Event: Salt Lake Symposium 2004

A CHURCH OBSERVED

We are non-Mormons who have observed that the LDS Church seems to be divided into essentially two camps, loyalists and dissidents, the blindly devoted and the brutally critical. Each seems to champion the Church’s well-being. But if the Church’s effectiveness in serving its members and the community declines, we think, ironically, it will because of …

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TELEVISION SHOWS THAT HAVE ENHANCED MY SPIRITUAL LIFE

Is television really the moral and spiritual wasteland it is often accused of being? Does network television offer more than just salacious sleaze and lowest-common-denominator humor? Are there intelligent, well-written shows with a fully functioning moral compass? Are there characters whose example, good, bad, or much more complex, inspire hope and impart transformative wisdom? Panelists …

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INTERNET MORMONS VS. CHAPEL MORMONS

The Internet has exposed many Latter-day Saints to anti-Mormon arguments and claims for the very first time. Consequently, LDS apologists have brought their defenses online in order to counteract or minimize the critics’ influence. Yet in the process of neutralizing such “attacks,” have the apologists inadvertently redefined the role and relevance of the prophets and, …

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FAITH, DOUBT, AND DISBELIEF: THE PATHS OF RETURNED MISSIONARIES

The panelists, three recently returned Mormon missionaries who grew up as best friends and served missions at the same time, will discuss faith, doubt, and, in some cases, their disbelief. Each will discuss his mission experience, his reaction to tough doctrinal and historical issues, and his reasons for his particular path since returning home. Why …

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A MARVELOUS WORK AND A POSSESSION: BOOK OF MORMON HISTORICITY AS ‘COLON-IALIZATION’

Recent comparative attempts to characterize the DNA challenge to Book of Mormon historicity as a “Galileo Event” are interesting and provocative, but they have led to turf wars over who, exactly, is the “Galileo” figure and whether the revolutionary “events” in sixteenth-century astronomy and Catholic doctrine are an appropriate model for under-standing the debate on …

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ANTI-CLAUS LECTURE AND OTHER SANTA-AT-THE-MANGER MYTHS

For more than thirty-five years, Kay Gillespie has been delivering (and causing a stir) with his annual Anti-Claus lecture. His part tongue-in-cheek presentation, part in-your face lecture explores the inconsistency of celebrating the birth of Christ while at the same time presenting the antithesis to Christ in the guise of Santa Claus. Why would those …

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EXCAVATING MORMON PASTS

In a just-published volume entitled Excavating Mormon Pasts: The New Historiography of the Last Half Century, a variety of writers from both the LDS and Community of Christ traditions explore five decades of reconceptualized, revisionist, and resistant Mormon histories. The volume includes essays by such noteworthy writers as Klaus J. Hansen, Roger D. Launius, Glen …

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GLIMPSES INTO THE PAST: EDITING MORMON DIARIES

Journal, diaries, and memoirs can offer the most intimate glimpses into the lives of those who have long since died. Yet they are limited to only one perspective and are hardly the final word on a subject’s life. How can diaries help shine light in dark places, helping to illuminate the past? What are their …

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AUTHOR MEETS CRITICS. RADICAL ORIGINS BY VAL RUST

Val Rust’s new book, Radical Origins: Early Mormon Converts and Their Colonial Ancestors seeks to understand the first members of Joseph Smith’s unique movement and what might predispose them to join such a “radical” group. Rust searches for answers in the ancestry of early converts, arguing that those who came before influenced the beliefs and …

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