I don’t have any single topic that I can spend six or eight paragraphs discussing, so I’m going to sort of repurpose an earlier post (and maybe make it a recurring thing) and do three or four short topics in one post. You can comment on any of them. Maybe the wisdom of the crowd will produce a good discussion on one of them.
It’s not that Covid doesn’t matter anymore, that it’s not messing with the economy, the medical system, our institutions, and individual lives. It just seems like few people care anymore. A lot of the measures employed in a fairly half-hearted way in most cases — masks, social distancing, forehead temperature checks — seem more for show than measures thoughtfully employed to achieve a specific goal. We’re just muddling through. We have sort of given up.
LDS angle: New missionaries continue with the “MTC in your bedroom” program, missionaries are back at overseas missions, and here in America senior LDS leaders have more or less kicked the Covid issue to the local level, where Area Authorities and local leadership cobble together their own policies: masks are required or masks are recommended or masks are just tolerated. Here’s a simple question I haven’t seen a statement on yet, or maybe I just missed it: Will April 2022 General Conference feature in-person attendance or will it be another Zoom Conference?
Trump and Covid, two things we wish would go away and not come back. Trump held a campaign rally (what else can you call it?) in Arizona last week. Yahoo News: “Trump’s Covid and Election Falsehoods at Arizona Rally.” WaPo: “Trump’s Arizona project shows the dire threat to American democracy.” Post-Trump, the Republican Party is, well, not the Republican Party anymore, largely because it is not in any way post-Trump. It’s just chaos, with a strange assortment of clownish Trump-endorsed candidates in Congressional and governor’s races challenging incumbent Republicans who aren’t willing to follow the Clown-in-Chief’s script.
LDS angle: You might have missed this story: “Man who raided US Capitol dressed as figure from the Book of Mormon pleads guilty.” Yes, Captain Moroni is going to jail, or at least probation or a fine. When Mormons go crazy, they generally go crazy in cringey Mormon ways. But it isn’t just the crazy guy down the street. Don’t forget Utah Senator Mike Lee comparing Trump to Captain Moroni at an earlier Arizona event. Just makes me want to crawl under my chair. Has anyone had a conversation with a non-LDS person having to try and explain one of these strange Mormon insider memes that somehow enters public discussion? What can a non-LDS person possibly think? Maybe all Mormons are crazy, it’s just a matter of degree.
Senator Harry Reid, RIP
I haven’t seen much discussion in the Mormon online world of the passing of Harry Reid, Democratic senator from Nevada from 1987 to 2017 and Senate Majority Leader from 2005 to 2017. He ought to be a Mormon hero, on par with other non-GA LDS celebrities. Here’s a piece at the SL Trib that ponders what Harry Reid means for the LDS Church: “Harry Reid was a bellwether of things to come.” Here’s a sample: “[I]t may well be Reid, the scrappy old boxer yet measured, moderate democrat (himself the antithesis of Mormon royalty) whose views more closely align with the rising generation of Mormons. In this sense, Reid is not an anomaly of a bygone era but a bellwether of things to come.” I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but the fact that Reid is more likely to be reviled rather than celebrated in a conversation between average Mormons shows that there is something wrong with Mormons, not with Reid.
But the article raises an interesting question: Do young Mormons have any adults they look up to? Do Gen Z Mormons look at Mitt Romney and say, “That’s my guy!” Are there any GAs that young Mormons feel any affinity with? Maybe there’s too much system and not enough personality in the LDS Church of the 2020s.
You’d think with the LDS curriculum rolling around to the OT this year, I could muster a post on it. I feel strangely unenthused about the topic. Partly because the LDS curriculum doesn’t really study the Old Testament: it starts out with lessons drawn largely from Moses and Abraham (from the Pearl of Great Price), then spends the rest of the year doing gymnastics (making Old Testament stories and pronouncements fit into the doctrine and practice of the LDS Church of our day). As I have said before, the LDS approach to the Old Testament is to pile LDS misreadings of OT passages on top of Christian misreadings of OT passages.
