Broader Dialogue

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 5.39.58 PMBoard member Bob Rees “has navigated the road less travelled that meanders around and through the valleys and peaks of Mormon orthodoxy and progressivism” and is featured in this new podcast over at A Thoughtful Faith. As they explain “Succeeding Eugene England as the editor of Dialogue, Bob has lived almost 50 years as a vocal critic and conscience of the church, all the while giving the church of his youth and heart his absolute devotion. A former missionary, Bishop, and counselor in a Mission Presidency; Bob has been outspoken in his writing about his advocacy of equal rights, particularly gay, gender and race rights – sometimes in the face of profound resistance and punitive discipline from his church leaders. Bob proclaims his Christian devotion as the centre of his faith life which has, without doubt, provided him with a strong sense of spiritual centeredness that transcends the sometimes inflammatory situations that periodically erupt as the church groans into maturity.

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Cross-posted at By Common Consent.

By Board Member Michael Austin.

I read the Qur’an often because it speaks peace to my soul.

I know that sounds kooky, but I promise I’m not a hippie or anything. I don’t burn incense or wear sandals. I wouldn’t even call it a spiritual experience. It’s more like a calming effect. I love to read the text, and I love to listen to the recitations of a talented qāri’ (which I am doing even as I write). It’s not the meaning of the words that does the peace-speaking; it’s the words themselves. I have long been deeply affected by the way that the Qur’an represents the voice of God.

The divine voice that I encounter in the Qur’an is one of the most comforting things that I know. It reminds me of my own father’s voice when I was very young: calm and powerful, impossibly distant yet completely intimate, and supremely confident in who and what he is. Whatever this voice may be saying to other people, what it says to me is, “You can feel safe in my home because I’ve got everything under control. I’m not going to let bad things happen to you because you are mine.” This is how I need God to sound when it hurts.

This is why I become defensive when somebody says, “The Qur’an is an inherently violent book” or “Islam is a religion of hate.”

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imagesIn a guest post for Rational Faiths, Board Member Patrick Mason says “It’s pretty obvious that most Mormons are not pacifists. But if we are in fact going to worship Jesus, and not just make a dumb idol out of the Babe of Bethlehem, then we should think long and hard about it.

Mormons have by and large accepted the dominant Christian notion of “just war,” first articulated not in the New Testament nor by the earliest Christians (many of whom went to the lion’s den rather than serve in the military), but rather by the fourth- and fifth-century Christian theologian Augustine of Hippo. It’s only natural to believe that if someone hits you, you should hit them back. Or that violence is effective in defeating our enemies. Or that peace can come through war. The trouble is, Jesus taught none of these things—in fact, he taught just the opposite.”

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Latest Content

Petersen, BoydUtah Valley University Professor Will Begin Five-Year Term Effective January 1, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY, January 28, 2015 – The Board of Directors of Dialogue Foundation, publisher of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, has selected Dr. Boyd Jay Petersen to serve as the journal’s next editor. Petersen will succeed Kristine Haglund when her term as editor ends December 31, 2015.

Petersen has taught courses in English and religious and Mormon studies at Utah Valley University since 1995, receiving a Faculty Excellence Award in 2006. As Program Coordinator for Mormon Studies, he has organized conferences on Mormonism and Islam, Mormonism and the Internet, Mormonism and Buddhism, and Mormonism and the environment, among other topics. He has also been a lecturer in the honors program at Brigham Young University. He has published articles and essays in Dialogue, Journal of Mormon History, Irreantum, BYU Studies, FARMS Review and Sunstone. The Mormon History Association awarded him the Best Biography Award for Hugh Nibley: A Consecrated Life; his most recent book is Dead Wood and Rushing Water: Essays on Mormon Faith, Politics, and Family. He is currently the book review editor for the Journal of Mormon History.

Commenting on his selection, Petersen said: “Dialogue has demonstrated that spirit and intellect are not two separate parts of the human soul that must be shielded from each other. Rather, deep conversation between the two is the only way for each to be fully expressed. Intelligence broadens faith and faith broadens intelligence. My goal is to continue the strong tradition of editorship that has allowed Dialogue to play that role for many thousands of readers, while serving as a venue for Mormonism to engage with the world’s great ideas and debates.”

