One of the more uncomfortable aspects of the "Mormon Moment" for me was seeing LDS scripture deployed against the candidate on whose behalf I chose to exercise my franchise. Wish though I may that the Book of Mormon could be safely sequestered from the sordid world…Continue
Added by Jason A. Kerr on November 16, 2012 at 6:18pm — No Comments
Added by Jason A. Kerr on November 15, 2012 at 4:00am — No Comments
On 7 October, Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, was speaking to reporters outside the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC, where he had just introduced Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry. Taking aim at Perry’s rival for the nomination, Mitt Romney, Jeffress said that Romney,…Continue
Added by Jason A. Kerr on October 12, 2011 at 4:00am — No Comments
For me, 9/11 began with religion: after my clock radio alarm gave me the first hint that something had gone terribly wrong, I knelt by my bed to pray that God would watch over the affected people. Then I went and turned on the TV just in time to see the first tower fall.
Religion remained a persistent element of my day. Like many people, I spent much of 9/11 watching television news. This I did in the company of many of my co-religionists at the LDS Institute of Religion at Arizona…Continue
Added by Jason A. Kerr on September 11, 2011 at 6:01am — No Comments
Added by Jason A. Kerr on April 8, 2011 at 5:02am — No Comments
As the cases of Digby and Smectymnuus illustrate, the Israel/Edom metaphor does not readily admit of middle ground. Indeed, in a famous sermon given on the occasion of a Parliamentary fast day on 23 February 1642, Stephen Marshall (the “SM” in Smectymnuus) argued “that all men are blessed or cursed according as they help or help not the church of God”—an idea leading him to conclude that “the Lord acknowledges no Neuters.” 
Accordingly, Marshall sets…Continue
Added by Jason A. Kerr on April 7, 2011 at 5:00am — No Comments
The invocations of Psalm 137 got uglier when Hall addressed a new tract to Parliament in the wake of the Root and Branch Petition. This tract drew responses from adversaries in his first category, the ones he had condemned to “darke lodgings, and Ellebore.” Prominent among these was a group of ministers—Stephen Marshall, Edmund Calamy, Thomas Young, Matthew Newcomen, and William Spurstowe—writing under the acronym Smectymnuus.
The powerful correlation between the psalm’s…Continue
Added by Jason A. Kerr on April 6, 2011 at 5:04am — No Comments
Like Jacob and Esau after the episode of the pottage, the family relationship of the English Church had gone quite sour by 1640, and this bitterness gave Psalm 137 its potency in the church-government debates. During the 1630s Archbishop Laud and a group of like-minded divines had advanced a “High Church” program of reform that looked a little too Roman Catholic for the tastes of some. In 1637, three vociferous opponents of the Laudian reform, John Bastwick, Henry Burton, and William Prynne,…Continue
Added by Jason A. Kerr on April 5, 2011 at 5:00am — No Comments
7 Remember the children of Edom, O Lord, in the day of Jerusalem: how they said, Down with it, down with it, even to the ground.
8 O daughter of Babylon, wasted with misery: yea, happy shall he be that rewardeth thee, as thou hast served us.
9 Blessed shall hee be that taketh thy children: and throweth them against the stones. 
The sense of glee in the violent conclusion of Psalm 137 is remarkable: the speaker pronounces…Continue
Added by Jason A. Kerr on April 4, 2011 at 5:00am — No Comments
The recent events in Egypt produced many stirring images, among them those of Muslims joining hands so that Coptic Christians could hold Christmas mass unmolested in the wake of a…Continue
Added by Jason A. Kerr on March 6, 2011 at 9:48am — No Comments
In Acts of Faith, Eboo Patel recounts a conversation he had with a Catholic leader who was concerned about the consequences that participation in the Interfaith Youth Core might have for the young people under his care. The leader feared that interfaith dialogue among young people might devolve into an argument about who’s going to heaven and who’s not.
Patel showed great wisdom in…Continue
Added by Jason A. Kerr on February 9, 2011 at 6:00am — No Comments
Some years ago, a new high school was built in my hometown. At the old high school, Mormon students had been permitted to leave campus during the day for religious instruction (“Seminary”) at a small building across the street. With the tacit aim of putting a stop to Seminary, many in the community advocated for the new school to be a “closed campus.” But after the local ministerial association wrote a letter in favor of allowing Seminary to continue on principles of religious liberty, the…Continue
Added by Jason A. Kerr on December 13, 2010 at 7:48am — No Comments
I was recently struck by the realization that a particular chapter in the Book of Mormon seems to demand of its readers an openness to something like inter-religious dialogue. This was an interesting and mildly ironic realization to have, because my fellow missionaries and I in Denmark a little over ten years ago basically agreed that sharing this chapter with people “outside the church” was…Continue
Added by Jason A. Kerr on November 29, 2010 at 3:49pm — No Comments