Friday, November 13, 2015

“There are Opportunities for Almost Anyone”: Warren Aston on Book of Mormon Research

Warren Aston
Last week, I had the privileged of interviewing Warren Aston, who has been actively researching in Yemen and Oman on the Old World setting of 1 Nephi for longer than I have been alive. His work has led to a presentation at Cambridge University, and publications in the Journal of Arabian Studies and Wildlife Middle East News, in addition to all the LDS venues he has published in (such as BYU Studies Quarterly and Journal of Book of Mormon of Studies).

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Learning How to Be Latter-day Saints: An Opportunity

A thought that seemed appropriate
By now, you have probably already heard about the new policy from the Church that has been leaked to the press about children of same-sex parents. I have not said much about it, and on topics like this I usually prefer to listen to the perspectives of others who are more directly affected, or who have more relevant experience and expertise.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Some Thoughts on “Bracketing” and the Relationship of Reason and Revelation

When I first started this blog back in 2010, I called it “Reason and Revelation.” I spelled out some thoughts I had on the relationship between the two at the time. Of course, as with all things, when I write, the thinking is not necessarily done, not even by me. Like everyone else, I keep wrestling with the tension that the two often create—a wrestle that, I must admit, I find strengthens faith.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Great Opportunity Revisited

A gorgeous view of Lake Atitlan, one of the many beautiful places
you can visit and learn about with Dr. Mark Wright
Back in April, I posted some information about an LDS tour of Mesoamerica, which will have a Book of Mormon theme, of course. As I said then, this is a great opportunity because Dr. Mark Wright, of BYU, is one of the very best scholars of both the Book of Mormon and of Mesoamerica.

Back in April, I lamented that my circumstances would not allow me to go. Alas, circumstances change, and mine have changed in a big way. I may talk more about that at another time. For now, the point is now I can go on this trip, and I could not be more excited! Again, like I said in April, it is nice to read, and to think, and to write about all of this stuff. And pictures really help make it come alive. But there just is nothing like actually being there. So I am excited and grateful to have this opportunity.

But I am not writing this to brag. Rather, registration for the trip is closing soon and I want to encourage anybody who can come to jump in before it too late. In addition to Mark, at least two others (neither of which is me) who have spent decades studying the Book of Mormon from a Mesoamerican perspective will be there. And another friend of mine, Stephen Smoot, who has lots of insights into the Book of Mormon from an ancient Near Eastern perspective, will also be going. I am truly the least of all these, but I’ll be there, for what that might be worth to you.

Truly this is an opportunity not to be missed. There will be a veritable treasure trove of insights into the Book of Mormon waiting to be opened in late night hotel lobbies and bus rides.

Once again, details on the tour are available here.

For more information on Mark Wright, see here and here.

I honestly don’t think an opportunity this good will come around terribly often. If you have any interest at all in going to Mesoamerica, the time is now!

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Proposed Anthology/Handbook on Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon

Central Plaza of Palenque
I recently realized that at present, there is no anthology (collection of papers) or “handbook” that focuses completely or even mostly focuses on the Book of Mormon in Mesoamerica. Most anthologies on the Book of Mormon, have largely focused on the Old World connections. Take, for example, Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, which consists of contributions from scholars with training in the ancient Near East largely talking about “hits” from the ancient Near Eastern geography, archaeology, culture, and linguistics. There is one paper by John L. Sorenson who is tackling the ancient American setting all by himself and having to provide a full summary of such hits in one paper.