Mormons Reflect on New Brigham Young Biography

Over at Times and Seasons, a Mormon blog, Julie Smith reviews the new book, Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet by John G. Turner. Smith writes:

I have serious reservations about recommending it to the average church member; if you need your prophet to be larger than life, or even just better than the average bear, this book is not for you.  I think there is a substantial risk that people raised on hagiographic, presentist images of prophets would have their testimonies rocked, if not shattered, by this book. Perhaps this is just an idiosyncratic reaction, but I felt an increased appreciation for Joseph Smith, David O. McKay, and Spencer W. Kimball after reading their biographies.  I can’t say the same for Brigham Young; I liked him–and respected him–less.  Much less.

She says that Young did “…some deeply creepy stuff” and lists:

Dubious financial practices?  Check (page 52). Knife fights in the temple?  Check (page 53). Making false statements?  Check (pages 59, 76, and 153).  Polyandry?  Check (pages 94, 136, 376).  Lying about polygamy?  Check (page 97). Extra-judicial violence, killing, and castration?  Check (pages 122, 186, 188, 259, 285).  Racism?  Check (pages 124, 218, 222, 362). Sexist language?  Check (page 158). Secretly ordaining his pre-teen sons as apostles?  Check (page 382). Violent rhetoric?  Check (page 349 and 350).  Foul language?  Check (pages 173, 305, and 320).  Blood atonement?  Check (pages 186 and 258). False prophecies?  Check (page 197). Paying bribes?  Check (page 369).  Major hypocrisy?  Check (page 400).  Members of the Quorum of the Twelve questioning his use of church funds and his doctrinal teachings?  Check (page 410).  (Irrelevant side note:  I don’t know why people act as if polyandry is somehow worse than polygamy;  I think they are just being sexist and don’t even realize it.)

The Sin of Journalism

Rod Dreher said this on his blog today concerning the Benedict Groeschel scandal:

EWTN and the newspaper it publishes has made John Burger, now jobless, suffer for committing the sin of journalism. At the Register, the truth won’t set you free; it’ll cost you your job. See, this is part of the reason why so many talented men and women of faith stay away from church-affiliated news and entertainment media. People who run churches and church organizations often don’t understand what communications (journalism, filmmaking, etc.) is. They think it’s all supposed to be publicity, and so they guarantee mediocrity, and ultimately the discouragement of talented people — artists and journalists — who have good and useful talents to give to the whole church.

How true does this ring in light of the Anglican Autumn? Christian denominations almost always have newsletters and they are almost always fluff piece propaganda. They serve a purpose, but it sure isn’t journalism. That’s one reason why the powers that be can’t stand blogs. They hate any channel of communication that they can’t control.

The Apostles in Jerusalem

Adolf Von Harnack mentions a tradition that the Apostles spent twelve years in Jerusalem after the Ascension based on a command from Jesus. He writes:

…for in the Acta Petri cum Simone, 5, and in Apollonius (in Eus. H.E., v.18.14), the word (here also a word of the Lord) runs that the apostles were to remain for twelve years at Jerusalem, without any mention of the exodus …. Twelve (or eleven) years after the resurrection is a period which is also fixed by other sources (see von Dobschutz in Texte u. Unters., XI.i. p.53 f.); indeed it underlies the later calculation of the year when Peter died (30+12+25=67 A.D.).

Von Harnack was referencing The Acts of Peter, an apocryphal book, which says:

V. And as they prayed and fasted, God was already teaching Peter at Jerusalem of that which should come to pass. For whereas the twelve years which the Lord Christ had enjoined upon him were fulfilled, he showed him a vision after this manner, saying unto him…

This tradition is also mentioned by Eusebius in his Church History V.18.14:

He [Apollonius] speaks, moreover, of a tradition that the Savior commanded his apostles not to depart from Jerusalem for twelve years. He uses testimonies also from the Revelation of John, and he relates that a dead man had, through the Divine power, been raised by John himself in Ephesus. He also adds other things by which he fully and abundantly exposes the error of the heresy of which we have been speaking. These are the matters recorded by Apollonius.

Donlon’s Parish on AMiA / Ghana Relations

The newsletter of Father Kevin Donlon‘s Church of the Resurrection reports the following about theAM:

The AMIA is now a Missionary Society of approximately 80 parishes.

This is the first time I have seen a number of parishes in recent memory. It seems to be on the high side, but maybe it is right.

Bishop Edmund of Dunkwa on-Offin in Ghana has accepted David [Brookman]. Hopefully he will be ordained in January during Bishop Edmund’s visit. Fr. James Kennaugh has already been given canonical license by Bishop Edmund.

