First of all, although Witnesses is evidently being shown in the Orlando, Florida, area at the Epic Clermont theater, publicity for that fact has been, well, minimal. So I would like to give a shout-out to people who might be in that area or who might know people who live in the vicinity of Orlando to alert them to this. Tuesdays are often bargain days at movie theaters, so today might be a very good day to go to Witnesses there at the Epic Clermont — and to take friends and family:
New on the website of the Interpreter Foundation, from Jonn Claybaugh:
And also this:
The discussants for the Interpreter Radio Roundtable on Come, Follow Me Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 27, “No Weapon That Is Formed against You Shall Prosper” on D&C 71-75 were Steve Densley, Matthew Bowen, and Mark J. Johnson. This roundtable was extracted from the 23 May 2021 broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show. The complete show may be heard at https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreter-radio-show-may-23-2021/. The Interpreter Radio Show can be heard live on Sunday evenings from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640, or you can listen live on the Internet at ktalkmedia.com.
At least a few of you, I believe, have attended the annual FreedomFest gathering in Las Vegas. This year, unusually, it will be held in Rapid City, South Dakota, near Mount Rushmore. I’m delighted at the location because I haven’t seen Mount Rushmore and the Badlands since I was a teenager and because I intend to devote a few extra days to seeing where my father grew up in North Dakota, near Starkweather. And I thoroughly enjoy FreedomFest itself. I’m not quite a libertarian, but I lean that way, especially in economic matters.
On the off chance that anybody is interested or even cares, I will be participating in FreedomFest again this year as a speaker and a moderator:
On Wednesday, 21 July, I will chair a session in which Dr. Daniele Struppa will address the subject “God is a Mathematician.”
On Thursday, 22 July, I will moderate and participate in a panel with Abigail Hall Blanco, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Scott Horton on the topic “Is the Global War on Islamic Fundamentalists Worth Supporting?”
On Saturday, 24 July — Pioneer Day! — I will chair a session in the Anthem Film Festival portion of FreedomFest under the title “Creating Unity in a Divided World.” The panelists are Terry Kibbe, Luke Guidici, and Sam Martin, and the session will be devoted to a short film called The Intimate Touch, which is about an Islamic man and a feminist woman who find themselves attracted to each other and who discuss the issues involved in beginning a relationship. The Swedish filmmaker, Michael Stöen, cannot come to FreedomFest, but he evidently asked whether I would field the post-screening questions. It turns out that he has watched videos of remarks that I delivered on Islam and Mormonism in a somewhat spontaneous and improvised fireside at the Västra Frölunda Ward (near Göteborg, Sweden, his hometown, on 19 June 2016, almost precisely five years ago), while I was there for a quite unrelated FAIR conference. The sound quality isn’t quite ideal, but it’s not terrible. Each recording is about an hour long.
I’m really delighted at this opportunity to discuss The Intimate Touch.
Here are a couple of very short items from Dr. John Gee that you might find of interest. I certainly did:
One of my very favorite magazines is First Things. I’ve subscribed to it, I think, since its founding. And I’m far and away not the only person who likes it. My late and much lamented friend Elder Bruce D. Porter contributed to it. My friend Elder Bruce C. Hafen served for several years on its editorial board. And here’s an endorsement of it by Carl Trueman, an evangelical scholar who will be speaking at the rapidly approaching annual FAIR conference: “Arguments, Not Sound Bites.” Here’s a passage that I really liked from an article in the June/July 2021 issue of First Things that is entitled “The Cross and the Machine.” It’s by Paul Kingsnorth, an English novelist, essayist, and poet who lives in Ireland. He’s describing his adolescent and youthful atheism. He tells, frankly and with shame, of going as a fifteen-year-old with some of his cronies into a small medieval church not long after watching a few of the Omen movies. They found a visitor’s book in which previous visitors to the church had written things like “what a beautiful building” and “I feel a tremendous sense of peace here.” Egged on by his friends, he himself took up the pen that was provided and inscribed “I WILL DESTROY YOU AND ALL YOUR WORKS! HA HA HA!” and then signed it “SATAN.” A few weeks later, they returned to the church and did it again: “DIE, NAZARENE! VICTORY IS MINE!” And apparently they continued to do the same thing for several weeks, wondering why, even in an empty church, they hadn’t been caught. Then, one day, they found that all of their entries had been blacked out and that the pen had been removed.
Religion was irrelevant. It was authoritarian, it was superstitious, it was feeble proto-science. It was the theft of our precious free will by authorities who wanted to control us by telling us fairy tales. It repressed women, gay people, atheists, anyone who disobeyed its irrational edicts. It hated science, denied reason, burned witches and heretics by the million. Post-Enlightenment liberal societies had thrown off its shackles, and . . . religion was dying a much-needed death at the hands of progress and reason. . . .
I only knew that I could argue a good case for the injustice of the world made by this “God,” and the silliness of miracles, resurrections, and virgin births. I knew I was cleverer than all the people who believed this sort of rubbish, and I was happy to tell them so. (37)
That could have been written by one of the frequent commenters here on this blog. Fortunately, Paul Kingsworth has grown out of his teenage anti-theism.
At the moment, though, I want to commend very strongly to your attention an article by Mary Harrington entitled “Reactionary Feminism.” I think that it has some extremely important things to say, things that will challenge folks on both the political left and the political right. For a similar reason, I think — though he’s more or less on the left and I’m very much not — that I can also recommend Paul Embery’s “The Politics of Belonging.” Read ’em and think.