Author Archives: Ryan Bell

welfare square

The Charity of the LDS Church

That Businessweek story on the finances of the LDS Church was massive.  So was our response.  But even after all those words flying back and forth, we left one important topic unaddressed.  Much of the discussion about the Businessweek story has focused on the purportedly paltry charitable contributions of the LDS Church.  This rises from […]

ensign peak

The Truth About Mass Defections

On Sunday morning, I went to Church.  People in my congregation gathered in our local chapel and taught lessons on the words of early church prophets, participated in discussions about Book of Mormon teachings, and then gathered in one large group to take the “sacrament,” the Mormon version of communion, where bread and water are […]

cher

On Mentioning Unmentionables

This weekend, aging pop diva and American Treasure Cher put her foot in her famous mouth.  Her accomplice in the act was Twitter, which seems to have been invented almost exclusively to help celebrities say things they will regret. Cher’s tweet: “I Feel if he [Obama] doesn’t get all his DUCKS IN A ROW we’ll […]

romney

You Can’t Run on Religion

The idea continues to circulate that Republican nominee Mitt Romney ought to make his religious heritage a more central part of his campaign messaging.  There are two related rationales for this line of thinking.  First, there’s the notion (most recently forwarded by Joanna Brooks, an LDS writer and commentator) that only through understanding Romney’s experience […]

Maren Stephenson and her husband

The UK’s Mail Online: Leaving the LDS Church Is Sexy!

A few weeks ago, a woman named Maren Stephenson posted a forthright essay at Salon.com documenting her journey from believing member of the LDS Church to skeptic leaving her faith behind.  The Salon piece was titled “But I’m a Good Mormon Wife,” and did a fair job of considering some of the difficulties that arise […]

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EXCLUSIVE: Mormons Are People

Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins reports on a new study of Anti-Mormonism in America, which concludes that anti-Mormonism is on the rise within America’s secular left.  Specifically, in the last five years, while aversion to voting for a Mormon candidate declined slightly among evangelicals, self-described liberals reporting a distaste for voting for a Mormon for president increased […]

maher

No, Jesus Was Not An American

Yes, the title of this post is a little bizarre.  When you take up the bizarre task of responding to Bill Maher (half comedian, half political commentator, all theophobe), you often end up in this wacky territory.  You see, Bill Maher is not someone to take seriously, and taking him seriously often brings with it […]

romney graduation

Dogma and Daily Life

The Washington Post’s Jason Horowitz has an interesting piece discussing the difficulty of covering Mitt Romney’s religion in the presidential campaign.  The question in the headline: “Is Mitt Romney’s Mormonism Fair Game?”  Horowitz appears to make some good faith attempts at tracking down a fair answer, but is ultimately too caught up in perceived dilemmas […]

How to Talk About Unfamiliar Religions in a Secular Society

Taylor Petrey, a professor of Religion at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, has a very well-argued piece at Patheos about how we ought to be discussing religion these days, and how we’re not.  Petrey summarizes the great bulk of discussion of Mormon beliefs over the last few years (including in the Book of Mormon Musical, pictured […]

Andrew Sullivan: Conservative Mormons Will Be Crazy Politicians; Moderate Ones Won’t

  Andrew Sullivan has launched an inquisition into the foreign policy of a President Romney through an interesting frame– Mormon teachings about the constitution.  Sullivan’s piece, “Did Jesus Foresee the U.S. Constitution,” is a classic bit of muckraking, leveraging (rather than exploring) LDS teachings to lead him to a foregone conclusion.  The chain of logic […]

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