FairMormon Conf – Kerry Muehlstein on the Book of Abraham

Kerry Muehlstein: The Book of Abraham and Unnoticed Assumptions

Watching the presentations via video, definitely makes it easier to focus on the speaker (however, I miss rubbing shoulders with my fair weather FairMormon friends), and it was especially good for some of the sessions this morning.

The Book of Abraham has been a blessing for some, a curse for others,  and a puzzlement for all. Continue reading

FairMormon Conference going on now!

The FairMormon Conference is now going on.  For those unable to attend, you can (for a small fee) see it online live, or watch afterwards.  Go to FairMormon.Org to be able to see it.

Also, Meg Stout and I will be blogging here on the various sessions.  I will begin posting the first sessions shortly from

Kerry Muehlstein – the Book of Abraham
Marvin Perkins – Blacks in the Scriptures
Barry Bickmore – Joseph Smith Among the Early Christians


and yes, it has been a very awesome conference to watch so far.

Conversation Six Critique


After so many weeks that I’d stopped checking, the folks who support female ordination in the LDS Church have posted the final promised episode. They used to be called discussions and are now called conversations. Rameumpton’s already covered this, but since I covered the other five episodes, I want to complete the set.

Before I proceed, I just wanted to comment on the graphic. This is not a graphic geared toward a Mormon audience. It is clearly a nun wearing a crucifix. I suppose they are trying to evoke the image of Mother Theresa, who is quoted under the graphic.

But Mormons tend to see the crucifix as a symbol of Christ’s death, and we prefer to think of Him resurrected rather than on the cross (despite the verbal imagery in most sacrament hymns). And nuns are typically associated with the Catholic church and vows of celibacy. If one is told, “but this is supposed to be a stylized Mormon woman in ritual garb,” then I’d say, “looks like a nun to me.” Actually, it looks a bit like some kind of alien nun I might see in a science fiction show (shades of Doctor Who).

I think a better graphic would have been the iconic hands from Michelangelo’s painting of Adam and God on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Or perhaps a woman with open arms. At any rate, something other than this graphic. Continue reading

OW – “Conversation” Six

Ordain Women has finally posted their 6th discussion.  You may notice they did not call this one a discussion, but a conversation.  Clearly, their effort to make it seem like a missionary effort has backfired, and so are trying a different wording tactic.

They begin by quoting Mother Teresa, President Uchtdorf and Gandhi, in that order. I’m not certain whether they are trying to make General Authorities equivalent to other world leaders and opinion makers, so that we accept throw away statements from others as a form of higher revelation, or whether to lower the revelatory statements of General Authorities down to the levels of the world.  Either way, It is clear they are picking and choosing.  Mother Teresa never held the Catholic priesthood, never demanded it, never asked for it.  She just saw a great need for compassion and sought to fill it.  Clearly, OW’s interpretation of statements is to fill their need, whether they actually apply or not.

They launch into a list of “interim” solutions for the Church.  Some of these are things I agree with. I do not have a problem with a woman as stake Sunday School teacher, or young women performing as ushers.  However, this is very different from the demand they have previously given of full ordination to women.

Some of their demands go contrary to revelation:

Choosing a General Relief Society Presidency and General Board that reflect the diversity of viewpoint and circumstance in the Church, and establishing frequent meetings between the First Presidency and the General Relief Society Presidency

First, such callings are given by revelation, not by popular vote.  It is not an issue of making sure all political views are present, but that the sisters are worthy of the calling, and are called of God.  If God chooses to call nothing but liberals or nothing but conservatives, that is His call to make.  Can you imagine the Prophet, a stake president or bishop arguing with the Lord over a Relief Society President: “But Lord, you know it is only fair to select Sister Y, because our last one was a registered Republican!”

Given that 90% of members are against Ordain Women’s demands, what would it mean to reflect the diversity they seek?  On a Relief Society board of 12 sisters, ensure one is a liberal?
Continue reading

Days of Defiance

[This post is part of a series on Joseph Smith's Polygamy. To read from the beginning or link to previously published posts, go to A Faithful Joseph.]


John W. Taylor’s plural wives circa 1901: Janet Marie Woolley, Roxie Welling, Rhoda Welling, and Nellie Todd

The majority of Mormons welcomed the end of polygamy, announced by Wilford Woodruff in 1890. The suffering caused by government enforcement of anti-polygamy laws had been great.

Yet even when Wilford Woodruff announced that plural marriage should end, not everything was over.

For the vast majority of men involved in a plural marriage, Wilford Woodruff’s pronouncement ending polygamy did not persuade them to renounce their plural wives. Many of these men were older, with older plural wives who were at or near the end of their childbearing years.

A few men involved in plural marriage had married young brides in the days before the Manifesto. These were often inspired by John Taylor’s dying conviction that plural marriage was the New and Everlasting Covenant, and that this covenant could never righteously be taken from the earth.

Meanwhile, the United States had taken a hard position that polygamy was utterly wrong. On this point the people of the United States were of one mind as they have rarely been since. Continue reading