“From book to boom: how the Mormons plan a city for 500,000 in Florida”

      Just in case the Church’s failure to be politically partisan regarding Mr. Trump’s immigration edict fails to generate a sufficiently satisfying and uproarious scandal, there’s now a back-up scandal that’s ready and eagerly waiting to go:   https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jan/30/from-book-to-boom-how-the-mormons-plan-a-city-for-500000-in-florida     For those who think that such investments represent a decision by Church leaders to satisfy their greed rather than to serve the poor and the needy, I recommend Nathan Oman’s short essay “City Creek and the Choices of Thrift.”… Read more

Give me neither your tired, your poor, nor your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

    Emma Lazarus’s famous sonnet “The New Colossus” is engraved at the base of the Statue of Liberty and reads as follows:   Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities… Read more

Regarding certain behavior on the internet

    “To speak evil of any one, unless there is unequivocal proofs of their deserving it, is an injury for which there is no adequate reparation.” (George Washington, letter to George Washington Parke Custis, 28 November 1796) “It often happens that those are the best people whose characters have been most injured by slanderers: as we usually find that to be the sweetest fruit which the birds have been picking at.” (Alexander Pope, “Thoughts on Various Subjects”) “Believe nothing… Read more

We’ve been waiting two or three weeks now for the inevitable next Mormon scandal.

    But it may finally have arrived!   “Where is the Mormon Church on Trump? History demands their leadership”   Yes, folks, it may be time once again to boo and hiss at the leaders of the LDS Church!   What better or more delicious pick-me-up can you possibly find than righteous indignation?   For a little background, read this:   “My view: Trump’s Muslim ban looks like Mormon ban”   And then there’s the statement that the Church… Read more

“Fossils of giant pterosaurs found in Transylvania”

    And you have to admit that they look really, really cool:   https://phys.org/news/2017-01-fossils-giant-pterosaurs-transylvania.html     Read more

“The Concept of God in Mormonism and Islam”

    For roughly 2.5 hours, Shabir Ally and a mean-spirited Mormon hack who goes under the name of “Daniel C. Peterson” discuss “The Concept of God in Mormonism and Islam” in this videotaped discussion:   https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=n9T7E9lZdkU   Honestly, I don’t think that I knew that this video even existed, so I’m grateful to Matthew Wheeler for calling it to my attention.  It was obviously filmed a few years ago, since I’m visibly less debonair and handsome in it than I… Read more

“Church Expresses Concern for those Fleeing Violence, War and Religious Persecution”

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued a general statement in response to the current controversy about refugees and immigrants:   http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/the-church-expresses-concern-for-those-fleeing-violence-war-and-religious-persecution   Some have faulted it for being too vague.  I myself think that it’s appropriately non-partisan.  It teaches a correct principle and allows us to govern ourselves — perhaps to examine our consciences — in the light of that principle.   Here’s another text to consider, from Matthew 25:    31 ¶When the Son of… Read more

Joint statement by Senators McCain and Graham on the president’s immigration decree

      I try, with considerable success, to avoid political discussions on the Sabbath, which is a day that I seek to devote to more important and more permanent things than politics.   But this joint statement, issued by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) represents important breaking news and, in my judgment, focuses on an issue that involves ethics as much as politics.  Moreover, I concur with them:   http://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2017/1/statement-by-senators-mccain-graham-on-executive-order-on-immigration     Read more

Thoughts on prayer

    “Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night.” (George Herbert, Welsh poet and Anglican priest, 1593-1633)   “The right way to pray is to stretch out our hands and ask of One who we know has the heart of a Father.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi martyr, 1906-1945)   “When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don’t, they don’t.” (William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1881-1944)   Our sacrament meeting today was… Read more

Notes toward a report card on Mr. Trump’s first week or so

    I’ll almost certainly like the Supreme Court nomination that Mr. Trump has promised us for next week.  I thoroughly dislike Steve Bannon.  I like Betsy DeVos for Education, since I strongly favor school choice.  I regard Rex Tillerson as extremely competent, but worry about his coziness with Putin and Russia.   So it’s a mixed bag, but I’m cautiously optimistic in some respects.   I still have strong reservations, however, about whether Mr. Trump is intellectually and psychologically fit… Read more

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