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Flunking Sainthood

There’s a thought-provoking blog discussion going on today, where lots of Theobloggers have been asked the question:

Apart from the Bible, what book has most deeply affected your faith life in the past ten years?  And, is there any book that few Christians read, but every Christian should read?

Sara Miles does Dennis Covington’s Salvation on Sand Mountain, a book I also loved, and Beliefnet’s own Amy Julia Becker talks about a Kathleen Norris book I’ve never even heard of (about laundry, no less!). The amazingly cool Tripp Fuller talks about Elizabeth Johnson’s Quest for the Living God. Great suggestions.

Now, I am not a Hermione, and I don’t like reading heavy tomes in the summer. It’s beach weather, people! I am of the mind that great fiction can pretty much teach us all we need to know. So here is what I said:

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Recently my ward’s Gospel Doctrine class tackled the Book of Judges, which the LDS teacher’s manual handles in one tidy lesson, #19.

“Who was Deborah?” asked the teacher.

“A prophetess,” piped up our bishop’s wife, who is probably the best scriptorian in our whole congregation. She knows her Bible cold, and can recount the story of Deborah. Deborah received revelation from God and–what a departure!–actually implemented it, unlike most of the other characters in Judges. She ruled the tribes of Israel righteously for forty years. Oh, and did we mention she is called a female prophet?

“Yes!” said the teacher. He seemed genuinely pleased at the “strong woman” direction of our conversation. It was an excellent class. But as I sat there I wondered how that same lesson was being taught in other wards throughout the Church, because in this case, the lesson manual is more of a hindrance than a help.

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Millions of American Mormons are about to be uprooted from their homes and families, according to reports by the Yakima Herald and the federal government. Many will be unceremoniously murdered. If all goes as planned, Mormons will soon be blotted out from the American landscape.

According to intermountain officials, there are simply too many Mormons for the safety of others.

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What the heck has happened to Saul? Remember how just a few chapters ago he was basically a nice guy, and maybe a little star-struck about suddenly becoming king? He was the guy that went out of his way to chase after a bunch of lost donkeys . . . donkeys that the Bible spends waaaay too much time telling us about since they turn out to be basically irrelevant to the story except for character exposition. Saul was a little taciturn, sure, but he wasn’t a jerk.

How quickly power changes people.

Saul adjusts to the idea of kingship pronto and gets the transition done old school: he finishes off an enemy. Now he’s feeling like a king! His glory days last about three chapters. It’s all downhill from there.

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