Friday, June 24, 2022

Minerva Teichert article

There's a wonderful article on Minerva Teichert in the Deseret News by Hanna Seariac here:

The article includes several useful links for more information. 

Teichert painted several well-known scenes of Book of Mormon events. Although she was influenced by the Mesoamerican theory, her paintings are colorful and imaginative. 

The BYU Museum of Art has a collection of her work online.

Hanna concluded the article with this beautiful passage:

Teichert was a pioneer in Latter-day Saint artwork. She insisted, “I must paint.” She even wrote in her autobiography, “I want ... to be able to paint after I leave here. Even though I should come back nine times I still would not have exhausted my supply of subjects and one life time is far too short but may be a schooling for the next.”


Monday, June 20, 2022

History of the Church in France

Here is a wonderful video documenting the history of the Church in France, starting with the efforts by John Taylor to translate the Book of Mormon into French through the construction of the Paris temple.

FYI, the narration is in French.

Monday, June 13, 2022

New ways of depicting Jesus

At the Mormon History Association last week (where I presented a paper on the influence of Jonathan Edwards), I attended a session on art that included a discussion of new ways of depicting Jesus more accurately, given the setting of the New Testament. You can see some of the examples at these links:

The entire exhibition is here: 

A video about it is here:

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Censorship and intellectual cartels

Censorship is a fatal error, as it destroys the means of error correction.


They want to punish you for your speech because they can’t punish you for your thoughts.

If @elonmusk manages to liberate Twitter, efforts to control free speech will move to the Apple / Google level, and then to the national level.

The best thing about getting older is that you know who you are and you know what you want.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Bits of wisdom

John 8:32: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Moroni 10:4-5: if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

Brigham Young: "We talk a great deal about our religion. It is not now my intention to deliver a discourse on this subject, enumerating facts and producing evidences in my possession which are unanswerable, but I will merely give a text, or make a declaration, that our religion is simply the truth. It is all said in this one expression—it embraces all truth, wherever found, in all the works of God and man that are visible or invisible to mortal eye."


Elon Musk: "The truth is most people don't change their mind. They just die."

Naval Ravikant: "What we wish to be true clouds our perception of what is true. Suffering is that moment when we can no longer deny reality."

Ed Latimore: "Don't get jealous of people you should be learning from."

Naval: Everybody wants spirituality, no one wants the truth.


Doctrine and Covenants 50:24–25 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

25 And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you;

Jonathan Edwards: Go on, therefore, and forgetting the things which are behind, be pressing forward towards those which are before, even towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God; and those afflictions will seem less and less to you, and your path will shine brighter and brighter , even till at length the night of this life shall be turned into perfect day, when God shall wipe away all tears from your eyes and there shall be no more death; neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things will then be passed

Jonathan Edwards: the spirit that works thus, operates as a spirit of truth: he represents things as they are indeed: he brings men to the light; for whatever makes truth manifest, is light; as the Apostle Paul observes, Ephesians 5:13, "But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light; for whatsoever doth make manifest is light." And therefore we may conclude that 'tis not the spirit of darkness, that doth thus discover, and make manifest the truth. Christ tells us that Satan is a liar, and the father of lies [df. John 8:44; 2 Ne. 9:9]; and his kingdom is a kingdom of darkness. 'Tis upheld and promoted only by darkness and error: Satan has all his power and dominion by darkness. 

Friday, May 27, 2022

Appeal for multiple working hypotheses and dialogue: New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern at Harvard

This post is yet another appeal for recognition of multiple working hypotheses, but first an introduction. 

Some readers of this blog know that my wife and I visit New Zealand often because two of our kids live there. It's actually the last country we visited before returning to the U.S. from China because of Covid in early 2020.

The 9th hole on the golf course I played in Dunedin has an ocean view nearly as nice as where we live in Oregon.

Moving on...

The Prime Minister of New Zealand spoke at Harvard yesterday. Her speech is an outstanding discussion of how to have civil dialog and exchanges of views.

