Phillip Barlow: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF UNBELIEF

“Let us for an hour put aside our faith and doubts and instead consider a related but distinct realm. Let us postulate in advance that something is indeed true and worthy, and then ask: ‘What sorts of things get in the way of my accepting this truth?’ Let us also consider if faith is merely ‘wish-fulfillment.'”

 

Time:

Sunday, November 9, 2014   7-9 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

If you arrive late, please use the back door to enter.

Thanks to Dan Wotherspoon for recommending Phillip Barlow.

Phillip Barlow

Philip Barlow is the Leonard J. Arrington Professor of Mormon History & Culture at Utah State University, where he teaches courses on American Religion, Mormonism, Religion & Human Suffering, and Religion & the Concept of” Time.” His writing includes a treatment of the role of “place” in the nation’s history (The New Historical Atlas of Religion in America, which the Association of American Publishers named as the “Best Single-volume Reference Book in the Humanities” for 2001). Oxford University Press has recently released his updated edition of Mormons and the Bible. Barlow is the compiler and editor of A Thoughtful Faith: Essays on Belief by Mormon Scholars and, with Terry Givens, the forthcoming Oxford Handbook to Mormonism. His current book-length project, co-authored with Jan Shipps, is a series of unconventional angles of vision on contemporary Mormonism for Columbia University Press. He is the past President of the Mormon History Association.

Questions to ponder in advance:

1) Is “faith” merely “wish-fulfillment” ­–a projection of our manufactured hopes to buffer us from an indifferent universe and other hard truths?

2) There are plenty of critical questions one might ask about faith in Mormonism or in Christianity or any religion. Some such questions are healthy and wise, perhaps even necessary. Let us for an hour put aside our faith and doubts and instead consider a related but distinct realm. Let us postulate in advance that something is indeed true and worthy, and then ask: “What sorts of things get in the way of my accepting this truth?” More specifically, let us for an evening posit that Joseph Smith did in fact encounter the divine and that the message and movement that emerged from this encounter are at their core good and worthy. What dynamics within me get in the way of my accepting this blessing?

Possible material to look over in advance:

“Questions at the Veil” (Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought (Fall 2013: pp. 203–216).

“Ten Commandments for Balancing the Life of the Mind and Spirit on Campus” in Jacob Werrett & David Read, eds., A Twenty-Something’s Guide to Spirituality (Deseret Book, 2007), pp. 134–171.

“Why I Stay”  (brief talk: Sunstone plenary session, 2012)

Sigmund Freud: The Future of an Illusion

Advancing Gender Balance in the LDS Church by Harnessing the Power of Art & Storytelling

Girls_Who_Choose_God_cover“Where are the women?” 3 year-old Simone asked her mom, Bethany, while reading LDS scriptures with her family. Bethany embarked on a journey to help her three daughters answer this question and to help others hear more of women’s voices and learn from their courageous examples.

 

Time:

Thursday, Octobrer 2, 2014   7-9 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England

1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Thanks to Tiffany Ivins Spence for engaging and arranging these stellar dialogue leaders as well as providing this introduction.

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Bethany Brady Spalding (Virginia) & McArthur Krishna (India) along with artist Kathy Peterson (Spring City) will discuss the process and challenges to address the paucity of resources reflecting female voices in our faith.

 

These guest authors carved out a bit of time for us (between book signing & speaking gigs) as part of the release of their ground-breaking book Girls Who Choose God.

Celebrating bold women who make difficult choices, the authors of this book (which draws from the Bible) and future volumes (which draw from other scriptures) aim to:

  • Provide strong spiritual role models for girls;
  • Illustrate how female leadership historically can motivate us to be powerful leaders today (not only as moms, but as prophetesses, judges, generals, social justice advocates & endless other roles & to be a force for good in the world);
  • Raise generations of girls & boys who view themselves as spiritual equals;
  • Include women’s perspectives in LDS leadership & decision-making at all levels of the church;
  • Promote dialogue about our Heavenly Mother co-leading with Heavenly Father.

