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Faith is By Choice An LDS Faith Blog

Sic Et Non

“They looked so exceedingly white and strange”

1 week 6 days ago
    Oliver B. Huntington (1823-1907), who was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1836, doesn’t always strike me as a completely reliable source.  I know of other accounts, however, that parallel the Oliver Huntington reminiscences below, which are included in Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, Personal Glimpses […]
Dan Peterson

Some Notes on English Translations of the Qur’an (Part 2)

1 week 6 days ago
    Continuing — see the first installment here — with some notes that I wrote up, at the request of a committee in Salt Lake City, back in January 2017:   I’ve watched young Turkish boys learning to read the Arabic Qur’an in Arabic script—and seen them pause right in the middle of a […]
Dan Peterson

Martin Harris, the Careful Investigator (Revisited)

2 weeks ago
    Two passages from the reminiscences of Martin Harris, taken from a somewhat longer selection given in Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, Personal Glimpses of the Prophet Joseph Smith (American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2009).   The first is a curious little story:   Joseph had a stone which was dug from the well […]
Dan Peterson

“A set of near optimal mechanisms”

2 weeks ago
    Douglas Axe studied engineering and molecular biology at the University of California at Berkeley and at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where he earned his doctorate.  He then did postdoctoral research at Cambridge University in England, followed by a stint as a research scientist there.   Here, in his book Undeniable: How Biology […]
Dan Peterson

Some Notes on English Translations of the Qur’an (Part 1)

2 weeks 1 day ago
    Some notes that I wrote up, at the request of a committee in Salt Lake City, back in January 2017:   Preliminary Remarks   Perhaps the crucial thing to keep in mind about translations of the Qur’an is that they play a sharply subordinate role in Islam, especially when compared to the importance […]
Dan Peterson

Of “meaning” and neurons

2 weeks 1 day ago
    A thought experiment on the reduction of mind to brain, of thinking to neurochemistry, from Douglas Axe, Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life is Designed (New York: HarperOne, 2016):   Imagine yourself seated inside a brain-imaging laboratory surrounded by complicated equipment, some of which is connected to you by means of wired probes stuck […]
Dan Peterson

“Mind, intelligence, was somehow embedded in the process”

2 weeks 1 day ago
    In 1984, George Wald (1906-1997), then an emeritus professor of biology at Harvard University and a 1967 Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine, presented an essay titled “Life and Mind in the Universe” to something called the Quantum Biology Symposium.  Here is a paragraph from that essay:   It has occured to me […]
Dan Peterson

“We both find plentiful motives to bind our hearts to the restored gospel.”

2 weeks 1 day ago
    A testimony that resonates with me, from Fiona Givens and Terryl Givens in their book The Christ Who Heals: How God Restored the Truth that Saves Us:   To be educated often means in practice to be critical, cynical, and suspicious.  Freud taught us to look for unconscious motives behind all conscious actions; Marx argued […]
Dan Peterson

“Still music, but no more sorrow or partings”

2 weeks 2 days ago
    Two or three weeks ago, having just dropped my wife off at the airport, I drove home listening to a special program on KBYU-FM devoted to pieces by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), a contemporary of Joseph Smith whose music I love.  I found myself reflecting on the injustice, and the loss to the world, […]
Dan Peterson

“Do You Look Like Christ?”

2 weeks 3 days ago
    When I first launched the Review of Books on the Book of Mormon (eventually The FARMS Review) under the auspices of the late and much lamented Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, or FARMS — which eventually became the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship and then altogether ceased to exist — […]
Dan Peterson

“Highly skewed toward fitness for life”

2 weeks 3 days ago
    A bit more from Gerald L. Schroeder’s God According to God: A Scientist Discovers We’ve Been Wrong About God All Along (New York: HarperOne, 2009):   In the passage immediately below, Schroeder, an American living in Jerusalem who was trained in physics and planetary science at MIT, offers a basic initial checklist for life-friendly planets:   […]
Dan Peterson

Cyrus of Persia, the Ottoman Empire, and the Balfour Declaration

2 weeks 3 days ago
    Nearing the conclusion of chapter six:   Despite numerous dissenting voices, the political Zionist move­ment began to gain momentum during the First World War, in which Great Britain defeated the Ottoman Empire and freed much of the Arab world, including Palestine, from Turkish domination. Latter-day Saints, too, tended to look upon the fall […]
Dan Peterson

A Slice of Life

2 weeks 3 days ago
    Another passage from Gerald L. Schroeder’s God According to God: A Scientist Discovers We’ve Been Wrong About God All Along (New York: HarperOne, 2009):   After a brief discussion of astronomer Frank Drake’s famous seven-variable equation, from the 1950s, attempting to predict how many planets in our galaxy might host advanced life, Schroeder, who was trained […]
Dan Peterson

“Practical Zionism,” “Political Zionism,” and “Der Judenstaat”

2 weeks 4 days ago
    Continuing with the story:   In 1882, young Jews calling themselves “Lovers of Zion” began actively to promote immigration to Palestine among their people. This was the beginning of what came to be known as “practical Zionism,” which advocated building Jewish settlements in Palestine. (It was “practical” in the sense that it pushed […]
Dan Peterson

Martin Harris, the Careful Investigator

2 weeks 4 days ago
    Here are a few short quotations from Martin Harris, taken from a somewhat longer selection given in Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, Personal Glimpses of the Prophet Joseph Smith (American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2009):   When they were taken from there, they were put into an old Ontario glass-box.  Old Mr. Beaman […]
Dan Peterson

Did random chance demand the existence of a stellar system suited to life?

2 weeks 4 days ago
    From Gerald L. Schroeder’s God According to God: A Scientist Discovers We’ve Been Wrong About God All Along (New York: HarperOne, 2009):   If the strong nuclear force were a bit more or less forceful, if electromagnetic forces varied by a few percent, if there were four or two spatial dimensions instead of the three […]
Dan Peterson

The Rise of Zionism

2 weeks 5 days ago
    Coming toward modern times, and certainly toward modern issues:   Meanwhile, as Arabs and Muslims faltered and desperately sought a reason why, a new humiliation was brewing. A new movement was beginning to gain force among the world’s scattered Jews. This was Zionism, a movement designed to realize the long-standing Jew­ish dream of […]
Dan Peterson

“He was naturally fond of the young”

2 weeks 5 days ago
    Lyman O. Littlefield was a boy of thirteen when he met Joseph Smith in 1834.  These are excerpts from his reminiscences of the Prophet, as they are reproduced in Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, Personal Glimpses of the Prophet Joseph Smith (American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2009):   I first beheld him a tall, […]
Dan Peterson

Islam and the challenge of the modern world

2 weeks 5 days ago
    More from The Manuscript:   The struggle that today’s Muslims have with the massive fact of the West is well illustrated in contemporary Arabic and other Near Eastern literatures. Several issues constantly appear: How is West­ern scientific rationalism to be balanced against faith? This is the old issue, faced also in the West […]
Dan Peterson
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5 hours ago
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