First of all, I want to apologize to all of those who, on my recommendation, tried to watch the promised fireside by Jeffrey Mark Bradshaw this past Sunday night. (See “Virtual Fireside Tonight on “Freemasonry and the Origins of Latter-day Saint Temple Ordinances.”“) Something technological went wrong, I guess, and, for whatever little it may be worth, I wasn’t able to watch the fireside either. (I don’t know whether anybody was.) Some have inquired about whether or not a recording of it will eventually be available for viewing. My understanding is that, yes, a recording has been made. And it will be posted somewhere online when it’s ready to go. I’ll try to advise you of that when it happens.
I think that I won’t comment on this, as no comment is really needed:
I once had deep and serious political opinions, identifying myself as a strongly free-market-oriented federalist conservative. However, being publicly unenthusiastic about one particular politician, I discovered, caused several fairly significant potential donors to declare that they would never contribute to the entirely apolitical Interpreter Foundation so long as I’m president of it. So I’ve decided, since I’m more committed to the flourishing of Interpreter than I am to bellowing my political views fruitlessly into the wind, to voluntarily surrender the right of political expression that other citizens of the United States are afforded by the Constitution. I have not, however, given up my views on COVID-19 and vaccinations, which I do not believe ought to have become partisan political matters.
I also retain an unashamed and unapologetic interest in the question of religious freedom. So here is a link relating to one of the current fronts in the battle over that question:
This new book, written by Terryl Givens and his son Nathaniel Givens, looks extremely interesting:
And this sounds interesting, as well:
Among other things today — I’ve been trying to catch up on some writing — we wandered by, into, and around St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is very near where we’re staying. Standing on Fifth Avenue, it’s a beautiful church, particularly inside. And I like it, too, because it maybe gives some sense of what the medieval cathedrals of Europe were like when their stone was fresh and they hadn’t yet been stained by centuries of candles, incense, mold, soot, damp and foul weather, smoke, pollution, and sheer grime. I still love those old cathedrals, but I can’t honestly say that I always really like them.
I suppose that one might justly object to the Gothic Revival style of the Cathedral. (I can imagine what my architectural hero, Frank Lloyd Wright, might have said.) Is there any real reason why a cathedral has to be in Gothic style, simply because the great but centuries-old cathedrals of Europe were often (and quite honestly, given the era of their building) built in that style. I’m thinking, too, of Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago. (Which could, but won’t, lead us into the whole question of “Collegiate Gothic,” at place like Chicago and Princeton and Yale and Duke. Shouldn’t a church or a cathedral (or a university) reflect the architectural style of the age in which it was built? Consider, as an example of that choice, the still relatively new Cathedral of Los Angeles.)
The late Clayton Christensen once told me that he went through a phase when he first arrived as a student at BYU where he thought that, for it to be a truly great university, the school’s buildings needed to be covered with ivy. And, then, as it happened, he ended up studying at Oxford and Harvard, and spent his teaching career at Harvard, so maybe he actually got what he wanted.). But I confess that I do really like Gothic Revival buildings.
St. Patrick’s is the seat of the archbishop of New York, who is currently Timothy Cardinal Dolan. Cardinal Dolan, who is the tenth archbishop of the diocese of New York, was a great friend of the late Elder L. Tom Perry of the Council of the Twelve Apostles. They agreed, I’m told, to abandon honorific titles and to call one another simply “Tim” and “Tom,” and got on famously. For one thing, they could joke with another. Elder Perry told me about one conversation that they had had some time before. “Tim,” Elder Perry said to Cardinal Dolan, “we would like all of your people to become Latter-day Saints. Barring that, though, we want you to get your attendance numbers up for mass. They’re not nearly high enough.” And, apparently, when they occasionally encountered each other, Elder Perry would check up on how things were going. Fortunately, the friendly relationship between Cardinal Dolan and Latter-day Saint leadership has continued since the death of Elder Perry, as these links should illustrate:
I was in the audience, for whatever little it’s worth, when Cardinal Dolan gave his speech at Utah Valley University a few years ago. There was a genuine sense of warmth and friendship in the meeting, and my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
My more obsessive critics often enjoy interpreting what I write in a manner that makes me a manifest dimwit. It’s sometimes even rather funny, in its way. And I’m reminded at such times of a comment from Jane Austen’s Mr. Bennet, in Pride and Prejudice: “For what do we live,” he asks of his daughter Elizabeth, “but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”
Posted from New York City