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Mormonism’s Perfect Storm: The Jefferson/Hemings Sealings

Mormonism has been no stranger to controversy this year, but this week's revelation that the LDS Church posthumously sealed former president Thomas Jefferson to his slave and lover, Sally Hemings, is the ultimate trifecta of bad PR. It's a perfect storm of negative press, combining the three top issues that dog Mormons: racism, polygamy (Jefferson is sealed to both Hemings and his legal wife, Martha), and the ethics of performing rituals for the dead. Here, In Heaven as It Is on Earth author Sam Brown reflects on Mormon temple sealings and the genealogical database.
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What Not to Say, Part 3: To Someone Offering You Help

Alison Hodgson concludes her series on What Not to Say by encouraging us to accept help when it's offered and stop pretending we're just fine, thanks. "In the early days after our fire, when I cried, it wasn’t because of what we lost," she writes. "What made me weep was the goodness and extraordinary generosity of so many. The giving was so great and I was so weak, I couldn’t withstand it. And in losing everything, I finally learned to receive."
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Eugene Peterson & the Rebirth of the Religious Imagination

Last Tuesday here at Flunking Sainthood, I featured the first part of a Q&A with one of my favorite religious writers, Eugene Peterson. Today's follow-up explores his writing career more generally, especially his memoir The Pastor. 
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Who Speaks for Mormonism?

A reader's question about the credentials and biases of author Tricia Erickson has prompted a significant question: In this "Mormon Moment," who is entitled speak for Mormonism?
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My Not So Big Faith

My Not So Big Faith, like my Not So Big House, is cozy and sheltering. I know what to expect, and I feel safe here. But David Benner's new book Spirituality and the Awakening Self is challenging me to move beyond my comfort zone to transformation.
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Hosea, Single Dad

The biblical prophet Hosea had one of the Bible's most tender stories of fatherhood, despite parenting in less-than-ideal circumstances.
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What Not to Say, Part 2: When Someone Loses a Home

Alison Hodgson’s home was still smoking when the gifts began pouring in from family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and even total strangers. She counts herself fortunate. But sometimes when people try to help a friend who has lost a home, they wind up doing damage because of the clueless, hurtful things they say.
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“The Hunger Games” Gets Religion

In her new ebook The Hunger Games and the Gospel: Bread, Circuses, and the Kingdom of God, Julie Goss Clawson looks more closely at the Roman world that inspired Suzanne Collins's dystopian universe -- and formed the backdrop of Jesus' ministry. It's available as a digital download for only $4.99 and, at just under a hundred pages, you can probably read it in the time it takes you to wait in line to see the movie on Friday.
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Eugene Peterson Talks about “The Message”

Eugene Peterson rarely does interviews. I have heard that he once turned down the opportunity to hang out with Bono -- Bono! -- because he was busy with a writing deadline. So it's a huge honor that he agreed to talk with me about the new edition of his Bible translation The Message, which has sold millions of copies worldwide. Today he talks about The Message Study Bible, and next Tuesday I'll feature our conversation about his writing career and habits, his recent memoir The Pastor, and his passion for storytelling.
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The Mormon Modesty Police

There’s nothing wrong with modesty; as the parent of a teenage girl, I’m generally for it. But many Mormons are overreacting in a way that concerns me.
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