“The smartest religious book is ‘The Book of Mormon'”

Okay, I know this isn’t a serious study, but I thought it was kind of funny. A student at Cal Tech decided to plot the ten most popular books at a given University (according to Facebook) on a graph with the University’s average SAT/ACT score. The study is here. (Hat tip to Friendly Atheist.)

Go have a look — it’s quite amusing to see where all of the different books fall on the SAT spectrum!

The researcher himself notes (in the FAQ):

The smartest religious book is “The Book of Mormon”. The dumbest religious book is “The Holy Bible”. I’m sure this pleases the Mormons immensely.

The thing that surprises me the most is how high up “Atlas Shrugged” falls…

From baptism to resignation or excommunication

Now that I’ve gathered all of Outer Blogness (that I could find anyway), and updated the blogroll here accordingly, I’d like to suggest an assignment.

This is inspired Wry Catcher’s hilarious post about her baptism and why she hasn’t resigned (she was baptized by two different religions and figures they cancel each other out 😉 ), which, in turn, was inspired by Ned Flanders’ post on why he resigned.

So what about you? Have you posted your baptism story and/or why you resigned (or didn’t) or how you got ex’ed? If so, please link to your post in the comments here. If you don’t have a blog, you can tell your stories here.

I’ve posted about why I haven’t resigned, but I haven’t posted my baptism story yet. Maybe I will…

Why “Reformed Egyptian”?

If you suppose the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction, it opens a different set of questions to explore than if you suppose that it is true. For example, why did the author choose to have his characters write in “Reformed Egyptian” instead of Hebrew or something else?

The obvious (cynical) response would be that if Joseph Smith had used a known language such as Hebrew, people would have expect ed him to demonstrate his Hebrew translating abilities on other texts and/or transcribe parts of the text from the plates for others to examine. Using a non-existent language eliminates this problem. However, I think there was more to the choice of Reformed Egyptian than that. Continue reading “Why “Reformed Egyptian”?”

So is Warren Jeffs still the (FLDS) prophet or what?

To help answer this question, a Deseret Morning News article asks (my brother) John Hamer for his analysis. John is a historian specializing in the various scisms within the restoration movement and is the co-editor of Scattering of the Saints: Schism within Mormonism.

In addition to clarifying this issue, John gives some reasonable analysis regarding the public face of Mormonism:

As for whether the move will help erase continuing public confusion outside the Intermountain West over the relationship between Jeffs, his church and the LDS Church, Hamer said he believes there’s an opportunity now to educate people that “there is more than one kind of Mormon. You have fundamentalists and you have the mainstream LDS Church. I think it’s actually helpful to explain that to non-Mormons.”

Denying that fundamentalist LDS members are Mormons “just helps inflame the confusion,” he said. “Since 9/11, Americans are now able to understand there’s more than one kind of Muslim — Shiites and Sunnis — and they disagree in many ways. In the same way, I think there is the ability for the public at large to understand there’s more than one kind of Mormon.”

Escaping…

There was a very interesting exit story posted to Outer Blogness recently on the blog Escaping the Brainwashing of Zion:

Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * Part 5 * Part 6

The focus isn’t on concluding the church isn’t true so much as it is on escaping from a dangerous and abusive relationship. People will probably point out that it’s not the church’s fault that this woman’s husband was mentally ill, however the church appears to have played a significant role in seeing that all of the power and all of her options were placed in his (less than capable) hands…

Saturday’s Warrior wrap-up

I couldn’t be more thrilled with the response I’ve gotten to the novella I posted about Saturday’s Warrior (part III of my novel Exmormon). According to my stats, hundreds of people read along in real time as I serialized it. And from the comments, I can see that number included Mormons as well as exmos and “never-mos” (that’s people who have never been Mormon, if you’re not in the Mo-know 😉 ). Continue reading Saturday’s Warrior wrap-up”

Romney Roundup

As expected, thoughts on Romney’s speech are all over the blogosphere:

On the Bloggernacle:

Times & Seasons provides a list of articles and Nine Moons some commentary. Andrew’s Miracle Drug is skeptical about Romney’s exclusion of skeptics while A Bird’s Eye View sees the speech as pluralistic. My favorites are the feminist Mormon housewives — who are Christian enough to wonder why the president should have to be Christian, and of course Snarkernacle, who cleverly warned us all to get our posts in early for “Romsday.”

In the atheosphere, the reviews weren’t quite so mixed. Ezra Klein says: “In a speech Romney was forced to give because he feared unfair discrimination, Romney did not stand against intolerance. Instead, he simply asked that it not be directed against him, a man of faith. You can be intolerant, but do it to them, over there. They’re even more different.” Similarly, Wendy Kaminer notes: “Romney opposes bigotry in self-defense, not in defense of others, which is to say that he does not really oppose it at all.” These sentiments are echoed by many others: Friendly Atheist, Jewish Atheist, and Unscrewing the Inscrutable.

Unsurprisingly, the exmos were none too pleased with Mitt’s rhetoric: see Mind on Fire, My Thoughts Exactly, and NxtOracle.

So with all the many people he alienated, did he at least win the hearts of his core constituency, the Evangelical right wing? Apparently not. Short version: “Nice try, Mitt, but you forgot to denounce your ‘horribly blasphemous’ beliefs about Jesus.”