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Faith is By Choice An LDS Faith Blog

Sic Et Non

Of politics, personality disorders, and me

5 hours 57 minutes ago
    As a conservative, I’m far from displeased with everything that has been done by the Trump administration.  But I continue to be very concerned about Mr. Trump himself.   You may or may not be able to gain access to it — I can’t give you access, legally — but this Wall Street […]
Dan Peterson

Once again, on the complexity of the Book of Mormon

9 hours 28 minutes ago
    From some notes toward a future book:   As Melvin J. Thorne has observed, “there are features of the Book of Mormon that make it so complex that it is simply not credible that Joseph Smith could be the author of the book in any normal sense. It is too complex to have […]
Dan Peterson

On to Medina

1 day 2 hours ago
    Continuing with one of the manuscripts:   It would be wrong, however, to suggest that the old power and beauty had gone out of the Qur’an by the Medinan period. Passages like the so-called “Light Verse,” which some modern commentators believe refers to the lighted altar of a seventh-century Christian church, conclusively demonstrate […]
Dan Peterson

The complexity of the Book of Mormon, and a few other matters

1 day 8 hours ago
    From another of those unfinished manuscripts:   The Book of Mormon is remarkably complex. For instance, it claims to be the work of multiple authors, some of whose writings have then been redacted and abridged by a later one. The first of these authors is named Nephi, and he probably wrote his book […]
Dan Peterson

“The Mormon Hierarchy: Wealth & Corporate Power”

1 day 19 hours ago
    I listened late tonight (Monday night) to an interview with historian D. Michael Quinn, on the Mormon News Report.  I highly recommend the interview.  (It begins at just about precisely the 45-minute mark of the podcast.)   In the past, I’ve been critical of some of Mike Quinn’s writing, and I’ve published things that […]
Dan Peterson

A note on scientistic reductionism

1 day 23 hours ago
    Dr. Ian H. Hutchinson is Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with a primary research interest in plasma physics.  In this passage from his book Monopolizing Knowledge, he takes aim at “reductionism”:   It is the assertion, or more usually unspoken presumption, that when a satisfactory scientific explanation […]
Dan Peterson

The epitome of pre-Islamic Arabian generosity

2 days 7 hours ago
    Closely related to the obligations felt by a host toward his guests is the notion of generosity, which was one of the leading vir­tues of a pre-Islamic Arabian hero. And, of all those heroes, there’s one whose name became virtually synonymous in subsequent Arab tradition with the idea of generosity—Hatim of Tayyi. He […]
Dan Peterson

A church run by greedy and rapacious robber barons?

2 days 7 hours ago
    As a former director of the Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts (CPART), a division of what was then FARMS but later became the Maxwell Institute, and as someone who was present at the very creation — indeed, as a former chairman of the board of FARMS who was closely affiliated […]
Dan Peterson

The Church and Its Money, and David Whitmer’s Testimony, Versified

3 days ago
    On 21 August 1883, James H. Hart, a Latter-day Saint journalist who was, at various times, editor of the Bear Lake Democrat (later the Southern Idaho Independent) and associate editor of the Paris [Idaho] Post, interviewed David Whitmer, the last surviving Witness to the Book of Mormon.   According to the late Professor Edward L. Hart, […]
Dan Peterson

What survived from Second Temple Judaism

3 days 8 hours ago
    Another passage from one of my books in progress:   The new gospel preached by Jesus and Paul and the other apos­tles was, in a certain sense, the universal reformed Judaism of which Hellenistic reformers—at least those of the better sort—had long dreamed. The blessings of Abraham were now available to all, provided […]
Dan Peterson

“A Marvelous Manifestation”

3 days 9 hours ago
    I briefly cited Orson F. Whitney — a future member of the Council of the Twelve who would serve in that office from 1906 until his death in 1931 — in my previous post:   “‘How to Fight Loneliness'”   That set me to thinking just a bit about Elder Whitney.  So, in […]
Dan Peterson

“How to Fight Loneliness”

3 days 21 hours ago
    We’re just back from a very good Italian dinner at the Chef Alfredo Ristorante Italiano in Cedar City with a friend who lives there in town.  Again, I’m amazed at the good restaurants and good theater that can now be found in southern Utah.   Before going to our friend’s house and then, with […]
Dan Peterson

Judaism survived, despite the odds

4 days 8 hours ago
    A bit more from what will likely be my next book:   Paul Johnson well summarizes the catastrophic changes in the fortunes of world Jewry: In the short-term perspective of the second century AD, the Jews appeared to have been a powerful national and religious group which had courted ruin, and achieved it. […]
Dan Peterson

“Chloroform in Print”?

4 days 9 hours ago
      The British educator and literary scholar Arthur Henry King was an adult convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Here is his candid report of his initial response to the Book of Mormon:   It took me a long time to appreciate the Book of Mormon. When I started […]
Dan Peterson

It’s no longer the southern Utah that I knew as a child

4 days 19 hours ago
    We’re down here in southern Utah to take in the Fall 2017 plays at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City.  (What can I say?  I married a theater major.)   Last night, Thursday, we attended a performance of William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (Abridged).  It’s a rollicking farce in which three […]
Dan Peterson

What about the Book of Mormon?

5 days 5 hours ago
    Another passage from a manuscript in progress:   What kind of a book did Joseph Smith produce? Bernard DeVoto, a literary critic from the mid-twentieth century, denounced it as “a yeasty fermentation, formless, aimless, and inconceivably absurd.”[1] But this is precisely what the Book of Mormon is not.[2] Hugh Nibley, almost certainly to […]
Dan Peterson

Joseph Smith: A diamond, perhaps, but very much “in the rough”

5 days 7 hours ago
    Some notes from one of my manuscripts:   One hostile Palmyra contemporary of the young Joseph Smith branded him “lounging, idle; (not to say vicious,) and possessed of less than ordinary intellect.”[1]  In light of Joseph’s subsequent history, this verdict is impossible to sustain.  Orson Hyde, closely associated with Joseph Smith from his […]
Dan Peterson

For Liberty — even when it involves Christians, or even MORMON Christians

5 days 8 hours ago
    First, a few thoughts from the English economist and philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806-1873):   “If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”   “We have a right . […]
Dan Peterson

Books about two men regarded as prophets

6 days 8 hours ago
    This week’s iteration of my regular “Defending the Faith” column has appeared in the Deseret News:   “New edition of ‘Accounts of Divine Manifestations’ is a significant work of Mormon scholarship”   ***   But now for a few more lines from my forthcoming but not yet completed book on Islam for an […]
Dan Peterson

What I’m doing with this blog (Part Two)

6 days 20 hours ago
    As I got into the habit of blogging on a regular — nay, frequent — basis, I began to notice a major problem:  It was gobbling up a lot of my time.  It was interfering with my writing for publication, which is something that I care passionately about.  (At this stage in my […]
Dan Peterson
2 hours 36 minutes ago
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