February 4, 2023

    I’ve long had it in mind to do a brief book on the Beatitudes of the New Testament.  I’ve made several starts on it, but — in a triumph of hope over experience — I think I’ll make a running leap at it once again, perhaps making it a special focus for the Sabbath.  (Hawai’i very powerfully makes me think of “the Isles of the Blest.”)  With that in mind, I share yet again some prefatory remarks on... Read more

February 4, 2023

    Conditions for posting online haven’t been ideal in my case over the past several hours, so I apologize for my tardiness in drawing attention to these two new articles from the Interpreter Foundation:   “Twenty Years After “Paradigms Regained,” Part 2: Responding to Margaret Barker’s Critics and Why Her Work Should Matter to Latter-day Saints,” written by Kevin Christensen Abstract: Here I address specific criticisms of Margaret Barker’s work. First, I set the stage by discussing Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of... Read more

February 2, 2023

    First, though:  Here are three items that went up yesterday on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:   Conference Talks: Life Sciences Panel Discussion (featuring Emily Bates, R. Paul Evans, Steven L. Peck, Michael R. Stark, and Trent D. Stephens) This panel, comprised of five Latter-day Saint scholars in the life sciences (Emily Bates, R. Paul Evans, Steven L. Peck, Michael R. Stark, and Trent D. Stephens), was convened at the 9 November 2013 Interpreter Symposium on Science... Read more

February 1, 2023

    I carry on now with my loose appropriation, for my own nefarious purposes, of the online “List of Fine-Tuning Parameters” compiled by Jay W. Richards.  (My first entry taken from his list and explicitly dependent upon it is this one:  “An initial survey of the “four fundamental forces” and the “cosmological constant.””)  As I said in that first blog post, I claim no originality here, and I may never claim any (though I’ll eventually rework these notes in... Read more

January 31, 2023

    Two new items went up today on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:   Come, Follow Me — New Testament Study and Teaching Helps: Lesson 7, February 6 — 12: John 2–4 — “Ye Must Be Born Again” Once again, Jonn Claybaugh generously supplies a set of helpful notes for teachers and students of the Church’s “Come, Follow Me” curriculum.   The New Testament in Context Lesson 7: “Ye Must Be Born Again” In the 15 January 2023 Come,... Read more

January 30, 2023

    I sometimes read that faith is irrational.  And sometimes I even hear that said by committed Latter-day Saints. I strongly disagree. I readily concede that faith goes beyond the evidence and that, sometimes, it will even seem to go, or will really go, against at least some of the evidence.  I’ve long appreciated this quotation from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr:  “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” In the long... Read more

January 29, 2023

    We inadvertently attended a Tongan ward in Lahaina this morning and were thoroughly rewarded for doing so.  Almost the entirety of the sacrament meeting was in Tongan, but we had headsets and were able to understand through a very good translator.  The talks were very good.  And the singing?  Spectacular.  Magnificent.  A cappella.  (Nobody was accompanying on the organ or the piano.)  Plainly, our haole wards back in Utah Valley very badly need a transfusion of Polynesians.  I... Read more

January 29, 2023

    So far as I recall, I first came to the island of Maui in 1970.  (I visited the Hawaiian Islands for the first time, and for the only time prior to 1970, when I was five years old.  But I think that we went only to Oahu and Kauai on that occasion, and not to Maui.)  I remember staying in the old Pioneer Inn, in Lahaina.  It’s still there, beside a very impressive and very old banyan tree. ... Read more

January 28, 2023

    I’m a bit late in announcing the two articles below, which went up on Friday on the website of the Interpreter Foundation.  I was otherwise occupied:   “Assyria and the “Great Church” of Nephi’s Vision,” written by Todd Uriona Abstract: The Book of Mormon begins at a pivotal point in Israelite history and in the history of the ancient Near East more broadly. With the fall of Assyria and the power vacuum that grew out of Assyria’s demise, questions of... Read more

January 26, 2023

    Dipping briefly back into Eugene England, Brother Brigham (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980):   In February 1849, when the Saints were still relatively new in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, President Brigham Young learned that some of them were going hungry while others seemed to be hoarding private supplies of grain.  According to John D. Lee — not yet the infamous John D. Lee of the massacre at Mountain Meadows — Brigham’s reaction was verbally fierce:... Read more

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