Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Blogging Queue

This post marks three days in a row of blogging. I'm on a roll!

I get ideas way faster than I can write them, and then I get to a point where they're bursting to get out and I feel compelled to write. I'm feeling like that this week. Unfortunately, I have way more stuff on my mind than time to write, so I have to prioritize.

I've started several blog posts but not finished them, and I have ideas for several more that I haven't started. I'm open to your thoughts on what you would like to read.

Here's what I've started but not finished:
* Why are there so many lawyers in the Bloggernacle?
I probably won't finish this one as a blog post because I have other plans for it. This one might end up as a law review article.
* God's nature vs. God's will
This one stemmed from a question in class earlier in the semester, and I've been turning it over in my brain since then.
* The Ten Commandments, Part 4
I'm about halfway through this one. I plan to finish the whole series at some point.
* Fellowcitizens with the saints
Ephesians 2:19 is a neverending source of bloggable material for me. This one also stemmed from a question in class earlier in the semester.

Here's what I'm thinking about but haven't started:
* The Euthyphro Dilemma
Is what is good commanded by God because it is good, or is it good because it is commanded by God?
* A response to Julie M. Smith's post "Authority on Her Head"
Julie's post is a Bloggernacle classic, and I would love to respond to it. (I'm mostly, but not completely, in agreement.)
* I don't believe in Heavenly Mother
The title sums up the topic. Don't take away my feminist card!
* Why do we need prophets?
What's the point of having a prophet if we can receive personal revelation?
* What does women's exclusion from the priesthood mean?
I have lots of contradictory answers to this question.
* The gifts of the Spirit.
How do they manifest themselves today?

I'm also thinking of starting a Q and A series. Sometimes people ask me questions that might make good blog posts.

What do you want to read about?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Restoration of the Gospel

One of the questions in the temple recommend interview is "Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the Gospel in the latter days?" The typical interpretation that most people have of this question is "Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet?" However, I think the question is much more expansive than that.

I think the restoration is a process, not an event. The Ninth Article of Faith states "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." Not just a few little details - many great and important things!

What might those things be? The Articles of Faith were published in 1842. Since that time, seven sections and two official declarations have been added to the Doctrine and Covenants. The two that stand out to me as "great and important things" are D&C 138 (proxy temple work) and Official Declaration 2 (expanding the priesthood without regard to race).

I'm excited to see what other things are in store. There's one I'm definitely looking forward to.
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
Joel 2:28, emphasis added
In the Bible, there are female prophets. Specifically mentioned prophets are: Miriam,1 Deborah,2 Huldah,3 Anna,4 the four daughters of Philip,5 and the wife of Isaiah.6 I think a careful reading of scriptural text would add Eve7 and Hagar8 to that list as well.

Where are our female prophets? Since I believe in the restoration of the gospel, and since I believe that God will reveal many great and important things pertaining to His kingdom, and since I believe that in the last days our daughters shall prophesy, I anxiously await the coming of female prophets.

1. Exodus 15:20, Micah 6:4
2. Judges 4:4
3. 2 Chronicles 34:22
4. Luke 2:36
5. Acts 21:8-9
6. Isaiah 8:3
7. Although there isn't anything in the account in Genesis to support this, there is some evidence in the Pearl of Great Price. See Moses 5:11. However, the best support for Eve being a prophet is in the temple ceremony. A close observation will show that she gave the first prophecy, even before Adam did.
8. See Genesis 21:17-18

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why I Am a Mormon Feminist

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.
1 Peter 3:15
I blew it today. I was given a perfect opportunity to explain how I can be both LDS and feminist, and because I was caught off-guard, I totally messed it up.

I'm taking a class this semester in Islamic Law. I really enjoy the class, and I've found it useful in providing me with interpretive models to deal with some of my own issues. Today was definitely one of those days. The topic was feminism. At one point, the professor asked whether people should use religious arguments to advance feminist causes. I said yes and alluded to my participation in the Bloggernacle. I mentioned the tension I feel - that some conservative church members find feminism to be incompatible with church affiliation, and that some secular feminists find religious affiliation to be incompatible with feminism.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Best LDS Female Solo Blogger of 2010

Alison Moore Smith, who blogs at Mormon Momma, held a poll for readers to vote on the best LDS female solo blogger of 2010. Congratulations to Cocoa from Chocolate on My Cranium for winning. I haven't checked out Cocoa's blog, but I'm going to head over and see what she has to say!

And, for the record, I took 23rd place! Thanks to all of my readers who put up with my law-school-induced sporadic blog posting and keep coming back for more!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mormon Studies Conference

I attended the 2011 Mormon Studies Conference at Utah Valley University this past week. The conference was entitled Mormonism and Islam: Commonality and Cooperation Between Abrahamic Faiths. I enjoyed the conference. I had a chance to talk to a lot of interesting people about a lot of interesting things. I have prepared a detailed summary of the talks here.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Names of God

For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Romans 10:13
I've often been fascinated by the various names of God in the scriptures. They're really titles, not names, but they tell us important things about the attributes of God. My personal favorites are Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), Comforter (John 14:26), and Advocate (see e.g. Doctrine and Covenants 48:3). I went looking for a list of all of the names of God in scripture, and I didn't find one. I found a few incomplete lists from the Old Testament, but nothing complete or comprehensive. (I was hoping that Ziff, the Bloggernacle's resident statistician, had done something, but the closest he got was an analysis of which titles for Jesus Christ were most commonly used in General Conference talks.)

So, since I have a tendency to start giant projects, I'm going to make a list of all the names of God in the scriptures. There's an element of subjectivity in this endeavor, especially in the allegorical passages, but I'm going to give it a go anyway. It's a long-term project, but I'm hoping to finish by the end of the year. (I just started today. I'm in Genesis 6.)

Here's my methodology:
  • I'm going to list each name once, with a notation of the first verse in which it appears. At some point, I would like to do a search to find out how often each name appears, but the search function on the new scripture site at isn't all that reliable right now. If it improves, I'll run the searches.
  • I'm going to make the list from the LDS standard works in English. This means that I'll be using the King James Bible (both Old and New Testaments), the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants (including the Official Declarations), and the Pearl of Great Price. I will not be using the JST, and I will not include any non-canonized documents such as the family proclamation, etc.
  • My list will not differentiate between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Since they constitute one God (see e.g., Doctrine and Covenants 20:28, 2 Nephi 31:21), there is no need for distinction. (i.e. Jesus Christ is a name of God, Holy Ghost is a name of God, etc.)
If anyone has ideas on how to speed this along (like, for example, a link to a reliable list from the Bible so that I can move on to the uniquely LDS scriptures), I would appreciate it. I'm not too worried about computers causing the same result as in Arthur C. Clarke's sci-fi short story The Nine Billion Names of God.

Once I'm done, I'll blog it.