Once upon a time, there was hope that demoting Elder Uchtdorf from the First Presidency to running LDS Curriculum (that is one of his assignments in the Twelve, I understand) would be good for the new curriculum. Whiffed on that one. The problem with Come Follow Me (apart from that fact that almost no one seems to be following it) is that is offers the average LDS teacher even less to work with than prior manuals. LDS Gospel Doctrine class has gone from being (on a good day) a worthwhile and interesting discussion to being second-hour detention for adults who don’t have a second-hour calling but who won’t (for some unknown reason) either go home and watch football or go out to the car and listen to music while waiting for the wife or husband to finish up her or his Primary class.
Okay, there are four topics and eight paragraphs. You make the call. Pick one and say something. Stand and deliver.
amen to Covid and Trump fatigue, and OT/CFM issues (try teaching seminary lessons from this new schedule…). I was so moved by Harry Reid’s funeral–I loved the intersectionality of the Mormon family with Chuck Schumer reading from 2 Nephi 9, and speaking lineup mixing past and current US presidents with Elder Ballard, and the Killers song ending up as God be with you til we meet again. May we have more like him rise up.
I teach Gospel Doctrine (or Adult Sunday School or whatever we’re calling it now), and I really enjoy teaching the weirdness of the Old Testament. I agree that the Come, Follow Me lessons are terrible for assisting teachers with prep, but my anecdotal experience has been that your average member has been much more likely to reach the assigned Come, Follow Me lesson than they did under the previous set of lessons, even if they don’t crack the assigned scripture reading that accompanies the lesson. I typically use the text of the assigned reading itself to build my own lesson plans (that’s going to be harder to do when the assigned reading is the entire Book of Job), so I feel free to get into the uncomfortable material and ask hard questions that don’t have easy answers. I also try to give a quick recap at the beginning of what’s been happening and where we are geographically-speaking and try to push the class members to at least take a peek at the supplemental materials, including the Gospel Topic essays and Church History essays (they’re referenced as supporting material despite what some local and not-so-local leaders might desire). I’ve received zero pushback on the way I teach so either people are just so nonconfrontational that they won’t say anything, or people are getting something out of the lesson (or they’re zoned out looking at their phones which is perfectly okay with me). Can’t wait to hear the class’s thoughts about Lot offering (or not offering as the JST suggests) his daughters to the mob to prevent the sexual assault of Lot’s holy visitors.
Good riddance to the Jan 6th “Captain Moroni”. I hope he gets everything coming to him and more, and I’m happy that Deseret News picked up the story in order to make a public laughingstock of him among Church members. But experience tells me he will probably soon be summoned by his stake president…not for church discipline, but to extend him a call to the high council.
Yes, I’m troubled by fringey weirdos and Trumpers using Captain Moroni as a personification of their dangerous anti-government views. The Bundys and their ilk have been publicly comparing themselves to Capt. Moroni for years, long before Trump was on anyone’s political radar. When lifelong membership in the Church (including Sunday School, seminary, and in many cases full-time missions and BYU education) produces extremists like these and the subcultures that support them, we as a Church really ought to re-examine how we are bringing up the next generations.
On the other hand, Capt. Moroni from the Book of Mormon was in many ways a tyrant, as he was willing to imprison and execute his own people if they disagreed with him or didn’t fully support his cause. So maybe Mike Lee’s comparison was apt in that regard.
On COVID, the new variant finally found my family. We were very fortunate, only 3 out of 6 got it (the other 3, including myself, tested negative several times and never had symptoms). Symptoms were a cough and scratchy throat, so initially we thought it was the cold until we were educated about omicron. We are fully vaxxed/boostered. I completely understand that everyone’s body is different, but it does seem this version is mild enough that most want to move on. I tend to agree that lockdowns no longer seem necessary, but am still happy to wear a mask (as required in CA). I attended church this last week and probably 90% of the members had masks on! It felt like a twilight zone episode, but I was very happy.
