Remembering my mom

The first temple in California

  I have no real excuse, but things have been a bit hectic recently and I missed both my mother's birthday and the tenth anniversary of her passing, which both occurred on the weekend. As has become my annual tradition, I repost here the remarks that I delivered (very haltingly) at her funeral in 2005: My very earliest memories of my mother, I believe, are of traveling with her to serve others.  She worked from early in the morning until she could w … [Read more...]

Volcanoes and climate, with Mormons

Tambora from above

  A fascinating article about the great Tambora eruption of 1815, its effects around the world -- including its impact on Joseph Smith and the rise of Mormonism -- and what would happen if such a disaster were to happen today: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21647958-two-hundred-years-ago-most-powerful-eruption-modern-history-made-itself-felt-around I posted an item on this same eruption a few days … [Read more...]

T. S. Eliot on the so-called “Islamic State”

Neo-Assyrian art

  In his 1943 essay Notes toward a Definition of Culture, which was eventually published in book form in 1948 (and which has been a favorite of mine since I first read it back in my teens), T. S. Eliot wasn't actually discussing ISIS.  But, taken out of context and with their recent demolitions in Mosul and at Nimrud in mind, the last few lines of this passage certainly fit them with uncanny perfection: For there is no doubt that in our headlong rush to educate … [Read more...]

Joseph Smith’s polygamy

The new temple in Nauvoo

  In connection with the three book reviews published last week in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, I think I'll call attention, once more, to the excellent website maintained by Brian and Laura Hales: http://josephsmithspolygamy.org Early plural marriage is probably the most challenging historical issue faced by believers in Joseph Smith and his mission.  Not everybody is interested in it or concerned by it, of course.  And that's fine. … [Read more...]

ISIS continues to destroy the cultural heritage of the Middle East

Shalmaneser III, Black Obelisk

  The nihilistic thugs who call themselves the "Islamic State" continue to compound their crimes against humanity and civilization, as shown in this appalling report from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/09/world/iraq-isis-heritage/index.html?eref=rss_topstories Curiously, their supposedly "Islamic" fervor seems to run counter to the sacred scriptural text of Islam itself: The Qur’an repeatedly calls upon its hearers to contemplate the r … [Read more...]

Good advice, unless you really don’t mind putting your faith at risk

Counsel from DHO

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Why has the Lord established and maintained BYU? Elder Maxwell offers an idea.

Elder Maxwell

  I was delighted to see the following sent out to the faculty and staff of Brigham Young University today as the "weekly quote" from BYU's Center for Faith and Learning: "In a way, LDS scholars at BYU and elsewhere are a little bit like the builders of the temple in Nauvoo who worked with a trowel in one hand and a musket in the other.  Today scholars building the temple of learning must also pause on occasion to defend the Kingdom.  I personally think this is … [Read more...]

Home and Temple

Bonnie Oscarson from last general conference

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