In C. S. Lewis’s Hometown

  After docking at Belfast, we met our driver/guide and headed out of the city to the Antrim Road.  It runs right along the coast of the Irish Sea and is strikingly scenic, with bays and green hillsides studded with sheep and little seaside villages. The weather was beautiful.  All of the meteorological reports we heard in London a week or so ago were gloomy.  Record rains.  Floods.  Cold.  But it’s actually been pretty nice, at least where we’ve been, and today was … [Read more...]

In England’s Green and Pleasant Land

  We docked at Liverpool yesterday morning, and met our English Latter-day Saint guide, Peter Fagg, on the docks.  (He and his family run LDS bookstores situated by both the Preston and London Temples, and – I’ll say this upfront – he is a superb guide.  Very personable and very knowledgeable.)  Then we drove to Preston. Preston is where the first Latter-day Saint missionaries to England began their work, coming from Liverpool.  Led by Heber C. Kimball – Orson Hyde … [Read more...]

The Dubliners

 We docked yesterday morning at Dublin and took a tour of the city and some of its environs.  We drove out to Castletown House, a massive Georgian estate from the early 1700s, and took a guided walking tour through it.  It was striking to see a bust of George Washington there, dating to roughly the period of his death.  Clearly, this wasn’t a pro-British family; instead, they favored Irish independence.  I suppose they saw a kindred spirit in Washington. We drove past the bu … [Read more...]

On the Emerald Isle

  This morning, we put in at Cobh, Ireland, and spent the day traveling the area around it. We saw Charles Fort, near Kinsale, and strolled around the town of Kinsale itself.  We visited St. Multose Church there (built by the Normans in roughly 1190 AD), where Prince Rupert, whose fleet lay at anchor in the bay before the town, proclaimed Charles II king when he learned that Oliver Cromwell had just beheaded his uncle, Charles I. We drove through the … [Read more...]

En Route, By Boat

Locals see a baboon confronting a camel looking out to sea at this point on Guernsey's rugged coast.

  Those of the group who had congregated there left London yesterday, driving down to Southampton.  I sat up with the driver for most of the way, and he was a talker.  He told, for example, of surprising a burglar in his home four years ago, sneaking up behind him with a can of gas, drenching him, and holding a match near him while calling the police.  They criticized his unconventional methods, he said. He’s not overly fond of the Arabs and other foreigners who … [Read more...]

More Falsehoods

  The myth about me, my sudden termination as editor of the Mormon Studies Review, and the notorious much-discussed-but-as-yet-unpublished “hit piece” on John Dehlin continues to grow, with new “facts” being added to the narrative even at this relatively late juncture.  Since they’re false, and since they’re the sort of “facts” that could materially influence evaluations of me and of what happened, I think, once again, that I need to publicly contradict them.  They shouldn’t be … [Read more...]

Catching Up

Westminster Abbey

  I spent as much time as I could yesterday morning and very early afternoon -- we had late checkout arranged -- preparing for the lectures I'm to give on board this cruise around the United Kingdom, which commences on Sunday.  I had meant to be better prepared by now, but . . . well, it was hard to get into the mood after recent events, and I've had to answer scores and scores and scores of emails.  (And I still have plenty that I haven't answered.) But the time f … [Read more...]

Five Pieces on Current Movies

  My youngest son has evidently been scribbling away during the past week or so.  Here are five recent offerings in the Deseret News: "Even Earth's Mightiest Heroes Couldn't Save the Second Quarter of 2012" "Spider-Man is Turning 50" "'The Amazing Spider-Man' is a Fantastic Update to the Franchise" "'Chasing UFOs' is Entertaining but Not Very Scientific" "Pixar Filmmaking a Process of Alchemy, Says 'Brave' … [Read more...]