La Piedra Ente La Ã‘eve

La Piedra Ente La Ñeve I’ve had a bit of fun showing this book to friends at Church since it arrived a couple of weeks ago. I ask them to guess both the language the book is in, and the alphabet used in the last two lines of the title. So far, no one, not even those who speak Spanish or Portuguese, has been able to identify either.

Of course those who have purchased an AMV T-shirt know that the alphabet on the second set of lines in the title is the Deseret Alphabet, the 1860s-era attempt to make it easier for immigrants to learn English. While that misguided effort failed, the alphabet has recently seen a bit of a comeback, both because of its role in the development of unicode, and because of its hobbyist and design uses.

It was the hobbyist community that led me to this book.

Continue reading “La Piedra Ente La Ã‘eve”

A Short History of Mormon Publishing: Publishing in Foreign Missions

The third of seven posts and an introduction. See also Part II, Part I, Introduction


The murder of Joseph Smith and subsequent emigration of LDS Church members to Utah interrupted efforts to proselyte in most areas outside of the United States. Prior to the martyrdom, the Church had made some additional attempts to proselyte in other languages. Speakers of several other languages had joined the Church, many of whom were an important part of later missionary efforts, such as Dan Jones (Welsh), Peter O. Hansen (Danish), and  Daniel Carn (German). Enough German language speakers joined the saints in Nauvoo that a German-speaking congregation was established there[]. Continue reading “A Short History of Mormon Publishing: Publishing in Foreign Missions”

Winter haiku chain running on WIZ

In celebration not only of the coolest  holiday season but also of the arrival of the winter solstice on Monday, December 21st, A Motley Vision’s companion blog Wilderness Interface Zone has launched a haiku chain, an open thread whereon haiku-ers might skip and dance together in 17-syllable jigs.

My American Heritage Dictionary tells me that “haiku” comes from Japanese hai, “amusement” (from a middle Chinese word) and ku, “sentence” (also from middle Chinese).   For such small parcels of language, they pack tightly, which makes them them linguistic jacks-in-the-boxes, bursting out big to surprise and delight.

Also, haiku can be restorative, in the way that concentration on small things, like a spider’s web or light on snow, can cool the mind with beauty or open it up in connexion.

But haiku is especially well suited for social mingling.  The subjects at WIZ include wintertide, the happy lengthening of the day that follows the solstice, Christmas, the beauty of the moment, the turn of the weather–anything related to winterality.  So if ye have a mind to, come over and toss in your 17-syllables’ worth.

Happy Solar New Year! Hurrah for the lengthening of the light!

Vox Humana Week on WIZ

I’m looking for a few good voices.

For the rest of August, A Motley Vision’s companion blog Wilderness Interface Zone is hosting “Vox Humana Week” as part of its “People Month.”  For an explanation of what “People Month” is, you can go here:

If you have a podcast or mp3 you’ve made where you’re reading your own work–poetry, blog posts, or essay or fiction excerpts–and if you feel inclined to share, please email me at Your reading doesn’t have to be “nature-oriented”–it is “People Month,” afterall–but if it is, that would be cool.  Also, I’ll be putting up podcasts of my own readings.  I have barely adequate recording equipment, but everybody will get the idea.

If you do come by WIZ, you might like to read some of the wonderful guest posts published over the last two weeks, including a poem by Tyler Chadwick and an essay about flying from a 12-yr-old reader. 

I hope some of you will feel moved upon to contribute to “Vox Humana Week.”  It could be fun. 

Gadianton The Nobler, Reflections on Changes in the Book of Mormon

Introduction to Textual Variants Part IV
When my father taught as a Fulbright professor at the University of Oulu, Finland in 1970-71 we took along an anthology of humor, maybe A Sub-treasury of American Humor, ed. by E. B. White, which had this piece by Robert Benchley with the very strange title “Filling that Hiatus,” about what to do when the people on either side of you at a dinner party are talking to someone else. I couldn’t figure out what a hi-uh-toose was, and for some reason didn’t think to look it up. Now that I’ve been on a taxing highertoose for about a month I figure it’s thyme to parsley write down what I’ve been thinking about.

