Blog Update: April 2014

I has been close to a month since I last posted. The primary reason for this has been that my computer was not working. Probably about 3 weeks ago, my computer just crashed for what seemed an inexplicable reason. Not knowing what to do, and not having any money, I just let it alone and had to cope with life without a laptop! (I know, the horror!!!) At first, it seemed nice to be free, but before long I was going through withdrawals. When we got our tax return, I took my computer into CompuClinic, in Provo. Apparently, my hard drive had crashed. They were able to clone everything on my computer, replace the hard drive, and restore all my files and programs (using the clone, of course), so now I am back in business.
In addition to missing my computer over that time, I’ve also had some school and personal matters that are more important than blogging for my miniscule audience. (I know, nothing should be more important than blogging for virtually nobody to read! Where are my priorities?) With the semester winding down, school is likely to continue to be a priority for the next few weeks as I scramble to write papers and study for finals. So April maybe a slow month here.

Summer Time

This is usually where I promise to be more prolific over the summer. However, in an effort to make things easier for last year of school (2014–2015), I am taking a couple of classes over the summer. These are 6 week classes, so it will only be for half the summer, but during that time, things are likely to be busy. In addition to that, I have a number of other projects I need to give attention to in spare time, so blogging may not pick up much extra attention over the summer this year.

Leading Expert Cites Yours Truly!

To end this update on a positive note, LDS researcher Warren Aston has recently started writing for Meridian Magazine again. According to his author profile, his new book Lehi & Sariah in Arabia: The Old World Setting of the Book of Mormon is due out this month. Aston is the leading LDS expert on the Nihm tribal-territory (the Book of Mormon Nahom), and has even presented on the topic in an academic conference hosted by Cambridge University. He tells the story of his discovering Nehem and tracing it back to Nephi’s day in two recent installments for Meridian. Toward the end of the second installment, he writes:
Unsurprisingly, the response to this discovery by anti-Mormon and cultural-Mormon critics has been quite different. Although several years have now passed, most have not responded to the development at all, moving on to attack other aspects. But, of those who have responded, all have failed so far to engage with the facts; none have yet offered a coherent response.1 (Emphasis added)
What has all this to do with me? Well, in the footnote after the italicized sentence, Aston directs his readers to a paper I co-authored with a good friend of mine.
1. See, for example, Neal Rappleye and Stephen O. Smoot, “Book of Mormon Minimalists and the NHM Inscriptions: A Response to Dan Vogel,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 8 (2014), 157-185.
For what it is worth, the print version of this volume of Interpreter is now available. Smoot and I address some of the few criticisms that have been raised against the Nahom/NHM connection, and in my opinion our paper certainly supports the statement that, “of those who have responded, all have failed so far to engage with the facts; none have yet offered a coherent response.” It was exciting to see our work on the topic get cited by one of the leading experts not just in LDS circles, but arguably one of the leading experts on NHM in the world.

Closing Remarks

As usual, thanks to all who bother to read my nonsense. Though my blogging activities may be less frequent in the coming months, I do hope to still find time provide, as often as possible, some interesting content related to LDS scholarship, apologetics, and commentary. It is hoped that the information in this blog—both previous posts, and future posts—serves to both inform and build faith.