All proceeds of this book are donated to help educate and empower girls & women across the world through Interweave Solutions. Dr. Lynn Curtis (Founder & Director) will also attend and share a few snapshots of those who are supported by the authors and readers of this book.

Here are a few teasers:

www.girlswhochoosegod.com

http://aspiringmormonwomen.org/2014/08/20/2328/

http://www.interweavesolutions.org/

P.S. If you arrive late, please use the back door to enter.

Carrying Water on Both Shoulders: Maintaining a Dynamic Faith in Contemporary Mormonism

There is a tendency for Latter-day Saints to move to either the pole of faith or the pole of doubt—belief or unbelief—but the heart of any religion lies in the messy middle, that place characterized by paradox, ambiguity, and uncertainty. It can be experienced as a dangerous place, one involving risk, but in a way, risk is the only kingdom—or at least the one that provides the greatest opportunity for intellectual growth, cultural richness and spiritual evolution. Join us for an evening of stimulating exploration and dialogue about what it means to have a mature faith in a complex church and world.  –Bob Rees

 

Time:

Thursday, September 11, 2014, 7:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Ed and Kristen Iversen
3582 Oak Rim Way Salt Lake City, UT 84109

If you can’t find parking near Ed and Kristen’s you can park a block away at the “park & ride” lot. See Google map pict below. Car pool if you can. It’s good for God’s green earth. Bringing a chair is recommended. 

We can thank Mark England for engaging with Bob Rees at this years Sunstone Symposium. Mark invited him to our last Faith Again and now he’s consented to spend some more time with us while in town this September. Last year I had listened to a podcast with Bob and was impressed. Now that I’ve read more of his essays and spoken with him I am even more moved to love and appreciate this good Latter-Day Saint.

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 11.21.11 PMBerkeley Professor of Mormon Studies; Former Bishop; Former editor of Dialogue; Ally of gays and forever families; Ally of starving LDS children; Ally of mothers with AIDS; Ally of his beloved but imperfect church

 

Bob has taught at the University of Wisconsin, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz and at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, where he was also a Fulbright Professor of American Studies (1995-96). Currently he teaches Mormon Studies at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and at the University of California, Berkeley. He blogs on LGBT issues at www.nomorestrangers:LGBTMormonForum.

Bob’s views on homosexuality evolved rapidly in the 1980s when he was called as bishop of the Los Angeles Singles Ward. “I could no longer reconcile what I had been taught about homosexuality by my church and culture with my experience with those to whom I had been called to be a spiritual guide and pastor,” Bob later confessed. “What I discovered was that most if not all of these gay and lesbian Mormons had accepted the idea that they were terribly flawed in the eyes of their family, their church, their culture and God, and that unless they could find some way out of the labyrinth in which they found themselves, they had little hope of happiness in this world or the next.” Near the end of his term as bishop, Bob gave a major address in sacrament meeting titled “No More Strangers and Foreigners: A Mormon Christian Response to Homosexuality.” Later published, this was the first in a number of important publications in which Bob challenged the LDS community to treat LGBT people with love and respect, to seek for greater understanding and compassion, and to “turn our hearts with greater love and acceptance toward all those whom we consider strangers.”

Bob is the author or co-author of a number of publications relating to LGBT issues, including “A Failure of Love,” in Michelle Beaver, The Gay-Mormon Decade: Changing a Church from Within (2013); “Forward” to Carol Lynn Pearson’s No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons around Our Gay Loved Ones (2007); A Guide for Latter-day Saint Families Dealing with Homosexual Attraction (2002); The Persistence of Same-Sex Attraction in Latter-day Saints Who Undergo Counseling or Change Therapy (2004); “Requiem for a Gay Mormon” (2007); “’In a Dark Time the Eye Begins to See’: Personal Reflections on Homosexuality among the Mormons at the Beginning of a New Millennium,” (Dialogue 33:3 [Fall 2000]) (winner of the Lowell Bennion Award); No More Strangers and Foreigners: A Mormon Christian Response to Homosexuality (1998), trans. Into Spanish by Hugo Olaiz, “El Amor y la Imaginación Cristiana.”

