“The Bern Switzerland Temple, first in Europe, reaches 60 year milestone”

Der Tempel zu Zollikofen bei Bern

  This was my temple during my mission in Switzerland, and it remains a significant temple for me even now.  I visit it whenever I can. I regard it as one of the most historically significant temples in the Church, not only because it was the first in Europe but because it pioneered the use of new media for presenting some of the ordinances and for lowering the number of workers required to keep a temple functioning.  (That was especially necessary in S … [Read more...]

Of Jewish Studies . . . and (by implication) Religious Studies . . . and Mormon Studies

Brown University

  There has been in certain circles, over the past three or four years, a deliberate turning toward a form of Mormon studies that would be acceptable to neutral or secular academics.  And, of course, a decisive turning away from studies of Mormonism reflecting faith or commitment, or seeking to advocate and defend the claims of the Restoration. Does this turning happen without implications for actual faith?  Will it have an impact, in the Mormon case, on the fa … [Read more...]

Some quotations on beauty and order in nature

Kepler's three laws

  Einstein famously commented that the most unintelligible thing about the universe is its intelligibility. And his fellow Nobel laureate in physics, Eugene Wigner, wrote a well-known paper entitled “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences.” The noted biochemist Lewis Thomas was fascinated when he discovered that every species of animal to appear in the paleontological strata, as well as all those living today, is perfect according … [Read more...]

New Testament 266

Andrey Mironov Talents

  Luke 19:11-27Compare Matthew 25:14-30; Mark 13:34 We're more familiar with this story as the "parable of the talents" (in Matthew) than as the "parable of the pounds." But the point is the same in both accounts. The concept of stewardship is essential, in my view, to a proper understanding of the Plan of Salvation.  We're entrusted with gifts, resources, talents (in the modern sense), opportunities, and so forth, in order to see … [Read more...]

A gem, under construction in New York City

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church (to be)

  I'm very much looking forward to seeing this building when it's complete: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/10/nyregion/church-rising-at-trade-center-site-will-glow-where-darkness-fell.html?_r=1 It promises to be remarkably beautiful, and I like its echo of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.   … [Read more...]

“Why Christianity is surging in the heart of Islam”

A stake center in the UAE

  http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/september/christianity-islam-saudi-arabia-uae-migrant-workers.html?paging=off   … [Read more...]

The Book of Nature

Halldórsson photo of Iceland

   God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.Martin Luther   … [Read more...]

New Testament 265

Tissot's Zacchaeus

  Luke 19:1-10Compare Matthew 18:11 As I've repeatedly said, one would be hard pressed to find any doctrine of salvation by grace alone in the teachings of Jesus -- at least, as they're recorded in the four New Testament gospels. The case of Zacchaeus illustrates my point nicely:  Jesus plainly approves of this diminutive publican's generosity to the poor and his commitment to (going beyond) justice.  Jesus doesn't tell Zacchaeus that his righ … [Read more...]