Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Author Archive

Call for Papers: Mormon Scholars in the Humanities 2016

Posted by jennywebb on December 9, 2015

MSH logo

Mormon Scholars in the Humanities would like to invite you to participate in an upcoming conference, held at Utah Valley University, April 8–9, 2016.

Theme: Secularisms

We are all familiar with the various forms and modes of secularism today: a moderate form of secularism appears as the separation of church and state in order to guarantee fair opportunity and treatment for all individuals and groups, while a more aggressive secularism dismisses the claims of religion and the spiritual as unfounded and illegitimate.

Such secularisms have had far-reaching influences in modern society as they continue to influence and interact with both the humanities and the religious.

As Mormon Scholars in the Humanities, we are interested in exploring the various relations and contours that surface in the overlap between our fields, our faith, and the secularisms we encounter. We encourage those interested in these intersections to submit a proposal for our upcoming annual meeting.

Papers may potentially address the following questions or topics:

What is the relationship between religion and secularism, historically, institutionally, theoretically? Has this relationship undergone significant transformations?

Is secularism a fundamentally Western, Christian religious idea? If so, what does that say about the relationship between religion and secularism?

What are the versions of secularism, how did they originate and develop, and how do they manifest themselves in politics, social relations, and law?

While Western societies tend to accept mild secularism as the fairest and most beneficial way to govern, what alternatives have or can be justified?

Given the increasing assertion of aggressive secularism, how does secularism account for the enduring powers of religion?

Given the persistence of religion, how do people of belief account for the growing powers of secularism?

How would we describe the modern social imaginary’s commitment to secularism in contrast to an earlier social imaginary that encourages the sacred? Is secularism a variety of anti-religious religion?

Modern, homogeneous, empty time is a result of the movement toward secular thought. Is such a temporal framework anachronistic when applied to ancient cultures and texts?

What happens when ancient scripture such as the Bible or Book or Mormon are filtered through a modern temporal screen?

What are the alternatives to modern secularism: secular and sacred, ancient and modern? Must we return to the past in order to think our way through modern secularism?

As always, we invite papers on other topics, reflecting your current interests and investigations.

MSH is a space that embraces the diversity of interests for Mormon scholars working in the varied fields of the humanities—session proposals keyed around specific research interests and topics are welcomed and encouraged.

Proposals for alternative sessions, including performance and display, will also be considered.

Our keynote speaker is Dr. Jonathan VanAntwerpen, program director for theology at the Henry Luce Foundation. Originally trained as a philosopher, he received his doctorate in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. He is co-editor of a series of books on secularism, religion, and public life, and was the founding director of the Social Science Research Council’s program on religion and the public sphere. In 2007 he worked with others to launch The Immanent Frame, serving for several years as editor-in-chief.

We invite 200-word abstracts for papers, as well as proposals for organized panels. Abstracts and proposals are due January 15, 2016; acceptance notices will be sent out February 1, 2016.

Send all materials to: submissions.msh@gmail.com

Deadline: January 15, 2016.

Mormon Scholars in the Humanities would like to thank the Mormon Studies program at Utah Valley University for their support of the 2016 annual meeting.

Posted in Misc. | Comments Off on Call for Papers: Mormon Scholars in the Humanities 2016

RS/MP Chapter 18: Living by Every Word That Proceeds from the Mouth of God

Posted by jennywebb on September 9, 2014

The lesson is available here on lds.org.

The following is not a lesson plan, but rather a series of questions and thoughts intended to aid in the study of the lesson material.

From the Life

This section opens with a quote from President Smith that really summarizes the main themes that will be explored throughout this chapter:

I am seeking after my salvation, and I know that I can find it only in obedience to the laws of the Lord in keeping the commandments, in performing works of righteousness, following in the footsteps of our file leader, Jesus, the exemplar and the head of all.

While the themes of law, obedience, journeying or following, and salvation will be repeated throughout this chapter, what strikes me most about this opening quotation is its underlying reliance on humility, hope, and equality. “I am seeking after my salvation” he says. Note the date—1969—less than 4 months before he will become the prophet and following 59 years of service as an apostle. After a literal lifetime of service in the Church, President Smith is going about his existence like all the rest of us: seeking after our salvation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Lessons:RS/MP | 6 Comments »

RS/MP Chapter 16: Bringing Up Children in Light and Truth

Posted by jennywebb on August 13, 2014

The lesson is available here on lds.org.