More recently, Bob co-authored (with Dr. Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University) Supportive Families, Healthy Children: Helping Latter-day Saint Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Children—hailed by many as the best resource for LDS parents and leaders with LGBT children and young people in their families and congregations. In addition to his writings on LGBT people and the Church, Bob is well known in the LDS community for his explorations of other LDS-related issues, from the Book of Mormon to a broad array of subjects relating to Mormon culture and religion. The former editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Bob continues to make significant contributions to Mormon scholarship in such journals and presses as Dialogue, Sunstone , The Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Brigham Young University Press, Signature Books, and other venues.

For the past twenty years Bob has been active in humanitarian and interfaith work. Currently he serves on the Advisory Board of S.A.F.E. (Save African Families Enterprise), a non-profit organization providing antiviral drugs to HIV-positive pregnant women in Zimbabwe. He is a founding member and Vice-President of the Liahona Children’s Foundation, an organization that provides nutrition and education to children in the developing world. Currently he serves on the Board of the Marin Interfaith Council and as the Ward Mission Leader in the San Rafael II Ward.

Bob’s essays and poetry are mindful and soulful. You will be grateful, enlightened, and lifted if you read them.

Forgiving The Church

Heisenberg

Repairing the Church

Somewhere Near Palmyra

The Goodness of the Church

 

Bonus: Families Are Forever Screening: Friday, September 12

Youth & Families Film Screening & Discussion: 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM and 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM

University Guest House and Conference Center at Fort Douglas, 110 South Fort Douglas Boulevard, Salt Lake City, UT 84113

As part of Affirmation’s 2014 Conference, Bob and friends will present two special screenings and discussions of the Family Acceptance Project’s award winning family education film “Families Are Forever.” This is the moving documentary of an active Mormon family’s journey to accept and support their young gay son.

This event is open to the local community and to those attending the conference and is provided free of charge by the Family Acceptance Project.

“Families Are Forever” is one of a series of short documentary films produced by the Family Acceptance Project and guided by their groundbreaking research which shows that how families respond to their LGBT children affects their children’s health, mental health and well-being, including suicide and self-esteem. The Family Acceptance Project will provide copies of their research-based family education booklet for each family that attends. This publication—Supportive Families, Healthy Children—is the only “Best Practice” for suicide prevention for Mormons in the national Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention and was written by Caitlin Ryan and Bob Rees to help Mormon families to support their LGBT children in the context of LDS values and beliefs.

Watch the Trailer Here

 

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An Evening With D. Michael Quinn

Join us for an informal dialogue with D. Michael Quinn and why he still believes in Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling.

 

Time:

Sunday, August 10, 2014, 7:00 pm
We encourage you to come 10 minutes early. The evening will be more productive and helpful with minimal interruptions.

Location: 

Home of Ed and Kristen Iversen
3582 Oak Rim Way Salt Lake City, UT 84109

We encourage all who can walk a block to leave their cars in the “park & ride” lot nearby. See Google map pict below. And car pool if you can. It’s good for God’s green earth. 

BYOW&C: Bring your own water and chair.  

quinn1

Born of mixed religions and ethnicities, D. Michael Quinn grew up in Glendale, California in the 1950s and 60s. This “bedroom community” of Los Angeles was racially-ethnically exclusive during that time, a fact that ingrained in him deeply held views about prejudice, privilege, and discrimination in all their manifestations. After reading scholarly biographies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln at age 9, history became his main hobby and avocation thereafter. In a journey down memory-lane too dreary to recount, this avocation became professional training as an American social historian during the 1970s and resulted in a Ph.D. in history from Yale University and employment in BYU’s History Department in 1976. After twelve years on BYU’s faculty, pressures against his academic freedom to publish controversial Mormon history led to his resignation from BYU as a tenured professor and director of its graduate program in history.  Since May 1988, he has been what the Academy calls “an independent scholar.” His last academic appointment was as Beinecke Research Fellow and Post-graduate Associate in Yale’s Department of History from 2002 to 2003. He is the author of seven printed book-titles, two Internet monographs, and more than 80 articles.

