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Showing posts from April, 2015

The Best Information on Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: A Review Round-up

Today, Interpreter published three reviews of the soon-to-be released book on Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding.  The first review, written by Gregory L. Smith, the author or co-author of a smattering of articles on Joseph Smith’s polygamy, concludes, “[Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding] is warmly recommended for anyone who wants to learn more about Joseph’s plural marriages but particularly to those just venturing into its sometimes choppy waters. Were I not vulnerable to the sin of envy, I’d wish I had written it.”

A Great Opportunity

I have frequently commented on Book of Mormon geography, archaeology, etc. here on this blog. While reading and thinking and writing on these things is nice, and maps and photographs can do a lot to help a person visualize something, nothing is even half as good and going there yourself. I hope to have the opportunity to go too many places relevant to the Book of Mormon someday—Israel, maybe some places on the Arabian Peninsula, Guatemala, and central Mexico. At present, I need to save up for school and whatever else life has in-store for me in the near future. But I really, really, REALLY wish I could go to Mesoamerica this winter.
Why? Because Mark Wright, one of the best and brightest LDS Mesoamericanists, is leading a tour this winter, from December 26–January 4. I don’t have the words to express how incredible this opportunity is. While I mean no disrespect to others who lead such tours, I can promise you that no other tour guide else will be able to deliver the same level of e…

Patient Faith and Expanding Knowledge: Some Reflections on My Journey with the Book of Mormon (and an Invitation)

As I was working on a review of Geology of the Book of Mormon, by Jerry Grover (a book I highly recommend for reasons that will be clear when the review is released), I took a moment to reflect how much my views on the Book of Mormon have changed over the last 6 or 7 years. In certain ways, my views are no different than they were before. I still believe that the Book of Mormon is true, in the traditional Mormon sense of the word—it is the word of God, it is real history, and it is an important source for inspiration. But I very often read it differently than how I used to. When I read it now, I can’t help but be struck by how real, how authentic it seems on every page. Even when I am reading it with my family, I very often can’t help but pause to say, “this sounds a lot like a Mesoamerican…” or, “this makes a lot sense in light of how in the ancient Near East…” fill-in-the blank with whatever I observed at that moment. I find myself able to visualize the events of the book in ways I…