“Count Your Many Mormons” #GiveThanks

“Count Your Many Mormons” #GiveThanks November 20, 2020


Jordan, Goodman, and Richins.
The core of our “Witnesses” film crew (from left to right: James Jordan, Mark Goodman, and Russell Richins).


I have an unannounced program or schedule for my entries on this blog.  For the past few weeks, that program has called for longer posts (except on Tuesdays and Thursdays), but also less frequent ones.  I’ve made this modification for several reasons.  A principal impetus for it was an exchange with some of the leadership at Patheos that I initiated.  It turns out that Google and such things pay more attention to blog entries that are at least a thousand words in length than to shorter ones.  Based upon prior advice from Patheos, I had been doing posts that were always 400+ words in length, but I had also been doing three (or occasionally more) each day.  Resolving after this latest conversation to lengthen my posts, if not my stride, I also realized that I simply didn’t have the time to do three posts daily that were 1000 words or more in length.  I have other obligations, other things to do.


My new blog program also has me posting on particular themes several days each week.  Today, I’m more than delighted to post in harmony with President Russell M. Nelson’s call, issued this morning, for expressions of gratitude:


“The Prophet Releases a Message on the Healing Power of Gratitude: Global faith leader offers prayer of gratitude and invites people everywhere to do two important things to help heal our fractured relationships and communities”


I couldn’t possibly agree more that a positive attitude of gratitude for the many blessings that we enjoy would do much to cheer us up and to heal the fractious divides in our societies and our politics.


In particular, today, I would like to express my thanks to all of those who have made the Interpreter Foundation possible.


I include in my thanks the generous donors, large and small, who have allowed us to get to where we are today and who, I hope and trust, will help us to continue — and even to grow — into the future.  They owe us nothing, of course.  We have no claim on them.  But they believe in the Gospel and they want to see it explored and its richness and insights and truths more fully expounded and set forth.  They want to see it commended and defended.  And, happily, they see in Interpreter an instrument for accomplishing those things.  I thank my long-time friend Ed Snow, who has helped so very much with essential fundraising, and who has continued to do so even in a time that has been very difficult generally for him personally.


I thank those who write for Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship and who have contributed to our books, those who copyedit and proofread those articles and chapters, those who check their footnotes, those who typeset them, those who read them aloud for our audio versions.  Without them, what would we have?  What could we offer?  I’m grateful to our peer reviewers, whose work is by definition behind the scenes


I express my thanks to all those who participate on our weekly Interpreter Radio Show, to those who contribute blog entries on our website, and to those who design and maintain our website and keep it updated.


I offer my grateful appreciation to all those who have participated in our conferences, to those who have been involved in organizing them, those who have presented at them, those who have provided technological support for them.


I’m deeply grateful to Mark Goodman, James Jordan, and Russell Richins for their wonderful ongoing efforts on the Interpreter Foundation’s constellation of Witnesses film projects, and to all of those who have worked with them.  I’m very excited about what is emerging.


I also want to express my thanks to my talented and able vice presidents in the Interpreter Foundation, who, with me, make up the Foundation’s Board of Trustees — to Steve Densley (our executive vice president), to Jeff Bradshaw (who has played many essential roles and is currently heavily involved not only with writing himself but with organizing conferences), to Noel Reynolds (whose wisdom and vast experience as [among other things] scholar, academic administrator, and Church leader have been crucially important at various points), and to Allen Wyatt  (our vice president of operations) and Jeff Lindsay (who joined us still relatively recently and who has been helping Allen with the large burden of publishing weekly, and often more than weekly, articles in our flagship Interpreter journal).  Allen, Jeff B., Jeff L., Noel, and Steve have contributed enormously to the work and the success of the Interpreter Foundation, and they do so without financial remuneration and very commonly with little or no public fanfare or credit.  I value and admire them more than I can say.


Finally, in this context, I’m grateful for the contributions of the Interpreter Foundation’s sister organizations, Book of Mormon Central and FairMormon.  I’m pleased to report that we’re working well together toward our common aims of exploring, commending, and defending the Restoration.  Just last night, for instance, leaders of the three groups gathered virtually, along with representatives of the MoreGood Foundation, to report on our various activities and consider ways in which we might fruitfully cooperate and even collaborate.  There are some really exciting things on the horizon.


I fully expect that I’ve failed to mention individuals and groups of individuals who should be mentioned, and I apologize for that in advance.  The fact is that we have been able to do what we’ve done only because a great many people have come together to make it happen, quite selflessly, out of their commitment to the Kingdom.






Here are the two latest items to appear on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:


“Count Your Many Mormons: Mormon’s Personalized and Personal Messages in Mosiah 18 and 3 Nephi 5”

by Nathan J. Arp

Abstract: The present work analyzes the narrative art Mormon employs, specifically Mormon’s unique strategies for personalized and personal messaging, which can be seen in how Mormon connects the narration of the baptism at the waters of Mormon in Mosiah chapter 18 with his self- introductory material in 3 Nephi chapter 5. In these narratives, Mormon seems to simultaneously present an overt personalized message about Christ and a covert personal connection to Alma1 through the almost excessive repetition of his own name. Mormon discreetly plants evidence to suggest his intention for the careful re-reader to discover that Mormon was a 12th generation descendant of the first Alma. Mormon’s use of personalizing and personal messages lends emotive power to his narratives and shines a light on Mormon’s love for Christ’s church.


Stanford Carmack and Royal Skousen, “Pre-print of Revisions in the Analysis of Archaic Grammar in the Book of Mormon”



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