I LOVE senator Reid. But I agree most of my Mormon colleagues my age hate the man. I know hate is a strong word, but it seems fitting. It’s so sad how their tribalism doesn’t allow a lens for them to see how great he was. As for the younger generation, I think they just didn’t know who he was.
After attending one SS lesson this week, I think I’m calling an audible for the rest of the year. The lesson was horrid. An hour long discussion on agency. I mean, what is there really to say? One of our kooky members actually asked a great question: “Is there agency in the CK?” The teacher said “We don’t have time for that” and moved on. This question was posed in the first 10 minutes of class; we had ample time. And while I understand the question is quite speculative, I’m sad we didn’t at least engage with the question for a few moments. This 25 year old teacher just had nothing to offer to me. I guess I’m old now that I don’t want to be “taught” by a kid in church.
Our new SS/GD teacher is a 75 yr old widow who types up her lesson and reads it as a talk and asks but a few questions – note the average age of the ward adults is probably about 45. She dismissed the class 15 minutes early this week.
I was also recently called and will teach more in the spirit of Not a Cougar – to those who ask I will recommend Insipred by the late Rachel Evans or What is the Bible by Rob Bell and other books on my list that I have not read yet. There are enough podcasts and such out there, including an offering from byutv, that I hope people can at least share a comment here and there and walk away nominally uplifted.
BTW I completely avoided Satan v Moses, temptation etc as told in Moses 1. Furthermore, if my spouse was aware of my faith crisis I would have declined the calling…
CFM is spending waaayyyy too much time on the creation and fall. Looking ahead we will also overdo Isiah, at the expense of Job and Jonah, which are much more interesting books to have deep discussions about their meaning.
I’ve been in the SS presidency in various capacities for like 8 of the last 10 years I was initially hopeful about CFM, but I have become jaded at this point. I was hopeful that CFM would enable members to have meaningful discussions on the nature and meaning of scripture, but I have accepted that the only thing CES knows how to do is to use scriptures as proof texts for recent GA statements.
RIP Senator Reid.
He was important to me because he showed us it was indeed possible to be a principled Democrat AND an active Mormon in good standing. I grew up in CA, where the only Mormon adults I knew were staunch conservatives, who actively spoke out against the dominant political party of the region. I didn’t think it was possible for a Democrat to hold a temple recommend because I had never seen it happen before. Harry Reid came to my awareness shortly after he became majority leader (I was in my mid-twenties at the time and still did not have fully formed political beliefs). But he really expanded my view of what it means to live one’s faith. He was understated and seemed very earnest and genuine, in contrast to Mitt Romney (who was also coming into the national spotlight at that time) who seemed like another phony charismatic Church-style leader. Later, while the national media was making an issue of Mitt Romney’s religion during his presidential campaign, nobody seemed to care about Harry Reid’s quiet faith. In fact, I remember talking to some members of my ward back then, none of whom had any idea the sitting Democratic Senate Majority Leader was even a member of the Church. I think Sen. Reid was OK with that, since he didn’t want to make it a defining part of his identity (other Mormon politicians, like Romney, Lee and Hatch did, and even campaigned on it). I’m worried that the current political climate is such that it would not allow even a moderate Mormon democrat to win an election to federal office anymore. Sadly, Reid may have been the last.
JLM, agreed on spending way, way too much time on the Creation. I also struggle with teaching the Book of Abraham without giving at least a nod to its troubled origins (and doing so without raising too many hackles). I also don’t enjoy bouncing between Moses/Abraham and Genesis. We don’t have a Gospel Principles class, and so we have investigators in my class on a fairly regular basis. I struggled mightily last year with how to slow down enough to explain things to investigators while not totally derailing the class for everyone else (I’m not personally in favor of one combined class purely for education reasons, but I understand the desire to have investigators building relationships with the rest of the congregation). With the current curriculum, I don’t have an easy ten-second explanation provide to investigators about why the Patriarchs were proto-Christians and that all those stories were simply cut out of the Bible for evil, unexplained reasons that doesn’t sound really, really suspicious.