As a reminder, "President Russell M. Nelson lauded Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as “a peacemaker, a policymaker, a consensus-giver.” “She’s courageous,” President Nelson said of Prime Minister Ardern. “The world will discover they’ve got a real leader here. It’s an unlikely scenario, a young mother leading a great nation. ... We’re very impressed with her, she will have a great future.“

Prime Minister Ardern is the niece of Elder Ian S. Ardern, a General Authority Seventy and member of the Pacific Area Presidency.

Some of her comments apply to discussions about Gospel topics, including those related to the Book of Mormon.

Everyone involved with religious discussions, particularly within the Church, should carefully consider her comments about how to exchange views and understand others.

I remain hopeful that the M2C and SITH citation cartels will, eventually, recognize multiple working hypotheses and engage in respectful dialogue so people can make informed decisions. So far, Book of Mormon Central, the Interpreter, Meridian Magazine and the rest have refused.

But hope springs eternal...

I realize many readers here will object to some of her political views, but in a way, that's the point. 

Some excerpts from her speech:

I doubt anyone has ever created a group titled “political views I disagree with, but choose to enter into respectful dialogue with to better understand alternative perspectives.”

As humans, we are naturally predisposed to reinforce our own views, to gather with people like us and avoid the dreaded sense of cognitive dissonance.  We seek validation, confirmation, reinforcement. And increasingly with the help of algorithms, what we seek, we are served, sometimes before we even know we’re looking.


what is important here is not just what our young people learn, but how.

In a disinformation age, we need to learn to analyse and critique information. That doesn’t mean teaching ‘mistrust’, but rather as my old history teacher, Mr Fountain extolled: “to understand the limitations of a single piece of information, and that there is always a range of perspectives on events and decisions.”

Our history shows us the importance of this. But so too does our present.

You are, and will always be surrounded by bias. You will continue to be exposed to disinformation. And overtime, the ‘noise’ you are surrounded by will probably only get worse.

And perhaps that is why, when your own constitution was adopted, Benjamin Franklin was asked what had been created and replied “A republic, if you can keep it.”

If YOU can keep it.

Yes, diversity of voice in mainstream media matters. The responsibility of social media matters. Teaching our kids to deal with disinformation and the role we play as leaders all matters. 

But so do you.

How you choose to engage with information, deal with conflict, or confront debate, how you choose to address being baited, or hated – it all matters.

In the overwhelming challenges that lay in front of us, in our constant efforts to reach into the systems, the structures, the power, don’t overlook the impact of simple steps that are right in front of us.

The impact that we each have as individuals.

To make a choice to treat difference with empathy and kindness

Those values that exist in the space between difference and division. The very things we teach our children, but then view as weakness in our leaders.

The issues we navigate as a society will only intensify. The disinformation will only increase. The pull into the comfort of our tribes will be magnified. But we have it within us to ensure that this doesn’t mean we fracture.

We are the richer for our difference, and poorer for our division. Through genuine debate and dialogue, through rebuilding trust in information and one another, through empathy – let us reclaim the space in between.

After all, there are some things in life that make the world feel small and connected, let kindness be one of them.

full text here:

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Why the Church progresses

When he spoke to the National Press Club in March, 2000, President Hinckley shared some of the church’s beliefs and his thoughts on why it was growing:

  • “Our desire everywhere is to make bad men good and good men better.”

  • “We teach, we train, we build, we educate, we provide opportunity for growth and development. We give hope to those without hope, and there is nothing greater you can give a man or a woman than hope.”

  • “The genius of our work is that we expect things of our people. They grow as they serve and there are numerous opportunities to challenge them.”

  • “We are a church in whose name is the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We bear witness of him and it is his example and his teachings we try to follow. We give love. We bring peace.”

  • “We think we are improving people’s lives. We think that we are causing them to stand taller, straighter and be better people, and when all is said and done that is purpose of any religion. We are trying to do our part and trying to do it in a very aggressive but practical and hard-headed way, if you please, so that we build on a strong foundation for the future.”