A first report on Wednesday evening’s gala event

  The evening event was held in the auditorium of the Joseph Smith Building at Brigham Young University(Wikimedia Commons public domain)   We had a remarkable evening at the “Chiasmus Jubilee” on Wednesday night.  Interesting video presentations, wonderful music, and important remarks by Elder Kim B. Clark of the Seventy, who also serves as Church Commissioner of Education, and by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve, as well as by visiting scholars (including... Read more

Some notes toward an essay on the resurrection of Jesus

  The Garden Tomb is one of the two most popular proposed locations for the burial and resurrection of Jesus.  (Wikimedia Commons public domain photo)   Helmut Koester writes that the appearances of Jesus “cannot very well be questioned.”[1]  “We can say with complete certainty,” writes the agnostic New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman, “that some of his disciples at some later time insisted that he soon appeared to them. . . .  Historians, of course, have... Read more

Out of the ancient Near East

  Three fragments of the Epic of Gilgamesh, housed at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago  (Wikimedia CC)   I’m writing from the floor of the ongoing conference on chiasmus here at Brigham Young University.  Thus far, we’ve heard from Gary Rendsburg, Steven Scott, and BYU’s own Jack Welch.  It’s all been Middle Eastern, whether the Epic of Gilgamesh or biblical.  But now for something completely different:  We’re currently listening to Professor Kerry Hull... Read more

“Black Mormons applaud as LDS Church condemns white supremacy as ‘morally wrong and sinful’”

  A photograph of the heroic early Latter-day Saint Jane Manning James (1822-1908); Wikimedia CC   I posted last night about the updated statement from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and attendant issues:   “Church Issues Statement on Situation in Charlottesville, Virginia”   Although almost everybody is happy about this statement, there are at least one or two exceptions.   Here’s some follow-up material:   “Black... Read more

“Church Issues Statement on Situation in Charlottesville, Virginia”

  Weekend violence in Charlottesville (Wikimedia CC public domain photo)Thomas Jefferson, who used to live in Charlottesville and whose beloved University of Virginia is located in the city, was, notoriously and regrettably, a slaveholder. But I have a very difficult time imagining that Mr. Jefferson would have felt much sympathy for American Nazis. On any level.   In response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement... Read more

Was Robert E. Lee a traitor?

  Robert E. Lee surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant on Appomattox Courthouse on 9 April 1865(Wikimedia Commons public domain)   In the wake of my comments about the disgusting emergence of at least a few apparent neo-Nazi Mormons, a new but minor controversy has arisen:  It seems that I was too kind to the memory of General Robert E. Lee.   After all, he was fighting for slavery, was he not?  And isn’t slavery immoral and evil?... Read more

Chiasmus and related matters

  The Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple (LDS.org)   Here are two recent posts from Book of Mormon Central that are connected with the Chiasmus Jubilee that begins tomorrow (Tuesday) morning on the campus of Brigham Young University:   “What Can We Learn from 10 of the Best Chiasms in the Book of Mormon? Part 1”   “What Can We Learn from 10 of the Best Chiasms in the Book of Mormon? Part 2”   I’m chairing the... Read more

Now, you can read the monstrous horror for yourself!

  How some evidently visualize my 4 August 2017 remarks to the annual FairMormon conference(Wikimedia Commons public domain)   Well, the pseudonymous and anonymous reviews of my 2017 FairMormon remarks are in:   I offer a selection of them from a couple of hostile message boards that I watch fairly regularly.  I find these two boards curiously fascinating.   Their focus has been on my first few sentences, because those are the sentences that begin the... Read more

“I am a child of Earth and starry Heaven”

  Vincent Van Gogh, “The Starry Night”     (Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)   The stars may be light years away from us and apparently wholly distinct from us — and yet we’re deeply connected with them.  They create the material out of which we’re made.  They’re our ancestors.  And we’re their children.  Star children.   Stars shine for millions, even billions, of years, but they’re not eternal.  They’re mortal.  When they’ve used up their supply of fuel,... Read more

Islam and Mormonism: Some Similarities and Differences

    Putrajaya Mosque, Malaysia  (Photograph by Nazir Amin, Wikimedia Commons   A few notes that I threw together quite a few years ago.  Comments welcomed:     Similarities   Both religions worship the same deity.  Allah is related to the word Elohim.  Allah is simply the Arabic word for “God,” and is the term used in the Christian Arabic Bible as well as the Arabic Book of Mormon and other Latter-day Saint materials.  [Incidentally because it... Read more