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Reasonable Faith

By April 13, 2010

My grandmother is on my mind.

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Secularism and Religious Education: Introduction

By March 29, 2010

This strikes me as an especially pregnant time in the intellectual history of Mormonism. Mormon Studies is emerging as a solid field. Students are pursuing Mormon-themed scholarship, tracing intersections among fields with a well-established history, such as literature, history, and biblical studies, and exploring nascent fields such as theology. What is most interesting to me about Mormon Studies is the existence of a community of students gaining similar methodological tools for the study of religion in similar educational environments.

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Our Visions, Our Voices: A Mormon Women’s Literary Tour

By March 8, 2010

An exciting event approaches. From March 22 to 27, a group of Mormon women writers (both accomplished and budding) will be traveling to universities from California to Utah. On this literary tour, they will showcase their creative work on what it means to be Mormon women in the 21st century.

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Women in the Academy

By February 22, 2010

The Juvenile Instructor introduces a new series consisting of interviews with various up-and-coming female Mormon scholars. These women will answer a series of questions about their educational paths and their research interests, as well as reflect on how gender and femaleness affect their studies and their involvement in the academy.

Look for the upcoming interview with Rachel Cope, who holds a PhD in American history from Syracuse University and currently works at BYU Studies.

Content in the Fire

By February 17, 2010

On Saturday I emerged from the Boston Temple a changed woman, a stronger woman. I am more Mormon than I was before, and I am okay with it. Let me explain why. 

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Guest Blogger Emily Utt

By January 13, 2010

I am pleased to introduce Emily Utt as the newest JI guest blogger. Emily double majored in religion and history, with a minor in sociology, at Case Western Reserve University. Now she works in the Church’s Historic Sites Department, where she focuses on the “interpretive side of history.” Some of her projects include work with the Gadfield Elm Chapel, the Church’s first international historic site; a new historical interpretation for sites in Southern Utah; and a current project involving the Beehive House.

In addition to her full-time work with the Church (where she has been employed for five years), she is pursuing a master’s degree in historic preservation through Goucher College, in Baltimore, Maryland. She has chaired sessions at MHA. She is also a renowned collector of Mormon kitsch, of which a plastic Liahona is one of her favorites. Several JI contributors–Stan, Ben, and Jared T.–and one former contributor, Heidi, have worked with Emily in historic site internships. Please join me in giving her a rousing welcome!

A Dream Girl

By December 29, 2009

Over the holiday, I came across this bit of family history. It is a brief essay written by my paternal grandfather detailing the characteristics of his “dream girl.”

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On Christ, the advent of belief

By December 1, 2009

With the Advent season upon us, I feel constrained to praise God for the gift of the Son. I glory in Jesus Christ and hope you do as well. I do not offer this as a definitive piece of theology;

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All the thinking ladies, all the thinking ladies (and gents). . . Sign (sing) it!

By November 14, 2009

In response to the disbanding of BYU’s Women’s Research Institute, announced October 29, 2009, a group of students, faculty, and others are petitioning administrators to create a Women’s Research Council.

Please take a moment to sign the petition,

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General Conference Reflections

By October 4, 2009

Two brief notes on Elder Scott’s Saturday morning talk. I was grateful for his denunciation of pornography. Viewing pornography has profound personal theological implications, as Elder Scott notes. It “degrades the mind and heart,” which directly influences our ability to feel the Spirit.

However, he did not adequately complete the central theological argument,

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Sunstones along the Road to Zion: Mary Farrell Bednarowski and Women’s Religious Experience

By August 11, 2009

After salivating over Mystic Pizza and briefly, very briefly, missing Connecticut, I flipped to KBYU for a little late-night telethon watching. I was pleased to have my appetite whetted again. The fare was a documentary miniseries called Road to Zion: Travels in Church History, France.