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Fife “God gives us a world in which we may borrow wisdom from others, but we also must learn through the exercise of free will, through mistake-making, through the earnest seeking of truth based in our own thinking, discerning, and seeking,” says Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife in this must-read new interview from the Winter 2014 issue. Check out “Developing Integrity in an Uncertain World:An Interview with Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife” and download either the pdf version or the html version for free! And have you checked out the rest of the magnificent Winter 2014 issue yet? It features Joanna Brooks’s survey of Mormon feminism, Courtney Rabada’s study of sister missionaries and Nancy Ross and Jessica Finnigan’s look at the feminist presence online, plus many other powerful women’s voices.

Click here to purchase individual articles, or, even better, to become a subscriber to Dialogue!

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hicks coverBy BHodges [Cross-posted to By Common Consent]

Twenty-five years ago, Michael Hicks published one of the most enjoyable books about Mormon history I’ve ever read. Mormonism and Music still flies under the radar when people compile lists of their favorite Mormon history books, but his analysis of LDS music as influenced by nineteenth and twentieth century culture holds up as a must-read study of Mormon religiosity to this day. He also contributed the entry on Music to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Hicks is adding upon that solid foundation with a new book: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: A Biography. And it’s just as fun, lucid, and intriguing as his earlier effort.

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By Review Editor [Cross-posted to In Medias Res and By Common Consent]

Seeking the Promised Land: Mormons and American Politics is a superb work of social science. David Campbell, John Green, and Quin Monson make exhaustive use of numerous recent surveys conducted by the Pew Forum and Gallup, and a half-dozen surveys which they designed themselves, to produce about as detailed and revealing a look at the political preferences and peculiarities of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in America as probably any group of scholars ever could. While some of the information which the authors make use of has already been reported in American Grace (a blockbuster in the sociology of religion in America which Campbell co-authored with Robert Putnam), here that information is packaged alongside numerous historic observations and other scholarly insights, resulting in something which stands entirely on its own. Of course, as with any academic study that depends largely upon survey research and the self-reporting of those interviewed, the compiled results need to be recognized for what they are: namely, the best conclusions that correlational and regression analysis allows. Still, I think it is fair to say that just as all serious discussions of actual religious practices and behaviors in the U.S. need to take Putnam and Campbell’s work into consideration, this book by Campbell, Green, and Monson is indisputably the new starting point for all serious conversations about American Mormons and politics from here on out.

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This new Dialogue podcast features BYU Professor Craig Harline, whose primary field is European religious history. From the Miller-Eccles website: “Dr. Harline has published a number of historically-based books that have been popular with readers and are held in high regard by critics (see below). Most recently he has turned his narrative skills to writing a memoir of his mission to Belgium in the 1970s.

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The newest Dialogue podcast features Professor Adam S. Miller who spoke on his recent book, Letters to a Young Mormon, published by BYU’s Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at the recent Miller Eccles lecture. From the site: “Adam wrote the book as a way of expressing his Mormon philosophy in a style that would make sense to young adults, but it would be a mistake to conclude the essays are simple minded—they are sophisticated, insightful pieces that will resonate with Mormons whether they are 17 or 71.”

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enns-coversCross-posted at By Common Consent

Peter Enns is an evangelical Christian and a Bible scholar—two identity markers that’ve raised a few conflicts for him. Which really is too bad, because he seems like a pretty faithful, intelligent, funny guy. At least, he seems like that based on this faithful, intelligent, and funny book he just wrote about the Bible. It’s called The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It.

I think a lot of Mormons could really benefit from Enns’s experience.

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johnson As one of the founders of Dialogue, Wes Johnson has a unique view of the journal and what it has been and what it has become. He sits down with Brandt Malone to discuss it’s history and his part in that history in the newest Dialogue podcast.

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Current Issue

Volume 47, No. 4 Winter 2014
Dialogue, a Journal of Mormon Thought




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