Some stuff to dig into prior to the discussion:

Sunstone, Pillars of My Faith: The Rest Is History

The Story of D. Michael Quinn — In His Own Words

A RESPONSE TO MORMONISM–SHADOW OR REALITY?

Michael Quinn, History and the Mormon World View

D. Michael Quinn – 21st Century Mormon Enigma

Interview D. Michael Quinn

 

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An evening with Fiona and Terryl Givens

Join us for an informal dialogue with these remarkable Mormons as they talk about reasons for doubt and even more reasons for faith.

 

Time:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 7:30 pm
We encourage you to come a 15 minutes early. The evening will be more productive and helpful with minimal interruptions.

Location: 

(NOTICE DIFFERENT ADDRESS)
Home of Ed and Kristen Iversen
3582 Oak Rim Way Salt Lake City, UT 84109

We encourage all who can walk a block to leave their cars in the “park & ride” lot nearby. See Google map pict below. And car pool if you can. It’s good for God’s green earth. 

BYOW&C: Bring your own water and chair.  

2013-11-09 11.57.24Fiona Givens is a retired modern language teacher with degrees in French, German, and European History. She is now an independent scholar who has published in several journals and reviews in Mormon Studies, including Journal of Mormon History, Sunstone, Exponent II, and LDS Living.  Along with Terryl, she is the author of The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life. She is also the co-author of The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith, due out next month. Terryl and Fiona are the grandparents of five and the parents of six.

 

2014-03-05 15.31.38 - CopyTerryl Givens holds the James A. Bostwick chair of English and is Professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond. Author of several books, his writing has been praised by the New York Times as “provocative reading,” and includes, most recently, When Souls had Wings, a history of the idea of premortal life in Western thought, a biography (with Matthew Grow) of Parley Pratt (winner of the 2012 Best Book Award from the Mormon History Association), and Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought.

 

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Good theology by the Givens to listen to:

Faith, Doubt, and The God Who Weeps

Terryl Givens

Why? A Mormon Answer

Maxwell Institute Interview with Terry and Fiona Givens

Fiona: The Nature of God and the Divine Feminine

Come, Come, Ye Saints: Processing and Perspective of Current Events

An evening offering hope and healing with Maxine Hanks, Ronda Callister, Natasha Helfer Parker, Chelsea Shields Strayer, and Dan Wotherspoon as moderator

 

It’s been a rough few weeks with Kate Kelly of Ordain Women being excommunicated and John Dehlin’s status up in the air. Many of us have been pained and dismayed. What will the future hold for us and our church that we yearn to become more transparent, inclusive, and equal in its treatment of all? Despite current events, we have hope. Come join us for some perspective and processing in the company of good faithful souls and sound minds.
Brinn Bagley of Matteo will set our spirits in a good place with music. A prayer will be offered and then we’ll take about a half an hour for those who wish to share BRIEFLY how they’ve felt about these recent events. Then each panelist will take 10 minutes or so to express their thoughts with Dan Wotherspoon facilitating. This will be followed with a Q&A from the audience. Paper and pens will be passed around for questions to be submitted as well as an open forum for questions from the audience.

 

Time:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 7:00 pm
We encourage you to come a 15 minutes early. The evening will be more productive and helpful with minimal interruptions.

Location: 

(NOTICE DIFFERENT ADDRESS)
Home of Ed and Kristen Iversen
3582 Oak Rim Way Salt Lake City, UT 84109

We encourage all who can walk a block to leave their cars in the “park & ride” lot nearby. See Google map pict below. And car pool if you can. It’s good for God’s green earth. 

BYOW&C: Bring your own water and chair. Since this gathering has been thrown together quickly we want to keep it simple. We’ll have some chairs but we expect a boatload of people so we want to be prepared. No Lazy-Boy’s though, the smaller the chair the more that can fit in. 

 

1624274_1522653481292243_1954226496_nMaxine Hanks

One of the “September Six” who were excommunicated in 1993, she returned to LDS Church membership in 2012. In those years of “non-membership” Maxine studied Christian liturgy and clergy formation, also serving in interfaith ministry and chaplaincy.

