Whatever’s necessary to increase suffering and injustice

Salt Lake City even LOOKS a bit like Tehran. (Click to enlarge.  Click again to enlarge further.)

   There is, at the moment, a spirited debate underway about how unwed fathers are treated by Utah adoption laws.  And, of course, there's at least one related law suit working its way through the judicial system. This matter is receiving national attention from the news media, though I first read about it roughly three weeks ago in an article that, naturally, blamed the Mormons for … [Read more...]

“Anti-Mormon mockery can actually lead to teaching moments”

The standard promo image for the musical

  I wrote this back well before the Book of  Mormon musical had its debut.  Happily (albeit most likely by coincidence), the Church followed my advice on how to respond: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705364781/Anti-Mormon-mockery-can-actually-lead-to-teaching-moments.html And  now -- O frabjous day, callooh, callay! -- to Salt Lake City comes the play! I expect that it will easily sell out.  I also suspect that many of the season t … [Read more...]

Mr. Mugabe’s legacy in Zimbabwe

A man-made catastrophe

  Very few in the United States ever give Zimbabwe, the former Rhodesia, even a second's thought. It's a terribly, and needlessly, sad place.  Its people should not be … [Read more...]

Light displacing darkness

Christ heals the blind man (by Walter Rane)

  A powerful Church video -- apparently timed for Christmas, but perfectly relevant at any time of the year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aup9M5HZawI   … [Read more...]

Change and Hope

A rising sun? (Click to enlarge.  Click again to enlarge further.)

  As the delegates of the thirteen American states lined up to sign the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin watched. The president's chair was at the front of the hall, and a sun was painted on the back of the chair. Franklin told some of the representatives near him that it was always difficult for painters to show the difference between the rising sun and the setting sun. He said that, during the Constitutional convention, he had often looked at the painted sun on the chair … [Read more...]

Library of Judeo-Arabic Literature

An early autograph draft of "The Guide of the Perplexed," by Moses Maimonides, dated to ca. 1185-1190 AD

  It's shocking and frustrating still, to put it mildly, to be excluded from the project that I conceived and founded. But, apart from the continuing sharp pain of that entirely unjustifiable exclusion, which means that I won't be and cannot be involved, I'm happy at the announcement from Brigham Young University's Middle Eastern Texts Initiative (METI) of a new Library of Judeo-Arabic … [Read more...]

Beethoven and the Hope for a Life to Come

The composer

  http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765590762/Beethoven-is-a-study-in-hope-healing.html?pg=all Here's a clip  (about 13.5 minutes long) from a film about Beethoven that I haven't actually seen.  If you have the time, it will give you a clear idea of the astonishing beauty of the last part of his Ninth or Choral Symphony, and, at the end of the clip -- although, from what little I've read, the film departs a bit from the real history of the performance -- of t … [Read more...]


Princess Turandot

  I'm very excited.  Perhaps my favorite opera -- I have several favorites, but this one is definitely at or near the top -- will be playing in Salt Lake City 15-23 March. In other words, within just a few days. This is absolutely the grandest of grand operas, and not every opera company is willing to attempt it.   It's a real thrill to have it here. The heroine [?] is a monster; I've never warmed up to her and can't see why anybody w … [Read more...]