By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog

LDS Institutional Priorities

LDS Institutional Priorities

The Church cannot be all things to all people.

That’s just a fact – a fact born of the realities of membership, resources, and structure.

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$35 Million

$35 Million

In a stunning turn of events, the LDS Church has purchased the Printer’s Manuscript (designated P) of the Book of Mormon from the Community of Christ for $35 million (with donated funds). A few years ago at the JWHA conference there was an entire plenary devoted to P, so I thought it might be a […]

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Churches and the House Appropriation Bill

Churches and the House Appropriation Bill

Last Thursday, the House passed an appropriation bill for fiscal year 2018. The vote was close—211 to 198—and it’s not clear that it will pass the Senate in any kind of recognizable form. Still, the bill has at least some relevance to churches. See, sections 101-116 attempt to regulate the IRS, and section 116 would […]

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Your Sunday Brunch Special: Religious Freedom and the Supreme Court.

Your Sunday Brunch Special: Religious Freedom and the Supreme Court.

Some of you may know that I’ve been writing a book on the social, political, and textual history of Joseph Smith’s revelation on polygamy, now found as Doctrine and Covenants, section 132. It’s been a fun project and I’ve come to see the revelation (as every good biographer must about his or her subject) as […]

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Kohanim

Kohanim

The Chicago Bears have a rookie running back who has had a sensational beginning to his young career, named Tarik Cohen. (The above picture shows Tarik catching two footballs while doing a backflip.) A lot of people were trying to figure out whether he was Jewish, because Cohen is a prominent surname among Jews. He […]

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The Arc of the Moral Universe Bends Whichever Way We Bend It

The Arc of the Moral Universe Bends Whichever Way We Bend It

Yesterday, a well-known radio personality went on a cable news show and told a female anchor that the only two things in this country that he believes in absolutely are “the first amendment and boobs.” Exactly one month ago, white supremacists and actual Nazi’s marched through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia chanting Nazi slogans and […]

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2018 MSSJ Pilgrimage – California Mission Trail

2018 MSSJ Pilgrimage – California Mission Trail

Friend of the blog and fellow Canterbury pilgrim DCL has graciously undertaken the planning for the next Mormon Society of St. James (MSSJ) pilgrimage scheduled for Presidents Day weekend, February 16–19, 2018. For all those who have been deterred by the trip to Europe from participating in the past, this is the pilgrimage you’ve been waiting for—in […]

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Testimony

Testimony

Yesterday, in a conversation about apologetics at the Maxwell Institute, I bore my testimony in a semi-public place, which is not something I usually do. Even so, I felt that I should share the substance of what I said here, with some slight elaboration. I believe that trying to love people matters. I believe that even […]

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The Homestead Act and Me

The Homestead Act and Me

Last week, driving home from my brother’s wedding, my family and I stopped at Homestead National Monument of America.[fn1] We didn’t really know what to expect. We only planned on staying for an hour or so, because Nebraska falls halfway into the 21-hour drive from Utah to Chicago, the drive that we needed to do […]

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“You Lost Me,” Tension in the Church

“You Lost Me,” Tension in the Church

This was an interesting article I recently read by an Evangelical-raised woman about the things that happened in her life where she felt a disconnect with what her church told her. The article was titled “How I Became a Heretic (or How the Evangelical, Conservative Church Lost Me). Some of her moments included:

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LDS Hurricane Relief

LDS Hurricane Relief

A story circulates among Mormons who lived in Florida then. 1992 was a tense election year – with George H.W. Bush vying for reelection against Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. In a show of political solidarity, the three of them made a joint visit to Hurricane-ravished Florida. As they flew in a helicopter over the roofless, splintered homes, President Bush pointed out all of the people who were sorting through the wreckage.  

“Is that our FEMA personnel?” President Bush asked aloud.

“No sir,” the Helicopter pilot responded. “Those are my friends, the Mormons.”

Bill Clinton then exclaimed, “God bless the Mormons.”

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Not An Obedient Heart

Not An Obedient Heart

For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.  ~Doctrine & Covenants 46: 11-12 I’m pretty sure we forget that […]

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Joys and Concerns

Joys and Concerns

My advice column of choice is “Ask Amy,” by Amy Dickinson (a descendant of Emily Dickinson), which succeeded the Ann Landers column after her death and is syndicated in about 200 newspapers, originating from the flagship Chicago Tribune (where I read it). I recently read her book Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things, about how […]

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Joseph Smith Papers Announcements

Joseph Smith Papers Announcements

Updates from the Joseph Smith Papers team: JSP Website Reaches Publication Milestones: The latest content release on the website is now live. This release includes two items of particular significance: The final installment of Joseph Smith’s journals, from May 1843 to June 1844. This portion of the journals covers the final year of Smith’s life, […]

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BCC Press and priestcraft!

BCC Press and priestcraft!

It isn’t uncommon for people who sell LDS-directed products to be accused of priestcraft. As an employee of the church (through Brigham Young University) I’ve spent some time thinking about the implications of priestcraft, considering the nature of my job and source of my salary. Check out my thoughts and then please share yours.

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Mormon Sermons: How do We Preach?

Mormon Sermons: How do We Preach?

There is a large body of scholarship on the analysis and sorting/classifying of rhetorical texts. Categories of preaching have been mapped in genres like homilies, commentaries, catechistic address, exhortations, charismatic address to name some of the obvious ones.

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Nauvoo era(ish) succession

Nauvoo era(ish) succession

A friend asked me about succession after the Gospel Doctrine lesson and wondered if I could help find more detail about what was going on. So just thinking about the immediate years after JS’s death I responded as follows: When JS died it was not obvious who would run the church. It was not something […]

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