Joseph Smith and a religious litmus test for the American presidency

The original Red Brick Store

  I had to find just the right blade of grass to stand on, and then to remain absolutely motionless, in order to do an interview with KSL Radio's Doug Wright yesterday on the continuing uproar about Ben Carson's remark that a Muslim shouldn't serve as president of the United States. I'm frankly appalled that at least a few Latter-day Saints -- and so closely following Mitt Romney's candidacy! -- seem to favor a religious litmus test for full participation in … [Read more...]

Joseph Smith’s lack of pretense and affectation

One of many depictions

  It was the palpable genuineness of Joseph Smith’s accounts of his experiences that brought the British literary critic and educator Arthur Henry King into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1966. “When I was first brought to read Joseph Smith’s story,” he wrote,I was deeply impressed. I wasn’t inclined to be impressed. As a stylistician, I have spent my life being disinclined to be impressed. So when I read his story, I thought to myself, this is an ext … [Read more...]

“Discovering Joseph Smith’s cave in Miner’s Hill, Manchester, New York”

primitive painting of JS and Moroni Well . . . There seem to me some real problems with the historical sources on this, such as they are.  But I suppose it's not inconceivable that there's some connection to Joseph Smith and, perhaps, to his activities as a treasure-digger.  Maybe. I'll be interested in feedback from historians and other experts out there, and from LDS readers more generally. Feel free to weigh i … [Read more...]

Dinosaurs living in a COLD environment? Hmmmm.

Brontoburgers on the hoof

  Granted, Alaska then wasn't like Alaska now.  But, still, it was scarcely tropical: The notion that some dinosaurs may have been more bird-like, even more mammal-like, than we've long imagined is very interesting.  It's certainly not what I was taught, back in my dinosaur-loving childhood.  Posted f … [Read more...]

Elder Richard G. Scott: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”

The late Elder Scott

   I don't believe that many who knew of him were surprised, and I suspect that he himself was delighted -- he had yearned for his beloved Jeanene for more than twenty years, he's been quite ill for some time, and he was (so I've heard) entirely willing, even eager, to go  -- but it was still sad to hear of the passing of Elder Richard G. Scott: "Elder Richard G. Scott Dies at Age 86" "Elder Scott: The Mind of a Scientist, the Soul of an … [Read more...]

Rising up and calling them blessed

The rebuilt Nauvoo Illinois Temple

   “The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day; but they died without the sight; we are the favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day … [Read more...]

North America’s biggest ancient earthwork structure

The main mound at Cahokia

  This trip represents at least the fourth time that I've driven by Cahokia, not far from St. Louis, without having the time to stop at the site.  I've always been in a hurry to reach somewhere else.  It's becoming a real frustration. I thought I had it worked out for this trip, but factors beyond my control robbed me of my discretionary time at point in the trip where I planned to use it. So this article isn't so much a nice partial substitute as i … [Read more...]

A devious manipulator?

The real Joseph?

  Heber C. Kimball told a story of Joseph’s being reduced to tears at a little girl’s simple faith.  “He was gentle to children,” remembered George Q. Cannon, “and universally won their love.”When Martin Harris lost 116 manuscript pages of the translation. Joseph’s mother recalls his reaction: “‘Oh, my God!’ said Joseph, clinching his hands. ‘All is lost! All is lost! What shall I do? I have sinned—it is I who tempted the wrath of God.’” “He wept and groaned,” she says, … [Read more...]