Broader Dialogue

Cross-posted at

Screenshot 2016-04-26 at 10.54.02 AMThe BYU Honor Code has come under fire recently, and I don’t want to detract from that discussion, but it has caused me to reflect back on my own run-in with the Honor Code back in March 1984.

I’m pretty sure it was my friend Kent’s idea that we should run for ASBYU president and vice president during our junior year of college. We knew we didn’t stand much of a chance. We create signs or bribe students to vote for us by giving out free hotdogs. I don’t think we ever campaigned.

All candidates for ASBYU office had the opportunity to place their photos in the student newspaper, the Daily Universe. Unlike most candidates who had professional headshots in which they sported a tie, their faded white shirts, and indestructible polyester missionary suits, Kent and I took a self-portrait in more casual attire. A couple of days after our photos appeared, we both got a call from the Honor Code office and were required to meet with an administrator about some unstated infraction.

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2016_msc_website_header-01The 2016 Mormon Studies Conference convened on April 12-13th at the Utah Valley University campus. You can watch such speakers as Michael Otterson, Jana Riess, Ross Douhat and Neylan McBaine discuss “Mormonism and the Art of Boundary Maintenance” here.
Among the most important features of religious communities is the way in which they establish and maintain boundaries. Religious beliefs, practices, and identities are shaped by a complex variety of internal and external forces. From its beginnings, Mormonism has challenged the boundaries of Christianity orthodoxy and its status as a legitimate form of Christianity continues to be debated.
Conversely, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has increasingly faced boundary questions within the community. From divisions over polygamy and spiritualism in the nineteenth century to more recent debates over same-sex marriage, women’s ordination, and prophetic authority, the Church continues to wrestle with questions of diversity within its ranks. This conference will explore how Mormonism at once both challenges Christian boundaries and is challenged to enforce its own borders in the effort to maintain unity and integrity as a tradition.
This year’s conference is hosted in partnership & collaboration with the Center for Constitutional Studies’ annual Religious Freedom Symposium. For a complete schedule of their 2016 symposium, click here.

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On February 16, Dialogue Board members Fiona Givens and Patrick Mason joined Collin McDonald to talk with Salt Lake Tribune Reporter Jennifer Napier-Pearce on Trib Talk about whether there is “A new Mormon faith crisis?” The dialogue that resulted on this issue is both enriching and vitally important. Dialogue transcribed and is providing this transcript of Trib Talk, with permission from The Salt Lake Tribune.

Here’s an excerpt: Fiona Givens: So if we stop looking at our ecclesiastical leaders as though they were mini-gods, we would do so much better. At the end of the day we are the Church of Christ. We should only follow Christ. Our allegiance and loyalty should only be to Christ, not to intermediaries. Christ was quite firm when he said “do not put your faith in the arm of flesh.” Any flesh. And that includes our ecclesiastical leaders. We’ve gone a little bit wonky from where Christ is. I feel like Christ has been sidelined somewhat and unless we bring him back to the center in our collective life and in our individual lives, this isn’t going to go very well for us.

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Latest Content

The newest Dialogue podcast features Dr. Jared Hickman, Assistant Professor in the English Department of Johns Hopkins University. Professor Hickman speaks on his essay “The Book of Mormon as Amerindian Apocalypse,” which was published in American Literature, a literary journal published by Duke University Press. Hickman-Jared

From the Miller Eccles website: Recent official statements have left some doubt about the traditional understanding of the Book of Mormon as a history of “the Indians.” This presents us with two especially important tasks: 1) to understand why the “Indian question” seemed important enough, both politically and theologically, in Joseph Smith’s time and place, to claim such attention in a new scripture; and 2) to pay closer attention to the Book of Mormon text, which itself, in emphasizing the “Indian question,” offers a new narrative for understanding what it means. If we read with such questions in mind, we can recognize in the Book of Mormon a vision (or program) for Native American resurgence radically opposed to the European and American colonialism of Joseph Smith’s time.

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Cory_alt-446x450The newest Dialogue podcast features Dr. Cory Crawford, Assistant Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Ohio. He discusses his new article, “The Struggle for Female Authority in Biblical and Mormon Traditions,” published in the 2015 Summer issue of Dialogue — A Journal of Mormon Thought. From the Miller Eccles website:

“The Old Testament refers to righteous women exercising authority, such as Deborah, the Prophetess and a Judge of Israel (Judges 4). Likewise, in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul mentions righteous women as fellow servants, such as Phebe, Junia and others. Yet many statements attributed to Paul concerning the role of women in the primitive church are contradictory.

