At IANDS September 3, 2022


Des News HQ
A part of Salt Lake City’s Triad Center, where KSL-TV, KSL Radio, the “Deseret News,” BYU-Pathway Worldwide, Ensign College, and the BYU Salt Lake Center are headquartered.  (Wikimedia Commons public domain photograph)


A new item went up today on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:


“Witnesses of the Book of Mormon — Insights Episode 20: Who Wrote the Testimony of the Witnesses?

Every edition of the Book of Mormon has included a copy of the Testimony of the Three Witnesses. Who wrote it? And if each of the three witnesses didn’t actually write the words themselves, does that somehow invalidate that testimony?

This is the twentieth 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. This week we feature Daniel C. Peterson, President of the Interpreter Foundation and Executive Producer of Witnesses. For more information, go to 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 and our other social media channels on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and TikTok.


The Salt Lake City Hilton Hotel and Convention Center, where the 2022 annual conference of the International Association for Near-Death Studies is being held this weekend.

(Wikimedia Commons public domain photograph)


My wife and I spent much of the day at the annual conference of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS), which is being held (through Sunday morning) in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It was fascinating, as I expected it to be.


  • We first attended a session in which Martin Tanner  (who runs our Interpreter Radio Show) spoke about “History and Impact of NDEs on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1784 to the Present.”  I hope that he will write it up and publish it.  I think that many Latter-day Saints would be fascinated.  What he had to say will, among other things, shed fresh light on certain familiar stories and figures from the history of the Church.
  • For the next session, I attended a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Lynn Johnson, who sometimes comments here on this blog, that concerned the challenges that near-death experiencers face in attempting to integrate those experiences into their lives.  (I was shocked by how high the divorce rate is among NDEers, although it shouldn’t be so surprising that an experience that often fundamentally transforms people would cause problems for those whose prior relationship had, in a certain sense, been with a “different” person.)


For lunch, we walked with Matt Roper, Craig Foster, and Suzanne Foster over to Siegfried’s Delicatessen, a place that I enjoy visiting once or twice a year.  Wienerschnitzel, Bratwurst, Spätzle, Sauerkraut, Rotkohl . . .  Impossible not to enjoy it.


  • After lunch, I browsed the IANDS bookstore.  That was an expensive stop.  And I spoke with various people out in the hallway and in the bookstore.
  • Then, together, my wife and I listened to remarks by Mary Neal, a physician whose bestselling book about her near-death experience following a kayaking experience in Chile I read several years ago.  I don’t think that I learned anything new from her today — I’m told by the person who asked her that she had agreed, a bit against her own preference, to reprise her famous experience — but it was helpful to get a sense of who she is as a person.  Her presentation was titled “Reflections of God’s Light and Love,” and those were the themes on which she focused as she reminisced about what had happened to her.
  • Finally, I myself spoke to the topic “Has Modern Physics Proven Out-of-Body Experiences Impossible?” This was only a brief treatment of the matter.  With time, I could have said considerably more.  But I had fun thinking about the topic.  And, with Tom Pittman’s expert assistance, I had a really nice Keynote presentation to accompany my otherwise boring drone.


After my presentation, Martin Tanner and I headed off to the studios of KSL Radio in order to record an episode of his weekly Religion Today show.  We spoke about the past, present, and future of the Interpreter Foundation, since this past August marked the tenth anniversary of Interpreter’s founding.  (We’ll be having our formal celebration later this month.)  What we recorded today will, as I understand it, be broadcast on KSL on Sunday, 10 September.


Bosch's "Ascent to the Empyrean"
Hieronymus Bosch (d. 1516), “Ascent of the Blest” or “Ascent to the Empyrean”
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


If I ever go back to my remarks today to polish them up, flesh them out, and publish them as a text, I may choose to include this passage from the late Austin L. Hughes (1949-2015), who, until his sudden and untimely death, was Carolina Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina and who served as the director of that university’s Institute for Biological Research and Technology:


The temptation to overreach . . . seems increasingly indulged today in discussions about science. Both in the work of professional philosophers and in popular writings by natural scientists, it is frequently claimed that natural science does or soon will constitute the entire domain of truth. And this attitude is becoming more widespread among scientists themselves. All too many of my contemporaries in science have accepted without question the hype that suggests that an advanced degree in some area of natural science confers the ability to pontificate wisely on any and all subjects.


The quotation comes from Professor Hughes’s article “The Folly of Scientism,” in The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society (2012).


Wiegmann did Roma
A scene in Rome in 1834, by Rudolf Wiegmann  (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


Finally, I share something terrible that I found while searching the Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File©:


“Church Helps Refugees in Rome Find Respect, Empathy and Services: Latter-day Saints believe in helping support and improve the lot of refugees, says President Dallin H. Oaks”



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