President Kimball on disciplinary councils

President Spencer W. Kimball, counseling priesthood leaders, said:

“We are concerned that too many times the interviewing leader in his personal sympathies for the transgressor, and in his love perhaps for the family of the transgressor, is inclined to waive the discipline which that transgressor demands.


“Too often a transgressor is forgiven and all penalties waived when that person should have been disfellowshipped or excommunicated. Too often a sinner is disfellowshipped when he or she should have been excommunicated. …


“Do you remember what was said by the prophet Alma? ‘Now,’ he said, ‘repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment.’ [Alma 42:16.]


“Ponder on that for a moment. Have you realized that? There can be no forgiveness without real and total repentance, and there can be no repentance without punishment. This is as eternal as is the soul. …


“Please remember these things when somebody comes before you who has broken the laws of God.


“It is so easy to let our sympathies carry us out of proportion; and when a man has committed sin, he must suffer. It’s an absolute requirement—not by the bishop—but it’s a requirement by nature and by the very part of a man.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1975, p. 116; or Ensign, May 1975, p. 78.)


LDS Perspectives #53: Tabernacle Camps with Daniel Smith

Tabernacle Camps
with Daniel Smith

Audio file:

Daniel Smith is creator of the YouTube channel “Messages of Christ.” Smith’s channel has been viewed over 1 million times.

Smith has a particular interest in ancient tabernacles and their artifacts, including building replicas of the tabernacles and making authentic tabernacle clothing.

Smith recounts how and why he creates tabernacle cloth (using a Lego machine) to create the tabernacle breastplate, what exactly happened in the tabernacle in biblical times, and why it’s important for members of the church to understand these things today.

Sometimes, Smith explains, the best way to understand something is to experience it.

Tabernacle camps are popping up — typically in Youth Conferences — in stakes all over the United States. There’s even one coming to BYU in the coming months, which will be used to teach students about the ancient biblical context of the tabernacles.

Harvard, Statistics, and Sex

In recent years, the Harvard Crimson has conducted an extensive survey of the incoming freshman class (roughly 2,000 individuals per year).

Some things have continued the same. Most use Apple products (75%). Most have never had mental health counseling (79%). Most are heterosexual (82%). Most are virgins (62%) and less than 10% have had more than two sexual partners. Most are the first in their extended family to ever attend Harvard (71%). Most identify as liberal (69%). The vast majority identify with their gender of birth (99.6%). The number of Mormons in any of the incoming classes is less than 1%. 1

Other factors are moving in interesting ways, however.

Whites are close to trading in “majority” status for “plurality” status. The Harvard Class of 2021 is only 52% White versus an estimated 61% non-hispanic whites in the general US population. This is largely due to the increasing representation of Asians (Asian Indians and other Asians), which has hovered around 30% 2 in contrast to the 5.7% of Asians in the general US population. Given that Asians self-report as White to avoid attempts to minimize the over-representation of Asians at elite universities, Whites in the Class of 2021 may already be plurality rather than majority.

The percentage of those reporting other than hetero-normal sexual orientation is increasing (looking at 2017 to 2021). While the combination of “questioning” and “other” has stayed level at  about 4%, those reporting as homosexual have increased from 3.7% to 5.6%, an increase of 50%. 3 Meanwhile, those identifying as bisexual has increased from 2.5% to 7.8%, an increase of over 200%. 4 This correlates with the vast majority (87%) entering Harvard in 2018 who approve of same sex marriage.

It would be fascinating if BYU’s Daily Universe were to conduct a parallel survey.

Continue reading


  1. Of the Mormons participating in the surveys across all the years, it seems only one reported they weren’t a virgin as an incoming freshman.
  2. 2021 class statistics don’t report any South Asian/Indian students, where prior years reported ~4% of the incoming student body from India.
  3. Most self-reporting as homosexual are male.
  4. Most self-reporting as bi-sexual are female.

LDS Perspectives #52: The (Im)patient Job

The (Im)patient Job
with Michael Austin

Michael Austin overturns our Sunday School understanding of Job.

Job didn’t constantly praise God in the midst of his trials, and he certainly wasn’t always patient.

The satan mentioned in the story is not Lucifer but someone else entirely.

We may think it is evil to be impatient in the midst of trials. Yet when we consider with Austin the full text of Job, we find Job is much more than the often one-dimensional figure we make him out to be. And in learning that, we learn so many gospel truths that we otherwise miss.

Listen as Sarah Hatch of LDS Perspectives Podcast interviews Michael Austin about wisdom literature, a more complete understanding of the nature of Job and his relationship with God, and what we can learn from arguably the greatest ancient poem ever written.

Book Review: Perspectives on Mormon Theology – Apologetics

Book Review: Perspectives on Mormon Theology – Apologetics, edited by Blair G. Van Dyke and Loyd Isao Ericson, Greg Kofford Books

I am an apologist. Ever since joining the LDS Church at the age of 16, I’ve spent countless hours explaining, sharing and defending the gospel of Jesus Christ. After my mission, I used to weekly go to the Salt Lake Temple, where I would spend an hour talking gospel with the anti-Mormon protester that handed out pamphlets outside the Temple Square walls. Nibley’s works were amazing to me. I was a list member on William Hamblin’s Ant-Mormon email list 25 years ago. I am a former member of FAIRMormon, written articles for the More Good Foundation, spent many hours on LDS.Net, have several articles on my own webpage, gave a lecture on the Book off Mormon as an Ascension Text at Sunstone Kirtland, blogged on the Gospel Doctrine lessons at my own blog, and a permablogger here at Millennial Star.

That said, I went into this discussion on apologetics with an open mind, eager to see what several LDS scholars thought. The book is a series of essays on apologetics:

  • Critical Foundations of Mormon Apologetics – Blair G. Van Dyke
  • A Brief Defense of Apologetics – Daniel C. Peterson
  • Boundary Maintenance that Pushes the Boundaries: Scriptural and Theological Insights from Apologetics – Neal Rappleye
  • I Think, Therefore I Defend – Michael R. Ash
  • A Wall Between Church and Academy – Benjamin E. Park
  • Mormon Apologetics and Mormon Studies: Truth, History, and Love – Ralph C. Hancock
  • The Intellectual Cultures of Mormonism: Faith, Reason and the Apologetic Enterprise – Brian D. Birch
  • The Role of Women in Apologetics – Juliann Reynolds
  • Avoiding Collateral Damage: Creating a Woman-Friendly Mormon Apologetics – Julie M. Smith
  • “The Perfect Union of Man and Woman”: Reclamation and Collaboration in Joseph Smith’s Theology Making – Fiona Givens
  • Lamanites, Apologetics and Tensions in Mormon Anthropology – David Knowlton
  • Conceptually Confusion and the Building of Stumbling Blocks of Faith – Loyd Isao Ericson
  • Shifting Intellectual and Religious Paradigms: One Apologist’s Journey into Critical Study – David Bokovoy
  • Toward a New Vision of Apologetics – Joseph M. Spencer
  • Apologetics as Theological Praxis – Seth Payne

The articles discuss several important topics in regards to apologetics and LDS scholarship. The discussions focus primarily on the importance of apologetics, its pros and cons, and whether we should be doing apologetics. The articles include the issues of women in apologetics, whether we should instead focus on Mormon scholarly studies, the differences between good and bad apologetics, boundary maintenance, and where we should go in the future. Continue reading