New scholarship coming to Mormon lessons, but will instructors really teach it?

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tags: religion, Mormon, LDS



For more than a century, Mormons have been telling a straightforward story of their movement's miraculous founding, prophetic leadership and heroic believers.

During the past few years, however, they have been confronted with a dramatic, almost revolutionary, retelling, with fresh details, context and examples of human foibles fleshing out — and sometimes debunking — the familiar facts they have always believed.

By these new accounts — spelled out in 11 scholarly essays posted on the church's website — the first LDS prophet, Joseph Smith, used a "seer stone" in a hat, not gold plates on the table, to translate the Book of Mormon, the faith's signature scripture. The church's long-standing ban on blacks in the priesthood was born more from societal racism than divine revelation. Plural marriage was messier and more painful than the typical tale of jealousy-free "sister" wives.

Beginning in January, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints embark on a yearlong study of their history, the task will be to bring this retelling to the rank and file without undermining their faith in the story's fundamentals.

It will be complicated. ...




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