November 30, 2020

    I deem this announcement, which just came to my attention, to be worthy of a special blog post.  Why?  Because two of the three people mentioned below are friends and former colleagues of mine in the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages at Brigham Young University and, as it happens, contributors to my Latter-day Saint Scholars Testify (formerly Mormon Scholars Testify) website.   I quote from a 23 November 2020 press release issued by the Donald Keene… Read more

November 30, 2020

    An article written by Dana M. Pike has now appeared in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:   “Formed in and Called from the Womb” Abstract: Drawing on his deep knowledge of biblical Hebrew, Dana Pike gives us a close reading of Jeremiah 1:5, the most important Old Testament verse relating to the Latter-day Saint understanding of premortal existence of human spirits and the foreordination of prophets to their appointed callings. He shows that the plain… Read more

November 29, 2020

    This morning, I was re-reading Joseph Smith’s 1832 account of his First Vision as it is transcribed in the extremely important book Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820-1844, edited by John W. Welch with Erick B. Carlson (Provo and Salt Lake City: Brigham Young University Press and Deseret Book, 2005).  A revised second edition of Opening the Heavens is actually available now.  It was published in 2017.  I own it, and that’s the one that I should have been… Read more

November 28, 2020

    Carrying on from my last installment, Revision 8.4 A Latter-day Saint Presence in Palestine and the Near East? I continue the story where I left off:   The other mission entrusted by the First Presidency to Elders McKay and Cannon was to get in contact, somehow, with President Joseph W. Booth. They needed to reorganize the surviving members of the Church in the region, and without his language skills and his knowledge of the areas and the members, it would… Read more

November 27, 2020

    Two substantial new book reviews appeared today in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship.   One is by Ralph Hancock:   “Nephi’s Obsession, Or, How to Talk with Nephi about God” Review of Joseph M. Spencer, 1 Nephi: A Brief Theological Introduction (Provo, UT: The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2020). 146 pages. $9.99 (paperback). Abstract: Joseph Spencer’s intimate familiarity with the Book of Mormon text, based upon years of close textual study and informed by a well- developed theological sensibility, is in full… Read more

November 26, 2020

    On this 2020 American Thanksgiving Day, I’m acutely aware of my inability to gather safely with members of my extended family.  Some are across the country.  Some are altogether out of the country. Some are close but are vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic. One of our grandchildren is now more than a year old, yet we still haven’t actually met her.  (We plan at least three Zoom gatherings for later today.)  Many are simply, sadly, gone.  At all times, though,… Read more

November 25, 2020

    In a week during which we’ve been encouraged to #GiveThanks by the man whom I sustain as God’s chosen prophet, seer, and revelator in this time, I choose, today, to give thanks for certain of the Latter-day Saint scholars who influenced me at pivotal points in my life.  These entries all need to be expanded, but here’s a start on what needs to be said:   The first of them that I’ll name is Truman G. Madsen (1926-2009)…. Read more

November 24, 2020

    Here are some recent materials on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:   “Videos Available for the 2020 Temple on Mount Zion Conference”   “Kent Jackson Interview”   Jonn Claybaugh, “Come, Follow Me — Study and Teaching Helps: Lesson 47, November 30-December 6: Moroni 1-6 — “To Keep Them in the Right Way””   Audio Roundtable: Come, Follow Me Book of Mormon Lesson 47 “To Keep Them in the Right Way” Moroni 1-6 The participants in the Interpreter Radio Roundtable for Come, Follow Me Book of… Read more

November 24, 2020

    Most of you have probably come across this strange little story already:   Deseret News: “Mysterious monolith discovered in remote Utah wilderness: People are freaking out over a monolith discovered in the middle of nowhere in Utah.”   CNN:  “Mysterious monolith found in remote part of Utah fuels speculation on how it got there: The object drew comparisons to Stanley Kubrick’s famed 1968 film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey'”   What puzzles me about it is how everybody, seeing it,… Read more

November 23, 2020

    An article of mine of which I’m personally quite fond (and which I hope to pursue further and to expand in the future) has just gone up on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:   “Notes on Mormonism and the Trinity” Abstract: With “awe, humility, and circumspection,” Daniel C. Peterson provides a useful summary and discussion of Latter-day Saint beliefs as they relate to traditional Christian conceptions of the Trinity. In particular, his discussions reveals the many nuances… Read more




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