The Interpreter Foundation sponsored a conference on November 9, 2013, entitled “Science & Mormonism: Cosmos, Earth & Man” in Provo, Utah. It was filmed. Videos of each of the presentations are now available for free viewing on The Interpreter Foundation’s YouTube channel, or at MormonInterpreter.com. They are also embedded below. [Read more…]
There is an excellent commentary by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, who is Catholic, on the LDS (Mormon) garment. In her article she describes the garment as not dissimilar to the sacred clothing of many religious groups around the world, including Jews, Catholics (Roman and Eastern), Sikhs, Buddhists, Amish, Muslims, Hindus, Jains, and tribal religions. I too once wrote about the sacred undergarment of the Jews, the tallit katan (and its tzitzit). [Read more…]
I have been through quite a range of emotions the last few weeks. I’ve felt utter despair, grief, and sorrow, as well as bitterness, confusion, and great disappointment. Through it all I’ve been blessed with comfort from our Heavenly Father beyond measure, and by experiences too sacred to share. It’s been a roller coaster of a time with everything that has happened at the Maxwell Institute. I make no bones about it—FARMS had an immense impact on my life, most particularly as it relates to my testimony and faith in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Recently one of our dear readers asked me what so inspired me about Hugh Nibley, what so captivated me emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually about his scholarship and writings? Here was my response:
I understand David Bohn. Scholarship in general does not represent an unassailable uncontested platonic absolute truth, no matter the source from whence it comes. It may be trying to get at the truth, from many different angles, but it can’t quite reach the destination, ever. How close it gets is entirely subjective in each person absorbing it, depending on their experience and resulting perspective.
Truth is like an opaque cloth bag with an object inside, but no opening. You can poke, prod, twist, squeeze, kick, hike, spin, sit on, stretch, slam, or feel it through the bag for eternity, but you won’t know for certain what is inside that bag until you take it out, or ask who put it in there (which still involves some doubt, because now you must judge that individual). You may have an excellent idea, but no certainty. What is its color, for example? No one will ever know, while its still inside the bag.
In terms of religion, I would argue that God is inside the bag, and in Mormon-speak that bag’s the veil. He may also have been the one that put Himself there, or know who did. And this for a reason, perhaps only He knows (another bag). Some day the veil will drop, and we will Know Him.
Alethiology, or the study of the nature of truth (related to epistemology, the study of knowledge its acquisition), would be a good topic to bring up in these discussions. How do we come to a knowledge of truth, in whatever degree? Scholarship certainly helps, but is not an end all. It provides evidence, up for the taking in a never-ending discussion and debate to determine its truthfulness.
Of course, some “truth” is more “simple” than other truth. The fact that I drove a car to work today is pretty incontestable, you’d think. But was it really a “car”? Did I really “drive” it, or can my Utah driving even be considered by that term? Was it even in the past tense, “drove” (to God it was likely the present)? Can a rusted out 1993 Honda Civic with malfunctioning speedometer, odometer, A/C, radio, steering fuel leak, and tail lights still be considered an automobile? Is what I do at “work” really work, or is it unrelated blogging on an online Mormon forum?
This is part of the reason I’ve stopped blogging, as of recent. Too distracting from the truth in my work, but often worth it for the truth in the subject matter. Which is more true? Which should be true? Which would I like to be true?
Back to work…
I need a sabbatical all of the sudden. I feel completely overcome (literally trembling right now) by the creative muse which seems to have engulfed me. I don’t know where it is coming from, but this isn’t standard Bryce. And I’m not talking only about what’s been happening in this Maxwell Institute debate. It’s flowing like a fire hose into all areas of my every day life, from my work, to my home life, my children, my hobbies, my calling, my wife, my language. Where is it coming from? I feel incredibly sharp, and quick. Words are coming to me that I haven’t ever before envisioned or had slip from my tongue. It’s an amazingly transcendent feeling, which I can’t fully explain. Maybe I can, but maybe not right now.
Another time when I felt so inspired was when I spouted a sonnet, “A Reply to Sonnet 18.” I don’t write sonnets folks. I leave that up to my wife! See also my post on the hymn “Oh Say, What is Truth?”
The Creative gift, where does it go?
From the mountains on down, through the rivers flow
Flow through my head, without end
Out of my fingers, without pen
I don’t know, and can’t explain
That which so engulfs me again
The Spirit bloweth where it listeth
To and fro, it won’t ceaseth
Overcome with thought, I imagine
I’ve been here before, my King!
I just finished Dan Brown’s latest thriller, The Lost Symbol, which was published a few days ago on September 15th. There has been a lot of anticipation surrounding this book, since 6 years have passed since the publication of his bestseller The Da Vinci Code, with 80 million copies sold worldwide to date. Many wondered if Brown would repeat his success with this book, and while the jury is still out on the answer to that question, I must say that I’m personally fascinated by the material that Brown discusses in this novel.
As was predicted, the story centers around the subject of Freemasonry (or simply Masonry), which most people have heard of but know little about. This is perhaps the reason Brown chose to explore this subject, one that was ripe for novelty in historical fiction. However, as before, Brown branches out into a myriad of related subjects and connections, weaving a web of mystery and puzzles which must be solved once again by his favorite character, Robert Langdon.
But this is not going to be a review of the book. There will be ample time for that, with more qualified critics analyzing the merits and faults of Brown’s work. In addition, I don’t want to spoil anything while the pages are still wet. I do quote some brief excerpts from the book below, but they are mostly circumstantial details, and won’t give much away about the plot, if anything.
What I do want to point out are some interesting general impressions I had while I read, particularly as they relate to me, my studies, and the LDS (Mormon) faith. Call them synchronicities or coincidences, or just interesting tidbits, either way they have called my attention. [Read more…]