How Brigham’s accusers use anchored narratives

Anchored Narratives is a 1993 book written by psychologists who were trying to understand wrongful convictions in courts of law. The authors examined 35 examples of dubious and clearly-wrongful convictions, trying to figure out how prosecutors manipulate judges and juries into accepting false narratives about people.

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Let’s stop couch-fainting over the term “approved sources”

A note on “sticking with approved sources” to get “approved answers.”

In any field, there are sources that lead to specific answers that are considered valid because they represent reality.

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On the Hiring of Aaron Sherinian

What do hiring decisions indicate about the organizations that enact them? For many organizations, hiring decisions don’t carry any particular weight beyond measures of employee competence. For religious organizations, however, alignment with a religious mission is critical.

Latter-day Saints do not believe any of their leaders are infallible, and the same goes for church employees. However, there is a meaningful distinction in perceptions between called leaders who help direct the Church, and hired employees who execute the instructions of those leaders. 

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How not to sustain our leadership

In my presentation on following the prophet, I described what it means to me to sustain the people who are called to the governing councils and committees of the church.

For learning by contrast, below is a list of statements that indicate to me the opposite of what it means to sustain.

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Latter-day Saint Apocalyptic, and Visions of Glory as Case Study

There is controversy in the news with several former church members who have been strongly influenced by the book Visions of Glory. In this presentation, we explore some questions around that book and its genre, which is called apocalyptic.

Questions we explore:

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John the Baptist, preeminent prophet

When Moses was called as a prophet, he had an extraordinary visionary experience where he saw God represented as a burning bush.

When Isaiah was called as a prophet, we read of a dramatic visionary encounter with smoke filling the temple, heavenly figures called the seraphim, and more.

When Ezekiel was called as a prophet, he offered an elaborate description of divine beings that defy any normal description.

But the prophetic call of John the Baptist, who Jesus labeled as greater than any prophet before his time, is described in only seven words that are found in a very short verse in the book of Luke.

Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. (Luke 3:2)

That’s it. No sensational experience, just… the word of God came to John.

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Feeling God’s Particular Love

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. 

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Reverse CBT in the Church

This video points to a Triggernometry episode recounting a Gen Z woman’s experience with critical race theory and manufactured fragility:


The source video is from Tik Tok. The story is that a lesbian and her wife who use they/them pronouns walked into a gay bar and she melted down over being called a lady. So, the gay guys in the bar kicked her out. Notice that as she is whining and performing for the camera, she has an empathetic enabler reassuring her that the mean world has mistreated her.

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When Scholars Dismiss Miracles

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:

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