In Part III I mentioned Joseph Smith’s discourse of Sunday October 15, 1843 which starts with a comment on his love for the Constitution and its guarantees of religious freedom, then moves on to a comment about textual corruption in the Bible, “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.” (Documentary History of the Church VI:56-57)

The quote, though not the rest of the discourse, is well-known to seminary students and missionaries, and a young missionary might mention it to a woman who asks why we need additional revelation, hardly expecting her to say, “Do you really believe Jehovah God Almighty would allow errors to get into His scriptures?”

Continue reading “Gadianton The Nobler, Reflections on Changes in the Book of Mormon”

Introduction to the Mysteries

(or “¦ How to Read a Poem)
by P. G. Karamesines

First, kiddo, disperse that obvious shadow:
To read is not to know.  To read
Is to listen from your quiet place
To the teasing laughter of some new voice.
Listening requires aptitude for not knowing. Continue reading “Introduction to the Mysteries”

Church to Publish LDS Bible in Spanish

Page from Genesis
Page from Genesis

The LDS Church formally announced yesterday that it is publishing an LDS version of the Bible in Spanish. Formally called the Reina-Valera 2009 edition, this version not only brings the footnotes, chapter headings, cross-references and other material that English-speaking members take for granted, it also provides a “conservative” LDS-oriented update to the well-regarded 1909 version of the Reina-Valera translation of the Bible first published in 1602.

The LDS version will be available in September, 2009, and will also appear on the Church’s website at the same time.

Continue reading “Church to Publish LDS Bible in Spanish”

“To Know the Names of All the Vital Things”

As I mentioned a little while ago
, my wife and I were asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. At Theric’s request (and because I decided to approach the topic of Latter-day Saints and language and discuss Angela Hallstrom’s Bound on Earth), I’m posting a slightly revised version of my talk here.

* * * *

“To Know the Names of All the Vital Things”: On the Virtue of Words and the Word of God

And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just–yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them–therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God. (Alma 31:5)

On June 16, 1844 at a meeting assembled in the grove just east of the Nauvoo Temple, the Prophet Joseph Smith stood to deliver one of his final sermons. Wet with rain, surrounded by apostates, many of whom wanted him dead, and sustained by the saints, he spoke plainly and courageously of the Christian Godhead and “the plurality of Gods,” truths that would in part lead to his martyrdom almost two weeks later.

Yet, his message was no different than anything he’d previously taught: “I wish to declare,” he said, that “in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods.”1 Using ancient and modern scripture to support his reasoning, he took the assembly back to the beginning, showing them the unbroken chain of exalted Beings that extends, Parent to child, across the thresholds of eternity. Pointing to the relationship between Christ and Elohim as his example, he asked, “Where was there ever a son without a father? and where was there ever a father without first being a son? [“¦] [I]f Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He [Christ’s Father] had a Father also?”2 Continue reading ““To Know the Names of All the Vital Things””

Pillars of Fire

for Stephen Carter in partial fulfillment of a promise
but especially for greenfrog, who showed me a bit of backbone

When a subject and object look at one another, there is no subject and no object, there’s only relation, the scope of which extends beyond either creature’s ability to fully grasp it.  You can’t grasp it, but you can step out to meet it.  If you do, prepare to catch on fire “¦

When I was in my early twenties, two events ignited my life.  The first involved a disagreement with a close friend whose feelings of friendship toward me had cooled.  I was changing, growing up a little, I guess.  I think my friend no longer felt needed, and feeling needed was important to her.  My feelings of deep friendship hadn’t changed, yet somehow that didn’t matter, not to her.  Why not? I wondered.  Why shouldn’t my feelings matter to her? Continue reading “Pillars of Fire”

Mr. Buber’s Cat

Warning: Philosophical flight ahead, soaring high into the ether, bearing little or no entertainment value and no direct references to Mormonism, the election, or Prop 8.  Just so you know.

These fall mornings, to get blood going to my brain, I walk out into the desert near my house.  A few days ago I went up onto a nearby ATV route that beats a bare path south.  This I followed a short distance, heading to a spot having clear views east to Sleeping Ute Mountain in Colorado, southeast to Shiprock in New Mexico, and south-southeast to the Carrizo Mountains in Arizona.

Continue reading “Mr. Buber’s Cat”