Robert Boylan, a LDS theologian, comes on the show to discuss Mariology. Robert discusses the history of Mariology throughout the Christian tradition and transitions into a discussion about how LDS theology portrays Mary. He offers great suggestions about how to have respect for Mary, as she is the holy mother of God, without engaging in a worship of her as many traditions are want to doing. His blog “Scriptural Mormonism” can be found here. He wrote a book on Mariology that is available on his blog.

After hearing from Robert Boylan, Hanna quotes Dan Ellsworth at length for the devotional while briefly discussing that in conjunction with John 6 (full text below):

There is a lot of controversy these days about a set of interviews that recently took place between egyptologist Robert Ritner and some of the church’s most prominent detractors, concerning the Book of Abraham. For some people, Ritner’s arguments are troubling and have shaken their faith pretty deeply. For others of us, who have weathered numerous of these DEVASTATING FINAL-NAIL-IN-THE-COFFIN TAKEDOWNS OF THE RESTORED GOSPEL over the years, we greet it with a yawn. We know from experience that answers will emerge over time, and they will not be satisfactory to everybody, and we are at peace with that fact.

Terryl Givens recently told of a time when he was asked to minister to a woman who was concerned about Joseph Smith’s polygamy. His response to her might come across as harsh and dismissive, but there is a lot of wisdom in it. After she told him of all her concerns, Terryl asked her “What does that have to do with you?” She thought about that question, and then realized: “nothing.”


In other words, if Joseph’s polygamy was a massive error, then it’s an error. If it was not an error, then this woman is fully entitled to seek personal revelation to understand if and how it has any application to her. None of us needs to ruminate endlessly on whether or not prophets of the past were good or bad people, whether they were correct or mistaken. The answer is, they were both. They always will be some combination of good and bad, correct and mistaken, just like each one of us.

We often post a talk given by Wendy Ulrich where she frames our relationship with the church and the gospel in terms of a marriage relationship, with its stages of blind infatuation, then struggle, and then deeper commitment. On a personal level, there came a point in my marriage where I had been asking that stupid question that all of us married people ask: “When will my spouse ever come around to my views of everything?” and I realized that over the years, I had never asked a really important question (maybe the most important). I asked myself “If my wife never, ever changes in any way that I wish her to change; if she never, ever comes around to my views on everything; can I still commit right now to love her and be a faithful spouse?” I pondered that question deeply, and with all my soul I was able to answer emphatically “Yes!” It was a moment that transformed our marriage relationship for me, and it has been confirmed by personal revelation I have had since then.

And so to those of you who are playing ping-pong between critics and apologists on the Book of Abraham or any other issue, I ask a similar question:

What if there will never be apologetic arguments that answer all of your concerns about historicity of scripture? What if church policies will never fully conform to your worldviews? What if people at church will never rise to your expectations of how they should think and behave?

Plan on those things never happening, ever. Not for me, not for you, and not for anyone else. If you need to take time and grieve that reality, then take time and grieve it.

Now, can you still remain a faithful and committed member of the church? Can you keep your covenants? Can you thrive in the church and the gospel? Can you do these things for the rest of your life, with joy, if none of those hopes and expectations are met?

If your answer is no, then we lovingly respect your decision. We do not condemn you in any way. We sincerely wish you the best, wherever your journey takes you.

If your answer is yes, then there is a good possibility that the reason for your “yes” is that you have experienced God in the context of living the restored gospel and serving in the church.
On Sunday in our Uplift CFM lesson, I told a story of when I was in college and one summer I decided I wanted to do all of my home teaching and not miss a single monthly appointment. I prayed and asked God for help. I did great until the end of the summer, when I called the apartment of a girl I home taught, and her roommate told me she was gone for the rest of that month, on tour with a choir group. My heart sank, because I couldn’t see how my prayer for help to serve with full home teaching that summer could be answered. A couple of weeks later I flew home from Utah to Los Angeles for a visit. Walking through the airport in LA packed with tens of thousands of people, I happened to see the girl who I home taught. Flying around the US in her choir travels, she had a quick layover in LA, right at the same time I was also passing through the airport. I asked her if we could have a quick home teaching visit and she laughed and agreed. She said she considered it a miracle, and I agreed.
Years ago when I was wondering how I could ever be a believing member of the church again, I made a list of those kinds of experiences in the context of the church- my own and those of sober-minded, credible witnesses I personally know. The list numbered 43 experiences, and I have been able to add to it since then.

I think this is what Christ meant when John the Baptist voiced his disillusionment, and Christ told his followers “Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.”

In other words, I think Jesus is saying John, since your youth you have been forming mental models of how the Kingdom is supposed to be. We all have been doing this, me included. And it’s hard to make such fundamental adjustments to mental models that have comforted and sustained us, and transition to reality that is more complex, and sometimes disappointing. But can I ask you to focus on this simple question, of whether the power of God is manifest in what we are doing, right here and now, in the present?
Christ was pointing John in the direction of mindfulness. We don’t ever really have the past- we only have other people’s and our own stories and narratives about it. We also don’t ever really have the future- all we have are our visions of what we hope and expect it will be like. What we really do have, always and forever, is the present. And the very best questions that can be asked about faith are ones that deal with present reality. If you want to understand how best to navigate challenges of historicity or anything else in your religion, then turn to Christ and try to understand how He navigated those things in His religion. If you are patient and humble and willing to study and listen and hold firm commitments, He will tell you these things personally through revelation.
Is the power of God seen in our church service, especially our missionary and temple work? Yes, it is. And this can be verified right here, right now. And knowing that, I personally don’t care whether Joseph Smith derived the Book of Abraham from a missing scroll or from a plate of scrambled eggs. Questions of historicity are interesting, but the reality is there is simply no mental model I can ever form of scripture or church history that will ever be entirely accurate. This is because I didn’t live what those people lived, walk where they walked, and see what they saw. So in the meantime I’m open to considering various theories about scripture and history, but competing theories (especially ones expressed by people hostile to the church where I see God’s hand on a regular basis) will never occupy more than a small fraction of my mental and emotional and spiritual real estate. There are so many more important things to learn and to experience right now.
As Neal A. Maxwell said,

The past of each of us is now inflexible. We need to concentrate on what has been called “the holy present,” for now is sacred; we never really live in the future. The holy gift of life always takes the form of now.

Hanna SeariacHanna Seariac is a MA student in Greek and Latin at Brigham Young University. She is writing a book on the history of the priesthood and another one that responds systematically to anti-LDS literature. She works as a research assistant on a biblical commentary and as a producer on a news show. She values Jesus Christ, family, friends, hiking, baking, and really good ice cream.

The post FAIR Voice Podcast #11: Sunday Special with Robert Boylan appeared first on FairMormon.

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