Two passages from a rough manuscript:   Jedediah M. Grant, a counselor to Brigham Young in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had lost his four-month-old daughter Margaret to cholera during the pioneer trek westward to the Great Basin of the Salt Lake on 2 September 1847.  She had to be buried in mud, without a coffin.  His wife, Margaret’s twenty-eight-year-old mother Caroline, died of the same disease on the Bear River,… Read more

    Well, FreedomFest 2018 is complete.  (I’ll make my final report on Monday, most likely.)  And I’ve enjoyed it immensely.  I hope that a few of you will have the chance, someday, to attend one of these.   That said, I have to say that, for me, the fascinating economic and political issues discussed here don’t, as it were, reach all the way down.  That is to say that, again for me, economics and politics don’t satisfy.  The generation… Read more

    I share a note from one of my still-incomplete book manuscripts:   In accounts of near-death and out-of-body experiences collected from Pacific island cultures, tunnels as such do not occur, but subterranean passages do.  Such reports suggest that, while the specific concept of a “tunnel” may not be cross-cultural—narrators from simple, preindustrial cultures unfamiliar with tunnels are unlikely to use such terminology—but that a transitional period of darkness may nonetheless be.[1]  (The “long golden corridor” mentioned in the… Read more

    This morning, I attended a panel chaired by Matt Kibbe, author of (among other things) the delightfully-titled 2014 book Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto.  The panel was named “Republicans Gone Wild: Reaching the Liberty-Curious Generation,” and it included Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) — of whom most Utahns, I think, would have been very, very proud today.  All three were quite willing to be critical of… Read more

    Some notes for The Book:   Christianity arrived in what is today known as Turkey very early.  The apostle Paul was born within the borders of modern Turkey, as was Timothy, his traveling companion and the recipient of some of his canonized epistles.  Later, Paul made the port city of Ephesus his missionary headquarters for a number of years.  St. Polycarp of Smyrna (modern Izmir), one of the so-called “apostolic fathers,” lived out his long life in Turkey,… Read more

    Earlier today, I attended a panel that included such figures as John Mackey (of Whole Foods Market) and Steve Forbes (of Forbes Magazine).  It was something like the television show Shark Tank.  Six entrepreneurs made presentations to them and, in the end, one of those entrepreneurs was chosen to receive $100K.  (There were two runners-up, but I don’t know how much they received, or whether they received anything at all.)   Thereafter, I watched a debate between the… Read more

    From Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:   “Thus, at a time when religious differences were often the cause of intolerance and violence, the Prophet Joseph Smith proclaimed toleration and equal rights for all faiths. He said: The Saints can testify whether I am willing to lay down my life for my brethren. If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to… Read more

    Continuing with a passage from a rough manuscript-in-progress:   One of Osis and Haraldsson’s physician-respondents told of an engineer in his fifties, stricken with coronary thrombosis: He saw a “bearded man” standing at the opening to a long golden corridor.  He was shaking his head and motioning him to go back, [and] said:  “Not now, later.”  This made the patient very happy.  He said I [the doctor] need not give him medicine anymore:  “I am not wanted up… Read more

    “Philosophise this – psychology research by philosophers is robust and replicates better than other areas of psychology”   ***   “The fate of giant planets depends on where they grow up: The more crowded and chaotic their initial environment, the more likely they are to move out.”   ***   “Our Postmodern World: Science Is Political And Non-PhDs Are Scientists”   ***   “Earthquake Reveals 12th-Century Temple Hidden Within Aztec Pyramid: The structure, which lay buried beneath two Aztec temples for centuries,… Read more

    The latest installment of my now (alas) biweekly column in the Deseret News appeared fairly early on Thursday, though I’m now behind:   “Faith, water, food and air”   ***   An interview with Dana Pike regarding “Israel’s Kings” is now up on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:   Israel’s Kings with Dana M. Pike   ***   Is everybody aware of the Interpreter Foundation’s Gospel Doctrine Resource Index?  It’s intended for all teachers and students in… Read more

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