About Keller

I was a BYU baby while my parents finished up their advanced degrees in psychology. I have lived in some interesting places growing up: near the Lagoon at Layton; in an old polygamist house in Manti with an upper-story door that opened to the middle of a roof; in Rigby,Idaho, the self-proclaimed birthplace of television; then over to Sweet, a small town north of Boise near some fun river rapids; then for my high school years in Lund (named after a counselor in the First Presidency), Nevada; and full circle back to Utah County for college. Currently I work as an electrical engineering in the defense and space industry in Salt Lake City. I have served in a single's ward elder's quorum presidency and as a hymn book coordinator. I also served a mission in the Bible Belt (Oklahoma City) and to prepare I became an avid reader of FARMS publications. This has lead me to become a volunteer for FAIR as way of furthering my apologetic interests and helping those struggling with tough issues to find useful information. I have also started an interfaith blog to dialog with Catholics and practice "holy envy." I like blogging on historical topics and doing genealogical research.

Donald Westbrook on Mormon-Catholic Dialogue

“Ecumenical dialogue is dialogue between Christians. Dialogue with Mormons who represent official LDS teaching is interreligious dialogue.”  Fr. Richard John Newhaus

Today I went to Richard Bushman’s 80th birthday symposium in Springville. The topic that convinced me (for reasons I will sketch below) the most to make the drive from Salt Lake was Donald Westbrook’s “Catholic-Mormon Dialogue, Ecumenical, Inter-religious, or What?” Westbrook, a Ph. D. student who has interacted with Dr. Bushman at Claremont, did not disappoint. He argued that Mormons don’t fit neatly in either of the traditional Catholic modes of dialogue which distinguish between Christian [pre-dominantly of the creedal variety] and non-Christian. He respectfully disagreed with Fr. Newhaus that Mormons belong in the second category, but explained why it would be very difficult to place Mormons in a category wherein a fundamental goal is the reunification of Christianity. Perhaps Mormons will eventually be afforded a special chapter like that afforded the Jews. Meanwhile nothing prevents lay Catholics from entering into discussions with Mormons. Continue reading

The Politics of Revelation

Warren Smith has argued that evangelical voters should fear Mormon belief in continuing revelation. He compares Mitt Romney’s flip-flopping on political issues to The Church of Jesus Christ’s reversals on plural marriage practice and race-based ordination policy. Smith expanded on his views in his interview with Joanna Brooks to indicate he was not singling Mormonism out “In general, revelation is a mechanism by which Church bodies over the years have departed from the truth. The LDS Church is not the only church over the ages that has been led away by revelation. History teaches us that the doctrine of continuing revelation leads away from truth not to the truth as a general principle.”

One of Smith’s concerns about revelation is that an adherent can’t be trusted to conform to norms dictated by traditions formed in the historical past. Such can become “adrift in a sea of philosophies and ideas,” which is not good for conservative politics. He suggests diplomacy is best done from a framework of “commonly accepted historical facts.” Accepting the The Book of Mormon, with Christ visiting the Americas, is indicative  of a Mormon trait of accepting or fabricating a-historical or idiosyncratic views that would put the nation’s “intellectual and spiritual health” in peril if a Mormon were elected President.

Continue reading

Richard Lambert on the King James Version

Last week I attended a fireside presented by Richard Lambert, the vice chairman of the Mormon Historical Sites Foundation. His interest in biographically sketching the lives of the 59 King James Bible translators were fanned by Elder Groberg’s brother, who wondered if something more couldn’t be done by that foundation to commemorate the KJV’s 400th anniversary.  Although an attorney by trade, Lambert has already spoken at prestigious symposia on topics in Mormon history. He also happens to be a counselor in presidency of my stake. Continue reading

Teaching the Controversy: Does Satan Exist?

‘There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors.” — C.S. Lewis

I taught the lesson in my priesthood quorum today covering Elder Ballard’s conference address from last October dealing with the reality of Satan and his role in encouraging addictive behaviors. As this was my first time for this particular ward, I spent some time describing my internet activities (predominantly dealing with controversial issues arising in Mormonism). I related my desire to follow 1 Peter 3:15′s instruction to always be prepared to provide a reasonable defense of my beliefs to Elder Ballard’s call for more Latter-day Saints to join the conversation about us as a reaction to media coverage of the Romney Campaign in 2008. Yes, it was somewhat of a tangent (some would say irrelevant) to the main themes of the talk. Continue reading

Catching up with Christian Marchant

 

Christian and family meet Elder and Sister Oaks in Vietnam

Last week I got a job offer to work at digital communications firm, my first  job in the industrial sector after college. I decided to party like it was 1999, because that is the year this milestone would have been reached for most people my age. So I have been reaching out to my closest friends to share the news, including some that I haven’t contacted for awhile. While using google to find the Traveling Marchants blog, I noticed my friend Christian’s name showing up in the news media for an international incident that happened in Vietnam a couple of months ago. Continue reading