The Essays

June 18, 2014

So, I’ve been a way from the blog for a loooonnnnnng time and been busy with life. It happens to the best of us and honestly, those like me with good intentions, minimal time and even less motivation. In the time I’ve taken off there’s been a lot to talk about in the wold of Mormonism and while I like to go back and talk about all of these topics, I don’t have the time or desire to. Many of them are just too far past their time to be interesting.

There are a few things though that are certainly worth addressing. Among these is the series of essays that the LDS Church released beginning around December 2013 and covering various and troublesome issues with Mormonism. Apparently the intent was to address these concerns adequately enough to help questioning LDS retain belief and remain Mormon. The Internet and Google have been taking a significant toll on religious membership in general and Mormonism in particular and LDS leadership has finally begun to address the problem. These essays are part of that effort.

I first heard of the essays on online message boards in fall 2013. In November I saw Grant Palmer speak in Salt Lake City (see it on YouTube) and he mentioned that an acquaintance of his involved with LDS Church history had told him of the essays and listed 3 of what would eventually be 13 topics that would be addressed. He listed the First Vision, Utah Polygamy and Blacks and the Priesthood. Currently there are 9 or so essays that have been posted, without any promotion, among the “topics” section. Each though has quickly been picked up on by the DAMU, Internet Mormons and of course, the Salt Lake Tribune. From there the more interesting or controversial topics have been passed on to a wider press network and it’s unclear whether or not the Church was OK with this. The feeling I get is that they hoped the releases would mostly go un-noticed and not become the news items they did. The hierarchy I suspect wants to address the questions of those who are struggling but not create questions for those who haven’t stumbled on the hard stuff yet.

Anyway, according to here is the current list of essays:

 Violence and Mountain Meadows Massacre

Book of Mormon and DNA Studies

Spaulding Manuscript

First Vision Accounts

Are Mormons Christian?

Book of Mormon Translation

Race and the Priesthood

Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah

Becoming Like God

If anyone has a better list please share it with me.

I plan on dealing with a many of these essays, maybe all of them, over the next year or so. This post is my way of getting back into the blog and hopefully generating a little bit of commitment for the blogging again. We’ll see. The spirit is willing but the flesh is certainly weak…and honestly there’s a lot of good stiff to watch on Netflix these days as well.

Here are links to some of the Salt Lake Tribune’s coverage of the essays as they were released:

Violence and MMM


Race and the Priesthood


Becoming Like God




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