Israel! Norway! The United Kingdom!

This is probably the last advertisement that I'm going to do for these trips.  For all I know, they may be full, sold out, by now.First, in July, I'm scheduled to lecture on a cruise to the British Isles with a short side trip to France.Then, conveniently right afterwards, I'm scheduled to lecture on a cruise to the Norwegian fjords that departs from the very port where the previous cruise ends.  (Important note:  Notwithstanding the photographs below, the … [Read more...]

Further Thoughts on That BYU Professor, Racism, and His Alleged Explanation for the Priesthood Ban

I've been faulted for being too easy on the BYU professor whose uncomfortably condescending remarks about blacks -- which I condemned in my immediately preceding post -- have created a firestorm of criticism over the past twenty-four hours or so.Permit me to explain myself.Partly, I advise against hasty condemnation because I've been misrepresented in the media myself, on more occasions than I can count, and because I'm not sure that he wasn't.  He is, apparently, now claiming that his … [Read more...]

An Unfortunate Attempt to Explain the Pre-1978 Priesthood Ban

A popular Brigham Young University professor of religion suddenly finds himself at the center of a very unpleasant controversy, and I feel sorry for him.  I'm confident, though I don't know him, that he's a good, well-intentioned man.There are reports that some BYU students are planning to demonstrate or protest against remarks that he made in an interview with the Washington Post.  I hope that this won't happen; I hate to see people pile on him.  If he had consciously done … [Read more...]

Snow in the Book of Mormon?

There's snow outside my window right now, and it's still falling.  I know we need it, but I can't help thinking, rather bitterly, of the fact that my wife is currently in Kauai.  (Of course, I take considerable comfort in the fact that it's been raining by the bucket in Kauai pretty much since she arrived.  Ha ha ha.)  How can things like this happen to a good boy, like me, from southern California?Oh well.Some mysteries are simply unfathomable.But has anybody out there … [Read more...]

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Watching this -- and particularly the final minutes -- makes me want to get my guitar out again and get serious.  But then again, watching this -- and particularly the last minutes -- intimidates me so much that I see little point.I would gladly give up any number of wasted hours doing futile and pointless battle with often ridiculous and unteachable internet critics to be able to play like this.Some out there have heard me mention the film project that Bill Hamblin and I have laughed about … [Read more...]

Joseph Smith and Early Mormon Polygamy

Discovery of Joseph Smith's involvement in plural marriage has tried the faith of more than a few believers in his prophetic claims.  In a number of cases, it has led people altogether out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.That's scarcely surprising; it's a murky matter, and perhaps the most difficult issue in Mormon history.I don't see any good way to turn the beginnings of Mormon plural marriage, as such, into a positive draw for the faith, and it's ridiculously easy to … [Read more...]

(Clandestine) Democrats for Santorum … [Read more...]

On Complaining to the New York Times about an Anti-Mormon Slur

Some have wondered why, being unhappy with New York Times reporter Charles Blow's tweeted mockery of Mitt Romney's religion, I wrote (and encouraged others to write) to the "public editor" of the Times, Arthur Brisbane.Was I trying to get Mr. Blow fired?No, not at all. Somebody was suspended or fired from ESPN last week, I understand, for writing a headline about New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, a Chinese-American, containing the phrase "chink in the armor." I think that was probably … [Read more...]