For ten years this blog served as a place to explore thoughts and questions about Evangelical Christianity and Mormonism. Those reading and commenting came from a number of different worldviews but mostly represented different strains of Protestantism and Mormonism (yes there are different strains of Mormonism). For a number of different reasons I stopped writing new posts.
A friend recently told me that he’s started reading the blog and that prompted me to decide to collect some of the highlights into one place. Some of the post are still popular because the other authors and I figured out various ways to title our posts to catch search traffic on various topics. Other times we were looking to inspire a lot of comments and wrote provocative posts. This list isn’t a list of most popular or most commented. It’s what I think should endure. When people continue to pass through they can see what was best here and where they can learn the most.
We Push Them Out . . Into What? One of the first posts that caught the attention of the Bloggernacle. I had noticed the propensity for ex-Mormons to reject Christianity entirely and wondered if Evangelical polemics against Mormonism had a responsibility.
An Open Letter to Fellow Evangelicals
A core tenet of Mormon theology is that Mormonism can and does change. Whether Mormons recognize it or not Mormonism is in a transition phase. It’s important for Evangelicals to understand how and why Mormonism is changing. Continue reading →
I saw this amusing video where confused college students willingly walk into proud and unaware declarations of hypocrisy concerning religious freedom. Videos like this prove little about the actual merits of an argument because it’s not hard to find someone who supports a position while simultaneously not having thought it through very deeply. It could be that there are thoughtful people with great reasons for holding a viewpoint, but you can be sure the producer of the video isn’t going to put them in the montage for one reason; they aren’t funny.
Nonetheless, you should watch this video because it’s funny and it supports my point of view.
I was talking through these issues with a gay friend of mine who agrees with me that florists, photographers and bakers shouldn’t be required to provide services for events that conflict with their religious values. Continue reading →
This is our family cat, Pigeon. She was a shelter cat that we brought into our home almost 11 years ago. We love her. This is a picture of her sitting in my bed. If you’ve ever owned a cat you can tell that we love her because you know how difficult it is to get a good picture of a cat. If you’ve ever owned a black cat you know that it is nearly impossible to get a good picture of a black cat. A picture like this takes work!
Despite our family’s love for Pigeon we have cast her out of our home because of her false teaching. Pigeon believes in the Gospel of Overflowing Urine. About 6 months ago she decided that her pee should no longer be reserved for her litter box and that she would like to share it on our carpet.
If you’ve never been around cat urine, you should know that it’s THE biggest problem with owning a house cat. If you are not vigilant about it your entire house can easily be consumed with its distinct odor. Once a cat smells its own urine it feels at liberty to pee in the same vicinity again. This begins to spread throughout the house and eventually the cat views the entire house as a litter box. Like all strong odors, if you live in it long enough, you begin to get used to it and lose the ability to notice it. If your house begins to smell like urine YOU begin to smell like urine. If you smell like cat urine you may not even realize it, but everyone else will. You probably knew someone like this at school. If you don’t take action when you first start noticing the problem you may find yourself a convert to your cat’s false teaching. Continue reading →
I think Robert George and Cornell West offer an important message to today’s culture. With the impulse to shame and silence anyone who disagrees with us at an all time high, the ability and willingness to listen and seek a common truth is important.
I’ve been asked a couple of times to share my thoughts on this talk given by LDS Apostle Dieter Uchtdorf. I just watched the talk and I have to confess it was amazing. It’s like someone snuck an Evangelical pastor into General Conference and taught him how to deliver a sermon in a manner that Mormons can hear it. If I had to choose only two things that Mormons should accept as authoritative teachings (in contradiction to what they have traditionally been taught) this would be one of them.
(the embed code is not working on WordPress, I’ll fix this if possible. click image for video)
I don’t have the transcript of the talk yet but here are some quotes that really stood out to me. I’m so encouraged that Mormons must now view these as reliable interpretations of scripture.
Salvation can not be bought by the currency of obedience. It is purchased by the blood of God.
We obey the commandments of God out of love for him
We misunderstand the words “after all we can do”. “After” does not mean “because”.
It seemed very clear to me that Elder Uchtdorf was teaching that grace is the path to obedience not the prize for it. Congratulations to those Mormons who have long agreed with this sentiment but lacked the authoritative voice to stand on it with confidence in their wards. I agree that grace has the power to transform and as Mormons encounter it with a correct understanding they and the LDS will meet God in new and powerful ways.
I don’t have the time to look up dissenting Mormon voices to this talk but I’m interested in how they may now justify their positions.
At last, Part 5! This is what we call in blogging “rounding third.”
I was sad to discover that this is not the first attempt at answering 50 bull dog questions. FAIR, the Mormon apologetics organization took at crack at answering those 50 questions for Mormons. I also discovered that someone else is working at answering Trimble’s list. What I learned from both sites is that reading these answers is even more boring than reading the questions. Holy cow that’s bad news for you Greg. That means I’m going to have to redouble my efforts at creative insults. I assure you, they’re not meant for you, just the people who love to hate you.
Some quick caveats for those that missed my first post. These answers will be short and to the point. I’m not trying give a complete answer, nor am I trying to convert anyone out of Mormonism. If I throw in a joke or two it’s to keep things interesting and not a personal attack on Trimble or an attempt to disrespect the Mormon faith.
Trimble, you sly dog. In my first post I suggested that people would probably be inclined to respond with a list of 51 questions that would cause someone to leave Mormonism. Sure enough, Runtu put together such a list. You won’t want to click on it though because it’s much better than your list (and I don’t say that not because he’s no longer a Mormon).
But then I found something. A list of 50 questions for Mormons that dates back to 2001. You cranked a prankster. You wrote your list of questions in response to THAT list. And then you added one more so that a web search for your list wouldn’t bring up that original list. [stands up and claps] I haven’t learned anything new about Mormonism, but I am learning somethings about you. You’re crazy like a fox.
I think I’m ready for Part 4. But are you?
Some quick caveats for those that missed my first post.. These answers will be short and to the point. I’m not trying give a complete answer, nor am I trying to convert anyone out of Mormonism. If I throw in a joke or two it’s to keep things interesting and not a personal attack on Trimble or an attempt to disrespect the Mormon faith.
31. The Jews prepare for Elijah’s return every year during passover. On April 3, 1836 Elijah returned to the earth and appeared in the Kirtland temple on the exact day that Jews around the world had prepared an empty chair for Elijah at their Passover meal? Is that a coincidence? [More]
No, of course it wasn’t a coincidence. It’s not like Joseph Smith knew nothing about modern Judaism. Less than a month beforehand Joseph and a number of his followers had just wrapped up 7 weeks of Hebrew lessons from a Jewish professor they had hired. In the “if he were making all of this up” line of questioning is it possible that Joseph was quite intentional about what day Elijah appeared? Of course it is.
What’s NOT a coincidence is that both Elias AND Elijah showed up on at the same time. That’s freakin’ unbelievable. (for those who don’t know what I’m talking about, Elias is just another way to say Elijah). And by unbelievable, I mean I don’t believe it. Like literally. I literally don’t believe it. And not in the figurative way people use the word literally these days. I mean I actually don’t believe it. Continue reading →