Tag: Mormonism

Member Post

 

  At San Diego Comic-Con (an event that used to be a convention for comic book fans that has mutated into Hollywood’s most bombastic marketing tool) last night, FX revealed the title for its seventh installment of its American Horror Story anthology series – American Horror Story: Cult. For months, the interwebs have been rife […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Pondering the Mormon Question of Election 2016

 

As polling suggests Utah may not vote for the Republican for the first time in 52 years, many wonder why the reddest of states and its prominent socially conservative religious group are drifting away from the party. It’s tempting to chalk it up to a simple answer: last go around, they had one of their own at the top of the ticket and he was expected to assure the public and his party that he is against having multiple wives, but this time, the GOP nominee and party leaders take the position that multiple wives are dandy so long as they’re consecutive, not simultaneous. Glibness is fine for the screamers of cable news, but let’s strive for better. The Mormon question is a complex one. There are theological and cultural influences at play that deserve exploration.

Even among other devout Christians, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints–which from now on I will refer to as Mormons for the sake of clarity and brevity–is considered unusual. As religious belief wanes and socially liberal attitudes enjoy ever wider acceptance [1] Mormons and the religious right have found each other fighting the same enemies, but their alliance is not based on perfect harmony. Media coverage has unsurprisingly focused on the peculiar aspects of the religion, like sacred undergarments and the sinfulness of drinking coffee, while giving attention, that is at most cursory, to the doctrines that are significantly different from other Christian sects.

Member Post

 

On this day, 172 years ago in a Carthage jail room, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered by a militia mob.  The persons responsible for the deed were convinced that they were carrying out the will of the people, and considering that no one was convicted for the crime, it’s hard to disagree. […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Member Post

 

It just came to my attention that Catholic theologian and philosopher Dr. Stephen H. Webb passed away on March 5th. He was only 54. I don’t know that he was prominent among theologians. He apparently addressed a number of issues throughout his career, but the one that caught my attention was his recent interest in […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Books as Christmas Gifts: The Polygamist King

 

The Polygamist King by John MillerSomething like two-thirds of the books sold each year in the United States are sold in the weeks leading up to Christmas, which explains why publishers are more apt to release books (such as my own recent contribution, The Grand Strategy of Classical Sparta: The Persian Challenge) in the fall.

The reason that book sales are concentrated in this season is simple and straightforward: we are expected to give gifts and, tolerably often, we have no idea what to give. Knowing that there may be a host of Ricochet members in that situation, I propose over the next few days to suggest a number of recent books that might do the trick.

The first on my list is a book hot off the presses written by John J. Miller of Hillsdale College and National Review, and host of Ricochet’s own The Bookmonger podcast. It was published last week and is entitled The Polygamist King: A True Story of Murder, Lust, and Exotic Faith in America; it is available only on Kindle; and it is both short (46 pages) and inexpensive. I read it in ninety minutes, and can verify that Amazon is right to treat it as a “page-turner” and as “pulp non-fiction.”

Member Post

 

At church yesterday it was announced that President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had passed away on Friday.  He was 90, had been an Apostle for longer than I have been alive, and been called “President” since I was a teenager. […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Standing On Ceremony

 

shutterstock_168595868As a happy break from writing about crime (gloomy) and marriage (even more gloomy) I’ve lately been writing a paper on liturgical theology, which is intended as a chapter for a forthcoming book designed to foster ecumenical dialogue between Roman Catholics and Latter-Day-Saints. It’s proving to be an enjoyable project, which has turned my thoughts to the role of formal ceremony in American life more generally.

Many of you know that I was raised Mormon and am now Catholic, and as a Catholic I developed a deep love of traditional liturgy. Since I developed that taste primarily in my Catholic life, my initial impulse was to think that Mormons are fairly lacking in any kind of formal liturgy. On further reflection though, that’s not as true as it might seem. Of course, the obvious place to find formal Mormon liturgy is in their temple ceremonies. But even in more ordinary settings, Mormons do have a high appreciation of formality and ceremony, along with a very definite sense of decorum. We both (that is, Catholics and Mormons) run against the grain of so much of our mainstream culture, where people are largely ashamed of anything that seems too formal, too ceremonial, or too “scripted”.

To my mind, the loss of ceremony is something of a tragedy. Ceremony and custom are critical to helping us make sense of moments and experiences in life that are naturally difficult for us to process. Weddings and funerals are two events that should absolutely be steeped in ceremony, because these are the moments in life when we struggle to connect our private experiences to something greater than our subjective emotions. Ceremony helps teach us what these occasions really mean and how we can get perspective on them. Sadly, many or most modern weddings have degenerated into glorified beauty pageants, while funerals often don’t happen at all.