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Faith is By Choice An LDS Faith Blog

Sic Et Non

The Palestine-Syrian Mission

1 week 6 days ago
    In the next era of Church history in the Levant:   President Booth’s sudden death did not end missionary work in the Near East. No new mission president was called until 1933, how­ever, when an Armenian by the name of Badwagon Piranian was appointed to preside over what would now be called the […]
Dan Peterson

More on the “Masterpiece Cakeshop” Case

2 weeks ago
    I posted an entry the other day about the United States Supreme Court’s controversial 4 June decision in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission:   “A victory for religious liberty, and for liberty in general”   Here, now, is a follow-up to that entry:   First, I’m grateful to Michael […]
Dan Peterson

“Si Dios quiere”

2 weeks ago
    During a meeting several years ago, one of the counselors in our stake presidency at the time recalled his service, decades back, as a missionary in Bolivia.  Among the phrases that he commonly heard there was Si Dios quiere (“If God wills”).  He confessed that the phrase sometimes irritated him.  “Will you promise […]
Dan Peterson

Drawing good out of great evils

2 weeks ago
    Because I believe that good can come out of horrible evils like slavery, I’ve been accused of defending black servitude and — this nonsense is still going on; I saw a bit of it just the other day — of being an “apologist for slavery.”   I’ve also argued that good came out […]
Dan Peterson

Once more, Joseph Wilford Booth

2 weeks ago
    It may be that nobody will ever read it, but I continue to write it, nonetheless:   A brief return trip to Aleppo to check on the condition of the Saints in the branch there was a great disappointment to President Booth. He found them to be, in his view, disobedient, selfish, and […]
Dan Peterson

“The Angel of Fredericksburg”

2 weeks ago
    My wife and I spent a substantial portion of our day yesterday visiting the Civil War battlefield at Fredericksburg, perhaps the bloodiest single area, taken as a whole, of the entire conflict (and, thus, in the domestic history of the United States).  There’s plenty of reason for sorrow in the history there, at […]
Dan Peterson

The conversion of Paul Claudel

2 weeks 1 day ago
    A week or two ago, my wife and I spent a substantial portion of the day in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris.  At one place, in the transept to the right of the nave near the southern rose window, there is a plaque commemorating the conversion of the prominent French poet, playwright, and […]
Dan Peterson

David O. McKay, Hugh J. Cannon, and Joseph Wilford Booth

2 weeks 1 day ago
      Plowing ahead . . .   The other mission entrusted by the First Presidency to Elders McKay and Cannon was, somehow, to get in contact with President Joseph W. Booth. They needed to reorganize the surviving members of the Church in the region, and without his language skills and his knowledge of […]
Dan Peterson

Faith, Trust, and Prior Knowledge

2 weeks 2 days ago
      On several occasions over the past few years, in various venues — see here, for example — I’ve published a list of four books that I recommend as a kind of “basic  packet” for people struggling with their testimonies, and I’ve explained that I think it important to preemptively strengthen faith as […]
Dan Peterson

A few science-related notes

2 weeks 2 days ago
    Here’s a challenging little essay:   “There Are No Laws of Physics. There’s Only the Landscape.”   And here’s something that challenges a currently popular hypothesis:   “A New Study Could Explain Away Some Evidence for Planet Nine: A new model provides an explanation for the bizarre orbits of distant objects in the solar […]
Dan Peterson

Introducing Joseph Wilford Booth

2 weeks 2 days ago
    Onward and upward:   A resident of Alpine, Utah, by the name of Joseph Wilford Booth was called to serve as the eleventh president of the Turkish Mission in August 1903. Elder Booth had previously served as a missionary in the same mission for almost four years, having only been released from his […]
Dan Peterson

A victory for religious liberty, and for liberty in general

2 weeks 2 days ago
    I was very pleased by the Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision yesterday in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.  Here are some worthwhile initial commentaries written in response to the decision:   “Broad Enough to Matter”   “Masterpiece Cakeshop Ruling Is a Win for Religious Freedom, But . . . “   “In Masterpiece Cakeshop, Justice Kennedy Strikes […]
Dan Peterson

Three Nobel laureates on science and God

2 weeks 3 days ago
    “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.” “In the history of science, ever since the famous trial of Galileo, it has repeatedly been claimed that scientific truth cannot be reconciled with the religious […]
Dan Peterson

God and Dr. Hawking

2 weeks 3 days ago
    Some of you, no doubt, saw the relatively recent British film The Theory of Everything, about the famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking and his remarkable first wife, Jane Hawking.  It’s a sad movie in many ways — and not only for the obvious reason of Dr. Hawking’s horrific illness.  But it’s also something of […]
Dan Peterson

A Dream Deferred

2 weeks 3 days ago
      From the book manuscript in its current state:   The earliest Mormon missionaries to the Near East dreamed of a Latter-day Saint presence in the Holy Land, something more than a few scattered elders and something larger than the graves of a few faithful Saints. They envisioned a Latter-day Saint colony in […]
Dan Peterson

Mormon “Mommy Tigers”?

2 weeks 4 days ago
    You may have heard of “tiger parenting,” of “tiger mothers” or “tiger moms” (老虎妈妈).   Do we really want to be on Amy Chua’s honors list?   Maybe so.  I like aspects of what she says.  But I have  mixed feelings.   But I’m not sure that I can fully warm up to […]
Dan Peterson

Get on the list while you can!

2 weeks 4 days ago
    It’s still a way off, but, since it’s likely to sell out, I want to call your attention to a tour that I’ll be leading in 2020.   The famous Oberammergau Passion Play was first performed in 1634.       The residents of the Bavarian village of Oberammergau were threatened by a […]
Dan Peterson

The 1978 Priesthood Revelation, Church Finances, and So Forth

2 weeks 4 days ago
    I think that some of you may find this piece, now available on the blog of the Interpreter Foundation, of considerable interest:   “Elder Bruce R. McConkie’s Witness of the 1978 Revelation on the Priesthood”   ***   If you would like to read about — or to view — Friday night’s celebration […]
Dan Peterson

The sacred cemetery in Haifa

2 weeks 4 days ago
    Continuing with my narrative of the history of the Church in the Holy Land and the Middle East:   At first it appeared that Elder Sjodahl’s prayer would be abun­dantly answered. He did have some success among the Arabs. How­ever, sickness cut short his mission in the Near East, and he was obliged […]
Dan Peterson

The Book of Mormon made the cut

2 weeks 5 days ago
    There was considerable buzz back in 2014 about the results of a Facebook survey asking people which books had “stayed with you.”   A writer for Salt Lake City’s Deseret News emphasized the fact that both the Bible (which came in sixth) and the Book of Mormon (which ranked thirty-fifth) made the “top […]
Dan Peterson
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1 hour 40 minutes ago
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