March 21, 2023

    My sister-in-law, my brother’s widow, passed away very early this morning after a fairly brief but very serious illness that cascaded into multiple crises with astonishing speed.  If I have the time and the time zones right, she missed the eleventh anniversary of the death of her husband, my brother, by just two days. It has, for me, been an exceptionally appropriate day to visit the Garden Tomb here in Jerusalem with our group, and to think and... Read more

March 20, 2023

    We allowed our group a short day today, granting them time on their own to wander during the afternoon in the Old City and/or to do the “ramparts walk” partially around it.  For the early evening, we secured ten tickets for them for the “Great Bridge Route” near the Western Wall.  That covered our little family group, but it left my wife and me out.  We couldn’t get enough tickets that we ourselves could do the tour as... Read more

March 19, 2023

    I failed to mention, in my summary post yesterday (“Three Days in Jerusalem”), that we climbed up from the Western Wall Plaza into the Jewish quarter of the Old City as the last act of our Thursday program.  We had our meal there — no cheeseburgers!  no burger and a shake! — and walked through the quarter over to Zion’s Gate.  En route, we had a look at the “Broad Wall,” a portion the city wall that was... Read more

March 18, 2023

    Thursday was our first actual day of touring with our group. (We met them in the airport at Lod on Wednesday night, and brought them up to Jerusalem from there.) First, we took them to the City of David, to the area known as “the ophel.”  Excavations and tourist-friendly development have changed it very much since I first saw it, roughly back under the reign of Solomon.  Then they went through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, the so-called “wet tunnel,” while... Read more

March 17, 2023

    ““That They Might Come Again unto the Remnant of the House of Jacob”: Onomastic Allusions to Joseph in 3 Nephi 26:8–10 and 4 Nephi 1:49,” written by Matthew L. Bowen Abstract: The prophecies in 3 Nephi 26:8–10 and 4 Nephi 1:49 are third-generation members of the same family of texts derived from Isaiah 11:11–12 and Isaiah 29:4, all of which ultimately rely on yāsap (yôsîp or yôsip) idioms to describe the gathering of Israel and the concomitant coming forth of additional scripture. Mormon,... Read more

March 16, 2023

    The sadly necessary Neville-Neville Land blog posted a useful entry the other day on “Photos of Mesoamerican sites in the 1963–1981 missionary edition of the Book of Mormon.”  That’s the edition with which I pretty much grew up and came to adulthood (if, indeed, I ever have come to adulthood).  And it serves to illustrate my contention that, during my childhood and youth, Latter-day Saints — and certainly the Latter-day Saints that I knew — typically understood phrases... Read more

March 15, 2023

    On the way over here, I began reading Richard S. Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1994).  I’ve intended to read it for a long time.  However, I approach it with some degree of wariness, given its subtitle and my impression that its author, the late Richard Van Wagoner (1946-2010), had, well, a complex relationship with the claims of the Restoration.  But there hasn’t been a lot of biographical writing... Read more

March 14, 2023

    My wife and I hadn’t expected to be in Israel again this month.  We were just here in November, after all, and we’re scheduled to be back again at the very end of October.  A relatively short while ago, however, an extended family that I still have not met — we’ll meet them tomorrow, probably at Ben Gurion Airport — asked me to accompany them around the Jerusalem area.  So here we are again.  At the late date... Read more

March 13, 2023

    I appreciate very much the attempts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in recent years — exemplified in such efforts as the Joseph Smith Papers project (which is now being emulated for one of Joseph’s most prominent followers by the private Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation) and the four-volume Saints series — to educate Church members about their history.  Such education is, in my judgment, not only valuable in and of itself but very helpful as... Read more

March 12, 2023

    “Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus declares in Matthew 5:9,” for they shall be called the children of God.” Plainly, the Lord desires peace, and he dislikes contentiousness.  It is very significant, in that light, that the Restoration begins in a response to a time of contention.  Listen, with that in mind, to the account given by the Prophet Joseph Smith: Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we... Read more

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