May 25, 2019

    Matthew 26:47-56 Mark 14:43-52 Luke 22:47-53 John 18:2-12 Compare John 17:12; 18:20, 36   1.   The fact that Judas needed to identify Jesus (ironically, with a kiss) for those who had been sent to arrest the Savior demonstrates that Jesus didn’t have an unusual appearance.  He didn’t, for example, habitually levitate six inches off the ground, or glow, or wear luminescent white robes.   This is obvious, of course, when we think about it.  But I mention it… Read more

May 25, 2019

    I published the column below in the Deseret News for 5 April 2018:   “The singing of hymns,” President Dallin H. Oaks, the first counselor in the LDS Church’s First Presidency, observed in “Worship through Music,” “is one of the best ways to learn the doctrine of the restored gospel.” And, indeed, Latter-day Saint hymn lyrics, taken altogether, summarize essential church teachings remarkably well. Located at the very core of regular Mormon worship, they provide an instructive and… Read more

May 25, 2019

    The latest installment of the bi-weekly column that Bill Hamblin and I do for the Deseret News has appeared:   “Delos, the holy island”   ***   Neal Rappleye, Jasmin Rappleye, Stephen Smoot and Hales Swift were the hosts for the 5 May 2019 broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show.  They discussed the recent Interpreter article on Joseph Smith as the “World’s Greatest Guesser” and a new volume on the New Testament, as well as “Come Follow Me”… Read more

May 24, 2019

    Matthew 26:36-46 Mark 14:32-42 Luke 22:39-46 John 18:1 Compare Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26; John 12:27; 14:31   1.   The Garden of Gethsemane isn’t and wasn’t a garden in the sense familiar to most Europeans and North Americans.  That is, it featured neither carrots, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce,  nor different varieties of roses.  It probably wasn’t very green.  It was (and is) an olive orchard.  And it was probably a favorite place of the Savior’s because the most… Read more

May 24, 2019

    President and Sister Russell M. Nelson, accompanied by Elder and Sister Gerrit W. Gong, continue their Pacific ministry tour:   “Latter-day Prophet Meets with Tongan King and Queen: President Nelson visits a kingdom rich in Church history”   In the meantime, the acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visits the Indian subcontinent for the first time:   “President M. Russell Ballard Teaches and Inspires on His First Visit to India”     I’m pleased that the… Read more

May 24, 2019

    Sigh.  The ever-dying Interpreter Foundation — I’ve been seeing anonymous online claims again that we’re on the verge of financial extinction and that essentially nobody reads anything that we do — has just published a new article in its flagship publication, Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:   “D&C 21, George Albert Smith, and Hugh B. Brown: A Fresh Look at Three Incidents in Church History”   Abstract. When discussions arise about the relationship between Church members and the… Read more

May 23, 2019

    John 16:29-33   Jesus is confident here that, even though the disciples will be scattered, he won’t be alone because the Father will be with him.   I think, though, that even he may have been surprised by what he would soon experience during the process of the Atonement.  Because, for a period of about twenty-four hours, from the beginning of his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane through the culmination of his agony on the cross, the… Read more

May 23, 2019

    I’m very pleased to be able to report that my friend, former student, and former colleague at the Maxwell Institute, Dr. John Gee, has now moved from the Maxwell Institute to my own Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages, in BYU’s College of Humanities.   Many of us have hoped for quite a few years now that Dr. Gee would be able to exit the Maxwell Institute, which has been officially uninterested since the Purge of 2012… Read more

May 23, 2019

    This has been a slightly unusual trip to the United Kingdom for us.  We don’t usually drive the motorways and back roads of England guffawing as a 2.5-year-old sings loudly along with the soundtracks of Frozen, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Tangled, and etc.   And, today, we did our second zoo.  (We spent a substantial amount of time a few days ago at the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, in Oxfordshire.)   The Zoological… Read more

May 23, 2019

    John 15:26-27   Religious skeptics often mock the Latter-day Saint idea and claim of a spiritual witness or testimony.  That’s scarcely surprising.   What does surprise, though, is to hear such mockery from professedly believing Christians.  Have they not read these verses?  Do they not believe them?     John 16:1-4   Persecution was on its way.  But, since the disciples would soon be able to reflect that Jesus had foretold it, that persecution might actually strengthen their… Read more

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