Allahs Sonne über dem Abendland

Looking to the left from our back patio

  Years ago, perhaps at the very beginning of graduate school, I bought and read a book entitled Allahs Sonne über dem Abendland ("Allah's Sun over the West," or, more literally, "Allah's Sun over the Evening Land"). Much has been written about the demographic decline of Europe (which is far more threatening to the continent than its current economic woes, awful as they are) and there have been several discussions in print about its seemingly impending … [Read more...]



 I understand that, elsewhere on Patheos, there is a blog entry from some anonymous person decrying the "violent language" that the FARMS Review (more recently, albeit briefly, the Mormon Studies Review) allegedly often deployed against its targets under what others, elsewhere, have memorably called my "reign of terror" there. I deny this, and I note that the blogger provides no examples.  I understand that the supposed mean-spiritedness and viciousness of the Review have … [Read more...]

I’m Thankful for Kind Friends, Even the Ones I Don’t Know

 I've long since lost count, but I've received scores and scores of kind, supportive, and sometimes even affectionate notes from a wide range of people regarding The Recent Unpleasantness.  Many have come from friends, but many more from people whom I hardly know and even from complete strangers.  Some have arrived from surprising sources (e.g., ex-Mormons, Evangelical critics, atheists, etc.) and a few from very surprising places (which I won't identify). I've fallen badly … [Read more...]

In the Lands of the High King

A rainy evening in Lauterbrunnen; the yellowish Hotel Staubbach is on the left.

  We left Triesenberg, a mountainous suburb of Vaduz in the Principality of Liechtenstein, on Wednesday, and drove from there to Lauterbrunnen, in the Berner Oberland of Switzerland, where we’ve stayed for multiple times now at the Hotel Staubbach.  I already posted about Lauterbrunnen some time ago on this blog, pronouncing it the most beautiful place on the planet.  (I’d provide a link to that earlier post if I were working with better facilities … [Read more...]

My Name is Emmanuel Goldstein

  In George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston Smith is a low-level member of the Party who works in the Ministry of Truth, or “Minitrue.”  There, his duty is to rewrite history books and old newspapers so that what they say accords with whatever the current Party line happens to be.  (“We have always been at war with Eastasia.”)  The purpose of these activities is to make it impossible for anybody to oppose the Party, just as the purpose of Newspeak—the new … [Read more...]

Of Gratitude, and Its Expression

 Since it has now been publicly announced, I suppose that I can break the self-imposed public silence that I've maintained, with only a couple of minor exceptions, regarding my dismissal as editor of the Mormon Studies Review, published by Brigham Young University's Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, after founding it and directing it for twenty-three years. This will be brief.  I may or may not have other comments on the topic in the future, depending on … [Read more...]

“Latter-day Saint Academics Share Their Testimonies”

 One of my little projects, which I've called "Mormon Scholars Testify," has borne some excellent fruit this week that I didn't have in mind when I launched it: Somewhat condensed versions of five of the entries on "Mormon Scholars Testify" have been published in the "Mormon Times" section of the Deseret News. If you haven't seen them before, please take a look.  If you have, reading them again might be just what your soul needs right … [Read more...]

“Korihor and ‘Social Darwinism’”

Herbert Spencer

 Just calling attention to the latest installment of my weekly Thursday column in the Deseret News, which appeared this morning -- or something like that, in that distant time zone that many of you currently inhabit.  Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland   … [Read more...]