Sometimes, I’m just in the mood for a little Hugh Nibley:   A temple, good or bad, is a scale-model of the universe. [I believe] the first mention of the word templum is by Varro, for whom it designates a building specially designed for interpreting signs in the heavens—a sort of observatory where one gets one’s bearings on the universe. “What Is a Temple?” Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 4:357-58   We recognize what is lovely because we have seen it somewhere… Read more

    Pursuing the topic further . . .   Does this mean that the remarkable return of hundreds of thousands of Jews from around the world to Palestine is not, in the fullest sense, the promised gathering? I think it does. Does it mean that it has nothing to do with the gathering? No, I think a positive answer to that question is inconceivable. And the scriptures do not commit us to it. Rather, they clearly teach that unbelieving—that… Read more

    Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Council of the Twelve and his wife, Sister Ruth L. Renlund, offered a very helpful parable at a 12 June 2018 broadcast for seminary and institute instructors.  I commend it to your attention:   “Help Doubting Students Choose to “Be Believing,” Elder Renlund Tells Seminary and Institute Teachers”   Have you noticed, by the way, how often Sister Wendy Watson Nelson has been speaking along with her husband, President Russell M. Nelson?  And… Read more

    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

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