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Stephen Smoot
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"Whose Fruit was Desirable to Make One Happy": The True Story of José Almerich
José Almerich (left) with my uncle Matthew Stevens (right) circa 1973–1976. This account was written by my mother Jill Stevens Smoot. The following transcription has standardized and corrected some grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  This is the true story...

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Christian Hypocrisy in Annette von Droste-Hülshoff's "Die Judenbuche"
A portrait of Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (1837). I wrote the following in the Fall of 2014 for a course at Brigham Young University  on  Deutsche Literatur des 19.  Jahrhunderts. Introduction The
specter of anti-Semitism in German history looms large in to...

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Make America Great Again! (By Protecting it from the Mormons)
It's important that we protect America from lawless criminals and religious fanatics. (Source Wikimedia ) Mormon Islamophobia truly
baffles me. Like, seriously. I cannot wrap my mind around it. If anyone should
be sympathetic to the plight of a denigrated a...

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On Hugh Nibley and His Footnotes
After receiving a PhD from UC–Berkeley in 1938, Hugh Nibley fought in World War 2 as a member of military intelligence for the 101st Airborne Division. (Photo from ) On his blog John Gee has some comments on the legacy of Hugh Nibley, the god...

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Latter-day Khumrot and "Fences Around the Law"
Jesus disputed with the Pharisees over matters of the Law of Moses on a number of recorded occasions. (From ) In Judaism exists the concept of the khumrot ( חומרות ), or proscriptions that are implemented to safeguard the  halakhah ( הלכה )–––the bo...

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Social Deification in Ancient Egyptian and Mormon Theology
Detail of an image inside the tomb of Sennedjem, discovered at the necropolis of Deir el-Medina and dating to the 19th dynasty. Here Sennedjem is accompanied by his wife Lyneferti and wields the "sekhem-scepter, a symbol of power." (Image and description vi...

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Book Review: Joseph Smith's Seer Stones
Joseph Smith's Seer Stones (2016) At a church conference on October 25–26, 1831 , the topic of the translation of the Book of Mormon arose and Joseph Smith was pressed to furnish the details pertaining thereto. According to the minutes taken at the conferen...

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John Dehlin and the Art of Selective Outrage (#GordonGate)
John Dehlin delivering a TED talk in 2013.  I've long been a fan of Jon Stewart's. Being politically liberal (on most issues), I naturally enjoy his wit, humor, and political and cultural satire. I remember when in 2011 when he went on Fox News and debated ...

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A Postscript on Book of Mormon Battle Numbers
Not long ago I posted a few thoughts on the improbable battle numbers reported in the Book of Mormon. In response to my post, some offered very interesting thoughts on the interplay between archaeology, history, and the critical reading of ancient sources. ...

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Book Review: "Let Your Hearts and Minds Expand: Reflections on Faith, Reason, Charity, and Beauty"
Click to enlarge  The Neal A. Maxwell Institute's " Living Faith " series adds another volume alongside its already respectable roster of books with the publication of  Let Your Hearts and Minds Expand: Reflections on Faith, Reason, Charity, and Beauty . Th...
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