Saturday, August 17, 2013

A "Mormon Studies" Discussion

Blair Hodges from the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship added a link on Facebook to his post on "A Mormon Studies Blogliography" on the Maxwell Institute's blog. I felt that the post was pretty good overall, but felt it was also problematic in how it portrayed John Gee's discussion of the matter. I certainly do not speak for John Gee; nonetheless, I took the liberty to comment on what I felt was a misconstrued portrayal of Gee's salient points, and offered my own inarticulate interpretation of what John Gee said and what I believe he meant.
I should clarify that I believe my blog's namesake, LDS Studies, to be largely in the same vein as Mormon Studies, in that it comprehends all things 'Mormon.' The distinguishing difference, however, includes the approach as well as the scope of the subject. Mormon Studies is being approached in terms of academic studies, whereas my blog represents a written portion of my personal studies on Mormonism. My scope is limited to whatever I feel is relevant to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the 'only true and living church' with which the Lord is well pleased. Mormon Studies has a scope that seems to be in the process of being defined and seems to be continually evolving. I personally believe that an academic approach from any scientific field that adds knowledge and value to understanding the subject, which is any and all things 'Mormon,' is entirely relevant and appropriate, but this also includes a religiously engaged approach. Some might feel otherwise. I believe this disparity exists because they differentiate between science and religion as though they were opposites, or at least incompatible. I see the two as being somewhat synonymous. Both involve the same processes, just with different tools to measure the results. However, an academic study of religion that excludes attempting to understand the religion consistent with how its adherents understand it, is irresponsible in my opinion.