The siege of Kobane (‘Ayn al-‘Arab)

The area of ‘Ayn al-‘Arab

  The situation changes hour by hour, and I don't know what's happening there right now.  But the situation is dire, and I hope that they get help: In a just world, there would be an independent Kurdistan.   … [Read more...]

“Meet the Mormons,” coming soon

Coming soon I'm frankly curious to see how this is going to go. I can think of all sorts of reasons why it may not succeed, but I suspect that Church leaders have also thought about them.  And I hope it works.   … [Read more...]

Sunni Muslim investments in the fight against ISIS

Saudi Arabia is seriously involved

  The air forces of Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia -- all of them Sunni states -- are participating in the current bombing raids against ISIS in Iraq. I'm quite pleased that among those flying combat missions are a female major and a son of the Saudi crown prince. Whatever one thinks of the current military action -- I myself wonder how any decent person or state could possibly sit back and simply permit the appalling … [Read more...]

“Thinking clearly about archaeology and the Book of Mormon”

Sorenson's City of Nephi, in Guatemala

  My weekly column in the Deseret News, in today's instantiation: It's still early, but preliminary returns suggest that the critics will once again dominate the reader comments.  (The good news:  Think how vastly more vitriolic their responses would be on the website of the Salt Lake Tribune!)  There is no evidence to suggest that any of them … [Read more...]

An Anglican’s view of the mission of “the Church”

semi-aerial view of Bountiful Temple

  "It is so easy to think that the Church has a lot of different objects -- education, building, missions, holding services. . . .  The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs.  If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time.  God became Man for no other purpose.  It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other pur … [Read more...]

“Nice Work If You Can Get It”

Nice Work If You Can Get It

  Just back from seeing Nice Work If You Can Get It at the Capitol Theater in Salt Lake City. Amusing if fluffy, but with a number of famous old songs by George and Ira Gershwin and a lot of good dancing.  (I'm not much for dancing, really -- my wife refuses to waste ballet tickets on me -- but I have to admit that it was good.) We were nearly surrounded by a group of ladies who obviously knew each other and who were having a very good … [Read more...]

2 Nephi 1

Where Noel presides

  With today's reading, 2 Nephi 1, we enter into an entirely different book within the Book of Mormon -- its second. That fact in itself is interesting. No great lapse of time separates the end of 1 Nephi from the beginning of 2 Nephi.  No significant event marks the division.  Indeed, the happenings with which 2 Nephi 1 begins seem to occur on the very same day as those narrated in 1 Nephi 22.  They are, perhaps, only minutes apart.  Many chapters … [Read more...]

Evil on the march

Where is Kobani?

  A few weeks ago, someone described ISIS to me as a "joke," saying that nobody in the Middle East takes them seriously. I don't find this funny:   … [Read more...]