Guest post: ‘O that cunning plan of the evil one!’

This is a guest post by Tom Stringham, who is a returned missionary and student of economics and mathematics at the University of Calgary. He keeps a blog at VirtuousSociety.com, and is on the editorial staff at Hustings.ca and PrinceArthurHerald.com.

True religion, whenever it has existed on the earth, has always had its enemies. Over the period of history recorded in the scriptures, these enemies often took the form of foreign armies, oppressive governments or brazen idolaters. The word “enemy” implies more than a passive conflict with the church—an enemy is usually conscious of his animosity.

If there is a war being waged against the Lord’s church today, it is being waged as a campaign of op-eds, podcast interviews, digital monologues and legal briefs. While the battlefield of the religious world is strewn with many inanimate and inadvertent obstacles, the church also has antagonists, and the method of the modern religious antagonist is rational discourse, or as Jeff G. wrote in an excellent analysis last year, critical discourse.

O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men!

Faithful Mormon bloggers and commentators respond to discourse mainly with discourse, at least in the online world. As a result, they are often failing to productively engage their opponents within and without the church. This isn’t to say they don’t mean well. But many writers have allowed the church’s enemies to set the terms of engagement. Under those terms, argument is preferable to testimony, and analysis is better than scripture. In other words, believing intellectuals are falling short because they have not openly challenged the importance of discourse itself by supplanting it with the word of God through scripture, His servants or our own inspired testimony.
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OT Gospel Doctrine Lesson #26: King Solomon: Man of Wisdom, Man of Foolishness

OT Gospel Doctrine Lesson #26: King Solomon: Man of Wisdom, Man of Foolishness
1 King 3, 5-11


Solomon Dedicates Temple

Solomon Slaughters His Enemies
With David growing old, conflict arose between his many sons as to who should replace him. The eldest living son, Adonijah, presumed it should be him. David never dissuaded Adonijah from this presumption. Joab, general of David’s armies, and Abiathar, one of David’s high priests (a descendant of Moses), supported Adonijah in his quest for kingship.

Solomon was supported by David’s other chief priest, Zadok, a descendant of Aaron, several military leaders, and Nathan the Prophet. As well, Bathsheba still held the attention of King David over his other wives. She went to him and encouraged him to accept Solomon as heir to the throne. Nathan followed her in, repeating the need to select Solomon. David agreed and had Zadok and Nathan anoint him king (1 King 1). Continue reading

What next? How to move forward from the excommunication.

Moroni 10. 32So, here we are, post Kate Kelly excommunication.

What next?

There are many people who are hurting, questioning, wondering what to do. I had a friend express concern about where to take her questions now? She did not know what constitutes safe or legitimate questioning, and she fears for her family and friends who are aligned with Kate Kelly’s group. Those are reasonable concerns, however, I don’t think anyone needs to fear, because Sister Kelly was not excommunicated for asking a question, despite the media narrative, and her own protestations to that effect. And when you think about it, our Church was founded on the fact that Joseph Smith had a question and went to the Lord in prayer and asked his question. Asking questions is a good thing. Honestly, I don’t think I have studied the Gospel this much and so intensively in many years, because of all of the questions out there. It’s been good for all of us, I think. We just need to make sure that we don’t get so wrapped up in our questions that we lose sight of our end goal of returning to our Heavenly Father.

So, my message to everyone, especially those who are hurting today, is this: Continue reading