Guest Post: Follow Me, Boys! (And Girls!)

Scouts saluting, American flag in background, circa 1960s. (Credit: H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile/Getty Images)

On 11 October, the newsroom for the Boy Scouts of America posted something you may have heard of by now:

“Today, the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved to welcome girls into its iconic Cub Scout program and to deliver a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.”

Some bona fides are likely to be demanded of anyone seriously commenting on this, so here are mine. I’m an Eagle Scout. My father is too. My grandfather was too. I’ve got a scout shirt hanging in my closet with adult knots on it. I’m a guy who’s had some experience in the program. That doesn’t make me unique; Mormon boys are also Boy Scouts. It’s how we roll.

With that out of the way, it’s also important at this stage to read the details of the move. Consider, from the press release: Continue reading

Toxic Perfectionism and the Reformation- LDS Perspectives #58: The Martin Luther that Mormons Don’t Know with Craig Harline



It is clear Luther suffered from Toxic Perfectionism, a condition that in his day was thought of as “overscrupulousness,” a common peril for monks in Luther’s day. When one’s entire life was focused on devotion, it became easy to see the myriad ways one had fallen short of the possible. Luther’s inability to believe himself saved within a paradigm that required any works caused him to spearhead the movement that became Protestantism. Luther proclaimed that mankind is saved by grace alone.

Some Mormons regard Martin Luther as a hero. While this could be true, most of the things that Luther was against, Mormons would be for. In fact, Mormonism has more in common with Catholicism than it does with most Protestant belief systems.

500 years ago this October, Martin Luther famously nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg, the act that is seen as the beginning of the Reformation and the rise of Protestantism. In celebration of this world-changing event, BYU professor Craig Harline has written A World Ablaze: The Rise of Martin Luther and the Birth of the Reformation.

As an educator, Harline tries to teach Luther on his own terms instead of trying to fit him into a Mormon paradigm. Years of teaching the Reformation to college students have shown him that most Mormons don’t know much about this period, and what they do know is usually wrong.

“We want others to study us as we would recognize ourselves,” says Harline, “so why wouldn’t we study others in a way that they would recognize themselves as well?”


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LDS Perspectives #57: Wilford Woodruff and Temple Doctrine with Jennifer Ann Mackley

Jennifer Ann Mackley has children, and admits, “they don’t ask me questions… They go to Google.”

Getting your gospel education via the internet is risky, particularly when it comes to those matters we hold most sacred, the matters least likely to be accurately described by the faithful in tweets and Wikipedia articles.

Mackley speaks of the account where Wilford Woodruff saw the founding fathers of the United States in the St. George temple and was impressed that their temple work needed to be performed. Taken out of context, non-Mormons see this as a story of how Mormons are making dead people into Mormons.

But of course, that is not what Mormons believe. We believe that everybody should be given the opportunity to choose, and Wilford Woodruff had come to the point where he said, “I have been so focused on my own family that I didn’t even think about expanding this.”

Mackley feels that if we don’t talk to our kids about the context of our history and revelations, then these revelations and history will seem odd and strange to our children and form a core of disbelief.

Mackley was surprised when she was doing research out of her own curiosity that there wasn’t a book out there that put the development of temple doctrine all in one place, so that members could see the continuity. As she got further into her studies, she realized Wilford Woodruff’s life experiences spanned the bulk of the development of modern temple doctrine. Mackley’s Wilford Woodruff’s Witness: The Development of Temple Doctrine was published in 2014.

Mackley explains that as the Saints learned about the New and Everlasting Covenant and the temple, “It was like a puzzle: they were given pieces. Now we have the box with the picture on it; we know what we’re putting together. They had no idea.”

Deprecated practices such as rebaptism or priesthood adoption may confuse modern students of Mormonism. Mackley doesn’t see these practices as necessarily trial and error, but rather as evidence of increased learning.

Mackley strongly believes that members need to prepare spiritually to attend the temple but also need to prepare intellectually by doing some research.

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LDS Perspectives #56: Engaging with Social Media with Linford, Handy, and Trimble

In this special three-part episode, LDS Perspectives gifts us a social media tool box.

LDS Perspectives Podcasters Stephanie Sorenson and Nick Galieti sat down with social media experts Michelle Linford, DaNae Handy, and Greg Trimble, to discuss how to maximize our interactions in the age of instant communication.

Michelle Linford is Executive Director of EPIK Deliberate Digital, a collaborative nonprofit focused on changing the culture related to kids and technology, encouraging a mindset where adults and children/youth work together to deliberately use technology for good.

Like many modern parents, Michelle feels responsible for helping her children stay safe and healthy in a digital world. She has volunteered for years in the pornography prevention space, so she is keenly aware of the very real dangers and concerns parents have. Her work at EPIK has also helped her understand that technology is a gift from God. It’s how and why we use it that matters. So she’s trying to create a #UseTech4Good culture.

DeNae Handy is an instructor of social media marketing and personal branding at LDS
Business College and has a background in music and music education. DeNae has been a columnist for Meridian Magazine and has essays in various book compilations.

Ms. Handy speaks to what our online presence reflects about our personal “brand.” Online forums are not insular; what we say and how we interact in one venue will bleed through to how we are seen through different digital “eyes.” Professor Handy talks about using good branding practices in every digital communication to maintain a consistent online presence.

Greg Trimble is an entrepreneur, member missionary, father, blogger, and digital marketer, and founder of an internet marketing agency in Southern California. He is a featured contributor to LDS Living, Deseret News, FamilyShare, other online publications. Greg has been interviewed by Fox 13 News in Salt Lake City, KSL, and BYU, and has spoken at firesides and conferences in Southern California, Utah, Australia, and Massachusetts.

Greg shares his experience jumping head-first into the deep-end of the blogosphere on March 10, 2014, when he created a blog and put out his first post. Since that time, he has had over 7 million page views.

Greg shares practical tools for those wanting to maximize their impact as a digital missionary and the reach of their personal blogs.

LDS Perspectives #55: Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation: Part 2 with Thomas A. Wayment

Adam Clarke’s Influence on the JST
 with Dr. Thomas A. Wayment

In this second LDS Perspectives Podcast on Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible, Dr. Thomas Wayment talks about the influence of Adam Clarke’s biblical commentary on Joseph Smith.

Dr. Wayment is a professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University and publications director of the BYU Religious Studies Center. Dr. Wayment earned a BA in Classics from the University of California at Riverside, then earned a PhD in New Testament Studies at Claremont Graduate University. Unsurprisingly, Dr. Wayment’s research has focused primarily on the New Testament. But Dr. Wayment has also written extensively on the Joseph Smith Translation. He became fascinated with Joseph’s translation early in his biblical studies and he will soon have two book chapters published on new findings regarding Joseph’s Bible translation process.

In his recent studies, Wayment found an interesting connection between the JST and a biblical commentary well-known in the 19th-century, especially in Methodist circles.

Adam Clarke, a British theologian, took almost 40 years to complete his comprehensive tome, published as The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The text carefully printed from the most correct copies of the present Authorized Version. Including the marginal readings and parallel texts. With a Commentary and Critical Notes. Clarke’s commentary became a primary theological resource for nearly two centuries.

New research by Michael Hubbard Mackay has uncovered a statement indicating that Joseph Smith had access to a copy of Clarke’s Bible commentary. When Wayment compared Joseph’s translation of the KJV Bible to Clarke’s commentary, he realized that Joseph apparently used it in the translation process because of the marked similarities he found between entries in the commentary and changes in Joseph’s KJV Bible.

Dr. Wayment shares his view of what Joseph meant by “translation” and what it could mean for how we approach the KJV Bible and the JST.