Fr. Kevin discussed the needs of the new Ghana diocese.

I wonder what the relationship of Bishop Edmund and FCA / GAFCON is? The newsletter also gives this biography for the Bishop:

Meet Bishop Edmund of The Diocese of Dunkwa on Offin,

Anglican Province of West Africa, Ghana

Profile of the Diocesan Bishop -Rt. Rev’d Edmund Dawson- Ahmoah

First Diocesan Bishop of Dunkwa-On-Offin

Length of years in Ministry: 29 years(31st July,1983)

Deacon: 26th September, 1982 – Priest: 31st July, 1983

WORK EXPERIENCE:

PAROCHIAL

1979 – NOVICIATE – Order of Holy Cross-Bolahun,Liberia

1983 –Curate – St Cyprian’s Cathedral, Kumasi

-Priest-in-Charge – St. Mary’s Chirapatre,Kumasi

-Chaplain – Anglican Society-UST(Now Thomas Crammer Anglican Church)

1985- Parish Priest – St. Mary’s Anglican church ,Fumesua and Outstsations

Kwamo’Ejisu,Konongo Odumase,Bonwire)

October 1986- Parish Priest

St. Paul Anglican Church, North Suntreso,Kumasi – Priest in Charge

St Luke’s Anglican Church,Tanoso,Kumasi

St. Francis Anglican Church,Ohwimase,Kumasi -.Priest in Charge

St Christopher Anglican Church,Garrison-Barracks,Kumasi

January 1997- Precentor of the Cathedral

St. Cyprian,s Anglican Church,Kumasi

June 1999- Archdeacon of Kumasi (last Archdeacon of Kumasi)

Parish Priest – St Anne’s Anglican Church-Kumasi and outstations

Antoa,Apagya,Offinso,Tafo/Pankrono,Suame/Maakro

August 2004- Archdeacon of Manhyia(First Archdeacon of Manhyia)

October 2006- Archdeacon of Mampong-Ashanti

August 2008- Suffragan Bishop of Cape Coast

December 2010-First Diocesan Bishop of Diocese of Dunkwa-on-Offin

What happened to the Congo is anyone’s guess.

Leithart on Americanism

There is an excellent interview with Peter Leithart over here today. I have to get his new book as soon as I can. Here is an excerpt:

Trevin Wax: You describe the U.S. as a post-Christendom Christian nation. What do you mean by this description?

Peter Leithart: Christendom was a political system that officially subordinated political power to the purposes of God’s kingdom. In practice, Christendom was full of injustices and evil, but in theory it was a political system where theological convictions concerning salvation, the church, the Eucharist, and the future provided the framework for political life.

By the time the first English colonists settled in new England, that order had already collapsed in Europe because of the fracturing of the church at the Reformation. Even though the settlers wanted to establish a Christian polity, it was a new start. Unlike Europe, America has no memory of medieval Christendom – no cathedrals or monasteries or castles – and we never have. From the beginning, America was “post-Christendom” in that sense.

When we get to the late 18th century, we are again in a different cultural world. The American Founders were not trying to shape a political system within the political framework of Christendom. As secularists often point out, there are virtually no references to Christianity in the American Constitution. Even though most of the founders are Christians, their political outlook isn’t forged by the convictions of Christendom.

America is unthinkable apart from Christianity and Christendom; but our polity represents a fairly radical break from the Christian tradition. Oliver O’Donovan captures this when he says that the First Amendment marks the end of Christendom. We are a polity where the church is no longer recognized as having a central and essential public role.

Glenn Beck and Cleon Skousen

The inimitable Aaron Wolf has a good post up about Mormonism and America. Excerpt:

And yet everything about this America-is-God’s-country ideology is Mormon to the core.  It serves as the false foundation of a religion that finds the center of human history not in the Incarnation, Cross, and Resurrection of Christ but in “another revelation of Jesus Christ” in the terrestrial “promised land” on which we stand.  It is Manichaean, declaring our external enemies evil and ourselves good, locating wickedness not in the hearts of sinful men but in the foes of a human government that will wither as the grass.  It is the religion of America—not the real, historical America, but the America of myth and fantasy.

“If we do these things,” Beck preached, “we will heal our nation.”  The phrase is reminiscent of 2 Chronicles 7:14, so often cited at rallies on the National Day of Prayer.  If my people, which are called by my name, shall . . . return to limited government (no. 19)?  Operate according to the will of the majority (no. 20)?  Be debt-free (no. 27)?  The assumption here is that Americans, like the Israelites of old, are uniquely “my [God’s] people.”  And that it is not “I the Lord” but “We the gods” who can “heal their land.”