Broader Dialogue

Cross-posted at Times and Seasons

By Wilfried Decoo
What is an adequate label for the areas outside of the so-called “Church’s center”? If it pertains to non-US countries, “international” is commonly used, but semantically it is flawed because the United States itself belongs to the circle of all nations. “Foreign” and “alien” sound non-inclusive for a church that emphasizes worldwide unity and belonging among its members. As a neutral geographical term, “abroad” fails if one wants to include in the discussion ethnic minorities within the United States. Those have become particularly noteworthy as the Church again allows Mormon wards with a foreign ethnic or lingual identity on American soil, such as Cambodian, Korean, or Russian.[1] Within the United States, thousands of immigrant Mormons, or converted after immigration, represent various cultures, languages, and countries. For decades the Church has been struggling to find optimal ways to accommodate their needs. Recognized American racial and ethnic groups, such as American Indian and African American, form similar groups for specific study. Even the interaction with Native Americans is, ironically, part of a negotiated process with an “outside” group. The same can be said of Hawaiians.[2] It shows the ambiguity and complexity of our boundaries.

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greg_Prince“What is it about Mormon theology that justifies beating up on infants?” Greg Prince was asked this by a non-Mormon friend about the new policy and he could only answer “There is nothing in Mormon theology that justifies (the policy), this is just out of the box.”

This new podcast over at A Thoughtful Faith is a must-listen for Dialogue friends as Greg Prince analyzes the Mormon moment right now with Gina Colvin. As she explains “Author and commentator Greg Prince and I talk history, theology, technology, culture, communication, relationships, disaffection, and policy in Mormonism, and we wonder together about the church’s present and future.”


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From By Common Consent

Another year, another Christmas gift book guide.
Mormon Studies Review $25 ($10 digital)
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought $50 ($25 digital) [see comments for discount]
Journal of Mormon History $70 ($30 digital)
BYU Studies Quarterly (currently offline – call only)

The annual subscriptions. The Mormon Studies Review is one of three journals by the Maxwell Institute (formerly FARMS). It provides reviews and essays by top scholars of Mormon Studies. This is to keep on top of the field. One issue a year, but you get digital access to all the journals with either paper or digital only subscription. BYU Studies and Dialogue are general Mormon Studies publications. You’ll find a little bit of everything (though Dialogue also has regular fiction).

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Latest Content

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 newest 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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10 5 (3)
In the 25th Dialogue podcast, Russell Stevenson looks at Nigeria and the Africanization of Mormon Identity.  From the Miller Eccles website:

The Nigerian Mormon story enjoys a fascinating cachet in Mormon thought. Often cast as “a people prepared” and “Saints without baptism,” standard Mormon narratives cast Nigerian Mormonism as an expression of racial dispensationalism in the grand arc of the Church in the latter days. But when understood on its own terms, Nigerian Mormonism defies such easy categorizations. Contrary to the narratives of racial dispensationalism, Nigerian Mormonism enjoys legitimacy independent of its attachment to the institutional Mormon community.

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Cross-posted at By Common Consent

By Board Member Michael Austin

What began as a hobby horse for me has now graduated to a soapbox. And the soapbox goes like this: Americans and other Westerners really need to start learning things about Muslim religion and culture. And by “things” I mean real things . We are doing quite nicely with broad brush strokes and glaring generalizations, thank you very much.

But as presidential candidates propose to cheering throngs that we ban Muslims from our midst, close down mosques, and otherwise betray the foundational principles of our country, the rest of us have an obligation to understand what is being invoked to scare us.

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Current Issue

Volume 48, No. 4 Winter 2015
Dialogue, a Journal of Mormon Thought






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