Baptizing the Imagination

A rural railway station in England

  My Deseret News column for this week went up this morning: Thus far, alas, the comments seem to indicate that I failed utterly to communicate with at least some of my readers.  It can become depressing.  Posted from Park City, Utah    … [Read more...]

Will Shakspere and the Earl of Oxford

A film worth seeing

  My wife and I just watched the movie Anonymous again. I liked it.  I understand that it received mixed reviews from critics, and, quite predictably, the literary establishment panned it. Perhaps they're right.  Unlike Sir Derek Jacobi, who appears at the beginning and the end of the film, I'm not yet a confirmed Oxfordian.  I haven't made a serious study of the topic.  But I'm no longer a confirmed Stratfordian, either.  I've read enough to have a … [Read more...]

Seventeen Centuries of NOTHING?

Augusta Victoria Hospital on the Mount of Olives

  Long ago, when I was studying in Cairo, my new wife and I spent three of our four years there living in a duplex above the pastor of the local nondenominational English-speaking expatriate Protestant church.  We got along well.  He was a good man, and, though he's now retired, he went on, after our time together, to do wonderful humanitarian things elsewhere in the Middle East and beyond -- including supervision of the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem, a pr … [Read more...]

We’re taller today. Any other differences?

Office intrigues aren't usually this romantic.

  A couple of days ago, I finished reading a rather lengthy volume that sat for as long as I can remember on my mother's bookshelves.  Entitled The Last Plantagenets (1962), it's a popular narrative history of the kings of England from the tail end of the reign of Edward III, through a lengthy chronicle of Richard II, followed by accounts of Henry IV, Henry V, both reigns of Henry VI, Edward IV, Edward V, and, right up to his famous defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field, … [Read more...]

A post about cheese and jam

Midway, in the Heber Valley

  My wife and I have driven past Heber Valley Artisan Cheese more times than I can count.  But we've always been in a hurry and have never taken time to stop. This afternoon, though, we did. I've always liked cheese.  Except, of course, for Velveeta.  (But even Velveeta has its uses.  As a base for queso dip, for example, or as bait on a hook.)  And my mission in Switzerland did absolutely nothing to dampen my enthusiasm.   … [Read more...]

A matter of black and white. (But don’t even THINK about translating that into Spanish!)

Maybe you can say "ebony and ivory," instead?

  As part of his military service during the Second World War, my father was sent to study German at the University of Chicago for several months. To ensure that all of the men enrolled in the course actually attended, another solder of some rank or another was assigned to monitor the class.  But he clearly didn't pay much attention to the actual instruction. At the beginning of every session, the instructor would bid the men welcome.  "Guten M … [Read more...]

On Memorial Day

The road goes ever onward

  Visiting the graves of members of my wife's family today, the sobering thought came to me that, once, such visits mostly involved names of people that I had never personally known or, at best, only vaguely remembered. My grandfathers both died before I was born, for example, and both of my grandmothers died when I was five.  My paternal grandmother's Norwegian accent is barely retrievable at the margins of my childhood memories; I'm not sure that I actually … [Read more...]

Books to Build Faith

Moroni buries the plates of the Book of Mormon in what is now known as the Hill Cumorah, near modern Palmyra, New York

  I'm sometimes contacted by people who're experiencing doubts about the claims of Mormonism or whose spouse or father or daughter has lost faith.  I always ask what the specific issues might be, and I then try to address those or to locate colleagues or printed resources that might help resolve their concerns. I think that such efforts are extraordinarily important.  Elder Neal A. Maxwell, for whom the Maxwell Institute was named, was fond of Austin Farrer's p … [Read more...]