Broader Dialogue

imagesProminent French intellectual René Girard recently passed away. His influence was felt in the pages of Dialogue due to Mack C. Stirling’s work on “Violence in the Scriptures: Mormonism and the Cultural Theory of René Girard” that also resulted in a marvelous dialogue with Joseph Spencer responding: “René Girard and Mormon Scripture: A Response.” Stirling also had the opportunity to interview Girard back in 2009: “Scandals, Scapegoats, and the Cross: An Interview with René Girard.” Here’s a taste: Girard: “If God had created man as happy and peaceful as cows in a nice meadow, there would be no point to the creation. In a way, suffering is part of education, but that is all we can say. We see it at only the human level. If you want to educate yourself, you have to suffer. It is more difficult than playing cards all day long. This explanation is imperfect and incomplete and doesn’t help much. Christianity is a religion which demands faith, and faith makes sense precisely because we don’t have all the pieces for understanding. Otherwise, it is not faith.

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Cross posted at Times and Seasons

Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought gets a new editor every five or six years, and that time is now upon us. As a subscriber and supporter, I wanted to get a sense of where the incoming editor, Boyd Jay Petersen, is going to take the journal, so I bought a copy of his Dead Wood and Rushing Water: Essays on Mormon Faith, Culture, and Family(Greg Kofford Books, 2013) to get the lowdown. After all, Kristine is a hard act to follow. After reading the book, I am optimistic. To offer a few comments, I will highlight one essay from each of the three sections in the book.

Faith. Chapter 5, “LDS Youth in an Age of Transition,” was originally a 2011 Dialogue article reviewing two books reporting survey data about the beliefs and religious activity of Christian and LDS youth. The review is also a response of sorts to an earlier published essay, “Soulcraft 101: Faith, Doubt, and the Process of Education,” in which Petersen reflects on the interactions he had with students while teaching Mormonism at UVU. Most online conversations about LDS youth are more pessimistic than warranted by the facts. Here is encouraging commentary offered by Petersen in Chapter 5:

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Cross-posted at By Common Consent
By Steve Evans

Trevor Southey passed away yesterday.Joseph-Smith-three-views-e1374478814675Southey was an artist, sculptor, Mormon, gay man, husband, ex-husband, father and a host of other adjectives.
Born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Southey joined the Church in South Africa and moved to Utah. He studied and taught at BYU. His ‘Alpine modernist’ style combines realistic forms in with abstract elements. The human form was at the center of much of his work. He saw grace and beauty in the human body, even while administrators around him would not permit sketching from nudes. “the reason the human is central to my work is because it’s central to my life,” he said. He would establish an artistic community in Alpine.

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dialogue (1) (1)Dear Friend of Dialogue,

Dialogue is entering its Jubilee year – can you believe it’s been five decades? We have many debts to pay to our founders and all the authors, poets, and artists who have made Dialogue so special over the past fifty years. While all those people would no doubt generously forgive our debts to them in the spirit of the Jubilee, it seems to me that the best thing we can do is to pay it forward and ensure that Dialogue remains just as relevant, humane, thought-provoking, and forward-looking for the next fifty years as it has been since 1966.

Relevant, humane, thought-provoking, and forward-looking. That’s why I love Dialogue. In a world overloaded with blogs and tweets and memes, isn’t it nice to slow down and read something that has been carefully crafted, peer reviewed, and professionally edited?

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In the latest Dialogue podcast, Dr. Lisa Olsen Tait discusses the accomplishments and impact of Susa Young Gates, both in the Church and in Utah society. usa Young Gates was a remarkable woman; preeminent in a generation of eminent Mormon women—a writer, editor, Church leader, genealogist, temple worker, political operative, and dynamic personality who claimed she was called the “thirteenth apostle.”

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Mormon Matters present a Dialogue classics read by Curt Bench. From their site:

This classic sermon by former BYU history professor Richard D. Poll, read here for Matters of Perspective by Curt Bench, introduces the metaphors of “Iron Rod” and “Liahona” Latter-day Saint as helpful for understanding two different religious temperaments and the way each approaches life and, more particularly, scripture and the foundational truth claims of Mormonism. Poll’s thought is that if those of us of one temperament can come to understand and see better the ways of being in the world and church of the other, we would be more gracious and generous toward those who are not “like us.”

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Cross posted at By Common Consent

Audio recordings of talks from the symposium are available here, with video of Clayton Christensen’s plenary above. Symposium organizers Matt Bowman and Sharon Harris share their thoughts below in a mock interview. We are glad to welcome them once again as guests at BCC.

On May 16, we held a symposium in New York City. Called “Of One Body: The State of Mormon Singledom,” it was designed not as a typical Mormon singles conference (planned to encourage flirting and courtship), but as a serious discussion about the growing numbers of single Mormons and the falling rates of marriage within Mormonism. Both of these trends reflect broad patterns in American culture, but we wanted to discuss what they mean for Mormons in particular.

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The newest Dialogue podcast features Eric D. Huntsman Professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU, Coordinator for Near Eastern Studies, Kennedy Center for International Studies, and Affiliated Faculty, Classics and Near Eastern Studies. In this engaging talk, Huntsman looks at “The Search for the ‘Real’ Jesus of Nazareth:The Jesus of Faith, History, and Revelation.”

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The 2015 Eugene England Memorial Lecture was held Thursday, March 26th at the Utah Valley Unversity. This year’s speaker was former Dialogue Editor Robert A. Rees who spoke on “Reimagining Restoration: Why Liberalism is the Ultimate Flowering of Mormonism.”

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Volume 48, No. 3 Fall 2015
Dialogue, a Journal of Mormon Thought




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