Author Archives: chadlawrencenielsen

The End of the Jedi?

“I only know one truth: It’s time for the Jedi to end.” [1] The recently-released Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi trailer ended with Luke saying the quote shown above. With the movie yet to be released, we don’t know for sure what he means: Perhaps it’s a stance he takes at the start of […]

Damned Rascals and the Constitution: The Paradox of Mormon Attitudes Towards Government

The attitude of Mormons towards government is paradoxical. Mormonism has beliefs that encourage support for governments, yet also a history of conflict with the United States Government. In addition, there are some Mormon doctrines that deemphasize the need for government that are held in tension with pro-government beliefs. This tension was manifested in nineteenth century […]

The Significance of the First Vision

The First Vision taught and confirmed many of the most significant and distinct truths of the Restoration to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Today, the First Vision is one of the most fundamental aspects of Mormonism’s story—an event beaten only in significance by the events of Jesus the Christ’s life and Atonement. It has not always […]

Any Opposed?

Within the corpus of J. Golden Kimball folklore, there is a story of the salty seventy getting bored during a long list of sustaining officers at a stake conference somewhere south of Provo. Noticing that most of the congregation was nodding off or had fallen asleep while mechanically raising their hands for every name read, […]

A Cloud and Smoke by Day, and the Shining of a Flaming Fire by Night: A History of the LDS Ogden Temple

“The Old Boss would never take wagons over such a d____d trail,” Orrin Porter Rockwell stated, looking at the narrow, rocky Weber Canyon.[1] A few days beforehand, on 10 July 1847, the Vanguard Pioneer Company of the Mormons was visited in the evening by a mountain man named Miles Goodyear. This man had established a […]

The Grand Fundamental Principles of Mormonism, Part 2: Truth Seeking

From time to time during Joseph Smith’s prophetic career, he tried to summarize and define Mormonism. Beginning with the “articles and covenants” that comprises Doctrine and Covenants 20 in the current edition, followed by the Lectures on Faith, and the Articles of Faith, these attempts each failed in turn to capture the faith’s essence for […]

The Grand Fundamental Principles of Mormonism, Part 1: Friendship

In all the recorded sermons and writings of Joseph Smith, Jr. available to us today, only two principles were ever given the lofty title of being a “grand, fundamental principle of Mormonism.” If taken as the pillars of Mormonism, these principles could be considered the definitive essence of Mormonism, comparable to the “Five Pillars” of […]