Week In Review for October 14–18
Also in political news, a Mormon Tea Party member from Idaho has come under fire after decrying government spending while having ten of his own children covered by Medicaid. Greg Collett then went on to defend his actions by citing the Doctrine and Covenants and claiming that he’s just trying to take back from the greedy federal government what’s rightfully his.
Amanda Marcotte, on the news/blog site Salon.com, authored an op-ed on right-wing Christian worries over religious freedom. While it is an unquestionably partisan commentary, it’s also an interesting look at why Christian conservatives see religious rights as threatened. The short version: They strongly believe America was founded by hyper-religious Christians who only wish they could have created a theocracy. Given the Book of Mormon’s teaching that America is a choice land, set aside by God for his believers, it’s perhaps no wonder why Dallin H. Oaks and others argue that religious freedom is under constant threat.
In the Blogs
An essay by Melissa Inouye, Ph.D, at “Patheos” got widespread attention online, especially on Facebook where it was repeatedly shared and discussed. She takes the ordain women question in a different direction by providing steps that might be taken within the current LDS framework to include women in a more positive way. She also makes a strong argument for the need for such inclusion, beyond the tired old “women do the most important work in the home” trope.
Another attention-getting post at Patheos was offered by Rosalynde Welch on modesty. She takes a different approach from a lot of recent bloggers, arguing for modesty, but with a thoughtful look at her own life, noting that having standards of modesty reminds her that she’s much more than just an object meant for male gaze.
As the church continues to address concerns among members over historical details, a subtle but clear trend has emerged: Blame, at least in part, members for not knowing the history and taking the time to learn it. In an article for Meridian Magazine, Michael Ash argues that troubling historical topics have been discussed but that, “Americans, unfortunately, are by and large, literate but uniformed.” He later goes on to blame “non-reader ignorance” for lack of understanding the issues.
Jana Riess had an excellent article in Publisher’s Weekly about the maturing of Mormon studies in publishing. The article itself is behind a paywall, so you’ll need a Publisher’s Weekly account to see it. However, Signature acquisitions editor John Hatch was quoted at the end of the article as saying, “Mormon studies seems to be emerging from its awkward teenage years [and is] now maturing as a field of study more rooted in responsible academic inquiry, both from Mormons and non-Mormons alike.”