Well Jack Hugh here’s a different take on the Mitt Romney vs Harry Reid conversation: The politicians I admire the most (very few) are the ones who are willing to go against their own party. John McCain comes to mind, and there are some others, most notably Kierstan Sinema and Joe Manchin. And I would put Mitt Romney in that group. Romney was once known as a flip flopper on issues but in recent years he’s been a major thorn in the side of the Trump Republicans and I admire him for that. Liz Cheney is another.
I would contrast them to Harry Reid, a pure political partisan who rarely went against the Dem party and who always put party first. And going full circle on this conversation: Reid’s low point (and that’s saying a lot) was when he stated during the 2012 campaign that Mitt Romney had not paid federal income taxes. He had no evidence for that and it turned out to be untrue of course. And when he had a chance later on to apologize or express regret for having lied (a.k.a. bearing false witness) he said, and I quote: “Romney didn’t win did he?”
I am no Republican or Romney enthusiast but I have to say that Josh H has a point here
I have been someone that has taken Covid rather seriously. I remember watching a documentary on SARS and at the very end the question was asked of one of the doctors about “what is your worst case scenario that you think we could have in the future” and they described a slightly less deadly variant than SARS that had a portion of people asymptomatic – which is exactly what Covid-19 is. But they didn’t add to the nightmare “and politics amplified distrust in the medical professionals”.
The officially stated policy in my stake/ward is that everyone should be masked. But I only counted about a dozen people with masks on – several were a couple and one was masked and the other not. At least the bishopric was wearing masks as asked (except for the week when one of the members of the stake presidency came and he didn’t wear a mask). And only about a 15 minute drive down the freeway there is a ward that only now it starting to hold meetings as they went for 3 weeks with no meetings due to too many members having covid. It is crazy.
But even I am getting to where with Omicron I think we need to start thinking in a few months (once the current waves go down and hospitals are not overrun) to how can we start to live with this? I am hoping Covid ramps down so it is one less thing fueling the fire of political division.
The Jan 6 Moroni was a embarrassment but when he was interviewed it seemed apparent that there wasn’t much going on upstairs. I’m feeling less sanguine about seeing him punished and more anxious about the Proud Boys,Bundys, DezNat, et al getting to slide.
I don’t know what’s accomplished by taking a pound of flesh from sincere, if foolish, followers. But I hope governments at all levels will be vigilante in rooting out the actual insurrectionists. Of course, given some states’ active pursuit of new restrictive voting laws, I’m doubtful about their motivations and becoming more anxious for democracy every day.
Why the church in its historic position that our unique form of government was inspired by HF himself can’t make clear statements and follow them up with consequences I Can. Not. Understand.
Count me among those who would like to see a post on Senator Reid (RIP). I disagree with Josh H’s analysis on which politicians we should admire. Contrarianism is not inherently a virtue, especially when one’s contrarianism is motivated by big money (Manchin, Sinema). I admire the politicians who stand up for justice, equality, fairness, and whose are able to fill needed roles to maintain important status quos and/or make changes necessary (these types simply do not exist in the Republican Party, period. Liz Cheney is not a heroine simply for acknowledging obvious facts like that Biden winning the election or that the earth is a sphere). He is missing a crucial point that Senator Reid went against the currents of his culture and upbringing, interpreting Mormon cultural values to align more with those in the Democratic Party. He was reviled among Mormons, yet as far as I know he was religious, or never publicly disavowed the religion.
(1) Covid fatigue – I’ve got Omicron right now, the rest of my family didn’t get it (yet). Our schools are shut down because there are too many staff ill to run them. I’ve got mask fatigue because apparently cloth masks aren’t doing much against Omicron anyway, and honestly at this point I’m like if I’m the only person at church wearing a mask, why bother? (I’ll either just stay home, or not bother with the mask.). If everyone gets Omicron, will we finally be over this?
