Thoughts on the passing scene

Thoughts on the passing scene January 20, 2019


Luxor sunset
Sunset in Luxor, Egypt (Wikimedia Commons)


First off:  “January 20–21, 2019 Total Lunar Eclipse (Blood Moon)”


You might perhaps be able to see it tonight.  I should be able to do so quite well here in Utah Valley.  Conditions are very clear at the moment, and the eclipse has already plainly commenced.




From Book of Mormon Central:


“When was Jesus Christ really born? The Book of Mormon can help”




Life is sometimes very hard.  Even for prophets and apostles:


“‘A fulness of joy’: President Nelson shares message of eternal life at his daughter’s funeral”




As I write, a dear friend whom my wife and I have known since very shortly after our wedding, who served as our branch president in Cairo and then became a colleague at BYU, is in the hospital in Salt Lake City in very serious condition, largely unresponsive.  Our prayers are with him and with his wife and family.




I received notice this afternoon from Royal Skousen that Robert J. Woodford passed away on Saturday morning.  There will be a viewing on Friday evening, followed by the funeral on Saturday morning.  I don’t yet have the times.  Details will be available later.


As Royal writes, Brother Woodford “did some wonderful critical text work on the Doctrine and Covenants, at a time when it was very difficult to do such work. It took great courage and perseverance on his part. We owe him a lot.”


Here are a couple of pieces that Dr. Woodford wrote for the Ensign:


August 1978:  “Book of Mormon Personalities Known by Joseph Smith”


December 1984:  “The Story of the Doctrine and Covenants”




More than a few of you, I think, will be interested in this piece, although you’ll need to overlook its brief but breezily inaccurate account of Joseph Smith:


From The Daily Beast:  “In God We Trusted: Warren Jeffs’ Polygamist Cult Once Controlled This Town.  Now It’s Launching a Democracy From Scratch: Hildale has a new mayor—an apostate and, even more shocking, a woman.”




“Public Open House and Dedication Dates Announced for the Haiti Temple”




There are few human attributes that I dislike more than cynicism.


I hate it when people sneer at sincere expressions of faith, idealism, and/or love, and, in some cases, seem to deride even goodness itself.  I hate it when some sorts appear to deny the very possibility of goodness, or of selflessness and sincerity.


Such attitudes are particularly common on the Web, on message boards and in newspaper and other such comments.  Anonymous and pseudonymous cynics abound.


The word cynicism comes from a Greek term meaning “dog-like.”


But this is grossly unjust to dogs.  They’re never cynical.  Cynicism is uniquely human, and remarkably unattractive.




Finally, here’s a simple recipe for a pretty good life:


“Keep good company, read good books, love good things and cultivate soul and body as faithfully as you can.”  (Louisa May Alcott)



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