Maxine lectures and writes on Mormon studies and women’s studies in religion. Her work focuses on gender in Mormonism and in Christianity, and explores other themes in Mormon studies and religious studies. She was a visiting fellow at Harvard Divinity School, and a research fellow with the Utah Humanities Council. She has lectured at the University of Utah, and guest lectured at Utah Valley U., Salt Lake Community College, Weber State U., Harvard Divinity School, and Claremont Grad. U. Her first book, Women and Authority, excavated Mormon feminist history, theology, discourse, and women’s authority. Subsequent books include Mormon Faith in America, and Getting Together With Yesterday. Her essays appear in anthologies such as Religion in America (2005), Secrets of Mary Magdalene (2006), and Latter-day Dissent (2011), among others.

In 2012 she shared her journey at Sunstone

 

Ronda_CallisterRonda Callister

Ronda Callister studies and publishes in top academic journals on conflict and anger expressions in organizations, dispute resolution in other cultures, and the impact of gender on careers. Ronda led a major campus change effort as the Principal Investigator on a $3 million NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant. She leads workshops and teaches courses on negotiation and third party dispute resolution.

Professor Callister is the recipient of multiple awards for her research and teaching. She has held the Vernon Maughan Buehler and Maree C. Buehler Endowed Professorship since 2006. In 2009 she was selected as the Utah State University Women and Gender Research Institute’s Distinguished Professor in 2009. She was selected as the College of Business Researcher of the Year in 2007 and the College of Business Teacher of the Year in 2001. In 2012 Ronda presented a TED talk about reducing the barriers to the contributions of women.

Ronda is active in several professional organizations and has held administrative positions within the Academy of Management in the Conflict Management Division and in the International Association of Conflict Management. She previously served on the editorial board of Academy of Management Learning and Education and Negotiation and Conflict Management Research and as an ad hoc reviewer for the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Organizational Behavior and a number of others.

Ronda has a Ph. D., in Management from the University of Missouri-Columbia, 1996 Emphasis: Social Psychology and Research Methods, MBA, University of Utah, 1980. BS, Business Management, Brigham Young University, 1977

 

NatashaNatasha Helfer Parker

Natasha has been married for 16 years and has four children. She received her undergraduate at BYU in psychology and her masters in Marriage & Family Therapy from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas where she currently has a private practice working with couples, individuals and families. Natasha specializes in sex therapy and faith transitions within a systems framework.

Currently an active member of the church, Natasha considers herself comfortable in both traditional and nontraditional settings within LDS practice and membership.

Natasha podcasts through Mormon Mental Health, part of the Open Stories Foundation that John Dehlin founded. She has been a regular guest on Dan Wotherspoon’s Mormon Matters podcasts and often posts on Patheos. Natasha’s hope is to help members of the LDS church develop healthy relationships with their spirituality, their religious culture, their interpersonal relationships and their individual selves. As in most religious communities, there can be extreme pain and anxiety when things don’t go as traditionally planned – specifically when members find themselves outside of orthodox belief or practice.

On June 16 she posted this statement on The Mormon Therapist within Patheos: Room For All In This Church

 

closeChelsea Shields Strayer

Chelsea is a biological and cultural anthropologist who specializes in research on the health effects of social belonging, specifically the beneficial and adverse consequences of religion and ritual. She just completed her dissertation on The Social Life of Placebos based on over a decade of fieldwork in the Asante region of Ghana, West Africa

Chelsea is the mother of an adorable 4 year old daughter and currently working as an adjunct professor, freelance consultant and TED fellow. Her research and personal religious beliefs recently collided in a feature on the TED blog about “Why Belonging Matters.”

The impact of religious social belonging is not a foreign concept to Chelsea. She comes from a long line of pioneer ancestors and religious educators and was raised in a very traditional LDS home where her father was a CES Institute Director and her mother a SAHM of 8 children.

