Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Introduction to Me

Hello, readers. My name is Tania. Forgive my blog name; I have a personal blog and I use a pseudonym there, so when I post, it will be as "Jeje" which is my mission nickname. I thought I would take a moment to introduce myself to all of you before I jump into your discussions. I am a good friend of Allison's from college and am currently a graduate student at Harvard Divinity School working on a Masters in Theological Studies. I'll graduate in June and am currently trying to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life (more school, a real job, etc). Anyway, those are the basics. I'm sure you'll learn more about me as I contribute to conversations.

I do want to throw a discussion topic into the mix, which fits in with the previous post. This weekend I attended a conference at Yale which was for LDS graduate students studying religion. There were probably 50 people there discussing the issues of the field that are unique to LDS students, as well as some of the research that individuals are working on. At one point, the group ended up discussing, in a round-about way, how to react when things you study do not necessarily fit into the doctrine of the Church, or the assumed doctrine of the Church. For example: scholars generally agree that the Book of Isaiah was not all written by Isaiah, but they identify some later chapters written by someone else that they call "Deutero-Isaiah" and they give D-I later dates than Isaiah. Some of these D-I chapters are quoted in the Book of Mormon and there is some question as to whether or not it would have been possible for Lehi to have had access to these writings based on the dates. One scholar at the conference was discussing various theories he has to explain their inclusion in the Book of Mormon. It got me thinking. I realized that I have no problem seeking truth through research and study, and no problem when I can' t always reconcile, logically, the things that I believe. There are many ways of knowing things, all of which are given to us by God. I know the Church is true and that my loyalty is to the Church and the brethren who understand best what we need as a worldwide Church at this period in time. That being said, I am not afraid to ask questions or to have more questions arise in my mind. I know that I can spend an eternity finding answers, and that at some point it will all reconcile. Until then, it is fun to explore so long as I remember where my loyalty ultimately lies and that God is the source of ALL truth.

I look forward to getting to know all of you.


Alexandra said...

Tania, thanks for your example of D-I and the Book of Mormon - I have wondered what issues historical criticism would raise in the Book of Mormon and am interested in studying this further -- are you familiar with what has been written on this subject?

I am really fascinated by the conference for LDS div students -- who organized it, what were some of the issues discussed, were the attendees solely theology students?

What area of theological studies do you focus on?

Haha, clearly I look forward to reading your perspective and getting to know you better!

Courtney said...

Tania, I think you raise an interesting point about questions. Growing up, I was always afraid to ask God questions-- I don't know why, maybe because it felt disrespectful. But over the past four years or so, I have learned that God wants us to ask questions-- that's why we have brains. But I think you are spot on when you say that we need to remember where our loyalties lie. I talked about this with Alexandra recently—D&C 88, all truth is truth is truth, and it all comes from God. I find it so fascinating that truth is light, we are all born with light, Christ is the light and the life, and we all have access to more light and truth and knowledge. God wants us to ask questions and figure it out so we can be more like him. “And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, and which is the same light that quickeneth your understanding” (D&C 88:11). Glory, light, truth, and knowledge are all synonymous when it comes to God. Knowing that makes it easier to be okay with the questions. For me, anyway. It’s understanding where our loyalties lie. I think God is really excited for us to figure things out and ask questions and gain more light and knowledge.
Sorry that was really long. I heard about that conference-- it sounded pretty cool. I also look forward to getting to know you through your posts and what-not.

Jeje said...

Unfortunately I am not terribly familiar with what has been written on source criticism and the Book of Mormon. However, I can almost guarantee that nothing has been published by any group friendly with the Church
The conference was organized by a group of 3 PhD students (from Yale, Harvard and Vanderbilt) as well as Richard Bushman who gave the opening address. Teryl Givens gave the closing address and the rest of the conference consisted of student panels (mostly PhD students) presenting papers on issues relevant to our work or their work. And yes, it was limited to religion students.

I jump all over the place in my studies, but tend to focus on American religious history and have applied for a PhD program at Claremont where they've named a chair in Mormon studies. However, my big issue now is whether or not I reallly want to do the academia thing. I'm not sure it's for me.

Courtney, in D&C 88:66 we discover that truth, light and God's Spirit are the same thing. I find that interesting in light of this discussion as well.