Our Hands are Clean, Our Hearts are Pure: Are We Too Anal-Retentive to Care for the Poor In his book, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, renowned scholar Marcus J. Borg shares the results of his research on the historical Jesus. He examines the ‘purity system” of the Jewish social world, and contrasts it with revolutionary “politics of compassion” that Jesus taught and practiced. The relevant question for Latter-day Saints is: to what degree (if at all) does adherence to a purity system (such as is taught and practiced within the Church) interfere with the “politics of compassion” and the open social vision that, Borg tells us, were the central concern of Jesus of Nazareth? This paper will explore that question, with perhaps a touch of levity but surely without light-mindedness, as it applies to the behavior and attitudes of the Mormon culture.
Elouise M. Bell, Kathryn Shirts