The Bells of Las Vegas

The Bells of Las Vegas May 14, 2024


Listening to BY on 8 August 1844
A blind man (played by Bryan Jimenez) listens to Brigham Young address the Saints at Nauvoo on 8 August 1844. (Photo supplied by Russell Richins from the set of the Interpreter film “Six Days in August,” which is now in post-production)

A new article of mine went up yesterday in Meridian Magazine.  Enjoy it, if you can:  “The Heavenly Sign: Brigham Young’s Transfiguration at Nauvoo”

The first temple in Nevada
The current Las Vegas Nevada Temple at sunset.  It sits on the side of the valley opposite the site of the  proposed Lone Mountain Nevada Temple

(Wikimedia Commons public domain photo)

Some of the objections that are being raised against construction of the proposed Lone Mountain Nevada Temple in Las Vegas are, at least outwardly, quite legitimate and worthy of being addressed.  They involve worries about the height of the building, the brightness of its lighting, increased traffic, and so on.  Others, though — feel free, please, to read through the reasons that have been publicly given by some for signing the petition against the temple — are fairly ignorant (e.g., the temple is bigger than its congregation requires) or presumptuous (this isn’t what the Church should be spending its money on and it isn’t needed), when they aren’t simply pretty naked expressions of religious prejudice (e.g., the Church is a cult, no additional temples should be permitted in the valley of Las Vegas [one is enough, if not more than enough], no temples should be permitted anywhere, there are too many Latter-day Saint churches in the valley already, Joseph Smith was a pedophile, temples are unnecessary, temple rituals are ridiculous, and the like).

I find this recent Meridian Magazine article quite helpful in considering the legitimate concerns:  “Religious Zoning Laws will Help the Las Vegas Lone Mountain Temple Be Built Despite Opposition”

(The expressions of frank religious bigotry don’t deserve consideration; they deserve marginalization and, yes, shame.)

It’s difficult, in such cases as this, not to think of Brigham Young’s famous remark about the construction of temples:

Some say, “I do not like to do it, for we never began to build a temple without the bells of hell beginning to ring.” I want to hear them ring again (Discourses of Brigham Young, 410).

We completed a temple in Kirtland and in Nauvoo; and did not the bells of hell toll all the time we were building them? They did, every week and every day (Discourses of Brigham Young, 410).

A petition in support of the construction of the temple is also available online, and it is important that those who favor the proposed Lone Mountain Nevada Temple — especially (but not necessarily only) those who live in the greater Las Vegas area — sign the petition:  “Support the Lone Mountain Temple”

Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas
One of the concerns raised by opponents of the Lone Mountain Nevada Temple is that it will create light pollution in the greater Las Vegas area.  (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

Some of you might enjoy this rehearsal performance by one of the choirs at Brigham Young University:  “An Inspiring “Song of Ruth” by BYU Women’s Chorus”

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.  (Ruth 1:16-17)

Many years ago, a friend of mine — a believing Latter-day Saint who holds an Ivy League doctorate in biblical studies — proposed to me the that Book of Ruth had been incorporated into the biblical canon for its inclusionary message.  In depicting a Moabite woman not only as a noble exemplar of faith and faithfulness but as among the ancestors of David and the Davidic line (including the ancestry of the Messiah himself), he suggested, it offers a welcoming counterpoint to the ethnically exclusionary message of the book of Ezra.

Boaz and Ruth skdflksfjlsjflsdkfs
Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, “Ruth im Feld des Boaz” (1828, “Ruth in the Feld of Boaz”)
Wikimedia Commons public domain image

And, now, here are two newly-posted items on the Interpreter Foundation’s website:

“The Book of Mormon in Context Lesson 21: “We Have Entered into a Covenant with Him”: Mosiah 18-24 

For the 28 April 2024 Come, Follow Me segment of the Interpreter Radio Show, Steve Densley and John Thompson discussed Book of Mormon lesson 21, “We Have Entered into a Covenant with Him” covering Mosiah 18-24.

Their discussion was recorded, and it has now been edited to remove commercial breaks, archived, and made available to you online at no charge.  The other segments of the 28 April 2024 edition of the Intrepreter Radio Show can be accessed at

Interpreter’s weekly radio show can be heard on Sunday evenings from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640, or, alternatively, you can listen live on the Internet at

Come, Follow Me — Study and Teaching Helps (2024): Lesson 21, May 20-26: Mosiah 18-24: “We Have Entered into a Covenant with Him”

Editor’s Note: Four years ago, Jonn Claybaugh began writing the Study and Teaching Helps series of articles for Interpreter. We now have these wonderful and useful posts for all four years of Come, Follow Me lessons. Beginning this year we will be reposting these articles, with dates, lesson numbers, and titles updated for the current year’s lessons. Jonn has graciously agreed to write new study aids for those lessons that do not directly correspond to 2020 lessons.

David Roberts's imagined siege of Jerusalem
An artist’s impression of Latter-day Saints moving into a heretofore peaceful and undisturbed city. (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

And, finally, I draw yet another pair of horrors from the ever-productive Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File™ for your indignant gratification.


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