2016 BYU Women’s Conference: Live Streaming Information

BYUWC 2016From our friends at BYU Women’s Conference:

Elder Dale G. Renlund has invited YOU to prepare for the closing session of Women’s Conference!

“Ruth and I are looking forward to speaking at the BYU Women’s Conference on Friday afternoon (April 29). The theme for the conference is ‘One in Charity.’ We plan to share our thoughts about what charity is, the relationship between unity and charity, and where charity comes from.

“​In preparation for that session, we invite each of you to study Mosiah 4. Pay particular attention to defining ‘this’ in verse 12.

“We look forward to being with you great sisters on Friday.”

—posted Monday on Elder Renlund’s Facebook page

We’re excited this invitation is extended to everyone, both those in attendance and the rest of the world!

We are thrilled that LIVE STREAMING will be available for both general sessions on Friday, April 29th on the homepage of lds.org, and on the Mormon Channel. The live streaming will be available in both English and Spanish.

Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, will speak during the Friday morning session at 9:00 a.m. mountain time.

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Ruth L. Renlund will speak at the closing general session on Friday at 3:45 to 5:00 p.m. mountain time.

Please share Elder Renlund’s invitation and the live streaming information with all who can’t attend Women’s Conference in person. We can’t wait to be with you tomorrow!”

As a personal note, I always enjoy my trips to BYU Women’s Conference — and not just for the delicious desserts! It is exciting and humbling to be among the great women of the Church, and to all be there focused on learning, improving and growing in our sisterhood. I hope that everyone will tune in to watch, and even if you can’t, that you will accept Elder Renlund’s invitation to study Mosiah 4.

Oh, to be an Angel!

Tizian_004Robb Smith puts forward an interesting premise regarding the authorship of Alma 29.

Most of us are most familiar with the opening passages of Alma 29 from hearing it sung:

“O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!”

The chapter summary tells us this chapter is written by “Alma, who desires to cry repentance with angelic zeal—The Lord grants teachers for all nations—Alma glories in the Lord’s work and in the success of Ammon and his brethren. About 76 B.C.”

Yet Robb invites us to consider that this desire to proclaim universal repentance and salvation comes not from Alma, but from Mormon. We know that there was not originally any chapter demarkation between Alma 28 and Alma 29. Thus the words we so often presume are coming from Alma flow immediately after an extended segment that seems to come from Mormon.

I love this reading of Alma 29. And then I run into the verses where the author talks about the success of his brethren, who have been up to the land of Nephi (Alma 29:14-15). This is where my ability to see what Robb sees fails me for a moment.

Even so, there is power in imagining these words coming from Mormon. To read Robb’s entire paper, click on O That I Were an Angel. Let me leave you with a short segment from the paper, where Robb argues how we can see Mormon as the author of even Alma 29:14-15. Continue reading

Book Review: Nothing New Under the Sun, by Adam S. Miller

Just over a year ago, I reviewed Adam S. Mller’s recently released great little book, “Grace is not God’s Backup Plan”, a new paraphrase of the book of Romans, which helped to explain grace in useful terms.

Now, Adam does a similar paraphrase, but on what is perhaps the most dismal and depressing book in the Bible: Ecclesiastes. In fact, the full title of the book is, “Nothing New Under the Sun: a Blunt Paraphrase of Ecclesiastes“.  The word, “blunt” is very apt, as the Preacher does not mince words. Thankfully, Adam takes the teachings of the Preacher and paraphrases them, updating them to our day and expounding from within the paraphrase the key points of each chapter.

In my study and blogging on Ecclesiastes, I’ve noted how bleak the Preacher is. Adam, however, may have found the silver lining. He explains that while the Preacher does teach that there is “nothing new under the Sun” and that “all is vanity”, it is this very hopelessness that makes the book so important.

Discussing the human desire to avoid hardships, pessimism, and crassness (all found in Ecclesiastes), he notes: “But the cost of avoidance is high. As Paul insists, in order to become Christian, we must first learn to be hopeless. Hopelessness is the door to Zion.”

This immediately made me think of the prophecies of the last days, in which Zion will be established.

And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.

And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety. (D&C 45:67-68)

In this instance, the hope of Zion only comes after there is no other hope. And so it is with Adam’s paraphrase. Ecclesiastes means hopelessness, until combined with Paul’s teachings on hope and grace.

As with his paraphrase of Romans, his short discussion on Ecclesiastes is followed by a powerful paraphrase of each chapter. In fact, he shares it twice, once as prose and the second separated by verse.

For anyone wanting to better understand this ancient work, and how it aptly applies to our materialistic world today, I highly recommend this book, as well as Adam’s previous book, “Grace is Not God’s Backup Plan.

You may also want to read Adam’s excellent book, “Letters to a Young Mormon

The Myth of Ego Depletion

Ego DepletionFor the past twenty years a narrative has been building steam. Willpower, it appeared, was a consumable commodity. If you used up your willpower too early in the day, you were left defenseless by evening, unable to continue making right choices.

A previous generation was known to say, “The devil made me do it!” Moderns were able to say with scientific verve, “I just ran out of willpower.”

Then junior scientists such as Evan Carter attempted to replicate the famous willpower experiments, only to be unable to repeat the results. A meta study of prior results was attempted, only to show no effect of “ego depletion.”

The formal Association of Psychological Science (APS) reports are not yet published, but the uncopyedited, unformatted reports can be reviewed at the APS website, and will be replaced by the published versions as soon as they are final.

For those of us wishing for a shorter synopsis, Daniel Engber wrote a cover story for last month’s Slate regarding the paradigm shift, titled Everything is Crumbling. Continue reading

Book Review: A Reason for Faith

Book Review: A Reason for Faith – Navigating LDS Doctrine and Church History,
    editor: Laura Harris Hales

May 9, 2016 (4)

On February 26, 2016, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles spoke to all Institute and Seminary teachers across the world. Noting the wonderful developments in CES over the past century, he then said that he is more keenly interested in the next century of training the young minds of the Church in religious doctrine and testimony. Elder Ballard then gave an important warning and guidance on the needs of the new century:

“Gone are the days when a student asked an honest question and a teacher responded, “Don’t worry about it!” Gone are the days when a student raised a sincere concern and a teacher bore his or her testimony as a response intended to avoid the issue. Gone are the days when students were protected from people who attacked the Church. Fortunately, the Lord provided this timely and timeless counsel to you teachers: “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”

“This is especially applicable today because not all of your students have the faith necessary to face the challenges ahead and because many of them are already exposed through the Internet to corrosive forces of an increasingly secular world that is hostile to faith, family, and gospel standards. The Internet is expanding its reach across the world into almost every home and into the very hands and minds of your students.” (Elder M. Russell Ballard, An Evening with a General Authority)

Continue reading