Thursday, December 31, 2015
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
|Structure at the top of the tower at Quirigua|
Late last night, I finally arrived in Guatemala after being delayed in Dallas for the weekend. This morning, Stephen Smoot and I joined up with our tour group, and from there went to Quiriguá, some Classic Maya ruins dating from approximately the 5th–9th centuries AD. This, of course, means that it is post Book of Mormon. Despite this, however, there is an interesting Latter-day Saint connection to Quiriguá.
Sunday, December 27, 2015
Note: I haven’t given a “blog update” in a long time. And, in actuality, this is going to be a more personal update than anything else. I don’t normally share a lot of personal details on this blog, but the past 2 years have marked an important turning point in my life, and it is something I need to share. As will be evident, it does have some relevance to this blog.
Monday, December 21, 2015
|Book of Mormon Central Logo|
Since August of this year, I have been working on a very exciting research project that will be officially launched on January 1, 2016. It is called Book of Mormon Central. The aims of Book of Mormon Central are simple: create a centralized Book of Mormon research tool. We hope to achieve this in at least four different ways:
- With the cooperation of other research institutions and publishers (such as Interpreter, the Religious Studies Center, BYU Studies, etc.), we are building what we hope will become a comprehensive online research archive featuring all things published on the Book of Mormon. Close to 1000 items are already in the archive, and more are being added all the time. Everything in the archive will be available for free.
- Using a Wiki platform, we are planning to put together Study Notes on various Book of Mormon topics. These will be encyclopedia-like entries, and the Study Notes wiki will, essentially be a free online Book of Mormon encyclopedia.
- An interactive online edition of the Book of Mormon text, with annotations from the Study Notes and archived materials will be available, with links back in the archive and the full Study Note entries. This will provide Book of Mormon readers with direct and instant access to the latest and most relevant information in historical, geographical, textual, cultural, theological, and linguistic analysis, as well charts, graphs, and other visuals.
- To help all of the great research on the Book of Mormon circulate more widely, we plan to frequently publish short, popular 1–3 page summaries focused on one specific insight into the Book of Mormon. These will be called KnoWhys, because they will not only aim to provide something new to know, but also explain why it is significant. Ultimately, it is about knowing why the Book of Mormon deserves out time, effort, and devotion. We hope to have several of these coming out each week. These will be widely shared and promoted on social media using custom memes and videos to help further get the main point across in a simple, popular format.
With all of this, the main goal is to bring people back into the text of the Book of Mormon itself, get them thinking about it and reading it from a new perspective, and helping them develop a greater appreciation for the beauty and power of the Book of Mormon.
Readers of this blog know full well how much I love the Book of Mormon. I had dedicated myself to better understanding that book long before I got offered this job in August. Being part of Book of Mormon Central has been a dream come true, and I look forward to the many more exciting things we have coming!
If you are in the Provo area, and would be interested in learning more about Book of Mormon Central, there will be a pre-launch reception tomorrow, December 22, 2015, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm where we will be giving demos of each of the four initiatives. The reception will be held at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU. Come and see what we are up to!
Thursday, December 3, 2015
|A Nativity cast with a Christmas |
tree in the background
Approximately 600 years before the first Christmas, a young man (probably still a teenager) from Jerusalem stood atop a mountain peak, probably not far from his father’s camp in Wadi Tayyib al-Ism or another nearby wadi. He may have been standing before the entire divine council, though all we know for certain is that he spoke directly with the Spirt of the Lord and one other divine being. He asked about the meaning of a tree. In response to his inquiry, the Spirit of the Lord showed him the following: