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

Sic Et Non

The Testimony of Martin Harris

3 months 2 weeks ago
    From an incomplete, rough manuscript:   In a notarized statement dated 29 October 1921, George Godfrey, who prepared Martin Harris’s grave in Clarkston, Utah, summarized his lengthy acquaintance with the Witness.  Then he offered this interesting statement: Prior to his death and in his last sickness I sat up nights with him upon […]
Dan Peterson

“A condition of indescribable repose and happiness”

3 months 2 weeks ago
    Some folks seem to assume that there were no accounts of near-death experiences prior to Raymond Moody’s 1975 bestseller Life After Life.  That, however, is far from the case.  Here, for instance, are three nineteenth-century reports culled for my notebook from Pim van Lommel, Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (New York: HarperCollins, […]
Dan Peterson

The Latter-day Saints and “Stalinist Art” Revisited (Part Three)

3 months 2 weeks ago
    A few folks seem to be powerfully disinclined to follow the argument set forth in my prior posts “The Parthenon of the South Pacific?,”  “The Latter-day Saints and ‘Stalinist Art’ Revisited (Part One?),” and “The Latter-day Saints and “Stalinist Art” Revisited (Part Two).”   So — still motivated, of course, by my characteristic ungovernable rage […]
Dan Peterson

“There is a lesson in the stories of such people for those who understand.”

3 months 2 weeks ago
    This is marvelous news for Brigham Young University’s Arabic program and its Arabic students, and a spectacular tribute to those who have brought the program to its current level of national and international prominence — among whom I emphatically do not include myself:   “Arabic Flagship to take students to the next level” […]
Dan Peterson

The Latter-day Saints and “Stalinist Art” Revisited (Part Two)

3 months 2 weeks ago
    I’ve been having a little bit of fun with some very silly and unreasonable pseudonymous critics of the Church (and of me) over the question of “Stalinist art” and Mormonism.  See, for example:   “The Latter-day Saints and “Stalinist Art” Revisited (Part One?)”   Since my, umm, seething anger over this issue continues […]
Dan Peterson

“We understood things better there than we do in this lower world.”

3 months 2 weeks ago
    Elder Orson Hyde said of our life in the premortal world, “We understood things better there than we do in this lower world.” Elder Hyde also surmised as to the agreements we made there as follows: “It is not impossible that we signed the articles thereof with our own hands,–which articles may be […]
Dan Peterson

We’re all doomed. The only real question is how.

3 months 2 weeks ago
    I wrote, a couple of days ago, about my father’s childhood confrontation with the challenge posed to the concept of divine justice by the process of milking cows (“One Perspective on the Theological Problem of Evil”).   Yesterday, though, we revisited the famous creamery southward in Tillamook, where it seems that that challenge […]
Dan Peterson

A very quick summary of Islamicate history

3 months 2 weeks ago
    In the classes that I teach on Islam, Islamic history, and Islamicate civilization and culture, I typically use the divisions proposed by Marshall Hodgson in his great (uncompleted) three-volume work, The Venture of Islam.  He objected to the “great man” method of periodizing Islamicate history (or, for that matter, any other history), and […]
Dan Peterson

“I arrived in a royal realm”

3 months 2 weeks ago
    Here are four partial descriptions of near-death experiences, taken from Pim van Lommel, Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (New York: HarperCollins, 2010):   1. What I saw was too beautiful for words: I was looking at a magnificent landscape full of flowers and plants that I couldn’t actually name.  It all looked […]
Dan Peterson

The Latter-day Saints and “Stalinist Art” Revisited (Part One?)

3 months 2 weeks ago
    A few days ago, I posted some comments (“The Parthenon of the South Pacific?”) about a Time journalist’s passing comparison of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple to “Stalinist” architecture.   It’s a silly comparison.     However, for a few critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints no negative characterization […]
Dan Peterson

One perspective on the theological problem of evil

3 months 2 weeks ago
    My father grew up on an isolated farm outside the tiny, unincorporated town of Garske, Ramsey County, North Dakota, in the upper right hand corner of the state.  When the time came for him to attend high school, he was obliged to board with relatives in the comparatively large town of Devils Lake, […]
Dan Peterson

“Signs clear for those who have knowledge”

3 months 2 weeks ago
    One of the recurrent themes in the Qur’an is a kind of simple natural theology, an argument from apparent “design” in nature to the existence of God.  It’s by no means a rigorous syllogism, but, rather, an appeal to “those with eyes to see” to draw the right conclusion from the wonders of […]
Dan Peterson

Notes on the stone box at Cumorah

3 months 2 weeks ago
    I liked this little essay, and I commend it to your attention:   “LGBTQ and You”   I don’t know that I can sign on to the proposition that “How we treat those who are LGBTQ is the defining challenge of this generation” — it seems to me that there are a number […]
Dan Peterson

“Calm seriousness, profound acceptance, . . . mental quickening and sense of surety”

3 months 2 weeks ago
    I’m adding these two passages to my notebook, from Pim van Lommel, Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (New York: HarperCollins, 2010):   The first systematic study of near-death experience was written in 1892 by the Swiss geologist Albert von Sankt Gallen Heim.  In the Yearbook of the Swiss Alpine Club, under the […]
Dan Peterson

“Peterson’s First Rule for the Study of Other Religions and Worldviews”

3 months 2 weeks ago
      Just back from seeing Mama Mia! Here We Go Again with friends.  My wife’s idea.  It was fluff with muddled morals, but enjoyable and, surprise!, featuring catchy music.   ***   More than two decades ago now, I spent a summer in Berkeley, California, participating in a small seminar led by the […]
Dan Peterson
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