Latter-day Peace Studies presents: Come, Follow Me

Ben Petersen and Shiloh Logan’s long friendship has coalesced around a deeply shared love of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. They’ve spent countless nights together with their families talking about the wonders of hope, love, and peace that come from the gospel of Jesus Christ.  
In these podcasts, we are searching for moments to sit with the Divine. As we contemplate each week’s readings, we look for how we can understand and use the Sermon on the Mount and the atonement of Jesus Christ to more fully understand the greater narratives of the scriptures.

Episode 69: D&C 106-108
Shiloh is joined with guest co-host Christopher Hurtado to discuss modality in terms of the priesthood. Modes are, in a sense, stories that we believe in as real and that we pour our intentionality into to produce experiences. By “story” it is not necessarily to say a “fiction,” but it is a narrative that frames our belief(s) and that we combine with our faith unto action. When we say something as simple as “I am going to go pray to God,” we often do not take into account the richness and complexities of the assumed stories and expectations that go into that short phrase. In that statement is the assumption of what we construct as the “I” (the thinking, acting, believing, and producing thing that is conscious and aware), the assertion that the “I” has intentionality and that that intentionality and hope matters, that there is a “God” (and all of the beliefs, assumptions, expectations, experiences, and thoughts of what that entails), that we are in an important relationship to this “God,” and that this “God” is of a type of entity, being, or thing that cares or is in response to our own intentionality and purpose to have a conversation. Just the simple concept of “prayer” is a rich story full of narratives, experiences, assumptions, and expectations. So, what of “priesthood”? Modality is not the only way to think of priesthood, but it certainly opens a new discussion than what we typically have in recognizing the richness of that conversation and of the sometimes unexamined assumptions and beliefs that we have concerning this part of our religious experience.
Episode 68: D&C 102 – 105
Ben and Shiloh discuss some of the history and context of Zion’s Camp. These were unprecedented times for the early Saints, and there was a lot of uncertainty about the problems in Missouri. Were they to abandon Jackson County entirely? But what of the prophecies of the New Jerusalem there? How would they get their property back? Would they have to fight? Would the law support them? The Missouri governor, Governor Dunklin, was somewhat sympathetic to the Saints and had made certain promises to help them regain their land, but these promises ultimately failed. There was a lot of violent rhetoric and metaphor used by the Saints and church leaders right up to the point of actually committing violence. Their confusion in what the Lord wanted from them is understandable. The Lord commanded that “the redemption of Zion must needs come by power” (D&C 103:15), but the Lord stops short at defining what kind of “power” he means. Was it the power of the sword? Of the law? Of… what? To add to the seeming confusion, the Lord states that his “presence” would be with the Saints “in avenging me of mine enemies” (D&C 103:26), but the Lord stops short at defining what “avenging me of mine enemies” entails. And then something interesting happens: the violent rhetoric turns to divine commands to “sue for peace, not only to the people that have smitten you, but also to all people” (D&C 105:38). How are we to make sense of all of this? Is it possible that the Lord never intended violence at all and that something else entirely was going on? How does the Lord avenge himself of his enemies?