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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AG Sessions outlines religious freedom exemptions

I would love some help from knowledgeable people analyzing this legal guidance by the Trump administration.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued government-wide legal guidance Friday that urges sweeping protection for religious freedom and could impact a series of pending policy decisions involving health care, LGBT rights and even disaster relief.

Sessions billed the 25-page memo directed to all federal agencies as a response to an executive order President Donald Trump signed in May, promoting efforts to promote “religious liberty.”

That order triggered a major showdown within the administration as religious and social conservatives pressed for treatment that could essentially allow them to ignore anti-discrimination requirements, particularly in the area of sexual orientation, while more moderate forces warned that upending existing protections would trigger an uproar that could derail other administration priorities.

The new Justice Department guidance takes a muscular view of religious freedom rights, but officials said that the document is a neutral description of existing law and not an effort to weigh in on particular policy issues.

“Religious liberty is not merely a right to personal religious beliefs or even to worship in a sacred place,” Sessions wrote. “Except in the narrowest of circumstances, no one should be forced to choose between living out his or her faith and complying with the law. Therefore, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, religious observance should be reasonably accommodated in all government activity, including employment, contracting and programming.”

The legal analysis was unveiled as the Trump administration is considering or pursuing a series of moves that could broaden the rights of the religious, including allowing churches more latitude to enter political campaigns without jeopardizing their tax exemptions and permitting religious institutions to receive more types of disaster relief funds.

Also, please note that today (Friday), the Trump administration rolled back the birth control mandate for Obamacare.

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.