By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog

Call for Papers: 1835-1839

Call for Papers: 1835-1839

From the good folks at the Joseph Smith Papers Project: In 2017, the Joseph Smith Papers Project will release volumes five and six of the Documents Series, covering major events from the life of Joseph Smith during the years 1835-1839. To celebrate the publication of these volumes, the project invites paper proposals for a conference […]

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The Restoration

The Restoration

I delivered something similar to this to my ward a couple of weeks ago. Some years ago I took [my son] with me while working in upstate New York. We visited Seneca Falls, Fayette, and Palmyra. I was delighted that some of the history nerdiness that saturates our household had permeated him as demonstrated by […]

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Witnesses of God

Witnesses of God

Adapted from a talk I gave recently: In his talk last conference, Elder Anderson encouraged us to stop feeling guilty about our lack of past success in member missionary work and to instead seek to be motivated by a desire to stand as a witness of God, quoting from Alma’s famous baptismal sermon at the waters […]

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JS and the Fate of the Unevangelized

JS and the Fate of the Unevangelized

If salvation comes through Jesus Christ, what happens to the billions of human beings who have lived on earth without a reasonable introduction to the Savior and his Gospel? There is an array of different theories on this question, which have been ably summarized in John Sanders, “Those Who Have Never Heard: A Survey of […]

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On Hypocrisy: A Dialogue with Myself

On Hypocrisy: A Dialogue with Myself

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large — I contain multitudes.”—Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass    Me: Trump is a fascist. We have to do stuff Other Me: Oh please. Listen to yourself. Remember when Bush was a fascist? Cheney? It’s not an alternate spelling for “Republican,” you know? […]

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CFP: Book of Mormon Studies

CFP: Book of Mormon Studies

Book of Mormon Studies: Toward a Conversation   Academic study of the Book of Mormon has never been more promising than at present. Royal Skousen’s work on producing a critical text is nearing completion, and the Joseph Smith Papers Project is making the manuscripts of the Book of Mormon widely available. Terryl Givens and Paul […]

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The Elephant in the Bed: A Canadian Mormon Looks at Trump

The Elephant in the Bed: A Canadian Mormon Looks at Trump

Jennifer Quist is an award-winning novelist as well as an essayist and a youth Sunday school teacher (which is its own reward). She has five sons but studies comparative literature at the University of Alberta anyway, and her Chinese is terrible. I was worried about my boy. He left our home and our country as […]

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Lesson 8: The Restoration of the Priesthood #DandC2017

Lesson 8: The Restoration of the Priesthood #DandC2017

The restoration of the priesthood can be somewhat difficult to approach because there have been so many layers of re-reading. For example, we often say that John the Baptist restored the Aaronic Priesthood and later Peter, James, and John restored the Melchizedek Priesthood. The thing is, those terms and their meanings didn’t exist for another […]

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Preaching in the Provinces: Lorenzo Barnes and Early Mormon Missions

Preaching in the Provinces: Lorenzo Barnes and Early Mormon Missions

Lorenzo Barnes (1812-1842)—early Mormon convert and perennial missionary—left some record of his preaching efforts in two small journals. Barnes was schooled in early Mormon ideas and mission work, and his methods probably mirrored what many lay-minister Mormons did to spread the word. I’ve been thinking more about Barnes lately and I’ve written a bit about […]

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Risky Religion, or, The Terrors of Love

Risky Religion, or, The Terrors of Love

Keep the commandments; in this there is safety and peace. —Barbara A. McConochie, Hymn 303 The world’s a tumultuous place, no doubt about it: roiling with uncertainty. No wonder, then, that we seek safety. Mormonism has a strong discursive bent toward treating the gospel as the means to safety in a perilous world. Get on […]

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Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come

Adapted from a talk I gave recently. “Thy kingdom come.” Let there come the full establishment of thy realm. This is the first thing Jesus teaches us to pray about after addressing God and honoring God’s name. There’s a Jewish saying used in the yeshivas, “a prayer where there is no mention of the Kingdom […]

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Letter to a Young Jihadist

Letter to a Young Jihadist

About ten years ago, I led a group of students on an art-viewing tour through Morocco. On the last day of the trip, I went to the marketplace in Marrakesh, where I found a beautiful, hand-crafted writing journal with only the first few pages written on in a beautiful Arabic script. I was still unclear about […]

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What If the Church Didn’t Remain Politically Neutral?

What If the Church Didn’t Remain Politically Neutral?

On Sunday, Carolyn Homer wrote a thoughtful post about why, even if Donald Trump manages to “totally destroy” the so-called Johnson Amendment, the church shouldn’t start publicly endorsing or opposing candidates for office. On almost every level, she is certainly right: anything else opens the door to real discomfort and mischief. And yet, I want […]

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On Getting New Garments

On Getting New Garments

So I’ve needed to buy some new garments. For, like, a long, long time. But I had been putting it off. Being a participant in the Bloggernacle had sort of freaked me out, because of all the conversations (dominated by women) about how horrible the fit is and all the money they’ve wasted on ill-fitting, […]

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The Church Should Remain Politically Neutral

The Church Should Remain Politically Neutral

Today’s guest post is from Carolyn Homer. Carolyn Homer is an attorney and religion constitutional law enthusiast in Washington, D.C. The silence is eerie. Ever since Donald Trump became a serious presidential contender, Sunday meetings (at least in my wards) have been free of passing references to politics and thinly-veiled endorsements of the Republican platform. […]

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Receiving Grace: Mozart’s Great Mass

Receiving Grace: Mozart’s Great Mass

Becoming familiar with Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor (K.427) is a good way to both deepen one’s appreciation for WAM, especially his church music, but also to find a way into understanding the rich and ancient eucharistic liturgy of the western church. The Great Mass, composed in 1782/3, is unfinished* but the missing parts are […]

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Some Thoughts on National Security–Introduction

Some Thoughts on National Security–Introduction

On, March 3, 2016, notable scholars and practitioners in the national security field (many of them republicans who had served in former administrations) released a foreign policy-based letter opposing the candidacy of Donald Trump.[1]  While it made headlines for a day or two, the move—which would have been game-changing in any previous “normal” election season—scarcely […]

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