(2) Reid – I’m with John W. Reid was one of the few examples Mormons my age had of a Democrat who was also a Mormon in good standing. I don’t think voting against party lines consistently is necessary to show you’re a great politician or person – maybe that’s true right now in an era of Trumpism if you’re a Republican, but why would that be true for Reid? Maybe he just *actually agreed* with democrats on most issues? Also, he actually did go against party lines on some major issues. Among other things, he was pro-life. He was actually my Gospel Doctrine teacher when I was a college student in D.C. (and I remember him talking about being pro-life and discussing that, civilly, with his democrat colleagues – and the other ways that he supported women’s rights to kinda make up for that). He was actually a somewhat boring Gospel Doctrine teacher, probably because he was quite down to earth, soft spoken, and humble … but I thought he was a very good man and good example. His wife was dynamite, loved hearing from her. A loss, for sure.
(3) Old Testament – I agree with Not a Cougar that a benefit to Come Follow Me is that far more class members come prepared having read the assigned text, even if the lesson outline itself is really dumb. I haven’t been to Sunday School this year so I’m only talking about studying with my family, but I’ve enjoyed the Old Testament with them. I’ve not even bothered looking at the lesson outline because I think I’d just waste time being mad about it, and we also skipped Pearl of Great Price, but we’ve enjoyed studying the Old Testament as a family. My kids range in age so we’ve looked at a lot of art, studied different creation myths (and what myths are in general), talked about how the Old Testament came about generally, etc. My resources so far have been Rob Bell’s What Is The Bible, Marcus Borg’s Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, the podcast Exploring My Strange Bible, and Faithful Feminists. I’m also looking at the Robert Alter translation, although that’s been interesting because the language is quite harsh actually. Not the feminist or pro-ecology translation, that’s for sure. I’ve not found a podcast or book that actually goes book by book though so if anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears, as I’m sure I’m going to run out of steam shortly.
It’s been interesting to notice what it’s like reading JUST the text without bringing preconceptions to it. For example, did you know that never once is the serpent called or referenced as Satan? There was no concept of Satan until much later in the Old Testament (and at certain points in the Old Testament, like in Job, Satan was more like a messenger / servant of God than a devil). So much of the Christian read on the Old Testament is as a foreshadowing of Jesus, and then Mormons overlay it with a foreshadowing of the restoration / Joseph Smith / Book of Mormon. I’m trying to strip that away and read it as a Hebrew text and just take it at face value, which has been interesting.
I read “Covid Fatigue” and expected a different paragraph than I read.
I mean, I’m fatigued. I’m tired and lonely. We moved a year and a half ago, I’ve got a brand new career as a teacher but no contract yet so I’m subbing, and we have a high-risk child. Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly fortunate my family has been safe and employed through all this, but I feel isolated and sad and my mental health has taken a hit. I barely recognize anyone at church, which is not typical for my extroverted self.
However, it’s hitting home to me more and more that how someone “mormons” is incredibly influenced by where they live. Because Covid precautions are being ramped up here like never before. No one over the age of 5 is unmasked in church meetings. It says right in our weekly bulletin that Zoom is available for those who will not/cannot mask. As of 2 weeks ago, if you’re an adult staying in the building during youth activities, you need to show a vaccine passport. And the provincial government just made it mandatory for all teachers and support staff to be vaccinated (some school districts already had this requirement, but where I live the anti-vaxxers are of the far-left, hippy flavor).
My parents are snowbirds and several of my siblings had trips planned to see them and get away from the snow and all have now cancelled.
I read the stories here and at other online spaces about how people are acting in this pandemic and I don’t even have the words.
putting this in a separate comment because it’s a link so might get caught in spam detection, but as I was looking for art depicting Adam and Eve for home CFM, I couldn’t help but notice how ridiculous LDS depictions of Adam and Eve are compared to all the rest. Apparently I’m not the only one who noticed this … this gave me a chuckle (contains artistic nudity because, well, Adam and Eve):
@Elisa re: Satan and the serpent. I’m reminded of David Tennnant’s Doctor threatening a shapeshifting alien before coming to the conclusion, “Oh, you’re pretty much just a rabbit, aren’t you.”
