I love English place names

    I bought a book on English place names during a prior trip to England when we were in the Midlands, and it has given me a great deal of pleasure.  I mean, how can you possibly top village names like Upper Piddle and Lower Piddle?  Or Lickey End?  Or Letch Lane?  (Is that Lois’s disreputable [Read More…]

“How Brexit shattered progressives’ dearest illusions,” and some spontaneous reflections on wider issues

    A very perceptive piece by Damon Linker about the recent referendum in the United Kingdom:   http://theweek.com/articles/632380/how-brexit-shattered-progressives-dearest-illusions   I was struck the other day by the British journalist David Goodhart’s distinction in the debate over Britain’s relationship to the European Union — which I saw cited here — between what he called “somewhere people” and [Read More…]

A photo essay about the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, with a bonus gift

    Thanks to Kyle Pratt for bringing this very good photo essay to my attention:   http://ldsmag.com/article-1-14541/   And, while I’m at it, here’s an extremely interesting article on “What Newspapers in the 1800s Said About the Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum.”   Posted from Brockwood Hall, Cumbria, England       [Read more…]

Two items on Islam

      I’ve recently had several people ask me what I might recommend to them, so that they can learn more about Islam.  There are lots and lots of good books, but I can at least identify these two items, one a book and one a recorded lecture-set, as not being the absolutely worst things [Read More…]

BOM Alma 39

    One little point about today’s reading, Alma 39:   I’m struck by the name Isabel, which may point to the roots of the Book of Mormon in an ancient text with Near Eastern connections, as follows:   The Jezebel [אִיזֶבֶל / אִיזָבֶל] of 1 Kings in the Old Testament has long given that name a bad reputation — [Read More…]

“Joseph Smith, a True Martyr”

    It’s not uncommon for anti-Mormons to acknowledge that Joseph and Hyrum Smith shouldn’t have been murdered by a mob but then, in the very next breath, to deny that they were martyrs.  After all, didn’t they have smuggled guns with them in Carthage Jail?  And didn’t they fire back at their attackers, killing [Read More…]

“Science and Our Search for Truth”

    This new article in the New Era, the Church’s magazine for young people, is, I think, a rather important statement that’s well worth consideration:   https://www.lds.org/new-era/2016/07/science-and-our-search-for-truth?lang=eng   And it’s made even better than it would otherwise be by the inclusion of someone from Mormon Scholars Testify who also happens to have published books entitled The [Read More…]

Three passages from John Ruskin

    John Ruskin was the foremost art critic of Victorian England, as well as a watercolorist, social thinker, and essayist.  He was enormously influential in his day, and continues to be read today.  Born in London in 1819, he traveled extensively on the European continent and taught at the University of Oxford.  In 1871, [Read More…]

172 years ago, today

    There’s no salvific value in his death, of course — although it does seal his testimony as a witness (Greek martyros).   But I still believe that we should remember it:   Along with his beloved and loyal elder brother Hyrum — the fact that his elder brother was loyal to him unto death has [Read More…]

Trump, Mormons, and the alienation of traditionally Republican voters

    Although a few Latter-day Saints signed on to Trumpism early (which I find troubling and virtually incomprehensible) and even though quite a few more Latter-day Saints  are reluctantly choosing Mr. Donald Trump as the lesser of two evils in the general election (which I cannot personally do, but which I thoroughly understand), on [Read More…]