Islam and peace

SLM in its various manifestations

  I've just come across the image above, and it occurs to me that I should say something about it. Strictly speaking, it's accurate.  The Arabic word islam (al-islaam, الإسلام‎) does indeed mean "submission," not "peace." But, like islam, the Arabic equivalent of English peace, which is salam (salaam, سلام), derives from the triconsonantal root SLM and is cognate with its Hebrew synonym, shalom (שָׁלוֹם). The two words, islam and salam, … [Read more...]

Does the universe have a purpose?

A galaxy similar to but different from our own

  "I would say the universe has a purpose. It's not there just somehow by chance."  (Roger Penrose, Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics Emeritus, Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford; mathematical physicist and philosopher of science; co-winner, with Stephen Hawking, of the 1988 Wolf Prize in physics)  Posted from Orlando, Florida  … [Read more...]

Alma 1

Who painted this?

  With today's reading, Alma 1, we enter into the single longest book within the Book of Mormon. One of the things that strike me about it is its depiction of persecution, first directed against the Church and its members by apostates but then, inappropriately and unrighteously, returned by Church members against their persecutors. This is a persistent temptation for those who seek to defend the Kingdom, and the contentiousness that it has … [Read more...]

Music of Christmas 10

African Choir

  Here's a thrilling Nigerian carol, Betelehemu, sung in the original Yoruba by -- of all people! -- the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:  Awa yo, a ri Baba gb’ojule (We rejoice for we have a trustworthy father) Awa yo, a ri Baba f’eyin ti (We rejoice for we have? a dependable father) (repeat) Ni bo labe Jesu? (Where was Jesus born) Ni bo labe bisi? (Where was he born?) (Repeat) Betelehemu iluwa la, (Be … [Read more...]

A brand new religion. Could it be the one for you?

I enjoyed California in the 60s.

  Some of you out there simply cannot stand the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here's a new alternative -- brought to my attention by Nathaniel Hancock -- that you might want to consider: I don't know for certain, of course, but I'm guessing that the new faith's politics will be suitably … [Read more...]

An early review of Samuel Zinner’s book on Enoch

Zinner cover

  Just a short while ago, The Interpreter Foundation published Textual and Comparative Explorations in 1 and 2 Enoch, by Samuel Zinner: Somehow, I missed this review of the book by Allen … [Read more...]

Can you pass a U.S. citizenship test?

US in red, white, and blue

  I just took this quiz.  (I did, umm, really well.) There are twenty multiple-choice questions on it, though I don't know for sure that the quiz is identical for each person who takes it:  Posted from Orlando, Florida    … [Read more...]

“Mormon Artist”

What is Brother Barsch's status these days?

  Mormon Artist is a wonderful website, an e-magazine, devoted to the intersection between Latter-day Saint faith and the arts and to actually covering the world of Mormon arts activity: A few years ago, I was very enthused about recruiting its creator to move over to the Maxwell Institute from his current location at BYU.  He had the design sensibility that I sought, and is obviously both exceedingly bright and deeply M … [Read more...]