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 five kids and four stepkids.

One thought I had recently

I think some people want to turn weekly Church into the equivalent of a graduate level seminar (or at least a senior capstone course).

Even though I have a PhD and love intellectual discussions, I can’t think of anything worse.  The gospel needs to stay “small and simple.”

(I’ve seen a few mainstream Protestant denominations that do treat Sunday school like a graduate seminar; That’s one reason those denominations are dying off, though it’s more a symptom than the cause).

A thought from C.S. Lewis

“In the earlier history of every rebellion there is a stage at which you do not yet attack the King in person. You say, ‘The King is all right. It is his Ministers who are wrong. They misrepresent him and corrupt all his plans –which, I’m sure, are good plans if only the Ministers would let them take effect.’ And the first victory consists in beheading a few Ministers: only at a later stage do you go on and behead the King himself.”

-C.S. Lewis

I leave the application of this quote as an exercise to our readers.

“The Complexities of Mormon Political Theology”

This article by Matt Bowman is worth reading.  I, however, want to take issue with part of it: “Spencer W. Kimball, in short, had no coherent political position. He would alternatively inspire and horrify today’s progressives, and prove an inconsistent and frustrating ally to the American right.  And this is as it should be.”

Except for the last sentence, I don’t really agree. I think it isn’t that Kimball had no coherent political position – I think it’s that typical partisan politics has no coherent position, and Bowman makes the mistake of conflating partisanship with coherence. Continue reading

Pioneer Day: Edna Anderson’s History of the Church in Homer, Alaska

I consider myself the son of a pioneer of sorts (my father and his family appear in this tale below, as does the father of the pop star Jewel). I grew up surrounded by pioneers.  I’ve discussed Edna Anderson before on this blog.  This is her history of our ward.  I’m not sure if there are other histories (a Ward historian was called once, but I don’t know if anything came of it, and the brief section on Homer in the book A Gathering of Saints in Alaska isn’t very good or comprehensive), but when Edna said she would make a copy for anyone who wanted it, I asked for a copy.

Anyway, enough preliminaries – read on if you’re interested in Alaskan pioneers. (I have a few notes on provenance and a few other issues after the history). One note:  She switches between talking about herself in the third and first person, but Edna was not really a writer, which makes all of this more charming and amazing. Continue reading