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 long since taken on the status of self-evident truths in certain fairly small circles, but the actual evidence for such vicious cruelty and callousness is, to put it mildly, thin.  (And the ironic truth, of what it’s worth, is that not a few of those most given to reciting the mantra of our horrific nastiness are, themselves, routinely and regularly guilty of saying things about me and my associates and the Review that I, at least, would never say, and have never said, about anybody.)


But perhaps the anonymous blogger, who appears to be a Latter-day Saint, is actually upset about “violent language” in such hymns as “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” “Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion” (especially in its original version), and “Hope of Israel, Rise in Might!” and assumes that I wrote them.


For the record, I didn’t.


But on to more pleasant subjects:


It was a bit rainy today here in and around Maria Alm.  Which is fine, because, after many days on the road, we again had to do such mundane things as wash clothes (in a single, very tiny, washing machine) and go grocery shopping, and I had a lot of reading and writing to do.  (This is, actually, work time.)


But what a place to do them!


Here are three iPhone views from our back porch, followed by a little snapshot from our late afternoon stroll through the village:





With such scenery ready to hand, it’s really not necessary to pile into the car and drive anywhere, nor even, for that matter, to walk very far from home.


Maria Alm, Austria.


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  • Eric Stoddard

    You have found a corner of heaven. There is nothing like Switzerland. Nothing.

  • Peter LLC

    There is nothing like Switzerland. Nothing.

    Well, except Austria, where the pictures were taken, and parts of Italy, France and Germany.

  • RG

    Hi Dan,

    Beautiful pictures of Switzerland. I hope you’re finding some way to enjoy your time there.

    I believe this is the offending post you reference:

    Just to be fair, though, examples of violent language are provided and discussed.

  • Bryce Haymond

    In response to some of the arguments that the Maxwell Institute and FARMS have been combative, confrontational, et cetera, et cetera, one of which is the failure to provide substantial examples, I’ve taken note that we are in a battle which needs a real defense. A defense of arguments critical of the Church can sometimes be mischaracterized as an attack. Here is my analogy I posted on my blog.

    Elder Neal A. Maxwell is often quoted as saying that there should be “no uncontested slam dunks.” That implies that there is certainly a “contest” going on, even a game, one in which we are one of the teams. When your opponent brings the ball in your side of the court, the best thing to do if you have any hope of winning the game to is to make a defense, to get your defenders to block the ball, get in their way, steal the ball, even blocking opponents themselves (hopefully without fouls) to send the ball back to the opponent’s side. Your defenders should be at least as capable as the opponent’s offenders, very well skilled and well educated in the game of basketball, if you want to win the game. If your opponent makes a “slam dunk,” you engergize yourself to make a good sportsmanlike offensive reply, which might involve you taking your own offenders, who should be equally skilled, and making your own awesome slam dunk on the opponent’s side. If our best players were engaged mostly in developing the field of soccer strategy outside the arena (a noble field of study), leaving the basketball game inside as only a minor aspect of their interest and output, you can be sure our opponent would have a most fantasticly uncontested game, with many Harlem Globetrotter slam dunks. It would be quite a show! Yes, our players do not play ball games 24 hours a day in the arena, nor should they necessarily get their doctorates in Basketball, but they do spend a lot of their time practicing and playing ball games, even studying the other team’s strategies and tactics. Now, if our players were engaged in consistent harsh fouls, technicals, with the coach being ejected from games, players being suspended, backboards being shattered, taunting or insulting opponents and their fans, and players and fans getting injured, then I would say that is attacking more than playing the game of basketball. We have to be in the game.

  • Chris H.

    The said blogger, blogs using the name SmallAxe. He is LDS. Dan knows darn well that those of us at FPR are LDS.

    SmallAxes is also good looking, charming, and gracious.

  • Mark Jasinski

    Your photos remind me of the North Cascades in Washington. Absolutely beautiful! One of my sons has toured Germany and Austria a number of times with a BYU organ professor performing in out-of-the-way churches.
    Do you ever go into the local churches? He said they are beautiful.
    Best wishes.