April 4, 2020

    The late Bill Hamblin and I — how it still surprises and grieves me to write that phrase, “the late Bill Hamblin”! — published the article below in the 19 April 2014 issue of the Deseret News:   Historically, Easter has been the most important Christian holy day, as well as the oldest. Since the Reformation, many Protestant groups have simplified their Easter celebrations, focusing only on brief services on Easter Sunday itself. For Roman Catholics and eastern… Read more

April 4, 2020

    Some while ago, I read Andrew Sims, Is Faith Delusion? Why Religion is Good for Your Health (London and New York: Continuum, 2009).  Dr. Sims, who taught for many years as a professor of psychiatry in the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, was founder-editor of Developing Mental Health and, for ten years, the founding editor of Advances in Psychiatric Treatment.  He is also a former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.  Here are a few… Read more

April 4, 2020

    From Lee Nelson, Visions from Beyond the Veil (Springville, UT: Council Press, 2014):   In doing research for a biographical novel on Walkara, a Ute Indian chief, I uncovered what appeared to be a classic out-of-body experience.  Walkara told the story to early trappers and later to the pioneers who settled in his homeland. As a young man, Walkara went high into the Uinta Mountains in search of the Great Spirit, Towatts.  The chief said his soul was… Read more

April 3, 2020

    I share some further notes from Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, translated by Anthony F. Roberts (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, Harvard University Press, 2002).   The first simply makes a point that I too want to remember to make, and to expand upon, in a book that I’m writing:   The year that began in Tehran with the victory of the Islamic Revolution to the battle cry of “Down with America!” [an alternate rendering of… Read more

April 3, 2020

    I’ll be working my way through John D. Barrow, The Book of Universes: Exploring the Limits of the Cosmos (New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company, 2011).  At the time he wrote the book, Dr. Barrow was a professor of mathematical sciences and the director of the Millennium Mathematics Project at the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom.   When I was a school kid, we all knew that there was absolutely nothing remarkable about… Read more

April 3, 2020

    “Interpreter Radio Show — March 29, 2020” You can now listen to the 29 March 2020 broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show at your convenience and free of charge, shorn of commercial and other breaks.  The participants on Sunday, 29 March 2020, were Martin Tanner and . . . well, I guess I might as well just blurt it out: Martin Tanner and Daniel Peterson.  During the first hour of this particular episode, they discussed near-death experiences with… Read more

April 2, 2020

    Still working my way into Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner, Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness, 2d ed. (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011):   The relevance of quantum mechanics is, in a sense, more immediate than Copernican or Darwinian ideas, which deal with the far away or long ago.  Quantum theory is about the here and now.  It even encounters the essence of our humanity, our consciousness. Why, then, hasn’t quantum mechanics had the intellectual and… Read more

April 2, 2020

    From Susan Easton Black and Larry C. Porter, Martin Harris: Uncompromising Witness of the Book of Mormon (Provo: BYU Studies, 2018), 252-253:   While the principal target of Painesville [Ohio] Telegraph editor Eber D. Howe’s 1834 book Mormonism Unvailed — the father of all anti-Mormon books — was plainly Joseph Smith, Martin Harris was a “close second.”  Mentioning Martin Harris by name fully sixty-six times over the course of his book, Howe singled Harris out as “the next personage [after Joseph Smith]… Read more

April 2, 2020

    It’s time for me to begin extracting notes from certain Islam-related books in order to move forward with a substantial and much-delayed writing project of mine.  I begin with Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, translated by Anthony F. Roberts (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, Harvard University Press, 2002).  At the time of writing, Gilles Kepel was Professor of Middle East Studies at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris.   I start with an insightful passage… Read more

April 1, 2020

    A preliminary partial draft of one of my manuscripts-in-progress:   In 1848, the year before he died, Oliver Cowdery received rebaptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Kanesville, Iowa.  “I feel that I can honorably return,” he told the high council there.  “I have sustained an honorable character before the world during my absence from you.  This though a small matter with you, is of vast importance.”[1] Before an audience of approximately two thousand,… Read more

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