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Faith is By Choice An LDS Faith Blog

Sic Et Non

“A lamp to my feet”

3 weeks 5 days ago
    David Lewis dictated his reminiscences to Andrew Jensen on 10 September 1908.  This passage from those reminiscences is reproduced in Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, Personal Glimpses of the Prophet Joseph Smith (American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2009):   I remember the [1830] meeting at which the Church was organized when I was not […]
Dan Peterson

“Arab socialism”

3 weeks 5 days ago
    And the beat goes on . . .   The refusal of the British and of the French to leave their colo­nies in a timely fashion badly discredited the liberal political par­ties that had promised their departure. People lost patience with those parties and with the notions of parliamentary democracy and republicanism that […]
Dan Peterson

“Walking along the Shore”

3 weeks 5 days ago
    I’m beginning to read Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity, by the prominent Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli.  His book, he says, was “written . . . to try to communicate the breathtaking beauty of the panorama of reality which can be seen from [his] perspective” as a […]
Dan Peterson

European colonialism and the “mission civilisatrice”

3 weeks 6 days ago
    Some more from The Manuscript:   However, in the interest of historical accuracy I must say that the Islamic fundamentalist response to the dominance of the West is not the only response that the Islamic world has offered. And it is only comparatively recently that it has become the most obvious one. In […]
Dan Peterson

Snippets from the testimony of David Whitmer (Part 4)

3 weeks 6 days ago
    Here is another passage from David Whitmer’s testimony, as it has been published in Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, Personal Glimpses of the Prophet Joseph Smith (American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2009):   We, the Three Witnesses, saw the plates in June, 1829 — the latter part of the month, and the eight […]
Dan Peterson

The myth of the “Dark Ages”

4 weeks ago
    Here’s another passage from The Victory of Reason:  How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success, a brilliant and provocative book by Rodney Stark.   Dr. Stark, now in his mid-eighties, is a famous sociologist of religion who taught for more than three decades at the University of Washington and then, after retirement from […]
Dan Peterson

The image of the West in the Middle East

4 weeks ago
    Regarding relatively sophisticated contemporary Muslims in the Middle East:   They often know much more about the West than we know about them—even if much of what they know isn’t true.[1] The image pro­jected of the West is not always a good one. For example, the West is seen as rich but shallow, […]
Dan Peterson

Critics unhappy about the choice of apostles

4 weeks ago
    Coincidentally, with LDS General Conference approaching and two vacancies to be filled in the Council of the Twelve, this first-century journalistic account of the calling of the first apostles has just surfaced:   As we reported in this newspapyrus three months ago, the controversial preacher from Nazareth known as Rabbi Yeshua recently established […]
Dan Peterson

The challenge of Western dominance

4 weeks 1 day ago
    Every day, a bit more:   As Muslims began to realize the extent of Western technical and material superiority, they were often appalled. Islam was no longer at the cutting edge, no longer triumphant. Islam, it seemed, was los­ing ground. The impact was as if not at merely one general confer­ence but at […]
Dan Peterson

Snippets from the testimony of David Whitmer (Part 3)

4 weeks 1 day ago
    Of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, David Whitmer survived the longest after his experience with the plates, the angel and so forth.  He lived until 1888.  For fully fifty years, Whitmer lived among “Gentiles,” outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and separated from the Mormon people.  But […]
Dan Peterson

Western science as a byproduct of medieval Christian theology

4 weeks 1 day ago
    I’ve begun to read The Victory of Reason:  How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success, by Rodney Stark, the distinguished sociologist of religion who taught for more than three decades at the University of Washington and then, after his retirement there, assumed a position as Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University […]
Dan Peterson

The triumph of the past

4 weeks 2 days ago
    On the relative and absolute decline of the Islamic world, beginning with particular reference to Egypt:   This was the province that the Roman emperor had kept under his own personal command. Other provinces might be left to the theoretical control of the Senate, in keeping with the long-standing myth that the emperor […]
Dan Peterson

Snippets from the testimony of David Whitmer (Part 2)

4 weeks 2 days ago
    David Whitmer was the last surviving witness to the Book of Mormon, living until 1888.  His last five decades were spent outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and isolated from fellow believers, but he never denied — in fact, he often reaffirmed — his testimony of the book.   […]
Dan Peterson

Women, Divine Councils, World Tours, Jacob’s Blessings, Easter, and More

4 weeks 2 days ago
    I’m a bit late — sorry! — in announcing yesterday’s new article in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture:   “The Status of Women in Old Testament Marriage”   ***   If you’re a student or a teacher in the Gospel Doctrine classes of the Church, you’ll find Interpreter’s Old Testament KnoWhys helpful. […]
Dan Peterson

“Nicely balanced, against all hazards, at an absolutely optimal level”

4 weeks 2 days ago
    Educated at Princeton University and trained at Harvard Medical School, Lewis Thomas served as dean of Yale Medical School and the New York University School of Medicine and then as president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center prior to his death in 1993.  Somehow, though, he found the time to write a great […]
Dan Peterson

The Culture of Science

4 weeks 2 days ago
    There’s much in the thought of the British Marxist literary critic Terry Eagleton that I cannot accept.  His reflexive anti-Americanism, for example, and his commitment to socialism.  And those aspects of his thinking are on display in the 2008 Terry Lectures that he delivered at Yale University, and that he has published as Reason, […]
Dan Peterson

Introducing the Modern Period

4 weeks 2 days ago
    I’ll complete the analogy in the next installment:   In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte, the ruler of France, occupied Egypt. This was a crucial event, symbolically and realistically. For that rea­son, Marshall Hodgson chose it as the event that marked the beginning of the “Mod­ern Period” of Islamic history. (For convenience’s sake, he rounded […]
Dan Peterson

Six Years Ago

1 month ago
    The latest installment of my formerly weekly but now bi-weekly Deseret News column appeared today:   “Mental health and the Latter-day Saints”   ***   Six years ago, this blog was new.  On 23 March 2012, one of the worst days of my life, I posted the following words:   My dear brother […]
Dan Peterson

Reason and Faith, and Some Science News

1 month ago
    A few further notes from the British Marxist literary critic Terry Eagleton’s 2008 Terry Lectures at Yale University, published as Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009):   Richard Dawkins claims with grandiloquent folly that religious faith dispenses with reason altogether, which wasn’t […]
Dan Peterson

“The Sick Man of Europe”

1 month ago
    A few more lines from the book in  progress:   This vast and industrious empire was presided over by an all- powerful sultan. (Appropriately enough, the title sultan comes from an Arabic word meaning “power.”) Fortunately for the Otto­mans, they enjoyed ten successive sultans of astonishingly high competence (to name a few: Selim […]
Dan Peterson
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4 hours 59 minutes ago
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