I repost this every year.
When the mission president announced to our small group of greenies that I was going to Strasbourg, France’s northeastern border, I shrugged the resigned shrug of a missionary who knew nothing about anywhere but was willing to go wherever. One of the sisters expressed jealousy; Strasbourg, she said, was one of the best cities in the mission.
She was right, and it would not be a good thing. Continue reading “A Missionary Reminiscence on Christmas in Western Europe”
I recently discovered an article about “the first real confrontation of Mormonism with science” during the Utah smallpox outbreak at the turn of the 19/20th century.
Continue reading “LDS and Science: An Epidemic, a Puzzle, and new Apostle… in 1904”
A few general introductory notes about the Book of Ether.
First, unlike the other two Book of Mormon migratory peoples, the Jaredites (as we call them) are not under the Law of Moses. Abraham>Isaac>Jacob (Israel)>>>>Moses. They’re not Jewish nor even Israelite (also a late term) nor Canaanite, but Mesopotamian, probably. So they are operating under a different set of religious ideas, different language— Sumerian, Akkadian, something else? Hebrew isn’t an option— and different cultural background than the rest of the Book of Mormon. And indeed, Ether has a different feel to it than the rest. It’s largely political history, stories of wars between scheming royal families, imprisonment, regicide, etc. All very Game of Thrones-y. Continue reading “Come Follow Me: Ether”
From 1934-5, the age of the earth, evolution, and scripture was hotly debated in the Deseret News. (See here for a little history and context.) Elders John Widtsoe and Joseph Fielding Smith wrote nothing themselves, but encouraged, solicited, and pushed articles reflecting their own views. On Widtsoe’s side was James E. Talmage’s son Sterling, who had received a PhD in geology. (JET had died the year before.) On Smith’s side, were several people, including Sidney Sperry, Major Howard S. Bennion, and Dudley J. Whitney, a Pentecostal farmer. Continue reading “Tales from the Archives 3: The 1934-5 Newspaper Proxy Wars and Writing Hot”
I’ll be posting the final Book of Mormon lessons soon, along with some pre-D&C posts and my “What to Read for D&C.”
With Mormon, we finally arrive in “the present,” that is, Mormon’s present. He’s no longer working from records that were ancient to him. Remember, the time difference between Mormon and the visit of Jesus is roughly the same time difference between us and Columbus; but in Mormon he’s now working from his own life’s experience, his own memories and thoughts. This is now a primary source, unfiltered through anyone else (well, except translation through Joseph Smith, however that worked.)
You can’t read the beginning of the end of the Book of Mormon without thinking of President Kimball’s stark call against modern idolatry which included this observation— “We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord.” Continue reading “Come Follow Me: Mormon 1-9”
One of my qualifying exams was in Reformation history. As the story goes, Oct 31 is the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church, so Oct 31 is sometimes known as Reformation Day. What many people don’t know is that a) this story doesn’t mean what people think it does and b) it might not even have happened. Continue reading “Happy Reformation Day!”
Why is 4th Nephi so short? Two interrelated ideas, I think. Continue reading “Come Follow Me: 4 Nephi”
First, D&C is coming. I still haven’t decided how to approach it for the blog, but I will be posting a suggested reading list in another week or two. My 2016 list is here, and there are some things to update. So stay tuned.
Continue reading “Come Follow Me (Brief): 3Ne 22-26”
I updated this from an isolated cabin in Wisconsin, while working on my final dissertation proposal draft (post-defense), our upcoming BYU Studies special issue, and some other projects. And then, working on that other stuff, I forgot to actually hit “update.” Re: these other projects, I’ll post some updates on all this soon. Continue reading “Rough notes on 3Ne 16, 20-30”