Chelsea has been grappling with intellectual, historical and gender issues in the church for about fifteen years and she chronicled some of those experiences as the blogger Whoa-man at Exponent, in podcasts on ritual and temples, motherhood, LDS salvation theology, the problem of evil, effecting change, and spiritual adventures at Mormon Matters, Why I Stay at Mormon Stories, and monthly discussions at The Mormon Women’s Round table at Patheos and in interviews at Feminist Mormon Housewives and The Mormon Women Project. Chelsea is a prominent feminist activist for religious gender equality. She is president of Mormons for ERA, and on the executive board for Ordain Women and LDS WAVE: Women Advocating for Voice and Equality, executive producer of an upcoming film on Mormon feminism and global religious inequality and contributes regularly to blogs, conferences, articles and podcasts. Her biggest contribution to Mormon feminism so far might be explicating some of the very distinct and clear gender inequalities that currently exist in the church in her two widely shared articles and lists: “I Feel Unequal When” from Ask a Feminist on LDS WAVE and “Mormon Male Privilege and How to Make Apparent Gender Disparity in the Church” from the Exponent blog.

 

Dan_Sig Book portraitDan Wotherspoon

Dan Wotherspoon is a free-lance writer, editor, and podcaster—now in his fourth year of hosting the popular MormonMatters podcast. From 2001 to 2008, he served as editor of Sunstone magazine and director of the Sunstone Education Foundation. Since its inception, he has also been an active participant in the work and development of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology, currently serving as a secretary on its executive committee. In 2013, Dan edited and wrote the introduction to The Challenge of Honesty: Essays for Latter-Day Saints by Frances Lee Menlove. He is currently at work with co-author Boyd Jay Petersen on a biography of prominent Mormon teacher, writer, and organizer Eugene England.

He has a Ph.D. in religion from the Claremont Graduate School, where he wrote his dissertation on theological resources within Mormonism for affirming a robust environmental sensibility. He also has an M.A. in religious studies from Arizona State University, where he focused on world religions and ritual studies, ultimately writing his thesis on theories of ritual empowerment. He also has a B.A. in philosophy with a minor in classical civilizations from Brigham Young University.

He has been married to Lorri Hubbard Wotherspoon for 28 years, and they have two grown children. They live in Bountiful, Utah.

 

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June 6: What would the optimal church look like? A thought experiment

Carlisle HunsakerDialogue Lead: Carlisle Hunsaker

Time:
Friday, June 6, 2014, 7:30 pm

Location
Mark and Elizabeth England’s Home
1194 S 500 E | Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Carlisle enjoyed 25 years as an instructor at the U of U Institute of Religion. The past 25 years have been devoted to providing mindfulness training at a local hospital. He currently sees patients at the hospital on a part-time basis, as well as working with clients in a private-office setting. Carlisle is also writing a book to explain his approach to mindfulness training, with the tentative title: The Eupraxic Mind.

He and his son, Rob, both had articles in March’s issue of Sunstone Magazine. Below in Carlisle’s words, are his interests and his hopes for this discussion:

“I cannot lay claim to an extensive corpus of published writings. My store of unpublished writing is more substantial and it will continue to expand because writing, more than any other activity, forces me to push against the ever-present force of mental sloth. Writing also provides some respite from our current, noisy cultural forces.

I have not been interested in intellectual specialization. Thank god for those who are, but I’m easily bored with the microscopic effort to mine obscure nuggets related to a specific historical era or issue. Nor do I experience a passionate response to the jargon and technicalities of philosophy and theology. I’m much more interested in those who paint with a broader brush. What is the good life? What are the essential components of human fulfillment? And what are the forces and the toxic beliefs that contribute to human misery? I’ve provided you two of my published “broad-brush” efforts.

Now, with regard to meeting with the Faith Again group, I would like to lead a discussion designed to explore the implications of a thought experiment. Rather than beginning with the current institutional practices and policies, along with the widely accepted and sanctioned theological/doctrinal framework, let us temporarily put all of that to the side and make the effort to articulate a rough-draft version of human life at its highest pitch. What does human fulfillment look like? What are its essential components, and what must one have and/or experience if one is to find the living of one’s life deeply fulfilling?

