Permit me to introduce two people to you.
The first is Stephen Smoot. He is an exceptionally bright and relatively recent graduate of Brigham Young University. He’s currently pursuing studies in Egyptology at the University of Toronto. He’s also been, among other things, a significant contributor to both Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture and Book of Mormon Central and a participant in a substantial number of the Interpreter Foundation’s scripture roundtables.
The second character is one of the more bizarre residents in my menagerie of obsessive anonymous internet critics. (So far as I’m aware, he and I have never met.) Among this oddball’s signature activities are such things as fabricating ridiculous statements and attributing them to me, pretending to be a currently-serving but unbelieving bishop, claiming to have traveled internationally with me in order to record my various stupidities and misdeeds, publicly apologizing for my sundry gross offenses against humanity, and sorrowfully lamenting the many innocent lives that I’ve blighted and ruined.
Here’s his latest, referring to the academic discipline of Egyptology. He and his small but credulous audience have decided that the subject is worthless to society and that studying it guarantees disaster for Stephen Smoot:
Daniel C. Peterson really tried hard to encourage and push young Smoot into this field.
Another life/career destroyed by Daniel C. Peterson. What a shame.
This critic’s claim has finally pricked my long dormant conscience, so I’m posting an open letter to Stephen Smoot:
Do you remember all those conversations we had, in which I tried to persuade you to do graduate work in Egyptology? (Don’t feel bad if you can’t, because I can’t either. Not a single one.)
I understand, though, that it’s really, really cold now in Toronto, and I’m beginning to feel terribly guilty about having forced you to move there. I want you to know that you can come back to Utah at any time. I’ve decided to abandon my efforts to pressure you into becoming an Egyptologist. You’re welcome to study absolutely anything you choose. I hope that, someday, you can find it in your heart to forgive me.