2015 SMPT

The 2015 Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology will be at BYU this year from October 8th – 10th. The theme of the conference is “Doers of the Word: Believe and Practice.”

That cries out for a Peircean or at least pragmatic take on Mormonism. However I’m not sure I’ll have time to put one together. We’ll see. 

Papers should be around 3500 words (25 – 30 minutes in length) and should be sent to Ben Huff.

Traditions of the Fathers

The first 50 pages of Brant Gardner’s new book Traditions of the Fathers is available at Kofford Books. Brant wrote what I take to be the best commentary on the Book of Mormon as well as the best discussion of the theory of the translation of the book.

This seems more in depth about the history of the Book of Mormon. So much of what’s written about the history takes the narrative as straightforward. It seems like Gardner reads it via more of what I’d call a hermeneutics of suspicion. I don’t necessarily mean he reads it through a Ricouerian lens. Just that he thinks the text is written and transmitted by finite flawed ignorant human beings rather than be “objective history.” That’s important to how we read the text. He also follows Sorenson in trying to apply a more mesoamerican lens to how we read the text.

I’m really looking forward to this book. So check it out. 

Weird LDS Songs on Apple Music

So like many of you I’ve been trying out the new Apple Music service.1 I’d had a few LDS oriented radio stations I’d created under iTunes Match. But now with Music I have access to a lot more stuff for Sunday mornings. In looking around around though I discovered some interesting stuff. Click the links if you have the new Music service in iTunes or iOS. (I know it’s coming for Android but don’t know if it’s available yet) For albums it unfortunately brings up a web page where you can play previews if you don’t have iTunes. Click on “View in iTunes” to open it up.

First up there’s LDS Scriptures Rock that has interesting rock songs about various verses of scripture. Surely helpful for kids trying to memorize scriptures but kind of unusual to say the least.

There the full broadway soundtrack of The Book of Mormon. I suggest not playing this while getting ready for church.

Next is Come Come Ye Saints done as kind of upbeat lounge blues cover. Can’t really describe this one. You have to hear it.

Lehi’s Blues I just can’t even do justice to. This must have started off as a roadshow somewhere. Lehi’s Lament manages to be a bluesy disco version of Lehi. Yeah. Really. I’m not kidding.

Sadly no New York Dolls version of Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief from the film New York Doll (which is a fantastic movie you should see).

I’m sure I’ll manage to find some interesting songs over the next while. Feel free to chime in with your must listen hits.

  1. For a quick review see my comments at my tech blog.

Why Kids Avoid Literature

Good article I came across on Twitter about why college kids are avoiding literature. It’s not the books, it’s the teachers. Key paragraph is this one that is hard to argue with.

If a book has a point, and the point can be briefly summarized, why not just read the summary? If a teacher cannot give a coherent reason why such a shortcut simply won’t do, then why should the student assume anything important is left out?

This is a big problem especially for those who argue for truth in a text. If the text is about truth then why not just state the truths? What does literature give us. Needless to say I’m rather skeptical of those who see truth in literature, film, plays or the like. It’s not that truths can’t be communicated but emphasizing this completely neuters what’s important about texts as compared to straightforward philosophical arguments.

Read the whole article. It gets at the distinction between truth claims and inquiry I often make.