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Kevin Christensen

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  1. For a clear survey of the history and nature of various atonement theories, and what is distinctive about the Book of Mormon, see "The Moral Atonement" by Lorin Hansen. https://www.dialoguejournal.com/articles/the-moral-atonement-as-a-mormon-interpretation/ I saw him do a presentation on this at a Sunstone and remain very impressed. For a clear description of Biblical Atonement, noting that most Christian approaches tend to ignore the Old Testament and the Temple, see Margaret Barker, "Atonement: Rite of Healing". http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/Atonement.pdf For
  2. This one is notable and very much worth the read. https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/2020-fairmormon-conference/the-answer-under-our-heads For all of the detail, figures, and commentary he provides, at the center of it all is one very clear observation about information provided by Tanner and Heward in an early Dialogue essay claiming that the Book of Abraham is a bogus translation from the Hor Book of Breathings. Tanner and Heward made the important observation that Joseph Smith directed Rueben Hedlock to fill out gaps in the engraving for Facsimile 3 (the hypocephalus) with so
  3. While one possible response to discovering things are not quite as one first imagined is disillusion, another response can be enlightenment, mind-expansion. Alma 32 compares the word to a seed, and the things that happen with the seed, the emergence of roots, stems, leaves, branches, flowers, buds, and eventually fruit, is not, in that chapter, accompanied by complaints, that, "Hey! This no longer looks exactly what I started with!" It can be something to celebrate. One useful article, of many, on the topic of Cumorah in LDS history, and Cumorah in the text of the Book of Mormon is Sidne
  4. Worth some pondering in the aftermath. https://thebulwark.com/profiles-in-courage-and-cowardice I've read much on the importance of "speaking the truth to power" and also that in a Democracy, power theoretically comes from the people. Nibley's essays on The Rise of Rhetoric and the Decline of Everything Else and The Unsolved Loyalty Problem seem particularly relevant, on the power of rhetoric to create an unreal world, and what happens when loyalty becomes less a matter of principles, but rather, which side you are on. Maxwell Institute took them offline, in their wisdom.
  5. I quoted Barker on this passage in Light and Perspective in Interpreter: https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/light-and-perspective-essays-from-the-mormon-theology-seminar-on-1-nephi-1-and-jacob-7/ FWIW, Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  6. What is the doctrine of Christ on which we should build, and what is more or less than that which constitutes building on sand? Considering interpretation of scripture, Joseph Smith has this: Against the notion that prophets have only one input, God's omniscience and perfect understanding and transmission, and one output, the same, consider Nephi's and Alma's descriptions of their own inputs and outputs: That means Alma has recieved direct revelation on some things, has studied some things, doesn't know everything by revelation, and has some personal opinions. D&a
  7. Since I've been involved in addiction recovery for many years, including have spent 8 years doing teaching and training for LDS ARP, I thought this insight from a Yale lecturer in psychiatry worth our thought and attention in the context of the climax of the Book of Ether, the catastrophic battle fueled by resentment and revenge, as well as the tenor of certain ex-LDS communitites that gather primarily to voice and share grievances. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/12/trump-grievance-addiction-444570 Think about that last quoted sentence in light of what it is that m
  8. "Often associated with" BLM by whom and how accurately representative of the general case? Most of the protestors and protests were peaceful. Yes, some cars got burned in some places and windows broken, and looting happened. But nothing like Watts in the 1960s. Watching George Floyd being suffocated with such banality, such casual cruelty, was not just tramatic for itself, but because of how it resonated with so much else. While browsing through Amazon books a few decades back, I ran across books with accounts of the public lynchings that occurred at least once a week, somewhere in the U
  9. Read Skins as Garments in the Book of Mormon by Ethan Sproat in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/jbms/vol24/iss1/7/ FWIW, Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  10. Having read the Book of Mormon, and Nibley's essay on Freeman and Kingman in the Book of Mormon, I missed the parts of the story where Captain Moroni paid off mistresses, separated children from refugee parents as deterrent, hired corrupt and ignorant people to undermine the government, flattered and schmoozed tyrants, stacked the courts, deregulated environmental and financial protections, sought to gut healthcare, refused to personally go down to battle himself (bone spur deferments), denigrated science, undermined relationships with close allies, cut both taxes and accountability for the ri
  11. On WIkipedia as reliable and authoritative source of things LDS: https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2011/something_wiki_this_way_comes After reading that enlightening narrative, notice that your quote about Harris is other people's interpretations and reports of what Harris said, rather than first hand accounts by Harris of what he experienced. That sort of thing makes a difference. Richard L. Anderson, author of the Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses, spent his life collecting information about the witnesses. https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august
  12. Fundamentalism, like Empiricism, has an history. For Fundamentalism, see the wikipedia essay on the publication of "90 essays between 1911 and 1915". "According to its foreword, the publication was designed to be "a new statement of the fundamentals of Christianity."[1] However, its contents reflect a concern with certain theological innovations related to liberal Christianity, especially biblical higher criticism. It is widely considered to be the foundation of modern Christian fundamentalism." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fundamentals Notice that one of the Fundamental essay
  13. Are living prophets supposed to be God's sock puppets? That is, once called, they stop being people with multiple inputs besides inspiration, and only one output, God's omniscience, expressed in such a way that it immediately conveys that omniscience to every listener, and coerces those listeners into instant conformity on all points and actions? Paul Barnabus admit "We are men of like passions with you." (Acts 14:15). Joseph Smith admits the same of himself. And Nephi and Alma do the same: All of that is exactly why we are asked to "sustain" our leaders and one another. If y
  14. I keep citing Barbour, on Empiricism and why an Empiricist approach to God ideologically unsound. That is, the fundamental assumptions of the Empiricist mindset impede it's capacity to notice and value the kinds of evidence and experience that supports relgious faith. https://www.religion-online.org/book-chapter/chapter-1-introduction-3/ The whole books is very important, exceedingly clear and practical, manageable at just over 200 pages, so not a steep hill to climb, and bursting with relevance for discussions like this. Many years ago, I spotted a bumper sticker that said,
  15. A further question is whether we ought to expect that experience of the Spirit would or ought to be unique to the LDS experience. Thomas Kuhn explains that "anomaly emerges with resistance against a background of expectation." That is, how we react to what we see is a function of what we expect to see. If our expectations are out of whack, say for uniqueness or perfection, so is our interpretation. “the Lord doth grant unto all nations of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, all that he seeth fit that they should have” (Alma 29:8). Nephi remarks that God “speaketh unto
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