church computer systems!
Continue reading “Friends don’t let friends embrace sola scriptura”
“Follow the Prophet” is a phrase that many people have come to regard as quaint or childish. In fact, it is the exact opposite. It’s not a commitment that anyone should be unclear about; it’s a deep and intelligent and mature commitment for people who are spiritually serious.
Video narration below:
Continue reading “Follow the Prophets, Without Hesitation or Apology”
Church members often seem to get discouraged and doubtful over the prospect of their exaltation. It’s time for us to transition to thinking about this concept in ways that are more energizing and hopeful.
Video presentation below:
Continue reading “Congratulations, you are probably being exalted”
Preference falsification is when someone publicly expresses a preference that they do not really hold. The phrase “virtue signaling” arose to describe a form of preference falsification; progressives tend to voice loud support for cultural transformations in the direction of diversity and inclusion. But when Hollywood creates movies that align with these professed values, progressives do not actually go to see those movies. “Go woke, go broke” is just a way of saying progressives claim to want things, but when presented with those things they claim to want, they do not choose those things.
Continue reading “Preference falsification and progressive religion”
Is it possible for our church congregations to accommodate people who don’t believe in our doctrines or sacred history?
What should our congregations do — and avoid doing — in response to people’s struggles with faith?
Are there differences in male and female spaces when it comes to questioning and commentary?
What did President Oaks mean when he said that “research is not the answer?”
Seeker-sensitivity is way of doing church that was developed among some Christian communities in the 1970s. In this presentation, we discuss that trend and explore the question of what are realistic possibilities for accommodating seekers among Latter-day Saints.
Continue reading “Can Latter-day Saints have a seeker-sensitive church culture?”
Critics of our faith sometimes assume that we hold our beliefs out of a stubborn closed-mindedness. Is that true, or is it a false narrative that critics use to reassure themselves?
What exactly is open-mindedness?
What is the opposite of open-mindedness?
What are some things that look like open-mindedness, but aren’t?
We answer these questions and more in the presentation below:
Continue reading “Are We Open-Minded?”
Were church leaders inspired in their guidance on COVID-19?
What are some of the causes of frustration among Latter-day Saints over these issues?
Continue reading “Prophet and Vaccine”
Jesus answered him, Truly, truly, I say to you, if a person is not born from on high, that person is not able to see the kingdom of God.
Sedevacantism “seat-empty-ism” is a term commonly used to describe Catholics who think the pope is illegitimate because he is apostate, lacking authority, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, etc. In Catholicism, there has long been a rift over Vatican II, where the Catholic church convened a huge council in 1962-1965 and implemented a set of reforms that included no longer doing the mass in Latin. Remember that one of the core elements of fundamentalism is an idea that things were ideal in the past, and we need to return to some past way of doing things, because back then the faith was more pure or whatever. So fundamentalist Catholics typically reject Vatican II and to the extent they still participate in the Roman Catholic church, they constantly clash with popes and other authorities who maintain the reforms of Vatican II.
Continue reading “Beware of Sedevacantism in the Church”