Making Aliyah


After  spending five extra hours sitting on the airplane at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport while mechanics tried to fix a mechanical problem, we finally got off the ground.  Unfortunately, it cost me and my wife a planned dinner with a Palestinian friend and his wife and kids.  But that can, perhaps, be rescheduled.We're back in Jerusalem again, just a month after last leaving it.  But the power of this place, the city par excellence of the ancient prophets, doesn't stale.For years no … [Read more...]

Whining, Followed by Something Good


 As I think I've made pretty obvious, I hate to fly.  Yet I do it a lot.  In fact, I've just disembarked from a multi-hour flight, and I'm about to board an even longer one.Yet, especially when I'm flying domestically, I think about the Mormon pioneers and, for that matter, about all nineteenth-century pioneers.I doubt that they would be overly sympathetic to my plaintive whining about having to spend 4-5 whole hours -- in a middle seat, no less! -- crossing the continent w … [Read more...]

An Attempted Bribe?

Rev. Jeremiah Wright

 I continue to be curious.Why isn't this story worthy of at least some press attention?Edward Klein, former editor in chief of the New York Times Magazine and former foreign editor of Newsweek, isn't an obvious partisan hack.If this story involved Mitt Romney, or even some generic Republican, wouldn't the mainstream media be looking under every stone to investigate if not confirm it? Posted from Salt Lake City.   … [Read more...]

Christopher Fry, Thomas Stearns Eliot, and Thomas Becket


 Still practicing on this here new-fangled blog thang.Is anybody out there familiar with the verse dramas of Christopher Fry?I read several of them back in the 1960s or 1970s, and I seem to recall that I liked them.  Or maybe I just thought that I should.  I don't remember much about them.I was and am, though, a confirmed fan of T. S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral.  (It's possible that I'll be visiting Canterbury Cathedral again in a few weeks, and, if I do, it will be … [Read more...]

Savonarola is My Middle Name

Activities night in the singles ward where I recently served as bishop, from a ward member's sketchbook (done while his fingers still worked)

 My latest Deseret News column appeared this morning, as it has every Thursday morning for something on the order of 2.5 years now.The reaction to it of some of my more fevered critics has been fascinating, as they've vied with each other in accusations against me of McCarthyism, calling for a witch hunt, and trying to launch a new Inquisition.  One of them, going for the gold, ponders aloud why the leadership of the Church hasn't yet disciplined me for my many gross offenses … [Read more...]

This is a Test. This Is Only a Test. Do Not Panic

I seldom lost.

I want to see whether I can really do this.Here, for example, is a photo of me, back in my days as a competitive charioteer:And here is a link to a little thing that I wrote a while back, under a Slavic-sounding pseudonym: that link live?  … [Read more...]

On the Road Again

An old portrait of me, by Sandro Botticelli

I'm shortly to head out the door for a lengthy and rather frenetic trip to the Middle East and Europe.  (For those thinking of robbing my house: It won't be empty.  It will even be hosting an undisclosed number of dogs.  Note the plural.)This is the time -- after very little sleep, trying desperately to tie up loose ends on a host of articles and projects -- when I wonder "Why on earth do I do this?"It happens every time.I know, though, that things will be better once I'm ac … [Read more...]

Religion and Politics


As should be obvious by now -- not least because I've expressly said it several times -- I have very strong and deep interests in both religion and politics.  Have had since I was a teenager.  (Curiously, I think the political interest came a bit earlier, even in my pre-teens, though I now think the religious interest is by far the more fundamental, both intrinsically and in me.)I sometimes hear it said that one should never lose a friend over either religion or politics.  To which I re … [Read more...]