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Email to a spiritual seeker

By July 30, 2009

I post this because it may be of some value to someone. I strongly believe in sharing faith journeys. Listening forces us to confront the prismatic nature of another person’s spiritual experience and accept that perhaps a multiplicity of paths lead to the same truth or to a different truth entirely. We become less judgemental of others as we learn the ways in which God has worked in their lives, sometimes inexplicably, but usually in ways that are similar to our own.

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For the Love of Blogs

By July 6, 2009

In the hallowed and oft-visited bloggernacle, not all blogs are equal, or so Mormon Matters’ Niblet Nominations 2008 tell us. Juvenile Instructor (collective) and some individual Juvenile Instructors have found favor among the many remarkable blogs and bloggers out there and have been nominated for a few awards. So, please, make your adoration for JI known to the world and more importantly to the one true Blogmaster. No pressure. Just vote!

Here are the nominations (drumroll):

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On Doubt

By July 1, 2009

For those embroiled by the academic search for truth—who have suspended belief or lost faith or sought a new faith—the word is not doubt but hope, fierce and brave and full of anxious questions. A few poems today from beloved poetess Emma Lou Thayne.

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So much depends/ upon/ the prayer of/ a young/ farm boy/ alone/ in a grove/ of trees.

By April 12, 2009

“That idea has not yet been resolved within your heart and is tormenting it.” [1]

One of my inaugural posts for JI was a spiritual autobiographical account of entering the world of the academic study of religion. And I feel as though a continuation of that autobiography is important and necessary, if only for my own sake.

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History made and in the making: How do we understand Zion in this “new” America?

By January 21, 2009

First of all, I would like to thank the wonderful bloggers at JI for their recent flood of attention to female subjects of history, particularly sister missionaries. I hope to contribute to the discussion of gender soon.

And second, and more important, is the day at hand, the day that comes once every four years, the day of inauguration.

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Textual Iconoclasm? Part 1

By November 11, 2008

Mormonism has a rich textual culture. Our meetings and teaching and studying are filled with encounters with the written word, and especially the holy word contained in scripture. In addition, many Mormons are prodigious readers and seekers of wisdom out of the best books that Mormonism and the world have to offer (perfectly illustrated by Dave’s Getting Hooked post and the accompanying responses).

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Defining a modern ecumenical prophetic voice

By October 8, 2008

Yesterday was an exciting one for me. As part of my campus job writing what amounts to AP copy, I got to interview Reverend John Thomas, general minister of the United Church of Christ, before he spoke to the Yale community. He titled his speech “The Future of the Prophetic Voice in the Ecumenical Church.” Rev. Thomas amended this title to read “After Seven Years,” based on a letter Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote entitled “After Ten Years.”

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Everything I need to know I’m learning in Divinity School

By September 9, 2008

So I decided to save my textual analysis of The Backslider for next time and write about my current experience instead.

As I said in my bio, I’m a first-year student at Yale Divinity School. And this life-move came as much of a surprise to me. I never planned to go to divinity school and even now it seems extraordinary that I am here, where Jonathan Edwards was the “Dean of Discipline” in his day and counseled against “unseasonable and evil night walkings” (what?); where there is a room in the Sterling Divinity Quadrangle called the Revised Standard Version room, not as a polite homage but as a dedication to the work that actually took place there; where chapel is not a sedate occasion but a wonderfully planned liturgical event, combining hymn traditions from around the world with group prayers and divine scripture readings and sermons.

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the dangers of art and a Christian hermeneutic

By September 6, 2008

Thank you for your kind intro, Chris. What follows is a general response, or superstructure, to eight points Matt B. wrote for his discussion group, which he will be posting soon:

Art is dangerous. The person who fully engages with any piece of art runs the risk of being changed/transformed in fundamental ways. And many times we don’t control the ways in which we are transformed (both good and bad). I am a passionate proponent of art, not opponent as these statements might make me sound. We should be wary of those who uncritically guard against such transformation through blind prohibition of certain kinds of art. Such prohibitions can arise out of fear. But we should also be wary of artworks that offer transformation carte

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