Prominent 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.
The Fall 2015 issue begins with Stephen Taysom exploring how Joseph F. Smith’s memories shaped his sense of reality and Mormon collective memory in the late 19th century. Gary Ettari then discusses Mormon aesthetic theory and the tension between the body and the spirit in the Mormon thought, Jack Harrell proposes the Thirteenth Article of Faith as a standard for choosing the literature we read, and Rachel Hunt Steenblik reflects on the Mormon ethics of food. Also read fiction from Ryan Shoemaker, personal essay from Elizabeth Muldowney. And much more!
FREE ARTICLE: The new essays discussing “Mother in Heaven” and “Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple, and Women” relate directly to the Summer 2015 article “The Struggle for Female Authority in Biblical and Mormon Theology” so here at Dialogue we are pleased to offer Cory Crawford’s important article for free to download. A taste: “Seen this way, the loss of female authority is entirely congruent with Joseph Smith’s view, as Givens describes it, of ‘restoration as an untidy and imperfect process involving many sources, varying degrees of inspiration, and stops and starts.’ If the project of Restoration is a replacement of things lost, the repeated denial of genuine female authority can be seen in LDS terms as a fundamental human tendency of apostasy replicated in virtually every generation: a tendency so ingrained, so part of the fabric of human existence as to make female authority one of the last principles to be restored, because it was one of the first to go.”
From Board President Patrick Mason: “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.
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. From the Miller Eccles website: “Susa 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.’ She advocated the advancement of women in politics, education, employment, physical health, and domesticity. But she was also largely responsible for formulating the paradigm that ‘men have priesthood and women have motherhood,’ and she firmly advocated a belief in male headship as immutable eternal truth. The apparent contradictions in her life and ideas bring to the fore both the uses and the limitations of Mormon women’s history in speaking to current issues.”
With the news that the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary auxiliary presidents would be permanent members of the Temple and Family History, Missionary, and Priesthood and Family Executive Committees, many are remembering the interview that Greg Prince had with Cheiko N. Okazaki about her wish to have more of a voice on these types of committees as recorded in Dialogue: “We asked one time if we could be on the building committee and the temple committee, because sometimes we think, ‘Why did they build it this way?’—because it doesn’t work very well for the women’s needs. And we wanted to be on the temple committee, because there are many things that affect women in the temple. But we were never allowed to be a part of those committees. I think we could help a great deal, but you have to have leaders in the Church who are willing to make that possible.” Click to read the entire interview at this historic time.
Inside the Summer 2015 issue, Cory Crawford examines the struggle for female authority in Biblical and Mormon tradition, Mary Bradford remembers the life of Emma Lou Thayne in a moving tribute “Follow the Light, Lulie,” Kim Abunuwara offers reflections on the Provo Tabernacle, and Tracie Lamb explores how her relationship with Buddhism intersects with her Mormon identity. You’ll find several outstanding book reviews, including one of Julie Neuffer’s Helen Andelin and the Fascinating Womanhood Movement. And more!
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With news about the release of the photo of Joseph Smith’s seer stone, check out this article from the Dialogue archives. Richard Van Wagoner and Steve Walker’s 1982 article “Joseph Smith: ‘The Gift of Seeing'” includes this description: “But by humbling himself, he again found favor with the Lord and was presented a strange ovalshaped, chocolate colored stone, about the size of an egg, but more flat which it was promised should answer the same purpose. With this stone all the present book was translated.”Click to read the entire article.
The issue of gay marriage is at the forefront of many Mormon conversations. As an important corollary to these conversations, Mormons should be aware of Taylor Petrey’s groundbreaking Winter 2011 Dialogue article “Toward a Post-Heterosexual Mormon Theology.” As he explains: “The issue is not as simple as gay people versus religious groups, as rhetoric on either side often suggests, but it has become increasingly apparent that there is significant overlap of people that identify both as homosexual and religious. Mormon writing on homosexuality often has had a pastoral character, aimed either at easing the transition for those seeking to leave the church or smoothing the way for those who desire to remain with in it.” Click in to read.
Have you checked out the new Dialogue podcasts?
Sarah Barringer Gordon,
John G. Turner,
and David E. Campbell.
And check back often
to find even
more intellectual discussions
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:
Cross-posted at By Common Consent
By Steve Evans
Trevor Southey passed away yesterday.Southey 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.
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?
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.”
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.”
Professor W. Paul Reeve, author of the recently published book, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness, published by Oxford University Press discusses “Black, White, and Mormon: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness” at the latest Miller Eccles presentation.
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.
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.”
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.”