With our portrait of optimal human experience in hand, let us return to institutional and theological/doctrinal matters. But now our task is two-fold. First, we must conjure an institutional milieu which would provide the spiritual environment conducive to our version of human fulfillment. Second, we must define the theological/doctrinal points of emphasis which would be most supportive of optimal human functioning and experience. For example, with our view of optimal human experience in mind, how should we view and teach:

  • the atonement
  • the fall
  • the process of revelation
  • the best approach to public and private worship
  • the approach to same sex attraction and marriage
  • the attitude toward women and other gender issues
  • the relationship between authority and agency
  • the role of the family
  • the post-mortal realm
  • the process of judgment,
  • the Socratic dilemma—is it good because god commands it, or does god command it because it is good?
  • the extent to which the institution should
  • the gospel stance toward work

This list represents only the tip of the iceberg. The essence of the thought experiment is to reverse the sequence from starting with the established institutional and theological framework and trying to make our lives fit that framework, to starting with our description of human experience in its optimal mode, and then imagining a theological/institutional framework which would be supportive of human fulfillment.

I’m looking forward to a discussion that would tap into the honesty and wisdom of the good people who attend this group.”

Best, Carlisle

Preparation Materials:

Soul making or is there life before death

Mormonism and a Tragic Sense of Life

 

May 2: The Kingdom of God is Within You: Meditation and The Inner Path of Spiritual Rebirth

IMG_2906Dialogue lead: Philip McLemore

Time: Friday, May 2, 2014, 5:30-10:00 pm
(NOTICE DIFFERENT TIME)

Location: (NOTICE DIFFERENT ADDRESS)
Home of Ed and Kristen Iverson
3582 Oak Rim Way
Salt Lake City, UT 84109

Cost: $15.00 Please RSVP via faithagaingroup@gmail.com

Philip McLemore was the Institute of Religion director at the University of Georgia and Auburn University, AL from 1977-1984. He then served for 20 years as an active-duty Air Force Chaplain, retiring in 2004. As a military chaplain, Philip specialized in marriage counseling, stress and crisis management, and care for trauma victims. From 2005-2011, he worked as a hospice chaplain and meditation instructor. Since then he has been exclusively devoted to teaching meditation and spiritual growth processes. Trained by world- renowned meditation masters, Philip is an expert in ancient and modern forms of meditation and contemplative prayer. He is the author of numerous magazine and journal articles on meditation and spiritual awakening and is a popular instructor at meditation retreats and seminars. Philip and his wife Kim have 4 married children and 10 grandchildren and live in West Point, UT, with their family of dogs, chickens, and rabbits.

Meditation is not just one of many spiritual disciplines but the consummation of all spiritual disciplines. It is the deepest form of prayer that leads one to conscious communion with God and spiritual rebirth. All of the secondary benefits of meditation such as stress reduction, lower blood pressure, strengthened immune system, slowing of the aging process, etc, are also manifest as one pursues this joyful, “inner” path. The scriptures teach that a “still mind” and a “pure heart” are necessary to “see” and “know” God; it is in this “seeing” and “knowing” that we are reborn in the image of Christ. Meditation properly understood and practiced results in the still mind and pure heart.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • The philosophical and theological principles that support a fruitful meditation practice
  • The ancient practice of Self-Inquiry and guided meditations, which are designed to help one “glimpse the soul”
  • Mystery teachings of Jesus designed to bring us into a state of Oneness with God
  • Step by step instructions in classic meditation, how to begin or deepen your practice, what to expect, and how to overcome common obstacles
  • The principles and practice of Christian Contemplative Prayer
  • How to eliminate unproductive, conditioned thought and behavior patterns and how to live with greater awareness and joy
  • How to awaken in Christ Consciousness and experience the divinity of your soul

Why the cost for this dialogue?

That’s because this is less dialogue and more training. The cost is half of what Phil would normally charge per person. For perspective, the TM meditation course costs $1000.00 plus per person. Deepak Chopra’s Primordial Sound Meditation program, which is mostly taught by people with less experience than he has, is about $400 per person. (Phillip trained under Chopra). None of these show how Mormonism/Christianity is harmonious with the wisdom of the meditative traditions. Proceeds go to fund the animal hospice that Phillip and his wife operate as well as cover costs for handouts etc.

