Some years ago, I read Ralph Hancock’s translation of Alain Besançon’s A Century of Horrors: Communism, Nazism, and the Horrors of the Shoah.   I believe it was in that book that I encountered this interesting observation:   Nazism, Besançon wrote (if it was indeed Besançon), had a finite goal.  At least in theory.  Once the Jews and the Gypsies were gone, the Slavs enslaved, and so  on, the perfect Nazi society would essentially have been achieved.  Aryan… Read more

    Today, the incomparable Jeffrey Mark Bradshaw completes two years of service, with his wife, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission.   Thankfully, on top of his responsibilities in Africa, Dr. Bradshaw was able to continue contributing to the work of the Interpreter Foundation, for which he serves as a vice president.  Here is the latest installment in the series of Old Testament “KnoWhys” that he has created for us:   “How Does the Story of… Read more

    A conclusion to the story:   A community of Latter-day Saints now exists in the Holy Land. It is not a community of agriculturalists and canal-builders, as our ancestors had pictured, but a community of scholars, teachers, and students. In a very real sense, I believe it fulfills the dreams and aspirations of the early missionaries who labored so faithfully in the Near East to build outposts of the kingdom of God in that his­toric but tortured land…. Read more

    On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, Brigham Young University’s very significant International Center for Law and Religion Studies (in connection with which I participated in a conference at the law school of the University of Jordan back in April) will be hosting its 2018 Religious Freedom Annual Review:   The theme this year is “Religious Freedom and the Common Good.”   As part of the gathering, I will be chairing a workshop on “Religious Freedom Issues… Read more

    It has been suggested that I re-post the following, since the available places on the tour are evidently going fast.  And, frankly, the Nile cruise ship that we want to use has limited space; if we don’t claim it, somebody else will.  So, if there is anybody out there who’s thinking about signing up for this trip to Egypt, it may be vitally important to get on the list as soon as possible:   From 26 December 2018… Read more

    On and on and on it goes . . .   For some time thereafter, no matter how careful we were, some new and usually rather ridiculous charge would still occasionally surface. One amusing instance of this was the accusation published by an Orthodox Jewish newspaper in both Jerusalem and New York during October 1987 that the nefari­ous Mormons were using their building’s highly visible location to impose a large illuminated cross on the nighttime horizon of Jerus­alem…. Read more

    I taught 1 Samuel 9-17 in my ward’s Gospel Doctrine class today.   Memorable stories.   The account given in 1 Samuel 15 in particular, though, is a very difficult one.  The total annihilation of a people is painful to read about, particularly when the directive to do so is said to have come from God himself.   It’s an issue well worth discussing, but I don’t want to get too deeply into it right now.  Suffice it… Read more

    An interesting and calendar-appropriate article in a non-LDS venue by two professors at Brigham Young University:   “Living Into Fatherhood”   ***   The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is commonly mocked for its supposedly outdated and prudish notions of chastity and sexual self-restraint.  Here’s a relevant reflection from Will and Ariel Durant, written after they had completed ten of the eventual eleven volumes of their Pulitzer-Prize-winning work, The Story of Civilization:   No one man,… Read more

    Perhaps the most serious threat to theistic belief is the problem of evil.  If God exists, and if God is both good and all-powerful, evil is difficult to explain.  Again assuming that he exists and that evil exists, God is either not good or he is not all-powerful.  He either cannot prevent evil or chooses not to do so.  (Perhaps, indeed, he even wills it.)   This is a thorny problem, and I won’t pretend to resolve it… Read more

    More, regarding the construction of the most visible Latter-day Saint landmark in the Middle East:   On 4 March 1987, occupancy permits were issued for the not­ quite-completed center and, on the recommendation of both the Church’s legal staff and its local lawyers, students and faculty immediately moved into the twenty-million-dollar structure. On the eighteenth of May in the following year, President Jeffrey Holland of Brigham Young University signed a forty-nine year lease for the land on which… Read more

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