May 20, 2019

    Here’s the official Church press release:   “President Nelson Meets with New Zealand Prime Minister: Global faith leader reaches midway point on Pacific Ministry”   And here is a more complete account of the meeting from the Deseret News, which is accompanied by some very nice photographs:   “President Nelson meets New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, says church will donate to mosques”   (Please note that last phrase.)     And, still rolling in from a preceding stop… Read more

May 20, 2019

    “Egypt explosion: Tourists on bus injured near Giza pyramids”   A number of people have written to inquire whether we’re alright.  We are.  We (and the other members of our group) have been out of Egypt for several days now.   But, of course — and very troublingly to the Egyptian government and to those who care about the economy on which the well-being of Egypt’s roughly one hundred million people depends — incidents such as this one… Read more

May 19, 2019

    John 13:31-35   It’s impossible to improve upon this passage by commentary but, for the sake of freshness, I offer a likely unfamiliar translation (by J. B. Phillips) of a simple and very familiar text:   “Now I am giving you a new command—love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you must love one another. This is how all men will know that you are my disciples, because you have such love for one another.”   The… Read more

May 19, 2019

    Being in this general area reminds me of a column that I published in the 20 September 2012 issue of the Deseret News:   During a rambling, all-night discussion in the late 1960s, a famous Nobel laureate physicist told a group of Caltech students and their friends (among the latter a high school girlfriend of mine) that, though he loved C.S. Lewis’ science fiction novels, he hated the “religious propaganda” that Lewis tacked on to them. But surely… Read more

May 19, 2019

    A Facebook comment demanding to know, essentially, why there are so many Muslim terrorists if Islam isn’t fundamentally rotten reminded me of the following Deseret News column, which Bill Hamblin and I published back on 31 March 2017:   Charles Kurzman, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has carved out an important scholarly niche for himself. His 1998 Oxford anthology “Liberal Islam: A Sourcebook,” for example, represents a fundamental resource on the little-known (and often… Read more

May 19, 2019

    We received word a couple of days ago that Mike Hill, a friend and neighbor, a member of my priesthood quorum and a frequent quorum instructor (and, for what little it matters at this point, a former mayor of Provo), has passed away.  It came as quite a shock.  We knew that Mike had been ill, facing a lethal cancer or blood disease, but we — certainly I — thought that he had quite a bit of time… Read more

May 18, 2019

    I am, without apology, an Anglophile.  For me though, perhaps somewhat unusually, the sancta sanctorum of England is to be located in places like Oxford and Cambridge — and one of my keenest regrets is that, while I’ve participated in a conference at Cambridge and spoken at one of the Oxford colleges, I never spent time as a student at either one of them.  I should have made that happen, but I didn’t.  Too bad.   In any… Read more

May 18, 2019

    Matthew 26:21-25 Mark 14:18-21 John 13:21-30 Compare Luke 22:21-23   Two quick observations:   1.   Each of the eleven apostles who were innocent in this matter worried that he might be the one who would betray Jesus.  This is commendable.  On this occasion, at least, none of them seems to have imagined himself invincible, impervious to sin or temptation.   We should all recognize our own capacity to mess up badly.  Those who don’t recognize it, I think,… Read more

May 18, 2019

    Professor Louis C. Midgley continues his celebration of all things Latter-day Saint and Māori with a review essay in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship on Selwyn Kātene, ed., By Their Fruits You Will Know Them: Early Maori Leaders in the Mormon Church, vol. 2 (Wellington, New Zealand: Steele Roberts Publishers, 2017). 295 pp. N.Z. $39.99 (hardback):   “The Māori Latter-day Saint Historical Narrative: Additions and Amendments”   Abstract: Selwyn Kātene has again assembled twelve essays… Read more

May 18, 2019

  I published this column fairly recently, on 7 March 2019, in the Deseret News:   Seeking certainty, the great French philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes (1596-1650) adopted an approach of “systematic doubt” until he reached something that he was unable to deny: “I think,” he famously said, “therefore, I am.” If he tried to doubt his own existence, he reasoned, he must exist. Otherwise, he couldn’t doubt it. In his 2018 book “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to… Read more

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