From time to time, I’ve voiced my profound concern about the toxic character of much public discourse today, about the rampant incivility, particularly where religion and politics are concerned.  It’s seems that it’s not enough to disagree.  Those with whom we disagree must apparently be demonized.  They’re not just wrong, they’re evil.  Depraved.  They don’t merely see things differently, they’re lying.  And they should be shown no quarter, no respect, no civility or common courtesy.   I’m a… Read more

    A bit more about our departed colleague Stephen Robinson:   From BYU Studies:  “Remembering Stephen E. Robinson”   From a former student of his:  “In memoriam: Stephen E. Robinson, 1947-2018”   Here are the two pieces that he published with FARMS:   “Nephi’s ‘Great and Abominable Church'”   This first one is, in my judgment, a very important contribution.   Review of Dan Vogel, ed., The Word of God: Essays on Mormon Scripture. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1990…. Read more

    From the inimitable Stephen Smoot:   “Zelph on the Shelf Just Accidentally Proved that Mormon Stories is a Cult”   ***   The latest incarnation of the biweekly Hamblin/Peterson column has now appeared in the Deseret News:   “Deification in the ‘Conference of the Birds'”   ***   You can now watch a presentation that was given on Mesoamerican ecology and cosmology in the Book of Mormon by Dr. Mark Wright at the Book of Mormon Central 2018 Conference:… Read more

    New, and novel, in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture:   “Joseph Smith’s Universe vs. Some Wonders of Chinese Science Fiction”   I’m continually amazed at the sheer productivity of the Interpreter Foundation.  And there are some intriguing things — even fun things — on the way.   Really.  Please, if you haven’t done so in a while, go onto our main website and spend some time looking around.   ***     Thus far, June has been… Read more

    There are rumors in the air — perhaps they’re better founded than mere rumor, but that’s how I’ve been encountering the idea — that the Supreme Court of the United States will issue a ruling on President Trump’s proposed travel ban very shortly.  So here’s an item that may or may not be prophetic of how that ruling will go:   “Trump’s Travel Ban Is in Trouble at the Supreme Court: Justice Kennedy’s ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case… Read more

    Plowing ahead with the first draft of The Book:   So where do we stand? I think we are in the middle of a process that has been underway for some time but that still has a consider­able distance to go. The Lord is not in the same kind of hurry that we anxious mortals often are. He has time. I think that early Latter- day Saints imagined that the events previous to the Second Coming of the… Read more

    The French Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain (1882-1973), although raised a Protestant, became an agnostic in the course of his schooling.  In 1904, he married the Russian-born Raïssa Oumansoff (1883-1960).  She had been raised a Jew, but had become an atheist.   In 1906, both Jacques and Raïssa converted to Catholicism.  Shortly thereafter, he completed his studies at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) and the University in Heidelberg, in Germany .   Jacques Maritain was a prolific author, writing more than sixty… Read more

    Here’s a nice article in a non-Latter-day-Saint venue about the 2018 “Religious Freedom Annual Review,” sponsored by Brigham Young University’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies, a subdivision within BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School:    “At a religious freedom conference in Utah, a diverse panel explores how to get news media coverage right”   ***   Drawing from that article, I share what Terry Mattingly, the very prominent editor of the online site Get Religion (which is… Read more

    Carrying on with the first draft of my book on the Islam and the Middle East for Latter-day Saints:   At the beginning of this book, I said that we would treat the ques­tion of whether Orson Hyde’s mission to the Near East had been a success. The answer, I think, should by now be completely beyond dispute. It is clear that many portions of Elder Hyde’s inspired prayer have at least begun to be fulfilled. Judah ‘s… Read more

    I spent almost all day yesterday (Wednesday) at the Religious Freedom Annual Review 2018: Religion and the Common Good — the fourth of its kind — sponsored by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University.  It’s a two-day event, and I regret that I can’t be there today, as well.  (I have other obligations, up in Salt Lake City.)   The meetings were well attended, with an impressive array of speakers and participants from, as… Read more

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