Most of my professional biographical information can be found on this page, so I won’t repeat it here. What I will state here are my qualifications for writing this blog.
Besides having been an involved, believing member of the LDS Church since 1967 (joining at age 14), I have also during that time amassed a library of roughly 450+ books on religion, most of which I have read (or am currently working my way through). About 80% of those are LDS-related (doctrine, history, scriptural commentary, etc.), but the rest are not. Those remaining books deal primarily with Judaism and Christianty, but I have books on other religions as well; I have read the Teachings of Buddha, the Tao Te Ching, and portions of the Qur’an (or, more accurately, through The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an as presented in English, since the Qur’an as such exists only in Arabic). My LDS Church service includes a current stint as a stake high counselor; two stints in ward bishoprics (congregation leadership) and several stints as a Gospel Doctrine or Gospel Essentials teacher in adult Sunday School. I’ve personally read the Old Testament cover-to-cover over half a dozen times, the New Testament over a dozen times, and the Book of Mormon well over 40 times. I’ve likewise done extensive readings in LDS Church history; before I had even graduated from high school in 1971, I had read all seven (7) volumes of History of the Church (by Joseph Smith) and all six volumes of Comprehensive History of the Church (by B. H. Roberts). Since 2014, I have been a regular participant (typically twice a month) in the weekly video Scripture Roundtables created by the Interpreter Foundation to assist teachers and members with upcoming Gospel Doctrine Sunday School lessons.
This is not the first time I’ve discussed and defended the LDS Church online. Back in the early 1990s, I was an occasional contributor to discussions on various USENET news groups, including alt.religion.mormon and talk.religion.misc. [Curious note (12/06/07): I used to have a link, but have found that almost all of my postings from that time period have vanished from the Google Groups archives.] I largely gave it up in 1995, then came back briefly in 1996, just long enough to note that “you go away for a year, come back, and find the same people carrying on the same arguments.” At least this blog allows me to push forward to new arguments.
Oh, and I’ll note for David Sklansky’s benefit that I scored an 800 (perfect score) on the Math Level II Achievement Test back in 1970. (My GRE math score in 1976 was a more modest 95th percentile.) I was also a National Merit Finalist and received a full National Merit Scholarship to Brigham Young University; actually I received two full scholarships to BYU, but they only paid me for one. On the other hand, I do not consider myself to be a “fundamentalist Christian”, so his bet doesn’t really apply.