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Cross-posted at By Common Consent
By Board member Michael Austin

9780842528801There is a wonderful scene in C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce that has stayed with me for 30 years. In this scene, the unnamed narrator dies and finds himself in hell, which is just a huge, sprawling subdivision where everybody lives alone. Whenever people try to live near each other, they start to argue and fight, so they move further and further away. There is no fire, no brimstone, and no demons with pitchforks: just a bunch of miserable people being themselves.

Something like this is also what Jean-Paul Sartre meant by the famous line, “hell is other people.” This does not mean (as it is so often quoted as meaning) that other people are inherently hellish, or that human beings cannot face the irreducible otherness of people not themselves. Sartre puts this line in his play No Exit, in which three people are sent to hell, which turns out to be a well-decorated Victorian parlor.

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Patrick-MasonThe 26th Dialogue podcast features Dialogue Board Chair Patrick Mason discussing his new book Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt and how Mormons can better live with questions while holding onto their faith. From the Miller Eccles website:

Professor Patrick Q. Mason, Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University. Dr. Mason is the author of a much-anticipated book scheduled for release in December — Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt. This important work will explore the challenges many LDS members face when Church doctrines are opposed by worldly influences, or seem opposed to current scientific knowledge, possibly causing doubt, disbelief, inactivity, or formal opposition.

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Eric James Stone
Baen, January 2005
Trade paperback, 250pp., #15.00

Reviewed by Michael R. Collings

Eric James Stone is perhaps best known in the science-fiction community for his Nebula-winning, Hugo-nominated story, “That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made” (2010), one of fifty published short stories. “Leviathan” demonstrated Stone’s ability to tell a compelling story incorporating an SF theme—alien/human interaction—with equally compelling perspectives on ethics, morality, spirituality, and religion.

His novel, Unforgettable, at first feels more focused on the physical, however, in particular on connections between individuals and the fascinating worlds posited by quantum physics. Nat Morgan is a quantum “freak,” what one character refers to as “Schrödinger’s cat burglar,” who “exists” only as long as people physically see him; precisely one minute after he leaves, they immediately forget him. His mother has forgotten him. Cell phones forget him. ATM computers—indeed all computers—forget him. Worse, his handler at the CIA forgets him, so every time Morgan contacts the agency for an assignment, he must reestablish not only his identity but his existence.

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25952316Son of the Black Sword: The Saga of the Forgotten Warrior I
Larry Correia
Baen, 2015
Hardcover, 412 pp., $25.00

Reviewed by Michael R. Collings

Larry Correia’s action-adventure novels range from military thrillers to urban fantasies to epic high fantasies, often with accurately detailed depictions of modern and imagined weaponry. His first novel, Monster Hunters International, placed on the Locus bestsellers list; its sequel appeared on the New York Times lists, as have subsequent books. His series include Grimnoir Chronicles, Dead Six (with Mike Kupari), and now The Saga of the Forgotten Warrior. His work in speculative fiction/fantasy is highly regarded, as is the straightforwardness with which he defends his stands on such diverse issues as the role of speculative fiction in society and gun use and gun control.

For readers familiar with Correia’s work only through his Monster Hunters International series, Son of the Black Sword might seem like an established approach to an accustomed pattern. In the first pages, Correia presents his hero, Ashok Vadal, with a monster to be dispatched: a sea-demon threatening to destroy villages along the coast of the continent Lok

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Cross-posted at Wheat and Tares 

By Kristine A.

We live in an age of doubt, but we need not be overcome. When we are planted in the Savior we can be nourished as much by our questions as by the answers.” 

Patrick-Mason“Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt” is written by Patrick Mason and is a joint venture between the Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship and Deseret Book. Patrick Mason is the Chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate College and a Mormon historian.

When I first saw this was being released I kind of rolled my eyes. “Great,” I thought, “another book that will describe what I’ve been through (a la Crucible of Doubt) that ultimately preaches to the choir.”

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What were the most read Dialogue pieces each month of 2015? What Facebook posts generated the most discussion? Click in to find out!

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Current Issue

Volume 49, No. 1 Spring 2016
Dialogue, a Journal of Mormon Thought






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