Exploring Near Death Experiences

In 1975, Dr. Raymond A. Moody coined the term “near-death experiences” in his bestselling book Life After Life.

Mormons have latched on to this concept, which is not surprising, considering our unique doctrine regarding the afterlife.

Dr. Brent Top has researched extensively near-death experiences, especially by those outside of the LDS community.

He has identified several common elements to these experiences such as the “life review,” encountering loved ones, and spirit communication.

Far from fading as a fad, the topic is becoming more and more popular.

While Dr. Top finds his studies interesting, he warns of the danger of trying to establish doctrine through experience. He emphasizes what the LDS doctrine is regarding the afterlife rather than anecdotal experiences. He also introduces a concept he coined as the “Apocraphal Principle” to help us evaluate these stories.

Check out links to extra resources at LDS Perspectives.

Curriculum and Correlation with David B. Marsh

Russell Stevenson of LDS Perspectives Podcast interviews David Marsh, who has worked developing curriculum for the LDS Church for decades. Together they discuss the nitty gritty details of taking a teaching concept from its inception stage to the classroom.

Who hasn’t found their mind wandering during a Sunday School lesson or wondering why the manuals repeatedly emphasize the same basic principles? And who writes these manuals? Are they scholars, professional teachers, or members who are called to the task? What is Correlation? The answers to these questions may surprise you.

Dr. Marsh walks us through the process of curriculum creation, which includes the following steps:

  1. Concept Development
  2. Text Prototype
  3. Manuscript Creation
  4. Feedback
  5. Revision
  6. Full Prototype with Images
  7. Translation
  8. Publicity
  9. Printing

Manuals are reviewed by hundreds of people before they are distributed, including the managers and directors of curriculum development, executive directors, the Priesthood and Executive Committees, the General Auxiliary Presidencies (YW, YM, RS, SS, and Primary), and sometimes the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency.

From his years teaching and writing curriculum, David Marsh dispenses wisdom about how to approach our Sunday experience in order to minimize frustration. He speaks to the echo chamber of academia and our responsibility to seek out for ourselves the deeper doctrines of the gospel and become self-reliant learners.

To access more resources, visit the LDS Perspectives website.

“Oh Say, What Is Truth?”: Evaluating Claims Regarding Nauvoo Polygamy

A Detailed Response to Meg Stout by Brian C. Hales (Click here to see PDF) and a Brief Response by Laura Harris Hales (see below)

A few weeks ago I patronized my favorite car wash after a particularly bad rainstorm. As I approached the entrance, an attendant straddled the pesky conveyor rails and proceeded to guide me to my destination with clear hand movements: straight forward … a little bit to the right … straighten it out again. Rats! My left tire was on top of the conveyor because I had overcompensated with my last adjustment. Realizing I had done the very thing I was trying to avoid, I turned the steering wheel slightly, and the tire slid off its perch and into place. Continue reading

Declining Sunstone and Bloggernacle “Safe Zones”

I was recently invited to be part of a panel at Sunstone on Mormon Blog boundaries. CHanson sent me an invitation (and gave me permission to print it) that described the panel like this:
LDS-interest blogspace is divided into a bunch of different communities.  The completely out-of-the-church end has its secular (atheist/agnostic) wing and its Christian wing, then there’s the Borderland/NOM crowd, then there’s the Feminists and the mommies (who are sometimes the same people, and sometimes not), then there’s the core of the Bloggernacle, and on the super-conservative end there’s “Nothing Wavering”. Continue reading