About M* Ben

M* Ben is an emeritus blogger.

“A History and an Introduction to Muzzle-Loading Artillery”- Education Week at BYU

Sandwiched in the Education Week catalog between “The Mind of a Faith-Filled Disciple” and “Lessons from the Doctrine and Covenants and Modern Revelation,” the description reads

Note: This class includes a live demonstration and is designed to acquaint the participant with the types of muzzle-loading artillery, how to load and fire them safely, and how to make the ammunition (blanks only).

Frankly, I think this is a great way to reach the youth, but then, what do I know? 😉

It turns out to be part of a series of lectures and demonstrations on the Mormon Battalion, but with blanks. Disappointing indeed. What hath correlation wrought? (Shakes head sadly…)

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A personal view of the FAIR Conference

Due to my teaching schedule, I was only able to attend the second day of the conference. Tanya has already summarized the content of the presentations (which should appear on-line in the near future), so I’ll take a slightly different tack.

I generally don’t consider myself much of a people person. That said, one of my favorites things about conferences is seeing and meeting people. At the FAIR conference which ended yesterday, I had plenty of opportunity to see friends, put faces to names of people I’ve only known via message-board or email, and meet other new interesting people of various backgrounds and persuasions.

For example, I rubbed shoulders with Kerry Shirts, David Bokovoy (who recently won a Hebrew Bible teaching award at Brandeis), co-blogger and cousin Tanya Spackman, Mike Parker, Brant Gardner, John Dehlin, Kevin Barney, Brian Hauglid, Mark Wright (the lone up-and-coming LDS Mayanist, who had some fascinating insight into Alma 5), Lou Midgely (who had to leave the conference midway to go interrupt the Tanners having fondue), Juliann Reynolds, and others.

I had a brief chat with Brent Metcalfe, met Dan Vogel and Michael Marquardt, who came at the end to hear Brian Hauglid’s KEP discussion.

I had one very international conversation about the non-availability and need for LDS material in foreign languages with three people, a brother from Brussels, a bishop from Germany, and Jonathon Curci who is an Italian lawyer currently at BYU, but also knows his Hebrew quite well (as well as English, Italian, German, French, and a few others, I suspect.)

I rode home to Provo with Daniel Peterson and his wife Deborah.

It’s a great place to meet LDS authors, people from the bloggernackle or LDS message boards, BYU profs, FARMS folks, FAIR folks, as well as those who disagree with their views. Look for brief coverage of the conference in the Deseret News, as well as the Church News.

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A Psalm in Bureaucratic Translation

Who can identify the translator and passage without Googling?

“Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.”

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Recent happenings in my life- the bitter and the sweet.

I’m once again in Utah for the summer, teaching and mostly enjoying it. Anyone throwing a bloggersnacker? 🙂 This is the only summer ever that all three of my brothers and I will be on campus together. I’m teaching, there’s a freshman starting, one graduating and moving to DC, and one in the middle. It’s great fun. On the other hand, my wife hasn’t been able to accompany me here, and that’s not so much fun.

Last Monday, one of the faculty sat in on my class to evaluate me. I went back to his office afterwards, and his positive evaluation made me quite happy. On returning to my cubicle in a state of jubilation, I learned that my cousin Allison, previously diagnosed with leukemia and doing quite well, had died suddenly following a major relapse. She leaves behind a husband in law school and a 1-year old. I cried.

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