Into the Storm

Into the Storm August 20, 2023


James Jordan captures Joseph Smith "backstage"
Joseph Smith (Paul Wuthrich) on one of the sets for the Interpreter Foundation’s 2021 “Witnesses” film project. (Still photograph by James Jordan)


For whatever little it may be worth, a video recording of the talk that I recently delivered at the 2023 FAIR LDS conference — under the title of “Understanding History Backwards” —  is now available online under the title of, well, “Understanding History Backwards.”  Watch the video at your own risk.

Also:  Paul Wuthrich, who plays Joseph Smith in the Interpreter Foundation’s theatrical film Witnesses and who is the host and narrator for the Foundation’s docudrama Undaunted: Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, gave an interesting podcast interview a few days ago.  Enjoy it here:  “Delving into the Divine: Actor Paul Wuthrich Unveils Spiritual Insights as Joseph Smith.”


Sydney's famous Opera House
The Sydney Opera House
Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0


“Threats to Religious Freedom in Australia: Recent legislation and several troubling incidents have challenged freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and even property rights in Australia. Many traditional Christians are extremely concerned about their status within an otherwise tolerant nation. What’s next?”

“China makes it harder for its Muslim citizens to go to Mecca, or anywhere else”


Corona del Mar sunset
A photograph, by my wife, of a sunset at Corona del Mar during a previous trip.  The area doesn’t exactly look like this right now, but we have hope.


We were scheduled to fly down late this afternoon from Provo (!) to John Wayne Airport, in Santa Ana, California.  Right into the heart of Tropical Storm (formerly Hurricane) Hilary.  I was far from sure that we would make it.  I kept expecting our flight to be cancelled.  But it wasn’t.  Even so, though, we weren’t certain that we would reach Santa Ana until our plane actually touched down.  When the pilot came on the speaker shortly before takeoff, he expressed his hope that we would be able to land at John Wayne, but said that, if we couldn’t, we would return to Provo.

This didn’t exactly thrill me, since, just slightly more than a year ago, I had tried to fly from Salt Lake City down to Santa Ana for a fireside, got as far as the skies over Las Vegas, and ended up turning around and landing in . . . Salt Lake City.  (See “In which I try again.”)  And, the last time that I tried flying a commercial airliner out of Provo (which was also my first time), our flight was cancelled at the last minute and we had to drive down to Las Vegas in a rental car in order to meet with a group down there.  I’ve grown pretty skeptical of late about airline schedules.

And while we were sitting at the Provo Airport waiting for our flight, we heard further news from near the place to which we were hoping to fly:  “Earthquake shakes Southern California as Tropical Storm Hilary makes landfall.”  It was almost funny.  By that point, I halfway expected somebody to tell me that California’s state government and all of its largest cities are entirely dominated by progressive Democrats!  I probably would have believed it.

Happily, the flight down to Santa Ana today not only managed to go the distance but was far less turbulent than I had expected it to be.  It’s been raining steadily outside here, and it’s been a bit gusty, but, altogether, things are better than I had anticipated.  Of course, the storm seems to have traveled up a bit more to the east of the “cone of uncertainty” than it might have, according to most meteorologists.  I hope that the folks to the east of us are doing alright.

But I have to say that I love flying out of Provo!  The destinations are severely limited, but the Provo Airport is just a few minutes from my home — on surface streets, no less — and it certainly offers some advantages over driving up to the Salt Lake Airport every time.  Moreover, I don’t know when it happened, but the Provo Airport building is new and small.  The four gates are very near the entrance and, unlike Salt Lake’s terminals, the trek to the airplanes doesn’t make one want to break out in the Primary hymn “Pioneer Children Sang as They Walked and Walked and Walked and Walked.”


Capitol Building in DC
The United States Capitol at Washington DC   (Wikimedia Commons public domain photo)


I don’t do politics any more.  I’m not permitted to have public political opinions.  Heck, I don’t even know whether the White House is currently held by a Whig prime minister or a Federalist one.  So, even though this man is reputed to hold some kind of position in the national government of the United States of America, I’m linking to this article about him only because I admire him very deeply and because I’m willing to say so openly:  “Mitt Romney’s Political Journey Reaches a Crossroads: Republican senator from Utah, an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, would face a tough fight if he seeks re-election”

And no, that doesn’t make me a Marxist or even a libtard.  But it does make me someone who respects people of good character and who wants to see more of them, not less of them, in public life,


Maui political map
A simple public domain map of the island of Maui from Wikimedia Commons


But now it’s high time for some richly anger-nourishing fare from the Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File™.  I owe it to my public:

“Church Leaders Visit Scene of Maui Wildfires: Hawaii Lt. Governor expresses gratitude for relief efforts”

“Church of Jesus Christ Donates US$1 Million to American Red Cross For Maui Wildfire Relief: Hawaii governor sees Church’s efforts first hand”

And, although the title gives little or no hint of it, this piece too comes from the Hitchens File.  And, accordingly, it contains dreadful comments that will make certain folks yearn even more than they already do for the demise and absolute disappearance of religion:

“Brazil Honors the Church of Jesus Christ: Elder Soares and other Latter-day Saint leaders are recognized at a special session of Congress”


Posted from Newport Beach, California



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