The following is not a lesson plan, but rather a series of questions and thoughts intended to aid in the study of the lesson material.

From the Life

President Smith recalls the various ways in which both of his parent each taught him the Gospel with evident fondness. I found his description of his mother’s methods interesting. He says,

She used to teach me and put in my hands, when I was old enough to read, things that I could understand.

While this whole section could serve as an argument for reading and telling stories with one’s children, the part that struck me here wasn’t so much the reading, but the emphasis on his mother’s actions: she “put in [his] hands” the things that she wanted to teach him. As an image, that implies that his mother understood both what she wanted to teach her son as well her son’s preparation and abilities to learn from such material. The principle I take away here is that parents (and teachers generally) can be more effective teachers when they know their students well enough to give them material that not only teaches the point the teacher wishes to convey, but does so in a manner that the child can understand. The limitation isn’t on the content itself, but rather the way in which it is presented and made accessible. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Lessons:RS/MP | 4 Comments »

RS/MP Chapter 14: The Gift of the Holy Ghost (Joseph Fielding Smith Manual)

Posted by jennywebb on July 14, 2014

This lesson is available here on lds.org.

The following is not a lesson plan, but rather a series of questions and thoughts intended to aid in the study of the lesson material.

1. The mission of the Holy Ghost is to bear witness of the Father and the Son and of all truth

His mission is to bear witness of the Father and the Son and of all truth.

• The phrasing here indicates a two-part mission: to bear witness of the Father and the Son, and to bear witness of all truth. Is there truth outside the Father and the Son? Does the mission of the Holy Ghost center around witnessing, or around truth? (Or both?) Perhaps the Holy Ghost witnesses truth in all its forms, wherever it is found.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Misc. | 3 Comments »

“Personal Revelation and Testimony,” Sister Barbara Thompson, Oct. 2011 (RS/MP 4th Sunday)

Posted by jennywebb on January 31, 2012

Disclaimer: The following is not intended as a complete study of this conference talk; rather it represents my notes taken during my study of the talk as if I were preparing to teach it. What follows contains what I think are interesting points for discussion in a Relief Society or Priesthood lesson.

 Sister Thompson has a directness about her that I appreciate, especially with a topic as subjective as personal revelation and testimony. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Lessons:RS/MP | 4 Comments »

“Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done,” Elder Robert D. Hales, Oct. 2011 (RS/MP 4th Sunday)

Posted by jennywebb on January 10, 2012

Disclaimer: The following is not intended as a complete study of this conference talk; rather it represents my notes taken during my study of the talk as if I were preparing to teach it. That is, what follows contains what I think are interesting points for discussion in a Relief Society or priesthood lesson.

At first glance, Elder Hales’s talk here seems to be concerned with the Big Questions: Why am I here? Why am I suffering? And while Elder Hales certainly addresses these issues, the answers are not necessarily new or unexpected.

“As we ask these questions, we realize that the purpose of our life on earth is to grow, develop, and be strengthened through our own experiences.”

But Elder Hales takes his talk in an interesting direction with what follows:

“How do we do this? The scriptures give us an answer in one simple phrase: we ‘wait upon the Lord.’”

The underlying question around which the rest of the talk hangs is what it means to wait upon the Lord. And it is certainly a question worth asking. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Lessons:RS/MP | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Something new: fourth-Sunday lessons

Posted by jennywebb on January 10, 2012

I know that I have not been an active participant on this blog (other than reading) for quite some time. However, I am hoping to change that somewhat this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Lessons:RS/MP, Misc. | Tagged: | 7 Comments »

BoM Lesson 19 (Mosiah 18-24)

Posted by jennywebb on May 25, 2008

I know Robert put up a general post for lessons for the month, but I was asked to teach unexpectedly so I thought I’d go ahead and post my notes as they were a bit long. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Lessons:Sun. School | 7 Comments »