Liberal and Conservative at Church

What do we mean when we use the terms “liberal” and “conservative” in our discussions of faith?

Is the church “too conservative?” What does that mean?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of liberal and conservative tendencies when it comes to faith?

Are there liberal and conservative patterns in apostasy?

In this presentation, we discuss these and other questions.

Continue reading “Liberal and Conservative at Church”

Spirituality is Addition and Subtraction

Spirituality is part addition, part subtraction.
In the West, we tend to focus on the addition part: doing things, getting things, and achieving things. That is not necessarily bad, but in our focus on addition, we can sometimes inadvertently add things that are not healthy, like perfectionism. We can also fail to account for our Western worldview and how it impacts our spirituality.

Continue reading “Spirituality is Addition and Subtraction”

Memory, Prophetic Translation, and the Lost 116 Pages

I am unfortunately at an advanced enough age that I have now encountered more than once something I have said, done, or written, that I have no memory of at all. This is a humbling experience. So while I was reading Kent Jackson’s excellent book Understanding Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible that Joseph Smith translated some sections of the Bible more than once, apparently having forgotten that he already had done so previously with a different scribe.

How do his second pass translations compare to the first? Did he translate the passages in exactly the same way?

Continue reading “Memory, Prophetic Translation, and the Lost 116 Pages”

Sustaining Leaders and Fellow Saints

This blog post is based on a talk I gave for my ward on February 12, 2023.


A little over seven years ago I got the idea of reading through all the General Conference talks that are easily available on the Church’s website, which means going back to the April 1971 General Conference. I haven’t kept to my schedule perfectly since then, but I’ve read many, many talks, and I’ve really gained an appreciation for the wisdom and consistency of these teachings. 

So when I was asked to give a talk on the fourth temple recommend question–a kind of topic I’ve never heard of before–I knew where to start. I did a quick search and ended up reading (or at least skimming) about two dozen talks, some of which were incredibly powerful to me. I’ll be quoting from these talks at length.

Continue reading “Sustaining Leaders and Fellow Saints”

“If the Church were following Jesus, it would give all its funds to the poor!”

“Why doesn’t the church give tons of money to the poor?”

I’m currently developing an article about fundamentalism, and how its core impulse is to avoid cognitive dissonance no matter what.

Continue reading ““If the Church were following Jesus, it would give all its funds to the poor!””

This is Buoyancy

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey. This is the 372nd week, and we’re covering the Sunday afternoon session of the October 1999 General Conference.

There was one quote that really stayed with me from this session of General Conference, and it came from Elder L. Tom Perry’s talk A Year of Jubilee. The quote comes from Harry Emerson Fosdick, who I’d never heard of before. He was an American pastor who lived from 1878 to 1969 and was (via Wikipedia) “one of the most prominent liberal ministers of the early 20th century.” I know basically nothing about Liberal Christianity other than what I just read on Wikipedia:

Continue reading “This is Buoyancy”

My Answer to Ellen

In 2008 John McCain appeared on the Ellen show and gave an awkward and inarticulate answer when challenged about her own desire to be legally married. (This is before the Supreme Court required states to recognize same sex marriage). In a blog that is long since defunct, I posted my own imagined response to Ellen if I was interviewed on her show. I reproduce it here for historical interest.

John McCain, appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres show as part of his 2008 presidential campaign.
Continue reading “My Answer to Ellen”