Real Dialogue Hurts: Bruce Nielson Challenges John Dehlin To No-Holds-Barred Interview


Over at the Millennial Star blog, where I sometimes participate, my friend Bruce Nielson has posted a lengthy analysis of the inherently lopsided dynamic in “bloggernacle” and LDS blog discussions that is designed to favor liberal and doubting points of view. Believers are expected to allow their most cherished beliefs to be attacked all the day long, but the alternate beliefs of those who attack the church are never exposed to criticism or comparison.

Real dialogue exposes both parties to criticism and examination. Real dialogue hurts.

The post culminates in a challenge to John Dehlin, who is famous for exactly this kind of lopsided “dialogue”, to a real discussion in which he will allow his own beliefs to be examined and challenged.

Check out Bruce challenge to John Dehlin here.

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LDS Priesthood Keys and Temple Recommend Interviews

In the Priesthood Session of this weekend’s General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Twelve Apostles gave an in-depth discourse on the doctrine of the Priesthood and Priesthood Keys.


While the concept of priesthood keys is well established in the church, there are members of the church who do not seem very familiar with it and some who do not seem to believe it. Elder Oaks has provided one of the most thorough discussions on the topic that I can remember.

It is a central doctrine to the entire notion of the Restoration, the truth claims of the church, it’s organization, and its day-to-day operation at every level.

One consequence of Elder Oaks’ clarifying sermon is that it should have an immediate, personal application to every member who applies for a temple recommend. Continue reading

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Go and Sin No More – Misinterpreting Jesus and the Woman Taken in Adultery


Alternate Title: You keep citing that story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery– I do not think it means what you think it means.

Before I jump into this topic, let me say that there is merit in the idea that we shouldn’t judge people for sinning differently than we do. But like all pithy slogans, this statement loses nuance in favor of brevity. We should love and value people regardless of their sins. But that does not mean we should pretend that they are not sinning any more than it means that we should feign that we are not sinners.

In ongoing conversations about religion, law, sexuality and culture it has become increasingly common for people to argue that the only sin that it is acceptable to reprove is the sin of “reproving the sins of others”.

Of course, that is not how they say it. What they say is that because we are all sinners it is inappropriate for anyone to judge another for what they consider a sin. And when they say it, they are apparently completely oblivious to the fact that by reproving others for being judgmental, they are themselves judging another for what they consider a sin.

That is why the “you have no right to judge another’s sins” line of reasoning is nonsense. It is self-contradictory. It cannot be expressed without violating its own meaning. You cannot advocate for non-judgmentalism without judging those who are (in your estimation) judgmental. Continue reading

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Disney’s Frozen: Growing Tired of Postmodern Anachronistic Lyrics

Since we are already on the topic of Disney’s Frozen, before the controversy about potential agendas in the film erupted I had already planned to write a brief post criticizing the film for a completely different reason. So I figure I should post it now while it’s still on my mind.


When I watched the opening scene of Frozen I was mesmerized. The song “Frozen Heart” sung by rugged Northern men as they worked to harvest the ice was gripping. It communicated a timeless, sober mood. It established a cultural context and feeling. It also represented a nice symbolic foreshadowing of what was to come.

The young boy attempting to work along side these grown men, who from his perspective might as well have been the jötnar (giants) of Norse mythology, provided a very classic levity, while still maintaining the mood. It was perfect. Wow! I thought to myself, “they’re going to do it! They’re going to tell the story straight!”

But I was wrong. Continue reading

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Does the Subtext of Disney’s Movie Frozen Promote a Liberal Agenda?


My friend Kathryn recently posted a lengthy essay on her blog about her concerns that Disney’s hit animated movie Frozen contains a subtext that pushes an homosexual ideology that is contrary to the beliefs of many of the religious families who enjoyed it.

In response she has been widely ridiculed and derided, often by people who presumably share her LDS beliefs. Apparently they have convinced themselves that expressing concern about subversive messages in popular entertainment is an inexcusable sin, but that the normalization of sinful behavior is tolerable.

When I saw Frozen, I too noticed that the film could be interpreted as an allegory for homosexual struggle for normalization. And it did concern me.

At the same time, my view is that good art contains archetypes and motifs that can be applied to many different aspects of human experience.

J.R.R. Tolkien was annoyed by the many people who took his fictional stories and said that they were symbolic or allegorical of specific events or political agendas. He explained that his works were not allegorical, but exhibited “applicability” to a wide range of experiences, events, and beliefs.

Frozen can certainly be successfully applied as an allegory for homosexual struggle. The authors may or may not have had that in mind when they wrote it. But Frozen is good enough art to rise above a specific allegorical meaning. It demonstrates broad applicability to many different human experiences. That is why it appeals to so many people. Continue reading

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