“Dog welcomes missionary home after 2 years”

Dog in fence

  How can anybody possibly not like dogs? http://ldsliving.com/story/78215?utm_source=ldsliving&utm_medium=email   … [Read more...]

Do you have questions or concerns about Islam? If so, I need your help.

Mecca pilgrim

  Perhaps my favorite definition of the word professor is "someone who talks in other people's sleep." As a defense against that, I make occasional attempts, in my lectures, classes, writing, and firesides, to be relevant. Right now, I'm substantially revising a book that I wrote about Islam a long time ago -- its second edition is nearly a quarter of a century old -- for a general (largely Mormon) audience. A lot of water has gone … [Read more...]

They don’t just massacre people

A Mesopotamian winged bull

  The nihilistic death-cult calling itself the "Islamic State" has also launched a crusade against the human cultural heritage, destroying irreplaceable artifacts from antiquity: http://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/priceless-iraqi-artifacts-destroyed-by-isis-405129795627 And, thus, the "jayvee team," as Mr. Obama once termed them, continue their rampage through the Middle East.   … [Read more...]

A major modern myth and the two men who largely created it

A photo of Cornell during A. D. White's time

  The notion that science and religion have been enemies in a constant state of warfare simply isn't true, though many today swallow it hook, line, and sinker. Here's a brief article identifying two of the main creators of the fictional tale, which has done considerable damage to both religion and … [Read more...]

The most important personal qualities

A photo of Bill Nighy

  One of my great regrets, and I don't have many, is that I spent too long putting people's status and reputation ahead of their more important qualities. I learned far too late in life that a long list of letters after someone's name is no guarantee of compassion, kindness, humour, all the far more relevant stuff.Bill Nighy    … [Read more...]


A movie poster for "Ghost"

  Just back from a performance of Ghost: The Musical at the Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley City, Utah. I confess that I've found some recent musicals just a bit irritating at points, since virtually every song seems to be belted out (screeched?) at maximum volume.  There's not enough musical variety for my taste, and what should be powerful emotional moments lose some of their punch because everything is performed with the same degree of i … [Read more...]

Elder Oaks on religious freedom

UVU in the fall?

  An important speech on religious liberty by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, from April of last year: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/transcript-elder-dallin-oaks-constitutional-symposium-religious-freedom   … [Read more...]

Has Islamic civilization ever contributed anything of any value to the world?

India's Taj Mahal

  I had an exchange last week with somebody who assured me -- based, so far as I could tell, on the many minutes that he's spent listening to talk radio -- that Islamic civilization is an oxymoron, and that it has never contributed anything whatever of any value to the history of science, art, medicine, mathematics, law, philosophy, or literature. Tomorrow, I'll be administering a midterm exam in one of my classes that, along with some basic information on … [Read more...]