About Ivan Wolfe

Ivan Wolfe teaches rhetoric at Arizona State University. He has a PhD in English from the University of Texas - Austin, and a BA and MA in English (with minors in Classical Greek, Music, and Philosophy) from BYU. He has several credits on various Christmas albums aimed at the LDS market, several essays in Open Court's Popular Culture and Philosophy series, and various book reviews in academic and popular venues. He also competes in Scottish Highland Games and mud run/obstacle course races, and he can deadlit over double his bodyweight (his last PR was over 500 pounds). He is currently married to Lisa Renee Wolfe. He has six kids and four stepkids.

C.S. Lewis on “Mourning with those who mourn”

Mourning with those who mourn is an important Gospel principle, but like any Gospel principle, it can be distorted and used to serve incorrect (should I say “problematic” instead?) ends.

Over at the Junior Ganymede, Adam G. has a post about how a lot of reactions to recent events in the church amount to not much more than emotional blackmail from toddlers.

I immediately thought of this passage from The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis:

(for those who don’t know, in The Great Divorce people from hell take a trip to heaven, and learn they can stay, if they are willing to adapt to heaven.  Many voluntarily go back to hell.  This passage is a dialogue with an Angel)

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 “Two men went up onto the Bloggernacle to post, one a Progressive and the other a person with conservative views. The Progressive stood and was posting thus:: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other Mormons: sexist, homophobic, racist, or even like this person with conservative views. and don’t you dare say I’m not a good Mormon, since I fast (sometimes) and I pay tithes of all that I get (based on my idiosyncratic definition of tithing).’  But the person with conservative views just posted silly rewrites of NT parables and then moved on with life.

Father Brown’s thought of the day

“There is,” said Father Brown dryly; “and that is the real difference between human charity and Christian charity. You must forgive me if I was not altogether crushed by your contempt for my uncharitableness today; or by the lectures you read me about pardon for every sinner. For it seems to me that you only pardon the sins that you don’t really think sinful. You only forgive criminals when they commit what you don’t regard as crimes, but rather as conventions. So you tolerate a conventional duel, just as you tolerate a conventional divorce. You forgive because there isn’t anything to be forgiven . . . Go on your own primrose path pardoning all your favorite vices and being generous to your fashionable crimes; and leave us in the darkness, vampires of the night, to console those who really need consolation”

Pity for the Promiscuous

Jeff G. has posted a response of sorts to a certain strain of argument that seems to carry the day among a certain class of Mormons.

I’m not going to repeat his arguments.  Instead, I have a different take, because I think people can be fooled by these arguments, since they seem so warm, fuzzy, and compassionate.  However, these arguments are actually quite pernicious, and their ultimate end point is to undermine the gospel.

To illustrate, I’m going to just reword part of one argument:

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