Re: Trump fatigue… With more footage of Trump coming back into the news, it’s startling to remember just how much that man was on my mind during his presidency. I lived with a near-constant low grade anxiety on account of him (in addition to COVID anxiety for part of it and, you know, the usual garden variety anxiety). Not excited to get back on that train.
I could easily join a discussion critiquing the “Come Follow Me” lessons, but right now I’m basking in the glow of having seen this at the end of Sunday’s Primary lesson: “Seek your own inspiration. Don’t view these lesson outlines as instructions you must follow as you teach. Rather, use them as a source of ideas to spark your own inspiration as you ponder the needs of the children you teach.” Maybe Uchtdorf has had some influence on correlation after all.
Double-barrel Covid fatigue: I’m bone-tired of living this way and I am getting over a tussle with Omicron. Might a lack of caution from the former have led to the latter? Not sure. It sounds like Omicron will get most of us in short order.
Trump fatigue: I’m seeing his name mentioned more frequently these days in sentences that include the words impending and indictment, which gives me Trump glee more than anything else.
Harry Reid: No one works in politics for long without being a survivor, but I think he really demonstrated conviction throughout his career, not just the ability to tread water and latch onto sharks (looking at you Lindsey). I have to disagree with josh h: Sinema has unrealistic ambitions and perceptions of her own skill set, and she needs to hold a town hall, FFS, if she wants constituents to think she actually should have this job. Manchin seeks power and wealth primarily, which seem to clearly be the lessons he taught his family if the behavior of his daugher, Heather Bresch, is any measure.
The OT: How this is viewed as anything other than allegory created by superstitious and tribal but devout people is completely beyond me. Lord of the Rings holds together better. Why not study lessons from that?
@jaredsbrother, 10/10 we will be incorporating some LOTR into our study of the Old Testament. For origins stories, we talked about quite a bit about Spiderman & Darth Vader and other superhero / villain origin stories …
That said, not the entire OT is allegory. It’s a mix.
Thanks for the chuckle Elisa on those Adam and Eve images =).
I actually like Romney because he can speak his mind and it’s refreshing. I also enjoy watching die-hard Utah Republicans who worshiped him rent their clothing in agony at him now. The thing about Romney is he can take or leave this job because he’s independently wealthy. So he doesn’t have to care about party loyalty. But my beef with him: he just seems so out of touch. I couldn’t imagine ever sharing a beer with the guy.
While I lean more on the Jack Hughes view of things, I still really appreciate Josh h’s perspective also.
And I’m with Kirkstall on Trump fatigue. The thought of that man re-gaining power keeps me up at night.
Well let’s see, barely one short year ago 71% of voters who identified as Mormon cast their ballot for an immoral grotesque like unto Korihor – but our marching orders From The Top feature front & center the abandonment of that beloved moniker “Mormon.” For the love of God, people, you are Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint-istas. What, pray tell, could be more important?
John W: Manchin and Sinema are motivated by money…in contrast to Harry Reid??? Do you know anything about Reid’s wealth that was acquired WHILE he was a US senator?
Elisa: Harry Reid was pro-life? He was known to call himself that but I followed his voting record throughout his Senate career and it was very mixed to say the least.
I should have known that I’d get 50% thumbs down if I said something negative (100% true about his Mitt Romney tax story) about a Dem on Wheats & Tares. I guess it’s not OK to criticize a Dem here, even if the criticism is true. 🙂
@Josh H, before I posted that comment I looked at whether Reid changed his pro-life stance over time because I didn’t want to mis-state something (I did not follow his voting record when he was in office, I was honestly going off of what he’d told us in Sunday School). It looks to me like he supported some restrictions on abortion but didn’t support extreme restrictions, and he had mixed ratings from reproductive rights orgs like planned parenthood. Seems reasonable to me and certainly not hardcore pro-choice. I’d certainly love it if more folks in office were more flexible on abortion …
I’m not sure how a criticism can be “true.” The factual basis for your opinion may be true but people could still disagree with your opinion of Reid’s legacy and on your comparisons with other politicians :-).
