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January 15, 2022

    ***   In his important book Religion of a Different Color, Paul Reeve recounts an interesting episode involving Brigham Young:   An early mixed-race (Black and American Indian) member of the Church named William McCary — a rather tenuous and somewhat erratic and even unbalanced fellow, as it turned out, who ultimately didn’t endure faithfully to the end — had encountered racial prejudice among some Church members.   In response to this, President Young counseled the Saints to “use… Read more

January 14, 2022

    ***   A new article went up today in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:   “Verbal Punctuation in the Book of Mormon I: (And) Now,” by John Gee Abstract: The Book of Mormon, being an ancient book, was originally written without typographic punctuation and employs verbal punctuation instead. This article looks at the use of “and now” as verbal punctuation in the Book of Mormon. The phrase is used to mark major breaks in the text, not only for… Read more

January 13, 2022

    ***   I think that — understandably, given the many years and the considerable inflation that have intervened since the late 1820s — we modern Latter-day Saints typically fail to grasp the magnitude of the sacrifice made by Martin Harris in order to publish the Book of Mormon.   E. B. Grandin’s price was $3000 to produce 5000 high quality books.   Martin Harris was a locally prosperous small town farmer on the outskirts of Palmyra, New York,… Read more

January 13, 2022

    ***   Many years ago, I helped to host the Italian Catholic attorney and sociologist of religion Massimo Introvigne when he visited Brigham Young University.  Here are a couple of interesting little articles that Dr. Introvigne has recently posted:   “Are Apostates Reliable? 1. The Problem of Apostasy: Apostates are ex-members of religions or religious movements who become sworn enemies of the faith they have left. They have existed for centuries.”   “Are Apostates Reliable? 2. False Apostates:… Read more

January 11, 2022

    ***   I’m pleased to announce that the first portion of the Interpreter Foundation’s forthcoming two-part docudrama, Undaunted: Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, has been selected for screening at the 21st annual LDS Film Festival, which is scheduled for early March.   This year’s festival will be held at the SCERA Center in Orem, Utah, with a keynote and film on opening night, which will be Wednesday, 2 March 2022.  The festival continues thereafter through Saturday, 5… Read more

January 10, 2022

    ***   For something that I’m writing, I read a 2016 article today entitled “Living and Traveling in the Arab and Moslem Worlds” that was written by my longtime BYU colleague Professor Chad F. Emmett, of the Department of Geography at Brigham Young University: Chad F. Emmett, “Living and Traveling in the Arab and Moslem Worlds,” The Arab World Geographer / Le Géographe du monde arabe 19: 3-4 (2016).   Professor Emmett begins his article with a quite… Read more

January 9, 2022

    ***   During a relatively recent conversation, the question of modern revelation came up.  At one point, the discussion turned to the 1978 revelation on priesthood that was received by President Spencer W. Kimball in conjunction with his two counselors and almost all of the then Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  And that reminded me of (among other things) the two relevant recollections that I share here below.   The first comes from Elder David B. Haight (1906-2004),… Read more

January 9, 2022

    ***   Over in the largely atheist angry ex-Mormon compound that I sometimes call the Peterson Obsession Board, one commenter has demanded that he be shown an atheist suicide bomber.  (Plainly, he assumes that there are none.)  I’m happy to suggest some reading for him:   “Polemical atheist crusader, meet the facts about suicide bombing!”   ***   I was recently struck by an article that I ran across online:   “NASA Has Enlisted Theologians To Prepare for… Read more

January 8, 2022

    ***   Several times each year, some atheist or other triumphantly flings in my face the fact that most members of the elite National Academy of Sciences aren’t religious.   In this context, I was interested some time back to learn a bit about Richard Smalley, formerly the Hackerman Professor of Chemistry as well as a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Houston’s Rice University.  Smalley, who died in 2005 of leukemia at the relatively young age of… Read more

January 8, 2022

    ***   I don’t know whether this makes me peculiar or not — in any case, other facets of my character and personality are probably more than sufficient to do that without the need of adding anything else into the mix — but I often enjoy funerals.  At the same time, especially when I’ve enjoyed them, I often leave them feeling deeply challenged and more than a little bit inferior.  Of course, I’m well aware of the tendency… Read more




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