“This Thai Commercial is Better than the Last Movie You Watched”

A worthy motto for a good life

    Somewhat predictable?  Yes.   Moving nonetheless?  Very.   Watch it here:   http://cheezburger.com/54758145   "Freely ye have received, freely give."  (Matthew 10:8)     … [Read more...]

Aaron Alexis, Mass Shootings, and Gun Control

Yesterday, a short distance from the United States capitol building

    A refreshingly sane, fact-driven, reality-based article regarding yesterday's rampage at the Washington Navy Yard and the predictable calls for tighter gun control that have ensued:   http://www.nationalreview.com/article/358714/gun-controls-dead-end-charles-c-w-cooke     … [Read more...]

Don’t be one of the few to miss out!

A scene from a recent rehearsal for my Thursday night lecture

    7 PM.  Joseph Smith Auditorium.  BYU.   Be there, or be square.     … [Read more...]

Paris and Orem and a Really Interesting Upcoming Conference

A chateau in the Loire Valley of France
(click to enlarge)

    It's with a mixture of pleasure and unhappiness that I call your attention to a conference, to be held on Thursday and Friday of this week at Utah Valley University, on "religious disagreement":   http://www.uvu.edu/religiousstudies/religiousdisagreement/index.html   Pleasure because it looks really, really interesting.  Unhappiness because I almost certainly won't be able to attend it.   I have my own major lecture on Thursday night -- … [Read more...]

“Mormonism in the Public Square: How Did America Get This Crack in Its Foundation?”

Should religion and politics be kept rigidly distinct?

        A provocative piece from my friend and colleague Ralph Hancock:   http://www.ldsmag.com/article/1/13269     … [Read more...]

The first temple marriage in the history of modern Europe

The LDS Temple in Zollikofen bei Bern,
an important place to me, too, from my days
as a missionary in German-speaking Switzerland
(Click to enlarge)

    Fifty-eight years ago today, Elder Spencer W. Kimball of the Council of the Twelve Apostles performed the first sealing ceremony or temple marriage in the newly dedicated Swiss Temple.  It was, very likely, the first such sealing in Europe in this dispensation.  (Certainly it was the first in a temple, since the Swiss Temple was the first temple dedicated in modern Europe.)   The bride had come from Utah to join the groom, who had been drafted into the United … [Read more...]

True Religion and Great Art

C. C. A. Christensen's nineteenth-century painting "Crossing the Mississippi on the Ice"

    One of the more unusual criticisms that I sometimes hear of Mormonism is that it has failed to produce any great art -- visual, musical, or literary.   I'm not absolutely sure that this is true, unless one sets the standard for "great art" at the stratospheric level of Shakespeare, Bach, Michelangelo, Dante, Beethoven, and Rembrandt.  Frankly, I'm not altogether convinced that the past two centuries have produced any artists at that level, Mormon or … [Read more...]

“Bear One Another’s Burdens”

The Bern Switzerland Temple
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
dedicated fifty-eight years ago today
(Click to enlarge.)

      It was our stake conference this morning.  I enjoyed the entire program, including the choir's performances (in which I should have been participating), but will highlight just a couple of hymns and a couple of talks.   We began by singing W. W. Phelps's spirited old Mormon hymn "Now Let Us Rejoice":   Now let us rejoice in the day of salvation. No longer as strangers on earth need we roam. Good tidings are sounding to us and each … [Read more...]