Yes to Heavenly Reunions

Yes to Heavenly Reunions April 19, 2024


Land of Nephi?
In the Guatemalan highlands, near Antigua
(Wikimedia Commons; click to enlarge.)

“The Unwritten Debates in Moroni1’s Letter,” written by Morgan Deane

Abstract: Moroni1’s letter in Alma 60 is not simply an angry and intemperate screed against the government; it also responds to arguments about just tactics (what modern readers would call ethics) taking place among Nephite leaders at this time. Moroni1’s letter argues for his preferred strategies of active defense and ambush, while interpreting defeat as a failure of leaders. His rhetorical strategy is particularly noteworthy for associating his Nephite opponents’ hopeful trust in the Lord with the passive resistance of the king-men, and shifting blame for defeat away from his strategies and onto his political opponents. Overall, Moroni1’s arguments exemplify sophistication and debate within Nephite thought.

[Editor’s Note: This paper is adapted from chapters 4–6 of Morgan Deane, To Stop a Slaughter: The Book of Mormon and the Just War Tradition (self-published, Venice Press, forthcoming, 2024).]

“Interpreting Interpreter: Captain Moroni’s Hidden Debates,” written by Kyler Rasmussen

This post is a summary of the article “The Unwritten Debates in Moroni1’s Letter” by Morgan Deane in Volume 61 of Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship. All of the Interpreting Interpreter articles may be seen at An introduction to the Interpreting Interpreter series is available at

The Takeaway: Deane suggests that Moroni’s letter to Pahoran argues implicitly against taking a passive approach to military threats—and in favor of placing the blame for defeat at the hands of political leadership—in response to debates that may have been taking place within the Nephite political and military hierarchy.

“An Exceptional Example of the Richness of Church History,” written by Susan Easton Black

Review of Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Emer Harris & Dennison Lott Harris: Owner of the First Copy of the Book of Mormon, Witness of the “Last Charge” of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Eborn Books, 2023). 235 pages, 67 illustrations, appendix, references, $29.00 (paperback).

Abstract: Jeffrey Bradshaw has, in a single well-researched volume, provided a gift to those interested in the lives of early Church members. In Emer Harris & Dennison Lott Harris, Bradshaw brings out of obscurity the remarkable life of one of Martin Harris’s brothers and illustrates the contribution of that life to the initial decades of the Restoration.

Jordan's image of Zuccola
Michael Zuccola as the young David Whitmer in the Interpreter Foundation theatrical film, “Witnesses” and the Interpreter docudrama “Undaunted: Witnesses of the Book of Mormon”
(Still photograph by James Jordan)

In other news:  I recommend this very brief TikTok item to you and to all your family and friends:  “David Whitmer Testifies of the Book of Mormon”

I routinely see a very great deal of online nonsense about Joseph Smith’s legal and courtroom experiences.  This should help raise the level of discourse on the subject:  “The Joseph Smith Papers Project Releases ‘Legal Records: Case Introductions’”

“Do Latter-day Saints really attend church more often? Smartphone data may hold answers: A University of Chicago researcher found that about 1 in 345 Americans are weekly church-attending Latter-day Saints”

Where my parents' bodies lie
A view of Rose Hills Memorial Park, in Whittier, California, where my parents and paternal grandparents and many other of my relatives are buried. It’s sacred ground for me.
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

Slightly more than three weeks ago, I recounted the little story — not for the first time —  about an encounter that my wife and I had with a sorrowing widower whom we met while we were visiting the cemetery in Southern California where the bodies of my parents rest.  (See “Elegiac Thoughts On Why It Matters So Very, Very Much.”)  As always, my Malevolent Stalker — who is maliciously creative but not stupid (at least, not in the conventional sense) — has attempted to twist that little story into a yet another redundant demonstration that I’m callously cruel, hypocritical, and just generally depraved and of monstrously bad character.  (I’m not inclined to get into the details here.  The myth that he has tried to create — backed by revelations from supposed “informants,” no less —  is so convoluted that I honestly don’t even quite understand what I’m supposed to have done, or why I did it.  Or didn’t do it.  Or something.  Anyway, it’s bizarre, and it’s flatly false.  But, weirdly, the Stalker’s fictional tale even includes one of the regular commenters here, who apparently serves — somehow — among my “lackeys.”  Maybe I’ll tell my “lackey”; I think he would be amused.)

“Folks,” gushes the Stalker’s talentless Mini-Me wannabe while obsequiously licking his Master’s boots, “you just can’t make this stuff up!”  To which the obvious answer is, “Clearly, you can.”

Anyhow, one of the accusations launched in this particular Stalker attack on me is that, when I expressed happiness at the fact that — as I believe — Frenchy Morrell has finally been reunited with his wife, Wanda, who had died nearly three decades before, I was lying.  (Since I’m always lying, of course, I’m not sure why this particular lie should be news.  But then, I can’t really make sense of the Stalker’s thinking on any level, so why should I hope to understand him this time?)

How does he know that I was lying?  Because, being a Latter-day Saint, I know that Frenchy Morrell won’t be reunited with his wife, since they weren’t sealed for all eternity in a Latter-day Saint temple.  (I think, in fact, that I’m supposed to feel contemptuously superior about this, and to rejoice in the inferiority of non-Latter-day Saints.  Or something like that.  I haven ‘t really spent a lot of time studying the Stalker’s demonology.  I don’t even know whether he genuinely believes it or whether it’s some kind of gaslighting joke — and, after approximately two decades of it, I don’t particularly care.)

So I think that I’ll state here what I actually think about this question:  No, Frenchy and Wanda hadn’t been sealed in a Latter-day Saint temple.  But that doesn’t mean that they won’t see or know each other in the world of spirits.  Absence of a temple sealing simply means that spouses are no longer married (“till death do us part,” after all) and that families aren’t organized any more as families.  (But vicarious temple dealings can and will be offered to all who have gone on before us.)  However, I’ve read hundreds upon hundreds of accounts of near-death experiences in which those who have entered into the next life have been met upon their arrival by previously deceased spouses and other family members.  So I have absolutely no doubt that Frenchy was greeted by Wanda, and that they were reunited after their long separation.  Which is wonderfully good news.  And eventually, they will be offered the opportunity to have their marriage made eternal.

Tissot had seen the place
A depiction of Christ delivering the Sermon on the Mount by James Tissot (1836-1902)
Wikimedia Commons public domain image

Finally, as is my frequent practice here, I close with something from the Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File™:  “Zion with God’s Most Unlikely Children: My Journey to The Other Side… Academy,” written by our friend Joseph Grenny.  At their request, my wife and I organized — and accompanied Joseph and a number of other leaders of The Other Side Academy (TOSA), including Dave Durocher, on — a tour of Egypt back in January.  Just in case I haven’t been clear enough heretofore, please permit me to try again:  Both my wife and I had already been deeply, deeply, deeply impressed by what is going on at TOSA and its related undertakings.  And we came away from that Egyptian tour more deeply impressed than ever before.  It’s one of the most amazing things that I’ve ever seen.



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