“If I were placed on a cannibal island”

“If I were placed on a cannibal island” September 27, 2022


I like Balboa Park
In San Diego’s Balboa Park, right by the theater in which we saw “Come Fall in Love – The DDLJ Musical” late last week  (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


Two new items have gone up today on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:


Come, Follow Me — Old Testament Study and Teaching Helps: Lesson 41, October 3–9: Isaiah 58–66 — “The Redeemer Shall Come to Zion”

Once again, Jonn Claybaugh has generously supplied a concise set of notes for students and teachers of the “Come, Follow Me” curriculum in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Audio Roundtable: Come, Follow Me Old Testament Lesson 41: “The Redeemer Shall Come to Zion” (Isaiah 58–66)

In the Interpreter Radio Roundtable for Come, Follow Me Old Testament Lesson 41, “The Redeemer Shall Come to Zion” on Isaiah 58–66, the discussants were Steve Densley, Mark Johnson, and Matthew Bowen. This roundtable, which was originally broadcast on 28 August 2022, has now been extracted the overall Interpreter Radio Show for that date, cleansed of commercial and other, umm, pollutions, and made available for you to listen to at your convenience and at absolutely no charge.  The complete show may be heard, as well, at https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreter-radio-show-August-28-2022/.  And I’m pleased to point out that the Interpreter Radio Show can be heard live each and every week of the year on Sunday evenings, from 7 to 9 PM (MDT) on K-TALK, AM 1640.  If, though, the radio option doesn’t work for you for some reason (whether it’s sin or geographical distance or whatever), you can still listen live on the Internet at ktalkmedia.com.




Hal Boyd is reliably thoughtful and thought-provoking, and this piece from him doesn’t disappoint:

Think: Opinion, Analysis, Essays“Mormons are used to turning the other cheek. But that’s not ending bigotry.  Too much good humor in the face of prejudice can unintentionally normalize objectionable behavior.”


This is a potentially huge story:

The Guardian“‘Something big is happening’: the Iranians risking everything to protest: Five people share their experiences of the protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death in custody, as hope of real change grows”


The Catholic Church caught an enormous amount of flak over this matter.  But was it even true?

Common Sense“The Great Canadian Mass Graves Hoax: Why so many journalists embraced a story as “true” even though it wasn’t real.”


Perhaps not unrelated to the link immediately above:

“Is the media failing people of faith? A new study, which drew on insights from news consumers around the world, says the media should do more to boost religious understanding”




Sadly, Queen Elizabeth II has been gone for a while now, but here are two reflections on her funeral that I enjoyed:

“Plug-In: Ties the bind – Elizabeth II wove threads of faith and family into her funeral rites”

“‘Till we cast our crowns before Thee’ – ties that bind in last rites for Queen Elizabeth II”




I suspect that Brigham Young’s tastes in theater may have been more overtly didactic than mine are, and we very probably disagree on his distaste for tragedies, but I’m surely grateful that he gave such strong support to drama from the very earliest days of Mormon settlement in Utah.  (So, too, is my wife, the theater major.)


“If I were placed on a cannibal island and given a task of civilizing its people,” Brigham is said to have remarked, “I should straightway build a theatre.”


And, very plainly, history and his actions bear him out on that claim.  Soon after they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, the Latter-day Saints erected a temporary shelter made from tree boughs on a frame structure that came to be called “The Bowery.”  It stood on the southeast corner of what we now know as Temple Square.  The forerunner of the Tabernacle, it was used for religious services — but also for concerts, plays, and dances.


In 1853, not much more than five years after the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the valley, Salt Lake City’s Social Hall was formally dedicated.  The non-Latter-day Saint lawyer and federal territorial official Benjamin G. Ferris (1802-1891), a native of New York who was no friend to the Restored Church, favorably compared the theatrical performances held there to dramatic presentations along the eastern seaboard.


Thereafter, in 1862, Brigham Young dedicated the Salt Lake Theatre, which was one of the finest theater buildings of its time anywhere in the United States.


“Upon the stage of a theater,” said Brigham, “can be represented in character, evil and its consequences, good and its happy results and rewards; the weakness and the follies of man, the magnanimity of virtue and the greatness of truth. The stage can be made to aid the pulpit in impressing upon the minds of a community an enlightened sense of a virtuous life, also a proper horror of the enormity of sin and a just dread of its consequences. The path of sin with its thorns and pitfalls, its gins and snares can be revealed, and how to shun it” (Discourses of Brigham Young, 243).


What he said about live theater could also, of course, be true of the cinema.  We routinely misuse and abuse the power of films, it’s true.  But the potential is there.




Finally, I share with you four items from the Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File©, which seeks, by documenting representative examples of the horrifying evils wrought by religious belief and religious believers, to demonstrate the truth of his claim that the world would be a far better place if theism were to vanish from the earth:


“Church Donates US$5 million to Benefit UNICEF’s Global Malnutrition Program: Contribution is part of the No Time to Waste Campaign”

“Hurricane Fiona Affects the Islands of the Caribbean: In the face of the damage caused, the Church responds through its humanitarian services.”

“JustServe Efforts in Colorado Catch the Attention of the U.N.: Community partners worked together to help resettle thousands of Afghan refugees in Colorado”

“Presidents Johnson and Porter Meet with Government Leaders on Women’s Issues in South America: The Presidents of the Church’s Relief Society and Primary general organizations minister in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay”


And I found these two articles in the immediate neighborhood of the Hitchens File.  They merit some reflection, I think:

“Opinion: Ever wondered why Utah doesn’t have a single Fortune 500 company? Idaho has three, Arizona has eight. Is Utah lacking in ambition — or do we understand something others don’t?”

“Constitution, Country Need Latter-day Saints’ Reconciliation Skills, Says Former Federal Judge: Latter-day Saints have a distinct role to moderate and unify in contested issues, says Thomas B. Griffith”



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