Now, you can read the monstrous horror for yourself!

    Well, the pseudonymous and anonymous reviews of my 2017 FairMormon remarks are in:   I offer a selection of them from a couple of hostile message boards that I watch fairly regularly.  I find these two boards curiously fascinating.   Their focus has been on my first few sentences, because those are the sentences that begin the Church News account of what I said and that the Church News article highlights.  In those first few sentences, I recall… Read more

“I am a child of Earth and starry Heaven”

    The stars may be light years away from us and apparently wholly distinct from us — and yet we’re deeply connected with them.  They create the material out of which we’re made.  They’re our ancestors.  And we’re their children.  Star children.   Stars shine for millions, even billions, of years, but they’re not eternal.  They’re mortal.  When they’ve used up their supply of fuel, they collapse in a cloud of gas and dust out of which new stars and… Read more

Islam and Mormonism: Some Similarities and Differences

      A few notes that I threw together quite a few years ago.  Comments welcomed:     Similarities   Both religions worship the same deity.  Allah is related to the word Elohim.  Allah is simply the Arabic word for “God,” and is the term used in the Christian Arabic Bible as well as the Arabic Book of Mormon and other Latter-day Saint materials.  [Incidentally because it is in the Qur’an and because Arabic is the sacred language of… Read more

On plural marriage and its end

    I’m pleased to report that the audio version of Richard Gardner’s new article in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture — “Consecration Brings Forth Zion, Not Just Disaster Relief: An Examination of Scholarly and Prophetic Statements on the Law of Consecration” — is now up.  You can find a link to it (under the button labeled “MP3 Audio”) in the column to the right.   The audio of this article is four hours long.  Many thanks to Richard Flygare… Read more

Beyond repulsive. FAR beyond.

    By now, you may have heard about the violence at an alt-right demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia:   “Virginia governor to white nationalists: ‘Go home … shame on you'”   Now, I will admit to ambivalent feelings about taking down monuments to Confederate generals and leaders.  Was slavery an evil?  Yes.  Absolutely.  (Please, I hope nobody will use this post as a weapon with which to paint me as excusing slavery or justifying it.)  Were those Confederate leaders and generals… Read more

George Q. Cannon and seeing the Savior

    First of all, though:  My wife and I went out to dinner last night with our dear friend Louis Midgley, one of my very favorite people.  Tonight, with colleagues from my department and elsewhere at BYU, we’ll participate in a retirement dinner for another one of them.  Dilworth Parkinson has been a friend, a mentor, and a colleague for most of my life.  This is the end of an era for BYU’s Arabic program, an era that has… Read more

“A World Without Islam”?

    Just a few quotations that I culled from a book that I didn’t expect to find so persuasive:  Graham E. Fuller’s A World Without Islam.   Fuller is a former career officer with the Department of State and certain, ahem, other organizations.  (He was, for example, the CIA station chief in Kabul, Afghanistan.)   “Islam seems to offer an instant and uncomplicated analytical touchstone for most affairs in the Middle East, by which to make sense of today’s… Read more

Some thoughts on Amerindian origins and on the evidence of historical DNA

    When I was growing up in southern California, some eons back, the theory that Native Americans had arrived by traveling by foot across a now-lost Bering Straits land bridge was (so far as I could tell, anyway) universally accepted outside Mormon circles.   Moreover, both non-Latter-day Saints and many Latter-day Saints shared the assumption that the competition between the Book of Mormon and the theory of a Bering Straits crossing was a zero-sum game.  Either the one was true, or… Read more

An early Christian street meeting in ancient Rome, etc.

    It’s Friday, so a new article has appeared in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture:   “Consecration Brings Forth Zion, Not Just Disaster Relief: An Examination of Scholarly and Prophetic Statements on the Law of Consecration”   Because of the considerable length of the article, the audio for it is taking just a bit longer to produce.  We hope that it will be finished this weekend.   ***   Here are a few relevant sites — by no… Read more

“If All Love Is Equal, This Incestuous Mother and Son Couple Should Be Celebrated”

    The motto at the bottom of a friend’s emails always used to read “Where are we going?  And why are we in this hand basket?”   If you were on board with the logic used to redefine marriage as including same-sex couples, I’m not quite sure how you can reject Matt Walsh’s logic in this little article:   “If All Love Is Equal, This Incestuous Mother And Son Couple Should Be Celebrated”   And, if you’re okay with… Read more