November 18, 2018

    A few very recent science-related items that have caught my notice:   “Want to enjoy a longer, happier life? Just keep on working: Life expectancy is rising but Britons are being encouraged to retire early. That’s both ridiculous and costly, says an expert”   Since I was a fairly young boy I’ve thought that early retirement — or retirement in general — was risky.  Not that people shouldn’t ever step away from work, but that they should continue… Read more

November 18, 2018

    It’s often said that, as we age, the time seems to go by faster and faster.   I can testify from personal experience, having long since entered extreme geezerhood, that this is true.  Not infrequently, I’ll be thinking about a film from five or ten years back only to look it up and find that it actually appeared twenty-five or thirty years ago.  And many of the allusions that I make in my classrooms now sail right over… Read more

November 17, 2018

    “Apostles of Jesus Christ Use Instagram to Share Savior’s Message”   By the way, I really like President Nelson’s forthrightness:   “This is a global ministry. We are prophets for the whole world, to all of God’s children—not just the members of the Church.”   I can’t recall a president of the Church in my lifetime, with the occasional exception of President Spencer W. Kimball, who was this open about being a prophet.  And notice, too, that President… Read more

November 17, 2018

    “A Saudi Murder Becomes a Gift to Iran: The assassination of a journalist has further hurt the Trump administration’s frail strategy of buddying with Saudi Arabia to restrain Iran’s expanding influence.”   The Middle East is a difficult neighborhood.  And, as any reader of the Bible should already know, it always has been.   It is also, to vary the metaphor, a minefield, an extraordinary difficult place to practice the art of international politics.   We’re seeing that now…. Read more

November 17, 2018

    We all suspect that crocodiles, much as they may genuinely like us, are not actually our friends.  And there’s reason for the suspicion:  Evidently, they eat roughly a thousand people each year.  (Even taking into account the allegations of my most hostile critics, who like to ascribe to me just about every form of depravity and unethical behavior known to humankind, that’s more than I do.)   Ranking right up there with crocodiles, of course, are sharks.  Scary… Read more

November 16, 2018

    I’ve long had it in my mind to read the works of the eminent Hungarian-American historian and philosopher of science Stanley Jaki (1924-2009), a priest who held doctorates in both physics and theology.  What little I’ve read from him has been very good.  So I looked for a bibliography of his writings, and this — merely a partial list, apparently — is what I found.  I am, to put it mildly, just a bit intimidated:   (1966) The… Read more

November 16, 2018

    News about the Middle East and/or the world of Islam:   “Jerusalem mayoral race exposes religious-secular rift”   “The plight of Asia Bibi should have everyone in the West trembling”   “Neighborhood Watch: Will Asian Countries Turn a Blind Eye to Uyghur Issues in China?  Will any of China’s neighbors speak out against its abuses at home? A major UN review offers a sobering assessment.”   “What most Americans get wrong about Islamophobia: An expert explains why it’s more… Read more

November 16, 2018

    New, in the soon to be renamed Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture:   “‘By Small Means’: Rethinking the Liahona,” by Timothy Gervais and John L. Joyce The Liahona’s faith-based functionality and miraculous appearance have often been viewed as incongruous with natural law. This paper attempts to reconcile the Liahona to scientific law by displaying similarities between its apparent mechanisms and ancient navigation instruments called astrolabes. It further suggests the Liahona may have been a wedding dowry Ishmael provided to… Read more

November 16, 2018

    Many years ago, there was a period when my speaking engagements on behalf of the old FARMS — the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, predecessor to the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship and, organizationally, to BYU’s new-direction Maxwell Institute — got a bit out of hand.  I was being sent out at least once a month, often to one of the coasts and, once or twice, first to one coast and then immediately, on… Read more

November 15, 2018

    As has been happening for the past several weeks, my biweekly “Defending the Faith” column appeared today in the print edition of the Deseret News and, at the following link, in the online edition of LDS Living:   “The Excommunicated Apostle Who Continued to Share Powerful Witnesses of the Book of Mormon”   One of the Deseret News editors recently explained the rationale for the change in my publishing arrangements to an inquiring reader, who has now passed… Read more

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