Yes, we gathered at the river.


Along the Provo River


Many years ago, when I was still quite young, my father half-awakened far too early one morning to the sound of a mistakenly set clock radio. The radio was evidently tuned to some sort of Christian radio station, which was playing the old Protestant hymn “Shall We Gather at the River?”:


  1. Shall we gather at the river,
    Where bright angel feet have trod,
    With its crystal tide forever
    Flowing by the throne of God?

    • Refrain:
      Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
      The beautiful, the beautiful river;
      Gather with the saints at the river
      That flows by the throne of God.
  2. On the margin of the river,
    Washing up its silver spray,
    We will talk and worship ever,
    All the happy golden day.
  3. Ere we reach the shining river,
    Lay we every burden down;
    Grace our spirits will deliver,
    And provide a robe and crown.
  4. At the smiling of the river,
    Mirror of the Savior’s face,
    Saints, whom death will never sever,
    Lift their songs of saving grace.
  5. Soon we’ll reach the silver river,
    Soon our pilgrimage will cease;
    Soon our happy hearts will quiver
    With the melody of peace.


My father had been raised a Protestant and, at that time, was still a Protestant, at least nominally.  (He seldom if ever went to any church when I was growing up.) Still very drowsy and not quite sure where he was, he found himself idly wondering if he were dead.  If so, he thought, it wasn’t really all that bad.


He got a kick out of telling us about his experience afterwards.


Last night, members of the board of The Interpreter Foundation, along with spouses and a number of volunteers and friends, gathered by the Provo River to celebrate the first anniversary of the launch of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture. David Bokovoy, an accomplished master of the barbecue grill, had spent the previous day with a friend and colleague smoking various meats, and they laid out a feast of brisket, chicken, ribs, and pulled pork.


We had a great time, and we’re very enthusiastic about this next year.


One of my goals for Interpreter is to make involvement in it fun, as participation in the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies [FARMS] was fun for many years.  (Our board members and volunteers put in a lot of time and effort, and they certainly don’t do it for the money.  In that regard, it was symbolically appropriate that David Bokovoy had to work so hard to help with our birthday party: Dr. Bokovoy was also the author of the article with which Interpreter had been launched precisely a year before.  So his reward was . . . more work.)  Anyway, achieving that goal of making The Interpreter Foundation fun is complicated a bit by the fact that, in contrast to the old FARMS, which was based at and centered on BYU, our editors and contributors are scattered from Hawaii through California and Michigan and Canada and New Mexico and Florida to Ireland and Italy — a wonderful blessing of geographical diversity that, alas, makes getting them together in one place rather difficult.  But we do the best that we can, and the goal remains important to me.


Posted from the banks of the Provo River



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  • RaymondSwenson

    The Interpreter has set out a feast for all of us in the distributed readership. We thank you all. In Japanese, go-chiso-o sama!

  • paul

    Here’s the problem, Daniel: There nothing “ancient” about Mormonism to research – so maybe it’s more about pulled-pork and less about hieroglyphics?

    • DanielPeterson

      Here’s the solution, Paul. There’s plenty that’s ancient about Mormonism. So it was more about hieroglyphics (and lots of other ancient things) than about pulled pork.

      Thanks for playing!