Suday in Outer Blogness: Education Edition!
You only have until this Wednesday to get your vote in for William Law X-Mormon of the Year!! Right now it looks like David Tweede is winning (see his new post about the church’s toilet-cleaning video), but Kyrsten Sinema isn’t out of the game! She swore her oath of office on the Constitution (unlike Obama, who used a whole stack of Bibles). Unsurprisingly, Romney won “Mormon of the Year”.
The nominations are really piling up for the Brodies, but there’s still time to get in your favorite nominations!! I will try to do my nominations this week, so the nominations will be closed and the polls up either on Thursday or Saturday.
This past week was a big week for scripture study!! Lessons include why Mosiah 14 is a complete waste of a golden plate, a Bible verse commonly used to prove Mormonism true, signs that the last days are upon us (and have been for a long time), and some fun self-referential passages from the Book of Mormon. The Exmo Institute is in session — with more extensive and interesting church history lessons than you’ll find in the official manual:
The basic assumption behind this organizational structure, in which topics are prioritized over context, is that the canon of truth is consistent and self-referential, the language and doctrine remain unvarying, and the particular verses comprised in the Doctrine and Covenants are best understood in a vacuum. In this sundayâ€™s lesson, two verses are plucked out of section 18, one out of 58, and one out of 93; all of these verses, this reasoning allows, can and should be understood in relation to each other, perhaps even moreso than the verses that surround them, because they are speaking to the precise same topic (Christ), are basically teaching the same thing (Christâ€™s divinity), and emphasize the same lesson (Christâ€™s atonement).
The problem is that this format oftenâ€”if not alwaysâ€”leads to superficial prooftexting in support of manufactured messages; they produce more of a catechism than a scriptural study. Most importantly, it overlooks the dynamic nature of the revelations themselvesâ€”a nature which makes it impossible to be captured in a static snapshot. The revelations contained in the D&C are a collection of revelatory answers received in response to specific questions, and a careful reading shows that they capture the developing nature of LDS doctrine: â€œpriesthood,â€ for example, means something different in section 20 than it does in 84 and 107.
In education, style can matter as much as content. For example, some redittors have been discussing the new educational system for youth — making the youth teach the lessons, probably on the theory that teaching something reinforces the teacher’s own belief in it. Personally, I think it may backfire. In terms of keeping people invested in Mormonism, the testimony-bearing activities are like a pinch of salt that einriches the flavor of a pot of soup (where the rest of the soup is the friendship and community, etc., one gets from Mormonism). The salt may be critical, but it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to quadruple it at the expense of other ingredients…
In other interesting discussion topics, we have responsible gun ownership, a new excuse for why God lets bad things happen to kids, French food rules (fairly accurate), zero-sum sexuality, and a cute polygamist threesome.
There was also a smart new piece on the most sensitive topic for Mormons (money)!! Plus a very, very smart new strategy in rape-prevention — one based on the fact that, really, nobody wants to be “that guy”. And Andrew Hackman explained that his faith ended when he befriended people from other faiths whose faith was just as sincerely-held as his own. (That was my tipping point as well.)
Paul Sunstone argued that when you feel truly alive, you have no need to find a meaning to life. So let’s see how this week’s life journeys look! Miguel reviewed his magical and unexpected events of 2012, Renn is celebrating five years in Minneapolis, and Leah has re-become a Christian. Ruthie Renfro is still working on her MRS degree, and Marc and Meghan wrote a letter to their young daughter about their reasons for leaving Mormonism.