About Ivan W.

Ivan Wolfe teaches rhetoric at Arizona State University. He has a PhD in English from the University of Texas - Austin, and a BA and MA in English (with minors in Classical Greek, Music, and Philosophy) from BYU. He has several credits on various Christmas albums aimed at the LDS market, several essays in Open Court's Popular Culture and Philosophy series, and various book reviews in academic and popular venues. He also competes in Scottish Highland Games and mud run/obstacle course races, and he can deadlit over double his bodyweight (his last PR was just shy of 500 pounds). He is currently married to Lisa Renee Wolfe. He has five kids and four stepkids.

Book Review: “How Do I Know If I Know?” by John Byetheway.

Title: How Do I Know If I Know?How Do I Know_f
Author: John Bytheway
Publisher: Deseret Book
Genre: Devotional
Year: 2014
Binding: Softcover
Number of pages: 138
ISBN: 9781609079215
Cost: $9.99

Reviewed by Ivan Wolfe for the Association for Mormon Letters

John Bytheway has made a fairly nice niche for himself writing books aimed at Mormon youth that do quite a few things well: He doesn’t talk down to them, he avoids overly complicated language, and he presents the ideas straightforwardly.

I could see a complaint that his writing is too simplistic in handling controversial aspects of the gospel (his work is not at all like Adam Miller’s recent “Letters to a Young Mormon” which does tackle hard issues). However, such a criticism would be missing the point. Continue reading

Bigots and Fanatics

In the most recent conference, Elder Oaks said:

“today, when [followers of Christ] hold out for right and wrong as they understand it, they are sometimes called bigots and fanatics.”

I expect that from the world.  What most depresses me is that too many of those calling Mormons bigots and fanatics are, well, other Mormons.

[I also find it interesting how Oaks and Packer have switched places recently among the more progressive set of Mormons].

Equal and Opposite Sins?

At college (Ricks College, which really dates me!), one of the oddest controversies I encountered dealt with students complaining that the DJs were playing a filthy, dirty song about sex at every dance.  Now, I have no complaints about people actually complaining about songs that are actually and explicitly about sex, but this one was a bizarre one:  “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane (this also dates me, since most people are more familiar with the recent Rascal Flatts in the Pixar Cars movie).

Continue reading

My father: A eulogy.

The funeral was very cathartic – it actually helped me gain a testimony of the necessity of rituals around the important times in life (birth, marriage, death, etc.).  However, I have had a hard time getting the distance required to say what I really wanted to say about my dad.  I keep crying every time I try to write this eulogy, as it means I really have to admit he really is gone.  I know that he isn’t really gone, and I can’t imagine what it would be like for me if I didn’t have a solid testimony of the Gospel, but it still hurts.dad

This is not the tribute my father truly deserves, but it’s the best I can do for now.  I feel I’ve delayed too long, so I will post the best I can, rather than wait too long for more distance. Continue reading