Note: Please carpool where possible. Parking is limited. Feel free to bring a pillow and water bottle as well as food to share.

Some important resources to read ahead of time:

A Mormon’s Spiritual Transformation through Meditation & the Hindu Yogic Tradition

The Kingdom of God is Within You—Believing It, Trusting It, Accessing It

MORMON MANTRAS: A JOURNEY OF SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION

THE YOGA OF CHRIST

Friday, April 4: Just what is revelation?

Harrell 10Just in time for conference. This is a subject I’ve been chewing on ever since our first Faith Again with Jim McConkie. Charley seems perfect to address it. Thanks to Dan Wotherspoon for recommending him.

Dialogue lead: Charley Harrell

Time: Friday, April 4, 2014, 7:30 pm

Location:
Mark and Elizabeth England’s Home
1194 S 500 E | Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Mr. Harrell is an associate professor of engineering and technology at Brigham Young University and founder of ProModel Corporation, a company specializing in simulation and predictive analytics. He has authored or co-authored several books on the use of simulation in manufacturing and service industries. He is also a theological enthusiast who has authored doctrinal articles in BYU Studies, Studies in the Scriptures and the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. His most recent work is titled “This is My Doctrine,” The Development of Mormon Theology and is published by Kofford Books.

Preparation Materials:

Patriarchal Blessings http://mormonmatters.org/2012/01/10/69-patriarchal-blessings/

Grant Underwood, “Relishing the Revisions: Joseph Smith and the Revelatory Process,” http://devotional.byuh.edu/node/327

An Incarnational Model of Scripture http://biologos.org/uploads/projects/enns_scholarly_essay2.pdf

The Evolution of Mormon Doctrine http://mormonstories.org/317-318-byu-professor-charles-harrell-and-the-evolution-of-mormon-doctrine/

Truth in Revelation and Scripture http://mormonmatters.org/2012/08/08/117-118-truth-in-revelation-and-scripture/

The Book of Abraham as Scripture http://mormonmatters.org/2014/02/21/213-214-the-book-of-abraham-as-scripture/

Questions for Discussion

  1. What constitutes revelation?
  2. What makes revelation the rock upon which the LDS Church is built?
  3. Is revelation infallible?
  4. How do we know whether a revelation is correct?
  5. What does revelation (e.g., scripture) tell us about the nature of revelation?
  6. What does the observational evidence tell us about the nature of revelation?
  7. How do we reconcile the self-testimony of revelation with the observational evidence about revelation?
  8. How does revelation occur and what role does the human receptor of revelation play in the revelatory process?
  9. Can individuals outside the Church receive legitimate revelations?
  10. Are they legitimate if they conflict with LDS revelations?
  11. How does prophetic revelation provide a model for personal revelation?
  12. Is revelation received according to our expectations or according to God’s view?

March: “The Neck That Turns the Head:” A Historical and Contemporary Exploration of Mormon Women, Priesthood, and Separationist Ideology

Andrea 2013 1Discussion lead:
Andrea Radke-Moss

Time:
Friday, March 7, 2014, 7:30 pm

Location
Mark and Elizabeth England’s Home
1194 S 500 E | Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Andrea Radke-Moss is a professor of history at BYU-Idaho, where she teaches courses in American history, including American West and Industrial Age. She just got a U.S. Women’s history course approved for the Fall catalog. Andrea’s book, Bright Epoch was published in 2008 with the University of Nebraska Press. It traces the history of women’s experiences at land-grant colleges in the American West. She has researched and published in Mormon women’s history, most recently, Mormon women in the Missouri War of 1838, women in higher education, and women’s experiences at World’s Fairs. She blogs at Juvenile Instructor, and appeared on Rafio West last year discussing Mormon women. She lives in Rexburg with her husband, Stephen, and two children.

Below are resources to pursue in preparation:

Strands-of-Priesthood

Some women are concerned that they don’t hold the priesthood.

Protecting Women

Some Thoughts on the Inevitable Failure of the Ordain Women Movement

Men, Women, and Priesthood Session

Gender and Priesthood

“What has not been assumed has not been healed”: Ordain Women and the “androgyny” of Christ