“Elder Holland: What They Heard is Not What He Said”

“Elder Holland: What They Heard is Not What He Said” September 8, 2021


The front entrance of Provo’s Covey Center for the Arts
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)




You may perhaps be aware of the controversy that has recently raged around Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Council of the Twelve.  Last night, Tuesday night, this article by Yr Obd’t Servant went up in Meridian Magazine:


“Elder Holland: What They Heard is Not What He Said”


I hope that it can shed at least a little bit of light on the topic rather than simply generating more heat.


I have to admit that I’ve been more than a bit discouraged over the past few weeks by the reaction of certain members of the Church to, first, the statement by the First Presidency urging members to wear masks and receive vaccination and, more recently, to Elder Holland’s speech urging BYU faculty, staff, and administrators to abide by, sustain, and defend the claims, doctrines, and standards of the University’s sponsoring institution.


There is always a danger that we will choose our own political ideologies and gods of our own devising over the revealed truth.  In a sense, on this side of the veil, it’s probably impossible for us not to do so, at least to some extent.  But I fear that it’s happening more often and more dramatically.  And we’re doing it with diminishing charity for those who see things in a different way.


They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.  (Doctrine and Covenants 1:16)


I keep thinking of a statement of the Rev. William Law (1686-1761) that was a favorite of the late Elder Neal A. Maxwell and that has become a favorite of mine:


If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead.




Meanwhile, it’s becoming deucedly difficult to keep up with the pretty much moribund Interpreter Foundation:


Today, for example, Kyler Rasmussen continues his Bayesian inquiry into the truth-claims of the Restoration continues with


“Estimating the Evidence Episode 10: On Plagiarizing the King James”


Yesterday, Tuesday, my wife and I were busy from morning well into the afternoon with a filming session for an approaching phase of the Interpreter Foundation’s “Witnesses” film project (and then, afterwards, with a retirement dinner that my colleagues in BYU’s Middle East Studies-Arabic program had organized for me and for Connie Lamb, who recently ended her service as the University’s Middle East librarian), so I failed to note the four new items that had gone up on the Interpreter website during the day:


The first was kindly supplied by Jonn Claybaugh:


Come, Follow Me — D&C Study and Teaching Helps: Lesson 38, September 13–September 19: D&C 102-105 — “After Much Tribulation … Cometh the Blessing”


And here are three more:


Audio Roundtable: Come, Follow Me Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 38 “After Much Tribulation … Cometh the Blessing” D&C 102-105

The Interpreter Radio Roundtable for Come, Follow Me Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 38, “After Much Tribulation … Cometh the Blessing,” on D&C 102-105, featured Terry Hutchinson, John Gee, and Kevin Christensen. The roundtable was extracted from the 8 August 2021 broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show.  Happily, too, the complete show may be heard at no charge — though sadly bereft of commercial and other interruptions — at The Interpreter Radio Show can be heard live each Sunday evening from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640, or you can listen live on the Internet at


Nibley Lectures: Come, Follow Me Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 38 “After Much Tribulation … Cometh the Blessing”: D&C 102-105

During 1978, 1979, and 1980, Hugh Nibley taught a Doctrine and Covenants Sunday School class. Cassette recordings were made of these classes and some have survived and were recently digitized by Steve Whitlock. Most of the tapes were in pretty bad condition. The original recordings usually don’t stop or start at the beginning of the class and there is some background noise. Volumes vary, probably depending upon where the recorder was placed in the room. Many are very low volume but in most cases it’s possible to understand the words. In a couple of cases the ends of one class were put on some space left over from a different class. There’s some mixup around D&C90-100 that couldn’t be figured out so those recordings are as they were on the tapes. Even with these flaws and missing classes, we believe these these will be interesting to listen to and valuable to your Come, Follow Me study program.


Interpreter Radio Show — August 22, 2021

Mark Johnson, Bruce Webster, and Matthew Bowen were the discussants for the 22 August 2021 broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show. In this episode, they focused on the recent Interpreter journal article by Dan Peterson (ugh!) and also recapped the recent FAIR conference.. The second portion of the show was devoted to a roundtable discussing the upcoming Come Follow Me lesson #40 (D&C 109-110). The Interpreter Radio Show can be heard every Sunday evening from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640, or you can listen live on the Internet at  And then, as in this case, each show is archived and made available for free listening at your convenience.




On Monday night, with friends, we attended a performance at the Covey Center for the Arts of 1820: The Musical.  The theater was sold out; I noticed, by the way, that Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve was among those in the audience.  The singing and dancing were extremely well done, the set was both simple and ingenious, and, in contrast to many other new musicals that I’ve attended, a number of the individual musical numbers stood out as memorable and potentially singable.  I wish all success to the people involved in the show.  I now have a much better sense of the effort and the risks involved in such an undertaking.




And here are a couple of newish items from the invaluable Neville-Neville Land blog:


“Assertion ≠ evidence”


“Brigham Young, M2C intellectual”


Incidentally, the person behind the Neville-Neville Land blog recently identified himself/herself to me.  As I had suspected, it was someone that I knew.  But I hadn’t known who it was.  I’m grateful for his/her service.




But I never like to end on a negative (i.e., Neville-related) note, so here’s an item from the Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File©  that will fire you up with righteous indignation against the evils wrought by theistic belief:


“Coordinated Response by the Thousands for Hurricane Ida Victims: Helping Hands and other volunteers from US Gulf Coast states converge on Louisiana to assist with cleanup efforts”


Please don’t miss the fact that, to borrow the phrasing of an astute and plainly fair-minded atheistic critic of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in another such case, this is nothing but “another example of the church helping only their own.”



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