February 23, 2019

    My friend Bill Hamblin and I published this article in the Deseret News back on 9 August 2013:   The Middle East has faced an abundance of conflicts, rival groups and, for many Americans, difficult names. It’s often hard to tell the players without a scorecard. Here, as a possible aid to understanding the background behind the headlines, is a brief primer on two of those organizations, Hezbollah and Hamas. The first of these — the “Hizb Allah”… Read more

February 23, 2019

    Matthew 6:1-6   It’s a sore temptation to want to point to one’s good deeds in order to gain the admiration of others, or, even (and perhaps somewhat less unjustifiably), to silence unfair condemnation from critics.   But I know several people who’ve made substantial, even massive, donations to various worthy causes, yet whose names virtually never appear in connection with such generosity.   Right now, I’m thinking of three men, in particular, whose silence about their kindliness… Read more

February 23, 2019

    I share with you two passages from speeches by Elder M. Russell Ballard, who now serves as acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:   Remind them that James did not say, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him Google!” Wise people do not rely on the Internet to diagnose and treat emotional, mental, and physical health challenges, especially life-threatening challenges. Instead, they seek out health experts, those trained and licensed by recognized medical and… Read more

February 23, 2019

    I was surprised and pleased on Wednesday to find a book in my box:  Jeff Wynn and Louise Winn, Everyone is a Believer: The Growing Convergence of Science and Religion (2019).   On Jeff Wynn: https://www.usgs.gov/staff-profiles/jeff-wynn?qt-staff_profile_science_products=3#qt-staff_profile_science_products Jeffrey C. (“Jeff”) Wynn A bit about Louise Wynn: https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/55760674_Louise_Wynn   From the back jacket blurb:   This book is aimed at people who subscribe to science as a path to truth, whether or not they subscribe to a faith tradition.  It is… Read more

February 22, 2019

    One of the very good things about living near a university or college is the availability of very good things — e.g., concerts, sporting events, lectures, symposia, foreign cinema, theater, superb libraries — at extremely reasonable prices (if not altogether free).   A fun thing at Brigham Young University is the free monthly classic film series that’s held in the auditorium of the Harold B. Lee Library.  On 22 March, the series will screen John Ford’s 1952 Academy… Read more

February 22, 2019

    Matthew 5:38-48 Compare Luke 6:27-36   A very memorable passage.  (There are, of course, few if any sayings of Jesus in the gospels that aren’t memorable.)   First of all, there is his description of radical Christian love, directed even at enemies.  Such love can sometimes even stop an enemy in his or her tracks.  Consider, for example, the case of the people of Ammon, the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, described in Alma 24.   Such love is exceedingly difficult to… Read more

February 22, 2019

    I’m happy to report that there is a Utah connection to this story:   “New Species of Tiny Tyrannosaur Foreshadows Rise of T. Rex”   Tiny is a relative term here.  Personally, I’m quite content that none of these dainty little creatures live in my neighborhood.  Their demise leaves me with no challengers for my role as the alpha predator in the region (essentially a punk and a bully, as my Malevolent Stalker recently described me), the meanest… Read more

February 22, 2019

    I had almost forgotten about the radio interview that I recorded in Sydney with Dr. Rachael Kohn of ABC Radio National, the Australia-wide Public Service Broadcasting radio network run by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.  It took place while I was in Australia late last year (2018).   It was, I believe, my fifth interview with Dr. Kohn — the third of three interviews recorded in Sydney, Australia, while the others were done in Provo, Utah, and in Istanbul, Turkey.  And, regrettably, it… Read more

February 22, 2019

    Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship enters into an area where controversy is conceivable:   “Assessing the Criticisms of Early-Age Latter-Day Saint Marriages”   Abstract: Critics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have accused Joseph Smith and other early Latter-day Saint men of pedophilia because they married teenaged women. Indeed, they have emphatically declared that such marriages were against 19th-century societal norms. However, historians and other experts have repeatedly stated that young people married… Read more

February 21, 2019

    This column — full of my typical vitriolic insults and brazen lies — appeared in the print edition of the Deseret News today, as well as online at LDS Living:   “How Recent Findings on Beekeeping in Ancient America Relate to the Book of Mormon”     ***   From the remarkable Stephen Smoot, who, having been back in Utah for a while now and having even been twice to Egypt since his return from the North, has… Read more

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