Very nearly eight years ago, a sublimely self-confident pseudonymous critic on a small, extraordinarily nasty, and mostly atheist ex-Mormon message board took it upon himself to prophesy:
“By Jan. 1, 2014 Interpreter will be dead. . . . Either totally dead or down to token ‘blog’ style postings.” (Bond James Bond, 25 January 2013)
I hope that “Mr. Bond” kept his day job. (Actually, I haven’t seen anything at all from him in several years. Perhaps he’s totally dead. At the best, he no longer seems up to making even token “blog style” posts.)
The Interpreter Foundation was launched almost precisely 442 weeks ago. This Friday will mark the 442nd consecutive week that it will have published at least one article — which is not to mention its books, its blog, its scripture roundtables, its weekly radio programs, its film efforts, its conferences, and so forth.
That poor “Mr. Bond’s” prediction was proved wrong is entirely due to generous donations of time and labor and, yes, money from a great many people, to all of whom I’m deeply grateful. Our operation is almost entirely volunteer. Although our bylaws allow the Foundation’s top leadership to draw up to $500 annually for their services, none has ever taken anything. Nor are our authors paid. This is a labor of love, passion, and commitment.
If you need guidance on how to donate to the Interpreter Foundation, you can find such information here. And please don’t overlook the brief discussion of AmazonSmile, which can painlessly permit you to enlist Amazon to support the Interpreter Foundation (or any other listed charity of your choice) with each book or other item that you purchase there. In those cases, it’s Amazon.com that gives the money. There is absolutely no cost to you.
People have been asking me about the status of the Interpreter Foundation’s Witnesses film project.
Everything depends on the status of movie theaters. The theatrical film is essentially finished, and has been essentially finished for some time now. We’re probably looking at a premiere for it in about June. A preparatory publicity campaign will be gearing up relatively shortly.
Right now, our attention has turned to the completion of a roughly two-hour documentary (in two parts) that we hope to have ready to coincide with the theatrical release of the dramatic film. My wife and I have been through two recent iterations of the documentary script. Much of the filming for it (e.g., the bulk of the interviews) is already complete. I will be conducting three more interviews next Monday.
While you’re waiting, you might enjoy seeing our first little venture into film-making, a 25-minute piece on the late composer and Tabernacle organist Robert M. Cundick that we released back in September 2017:
Here’s a still relatively new item that has appeared on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:
Interpreter has now been publishing at least one article per week (and often two or three) since early August of 2012. With that sheer quantity of publication under our belt, I think it advisable to remind people of what we’ve published by sharing links to past articles. Here are five from our very first issue of the journal:
Abstract: The Book of Mormon features an esoteric exchange between the prophet Nephi and the Spirit of the Lord on an exceedingly high mountain. The following essay explores some of the ways in which an Israelite familiar with ancient religious experiences and scribal techniques might have interpreted this event. The analysis shows that Nephi’s conversation, as well as other similar accounts in the Book of Mormon, echoes an ancient temple motif. As part of this paradigm, the essay explores the manner in which the text depicts the Spirit of the Lord in a role associated with members of the divine council in both biblical and general Near Eastern conceptions.
Abstract: Nephite apostates turned away from true worship in consistent and predictable ways throughout the Book of Mormon. Their beliefs and practices may have been the result of influence from the larger socioreligious context in which the Nephites lived. A Mesoamerican setting provides a plausible cultural background that explains why Nephite apostasy took the particular form it did and may help us gain a deeper understanding of some specific references that Nephite prophets used when combating that apostasy. We propose that apostate Nephite religion resulted from the syncretization of certain beliefs and practices from normative Nephite religion with those attested in ancient Mesoamerica. We suggest that orthodox Nephite expectations of the “heavenly king” were supplanted by the more present and tangible “divine king.”
Abstract: John 17 contains a richly symbolic Last Discourse by Jesus, in which the disciples are assured a place in the Father’s celestial house or temple. To fulfill this promise Christ reveals both the Father’s name and his glory to his disciples. Jesus’s discourse concludes with the promise of sanctification of the disciples, and their unification—or deification—with Christ and the Father. This paper explores how each of these ideas reflects the temple theology of the Bible and contemporary first-century Judaism.
Apparently it’s now become fashionable, since anti-Mormon criticisms of the Book of Mormon names Sam and Alma have been defeated, to claim that no anti-Mormons ever made such criticisms in the first place:
For an additional example or two of the criticism, see the appropriate section (“Alma”) of
Finally, a couple of items from along the religious liberty front: