“Who were the Danites?”

“Who were the Danites?” July 9, 2022


BC's Parliament
The British Columbia Parliament Buildings, located within easy walking distance of where I’m currently writing.
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


The Interpreter Foundation’s Witnesses film project continues to produce.  Having completed its theatrical run, the original Witnesses dramatic film is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray and via streaming.  Its docudrama sequel, Undaunted: Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, which came out a few weeks ago, is available on DVD and will soon begin streaming.  Our companion website, Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, is up and still slowly growing.  And the twelfth episode of our Witnesses-related short videos went up just a couple of hours ago on the Foundation’s website:


Witnesses of the Book of Mormon — Insights Episode 12: Who were the Danites?

In 1838, in reaction to persecution, some members of the Church formed a vigilante group known as the Danites. Much has been made of this group in folklore and anti-LDS propaganda. What do we actually know about this group?

This is the twelfth in a series compiled from from the many interviews conducted during the course of the Witnesses film project. This series of mini-films is being released each Saturday at 7pm MDT. These additional resources are hosted by Camrey Bagley Fox, who played Emma Smith in Witnesses, as she introduces and visits with a variety of experts. These individuals answer questions or address accusations against the witnesses, also helping viewers understand the context of the times in which the witnesses lived. For more information, go to https://witnessesofthebookofmormon.org/ or watch the documentary movie Undaunted.

Short clips from this episode are also available on TikTok and Instagram.

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/theinterpreterfoundation and our other social media channels on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and TikTok.


There are quite of few of these short-video “Insights” waiting in the wings.  I myself have, thus far, reviewed twenty-seven of them.


Butchart Gardens, Victoria, BC
The Butchart Gardens, near Victoria, British Columbia, are extremely beautiful, but evidently can’t compare with the gardens beyond.  (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


One of the highlights of a visit to Victoria or to Vancouver Island more generally is strolling through the marvelous Butchart Gardens, which offer an astounding profusion of colors and visual textures around every bend in every path.  Each time I come, though, and as enthralled as I always am, I find myself thinking of the accounts of near-death experiences that I’ve read, many of which seem to suggest that even the Butchart Gardens offer only a relatively dim and drab foretaste of things that are yet to come.  Innumerable NDE reports speak of flowers and plants that the witnesses of them have never seen before, and of literally indescribable colors — colors for which they simply have no words and no analogue.  My suspicion is that the people reporting such things have seen a far broader spectrum of light than our eyes here can take in.


Those who’ve had NDEs overwhelmingly characterize their experiences as ineffable, inexpressible, or indescribable.  The famous Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung, who had himself experienced an NDE following a severe cardiac infarct at the beginning of 1944, would have agreed.  “What happens after death,” Jung wrote in a letter dated during the July following his near-death experience, “is so unspeakably glorious that our imagination and our feelings do not suffice to form even an approximate conception of it.”  In another letter, dated 1 February 1945, Jung wrote to the American analytical psychologist Kristine Mann, who had been stricken with terminal cancer.  “As you know,” he said, “the angel of death has struck me down too and almost succeeded in wiping me off the slate.  I have been practically an invalid ever since, recovering very very slowly. . . .  On the whole my illness proved to be a most valuable experience, which gave me the inestimable opportunity of a glimpse behind the veil. . . .  It is something ineffably grand.” “One of my most vivid memories of childhood,” reports the philosopher Thomas V. Morris, “is that of hearing my mother tell of the death of her father when she was still a small girl.  His last words to the family before he died, uttered in a voice of amazement, were, ‘It’s beautiful.’” The final words of the eminent scholar, theologian, and political philosopher Ernest Fortin, spoken just an hour prior to his death on 22 October 2002, are essentially identical.  With his eyes closed, he said to the Carmelite sisters who were praying the rosary at his bedside, “I see something beautiful.”  One near-death experiencer speaks of “vibrant,” even “exploding” colors.


Fountain in British Columbia
We sat and read for a while at just about this exact spot in Butchart Gardens just a couple of hours ago. (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


Tickets are now available for the 2022 FAIR Conference, which will take place on Wednesday through Friday, 3-5 August, in Provo, Utah:


2022 FAIR Conference


I’m intending to be there, and I hope to see you there, as well.


Inner Harbour with Parliament
The British Columbia Parliament Buildings can be seen in the distance (with a green dome) in this view of the Inner Harbor Causeway in Victoria BC. Our lodgings are roughly a fifteen-minute walk to the right, out of this Wikimedia Commons public domain photograph.


I’ve been remiss lately in calling your attention to useful entries on the Neville-Neville Land blog.  Here is a quartet of recent items:


Jonathan Neville reacts to Spencer Kraus’s reviews”

“Jonathan Neville continues to mislead about the Church’s position on seer stones”

“Jonathan Neville’s misleading rhetoric”

“Jonathan Neville sinks to new lows of character assassination”


With regard to the last of the links above, I really, genuinely, do not understand Mr. Neville’s peculiar personal hostility toward me.  I myself have written little or nothing about him, and, quite honestly, I could probably not pick him out of a crowd or a police line-up.  (I think that I once met him very briefly at a public gathering.  FAIR, perhaps.)  I only began posting links here to the Neville-Neville Land blog after I found out that he had repeatedly taken direct aim at me.  I continue posting such links because I regard such targeting (whether of me or, as he often does, of other Latter-day Saint writers and even, astonishingly, of Church leaders) as divisive and harmful to the Kingdom.  He should stop it.


World Mark Victoria BC
Looking at the very building where I’m currently sitting on a balcony.
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


Both my persecution complex and my out-of-control obsession with the recent FX/Hulu miniseries Under the Banner of Heaven — revealed, respectively, by an anonymous commenter on this blog and by several anonymous perpetual critics of mine on a message board — continue to manifest themselves in this piece by Meredith Blake, a staff writer for my former hometown paper, the Los Angeles Times.  It appeared in the 4 June 2022 edition of the Times:


“Church members decry TV portrait of Mormon life: ‘It’s designed to make us look alien’”


Posted from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada



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