Many, many years ago — on 6 November 1996 — back long before I was as decrepit and washed up as I now am, I presented a little item on “The Concept of God in Islam and Mormonism” to a gathering on the campus of Brigham Young University that was co-sponsored by BYU’s Muslim Student Association and by the University’s David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies.  My discussion partner was Imam Siraj Wahhaj, of the Taqwa Mosque in Brooklyn,… Read more

    For those who may have missed the obituary for Richard L. Anderson — whom I consider a friend and a faithful-academic hero — and/or for those who might be interested in attending his funeral services, here’s a link:   I paid hasty and inadequate tribute to him on this blog and on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:   “Richard Lloyd Anderson (1926-2018)”   And here’s another tribute:   “In memoriam: Richard Lloyd Anderson (1926-2018)”  … Read more

    Here’s an item that I posted on this blog back in December 2014 that, I think, still says something that I want to say:   In a thought-provoking article posted yesterday on her blog, Flunking Sainthood, Jana Riess raises a very interesting issue:   When our general leaders combine an intense focus on young women’s shoulders with near-silence on war, torture, racially-motivated violence on the part of police, and crimes against humanity, we should understand that as a… Read more

    All our surest statements about the nature of the world are mathematical statements, yet we do not know what mathematics “is” . . . and so we find that we have adapted a religion strikingly similar to many traditional faiths. Change “mathematics” to “God” and little else might seem to change. The problem of human contact with some spiritual realm, of timelessness, of our inability to capture all with language and symbol—all have their counterparts in the quest… Read more

    Another of the books that appeared in Brigham Young University’s Islamic Translation Series (which, before the whole thing came to an end, blossomed and expanded into the broader Middle Eastern Texts Initiative) was the rather massive The Metaphysics of The Healing, written by Ibn Sīnā (or, in the popular and familiar English corruption of the Hebrew corruption of his original Arabic name, by Avicenna), and translated by Professor Michael E. Marmura, of the University of Toronto.   Avicenna (ca. AD 980–1037)… Read more

    First off, I readily admit that Mysteries of the Middle Ages, the title of a book by Thomas Cahill, is a bit hokey.  It’s reminiscent of the worst kind of “documentary” on the History Channel or the Discovery Channel, or, even, of those billboards you still sometimes find along rural roads (“Astonishing Caves of Mystery!  See Gravity-Defying Waterfalls!  Marvel at the Three-Hundred-Year-Old Midget Lady!”), advertising ramshackle places where the laws of nature are suspended and you can witness… Read more

    Life cannot have had a random beginning. . . .  The trouble is that there are about 2000 enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in 10^40,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.  (Sir Fred Hoyle [1915 – 2001], British astrophysicist)   ***   This is a long but truly fascinating article:   “The Scientist Who Scrambled… Read more

    From time to time, when I worship with my home congregation or, as tonight, visit with good friends (some of whom will shortly be leaving to serve others overseas for a couple of years) and share, among other things, “talk of poems and prayers and promises and things that we believe in,” it suddenly hits me how good it is — and how blessed I am — to be part of such a community.   This is especially… Read more

    I was happy to see this:   “Apostle Speaks to Japanese Youth in Their Language at Face to Face Event:  Latter-day Saint youth from all over Japan participated in the first regional Face to Face broadcast in their country on Wednesday, August 15, 2018.”   For what it’s worth, I first met Elder Stevenson several years before his call to serve as a General Authority.  I don’t want to exaggerate our closeness, but it was enough that, when… Read more

    For anybody who plans on attending BYU’s Education Week this year, which runs from 21 August through 24 August, I’ll be speaking from 12:30 PM to 1:25 PM in the ballroom of the Wilkinson Student Center, on the theme of “Pivotal Figures in Religion and Politics in Early Christianity.”  This is actually a series of lectures that I delivered at the 2012 BYU Education Week, but the powers-that-be asked me to repeat it again this year.   Many… Read more

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