Showing posts from 2016

The Other Side of the Story: The Disenfranchisement of Muslims in the West

A lot of what you hear from Islamophobes in the United States and the West.  They give only one side of the story, and it's not usually very accurate.  In this article, I will explain, based on a video interview of Sheihk Hamzi Yusuf by Chris Hedges, some of the fundamental ideas that many Americans don't understand about the world as it relates to Islam.

PBS Frontline: Terror in Europe

In this article are the important points that I gathered from watching "PBS Frontline: Terror in Europe".
"As Europe reels from a terror onslaught, top security officials describe their struggle to contain the unprecedented threat revealed by attacks in France and Belgium."

Mormon, Moroni, Human Sacrifice, and Infant Baptism

Because infant baptism was a topic of discussion in the prophet Joseph Smith's day, critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Book of Mormon claim that revivalist America is where Smith got the idea to discuss infant baptism in the Book of Mormon.  I think that's a short-sighted claim, and in this article I explain how opposition to infant baptism likely came from the prophet Mormon, and why it could just as easily have been a topic of discussion in late Nephite society.

World Peace Depends Upon the Book of Mormon

"For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire." 
 Sounds about like right where we are in the world today, doesn't it? Refugee crises abound, due to the confused noise of despotic governments and the lust for power among terrorist groups.  As a result, refugees are spilling into Europe, causing anger there as it seems there are too many new-comers to assimilate.  The Zika virus, once a fairy tale that only affected other people, has now arrived in America.  Economies are either near or in tailspins all across the globe.  Angry Brits recently decided they weren't getting what they wanted out of the European Union, so they voted to leave, and that made other Brits angry.  In America, angry Donald Trump supporters vowed that they would not accept the election results until-shockingly and suddenly--they had won, which in turn caused angry Hillary Clinton supporters to take to the st…

"The Sins of Scripture": Reducing Violence in the Name of Religion

In his book The Sins of Scripture, John Shelby Spong points out that Christianityhas interpreted the Bible in ways that have allowed Christians to do much violence--to women, to children, to gays, and to nations and peoples in general.  In this article, I will talk about two lost doctrines that have actually resulted in what are misinterpretations of scripture in the name of violence.

The Book of Mormon: Isaiah and Nephi Remind us of God's Love, Covenants, and Plans for Us

It's easy to make a superficial reading of the Book of Mormon and think that Joseph Smith made it all up. But please don't dismiss the power and authenticity of the Book of Mormon. It is far more intricate than most people imagine. For example, here's something interesting that shows why the witness of the biblical prophet Isaiah is so critical to the Book of Mormon.

Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, Including Deutero-Isaiah

I have been unable to find a quick reference for all of the passages from the Bible's book of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon.  So I put one together, below. I've also identified whether the Isaiah passages cited in the Book of Mormon come from the person known by scholars as "Deutero" (or Second) Isaiah.  Deutero-Isaiah comprises chapters 40-55 of Isaiah, and were likely written during the time of the Babylonian Captivity (587 BC to 538 BC).

You've perhaps noticed that the Babylonian Captivity happened after Lehi and his family left the land of Jerusalem.  Does that cause problems for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon?  I don't think so, and I'll explain that in a later post.

"Mormon Leaks": What They Really Said-Senator Gordon Smith Discusses Politcs

A new channel has recently appeared on YouTube, entitled Mormon Leaks, whose goal it seems
 is to do damage to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  What I've seen so far, however, will do much to improve the respect that people everywhere will have for the LDS Church and its leaders.  So, rather than believe the exaggerations and other criticisms leveled at the videos by detractors from the Church, I encourage you to simply watch them yourself.

In this article, I will explain the high points of the episode entitled "In Which They Discuss Politics With Senator Gordon Smith".  The presentation was filmed in February of 2009.

One of the Benefits of BYU--Intense Gospel Discussion in Staff Meeting

I wish I'd had my tape recorder!  One of the things that I love about my 25-plus years of employment at BYU is the opportunity to have regular discussions about Jesus Christ and his gospel. We had a really good one in our team meeting yesterday.  Here's what I learned/thought about during or as a result of that discussion.

Was Korihor a Zoramite? Am I Sometimes a Zoramite?

Here are some interesting things that I thought of while studying Alma chapters 30 and 31 in the Book of Mormon for LDS Sunday School class last week.

How LDS Censorship May Have Led to Less LDS Faithfulness: The Ronald E Poelman Conference Talk of 1984

In a 1984 LDS General Conference talk, Elder Ronald E. Poelman of the Quorum of Seventy made a statement that is exactly what the Church needed to hear at that time.  And it's especially something that would assuage a lot of anger between warring camps in the Church today.  Why don't we know about it? Because someone (it's not clear who) in the general leadership of the Church didn't like it, and required Poelman to re-deliver the talk with that part of the talk replaced by something different.

Changing the Narrative of the LDS Church: 35 Years Later

A Mormon historian recently said that we as Mormons need to "reconstruct the narrative" of the LDS
Church, because what we've been telling is somewhat of a sanitized version.  A believing member of the Church, Richard Bushman welcomes the healthy reconstruction that has been officially sanctioned by LDS Church leadership in recent years.

Interestingly, another Mormon historian, nearly 35 years ago, attempted to do the same thing but was shut down when he suggested that the narrative needed to be reconstructed--to be told more accurately and openly.  Here is that story.

The Divine Feminine in Mormonism

It would be difficult to find a religion that speaks more highly of women and their eternal potential than does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Here are some of those teachings.

"Failure is Not a Monster to be Afraid Of": My Recent Speech at a High School Graduation

High school graduation speeches are often so much, "rah, rah, rah!" cheerleading, that they can
probably make at least a few high school graduates unnecessarily feel like failures.  So, as a member of the American Leadership Academy (Spanish Fork, Utah) board of trustees, when I was asked to speak at graduation, I prepared an unconventional high school graduation speech.  I told them about how difficult high school was for me.

Favorite Quotes from April 2016 LDS General Conference

Here are some of my favorite quotes from April 2016 LDS General Conference.

Nephi, the Not So Epic Superhero

Have you ever thought of the story of Lehi’s family from the perspective of Laman and Lemuel?

Nephi, from the perspective of Laman and Lemuel, was a twit. Nephi writes his OWN story, and he does so in epic fashion, with himself as the superhero. For example, he only could succeed in getting the plates. Only he had a solution when their bows broke. He was the only one who could build a ship to cross the ocean. On more than one of my bad days, I'd have REALLY been pissed off if I had a brother like that. ;-)