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Faith is By Choice Striving to Build Faith in the Church of Jesus Christ

Sic Et Non

New Testament Note 330

21 hours 7 minutes ago
    Matthew 26:36-46 Mark 14:32-42 Luke 22:39-46 John 18:1 Compare Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26; John 12:27; 14:31   1.   The Garden of Gethsemane isn’t and wasn’t a garden in the sense familiar to most Europeans and North Americans.  That is, it featured neither carrots, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce,  nor different varieties of roses. […]
Dan Peterson

News from the global Church, and from beyond this planet

21 hours 32 minutes ago
    President and Sister Russell M. Nelson, accompanied by Elder and Sister Gerrit W. Gong, continue their Pacific ministry tour:   “Latter-day Prophet Meets with Tongan King and Queen: President Nelson visits a kingdom rich in Church history”   In the meantime, the acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visits the Indian […]
Dan Peterson

“A Fresh Look at Three Incidents in Church History”

23 hours 20 minutes ago
    Sigh.  The ever-dying Interpreter Foundation — I’ve been seeing anonymous online claims again that we’re on the verge of financial extinction and that essentially nobody reads anything that we do — has just published a new article in its flagship publication, Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:   “D&C 21, […]
Dan Peterson

New Testament Notes 328-329

1 day 21 hours ago
    John 16:29-33   Jesus is confident here that, even though the disciples will be scattered, he won’t be alone because the Father will be with him.   I think, though, that even he may have been surprised by what he would soon experience during the process of the Atonement.  Because, for a period […]
Dan Peterson

John Gee’s good news

1 day 23 hours ago
    I’m very pleased to be able to report that my friend, former student, and former colleague at the Maxwell Institute, Dr. John Gee, has now moved from the Maxwell Institute to my own Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages, in BYU’s College of Humanities.   Many of us have hoped for quite […]
Dan Peterson

Something tells me it’s all happening at the zoo

2 days 2 hours ago
    This has been a slightly unusual trip to the United Kingdom for us.  We don’t usually drive the motorways and back roads of England guffawing as a 2.5-year-old sings loudly along with the soundtracks of Frozen, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Tangled, and etc.   And, today, we did our […]
Dan Peterson

New Testament Notes 323-327

2 days 4 hours ago
    John 15:26-27   Religious skeptics often mock the Latter-day Saint idea and claim of a spiritual witness or testimony.  That’s scarcely surprising.   What does surprise, though, is to hear such mockery from professedly believing Christians.  Have they not read these verses?  Do they not believe them?     John 16:1-4   Persecution […]
Dan Peterson

Temples around the world

2 days 10 hours ago
    This is a remarkable article, from a Jewish journalist who just toured the Oakland California Temple, which is soon to be rededicated after a lengthy period of extensive renovations.  I recommend it to you:   “A journey into the Holy of Holies — in a Latter-day Saints temple”   Note the final paragraph […]
Dan Peterson

“The Horrid Voice of Science”?

2 days 20 hours ago
    One of the complaints commonly leveled against science focuses on its tendency toward reductionism, toward leaving us with a disenchanted cosmos.  Stars are no longer gods, but spheres of burning gas.  We know about photosynthesis, but we’ve lost the dryads and hamadryads who once inhabited trees.  I’m not altogether sure that I share […]
Dan Peterson

New Testament Notes 319-322

3 days 22 hours ago
    John 14:27-31   Apart from noting that Jesus’ declaration that “the Father is greater than I” has substantial theological significance (indicating, for instance, an important distinction between Father and Son), I really can’t see, once again, how I can improve very easily on the text itself, which I offer here — for the […]
Dan Peterson

On the scale of creation in space and time

3 days 23 hours ago
    “Is vegan diet healthy for kids? Belgian doctors say no”   I’m certainly no expert on dietetics and nutrition, but my sense (having read a few things on the subject over the years) is that virtually all of us in the developed “Western” world would tend to do better, in terms of our […]
Dan Peterson

“Empirical Perspectives on Religion and Violence”

4 days 11 hours ago
    A potentially significant article recently appeared on a certainly controversial topic:   Joshua David Wright and Yuelee Khoo,  “Empirical Perspectives on Religion and Violence,” Contemporary Voices: St Andrews Journal of International Relations 1/1 (2019)): 1–26.   The authors examine the claim that religious faiths are more inherently prone to violence than secular ideologies are […]
Dan Peterson

New Testament Note 318

4 days 21 hours ago
    John 14:15-26   1.   “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. . . .   The person who has my commandments and obeys them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will reveal myself to […]
Dan Peterson

From a significant region for the Church

4 days 22 hours ago
    Here’s the official Church press release:   “President Nelson Meets with New Zealand Prime Minister: Global faith leader reaches midway point on Pacific Ministry”   And here is a more complete account of the meeting from the Deseret News, which is accompanied by some very nice photographs:   “President Nelson meets New Zealand Prime […]
Dan Peterson

Is it safe to visit Egypt?

5 days ago
    “Egypt explosion: Tourists on bus injured near Giza pyramids”   A number of people have written to inquire whether we’re alright.  We are.  We (and the other members of our group) have been out of Egypt for several days now.   But, of course — and very troublingly to the Egyptian government and […]
Dan Peterson

New Testament Notes 314-317

5 days 21 hours ago
    John 13:31-35   It’s impossible to improve upon this passage by commentary but, for the sake of freshness, I offer a likely unfamiliar translation (by J. B. Phillips) of a simple and very familiar text:   “Now I am giving you a new command—love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you must […]
Dan Peterson

The continuing gift of C. S. Lewis

5 days 22 hours ago
    Being in this general area reminds me of a column that I published in the 20 September 2012 issue of the Deseret News:   During a rambling, all-night discussion in the late 1960s, a famous Nobel laureate physicist told a group of Caltech students and their friends (among the latter a high school […]
Dan Peterson

Why the shortage of Muslim terrorists?

5 days 22 hours ago
    A Facebook comment demanding to know, essentially, why there are so many Muslim terrorists if Islam isn’t fundamentally rotten reminded me of the following Deseret News column, which Bill Hamblin and I published back on 31 March 2017:   Charles Kurzman, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has carved out […]
Dan Peterson

Michael Hill (1951-2019)

6 days 11 hours ago
    We received word a couple of days ago that Mike Hill, a friend and neighbor, a member of my priesthood quorum and a frequent quorum instructor (and, for what little it matters at this point, a former mayor of Provo), has passed away.  It came as quite a shock.  We knew that Mike […]
Dan Peterson

Sacred Space

6 days 21 hours ago
    I am, without apology, an Anglophile.  For me though, perhaps somewhat unusually, the sancta sanctorum of England is to be located in places like Oxford and Cambridge — and one of my keenest regrets is that, while I’ve participated in a conference at Cambridge and spoken at one of the Oxford colleges, I […]
Dan Peterson
4 hours 19 minutes ago
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