October 21, 2019

    Over the next few days, I think that I might share a few passages that struck me during my recent reading of Hermann Hesse’s novella Siddhartha.   Here’s a short one that seems to me to explain, in a way, why it was necessary for us to come to earth.  Obviously, neither Hesse nor his fictional Siddhartha would have seen it in quite that way, but I, coming to the story from a Latter-day Saint perspective, did.  … Read more

October 21, 2019

    A transcript of the remarks that I delivered at the August 2019 FairMormon conference, which focused on the women at Christ’s tomb and on the women who were among the unofficial witnesses to the Book of Mormon, has now been posted on the FairMormon website.  I haven’t yet had time to read it through, but I trust that it’s reasonably accurate — and, indeed, perhaps too much so, since it probably reveals my umms and uhs and you… Read more

October 20, 2019

    As I’ve already mentioned here, I was recently released from my latest stint as a Gospel Doctrine teacher.  My time in this most recent Church assignment lasted something on the order of eight years, but I was sad to see it come to an end.  Gospel Doctrine class is my absolute favorite calling in the Church; the only one that could possibly compete would be “adjunct apostle,” an ecclesiastical office that I have designed myself and in which,… Read more

October 20, 2019

    “Latter-day Saint Apostle Rededicates Frankfurt Germany Temple: Four-year renovation is complete”   There are some nice photographs of the temple (including its interior) at the link above, and a video that includes at least a few seconds of Elder and Sister Uchtdorf speaking in German.  (I liked that.)  There are also some good photographs, exterior and interior, here:   Frankfurt Germany Temple Photograph Gallery   More photographs from the rededication are available on the Church website for Germany:   https://www.presse-mormonen.de/artikel/apostel-der-kirche-jesu-christi-weiht-den-frankfurt-tempel… Read more

October 20, 2019

    I originally published this article in the Deseret News back on 8 February 2018.  It seems to me appropriate to bring it up again in connection with Steve Houston’s upcoming BYU lecture (on which, see “Monday, 28 October 2019: “Recovering a Lost World: The LiDAR Revolution and Ancient Maya Warfare””):   Many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are excited about an exclusive National Geographic article that appeared online at news.nationalgeographic.com on Feb. 1, 2018, by… Read more

October 19, 2019

    From Book of Mormon Central, regarding a lecture to be given on the Brigham Young University campus on Monday, 28 October 2019:   “Dr. Stephen Houston Speaking on Mayan Warfare at BYU”   Although he is not and has never been a Latter-day Saint, Professor Houston taught at BYU from 1994-2004, before joining the faculty at Brown University.  I had occasional interactions with him during that time, and I was privileged to look over one or two Mesoamerican… Read more

October 19, 2019

    Incredibly — to me, anyway — the freedoms guaranteed to Americans under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States are coming under attack in certain quarters.  People who value those freedoms should be aware of the attack, and on guard against it.  Hence, this compilation of relevant links:   First off, a stunning video, simultaneously funny and appalling and slightly more than 2.5 minutes long, in which . . . “Yale students sign ‘petition’ to… Read more

October 19, 2019

    Driving up to the opera Friday evening after a fairly unpleasant day spent on such absorbing matters as flu vaccinations and the sudden and complete failure of our 4.5-year-old refrigerator, I found myself thinking, as I surprisingly often do, of the oddities of English spelling.   I think that it started when I saw a group of hundreds of birds sitting on a wire running parallel to I-15, and I thought of the Leonard Cohen lyric Like a bird on… Read more

October 18, 2019

    I was very excited when I first read about the study referred to below.  Planting trees is a wonderful thing in any case, and the idea that doing so might be an excellent way to combat global warming and counteract increased carbon emissions was — and is — an extremely pleasing thought:   “Researchers Find Flaws in High-Profile Study on Trees and Climate: Four independent groups say the work overestimates the carbon-absorbing benefits of global forest restoration, but… Read more

October 18, 2019

    Today, Professor John S. Robertson published an important response in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship to a critical review of an important book:   “An American Indian Language Family with Middle Eastern Loanwords: Responding to A Recent Critique” Abstract: In 2015 Brian Stubbs published a landmark book, demonstrating that Uto-Aztecan, an American Indian language family, contains a vast number of Northwest Semitic and Egyptian loanwords spoken in the first millennium bc. Unlike other similar claims — absurd, eccentric, and without… Read more

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