Josh H, you’re free to criticize Democrats on here, but you do so from a bothsidesist position, which I consider seriously flawed and disingenuous. Money obviously is a motivation for everyone. But Reid proved himself time and again to be a man of principle, especially because he went against the grain of his own culture. Manchin is deep in the pocket books of big corporate donors, and won’t even support legislation that a good chunk of his own constituents are telling him to support. He sits on his lavish yacht and acts almost just as obstructionist as the Republicans. His actions are hugely in bad faith. Total sell-out. Reneges on agreements and promises. With friends like him who needs enemies?
Being in possession of a great deal of money hardly insulates a politician from being motivated by money.
In my observation, a lot of people with a lot of money want more money.
Politicians look to others to finance their campaigns.
Politics also offers power as a motivator.
I heard a lot of people say that they support Romney or Trump because they are rich, somehow concluding that they’ll handle the country’s finances well, making us all rich. In reality, rich politicians often support laws that protect their money, even if it is hurting those who earn their income through work.
They *could* use their influence to decrease wealth disparity and income inequality.
I really miss before the pandemic.
The Old Testament is such a waste of time. There is so much better literature in the world to study than to be spending any time on something as toxic as the OT. LDS curriculum pile on misreadings in order to make it palatable to the members.
@wayne, to each his or her own. I think the OT (well Bible in total) is probably the single most influential book in the western world – the legal system, culture, language, history, etc. – which is quite remarkable considering it came from such a small group people. I think the misreadings LDS and otherwise are part of what makes it toxic. And, well, that a lot of it is ancient and therefore definitely problematic but it into context it can be quite fascinating.
YMMV. It’s certainly not my favorite piece of lit but I think it’s worth studying.
I don’t think the New Testament makes sense without the Old.
This is not a defence of how it’s taught in Sunday school.
Teaching the OT well is key.
While it is a mixed bag, it is worth noting that teachings of social justice are spread throughout. Michael Austin made a case that when the word “justice” is used, it is referring to social justice. Once you read it that way, parts make sense, and are meaningful today.
Out-of-wedlock pregnancy was not invented in the 60’s. Today’s single moms, their children, and people who need any type of assistance are the the widows, fatherless, poor and needy of the OT. Unwed pregnancies occur the same way today as they did centuries ago.
I wish I’d noted precisely where I found it, but when I was reading the OT completely, it also taught (more than once) to not blame the poor for their circumstances.
Also, none of this, “With Jesus, it’s voluntary” crap.
Jeremiah teaches that helping the needy is a nation’s responsibility (5:25-30).
When Jesus teaches about separating the sheep and the goats, he is also talking about nations (Matt 25:32).
Elisa, thank you for your kind reply, Unfortunately the Bible is a very influential book in the Western World, I wish it wasn’t. One of the most toxic teachings in the Old Testament is that of God having a chosen people. The division and blood shed continues even to this day over that belief in the Middle East, and it will never end. Even the LDS Church perpetuates that belief through Patriarchal Blessings and other correlated materials. Christian Evangelicals and most LDS members turn a blind eye to the plight of the Palestinians because of what is written in the OT. I could cite other examples of why the OT is toxic and not worth studying, but I would just regress more, however I have kinder feelings toward the New Testament.
@wayne, couldn’t agree more about that. I will have to think about whether (a) that’s a fundamentally flawed concept (as many concepts in the OT are) or (b) it’s a concept that we’ve twisted into a flawed one. I have heard one interpretation that Israel was “chosen” to do certain things but not “chosen” to be better than anybody else and that’s where things got off kilter (and I think a huge part of Jesus’s teachings was to disabuse people of any nonsense about people being better than one another).
I’m really glad you called that particular issue out as it is something I am going to make sure to pay attention to and discuss with my family as we study. We Mormons like to say that “all are alike unto God” but we (like most humans) are terrible at acting like it and you’ve highlighted really core reason why that we hear perpetuated every week at Church (and esp on fast Sunday …).