Michael Plekon is a man of many talents: he is a sociologist, an anthropologist and an expert in Kierkegaard’s thought. His spiritual pilgrimage includes converting from Catholicism to Lutheranism to Eastern Orthodoxy. His writing reflects all of this variegated experience, and for that reason it is sometimes tough to follow.
As long ago as 1996, Jon Levenson wrote an important article, “The Universal Horizon of Biblical Particularism.” In that piece he reflected on the way in which the Hebrew Bible adjudicated the particularity of Israel and a reach beyond Israel to the nations.
Brigham Young, unlike Joseph Smith, played no role in the translation of the Book of Mormon. He never ran for president of the United States, as Smith did in 1844. And Young was not dramatically martyred, as Smith was when a mob shot him in his prison cell. But without Young, we might not remember Smith.
Last year the Equal Justice Initiative documented over 4,000 lynchings of African Americans between 1877 and 1950 in the United States. The nonprofit organization is developing a museum to commemorate the victims. The museum, scheduled to open in April 2017, stands on the site of a former slave warehouse in Montgomery, Alabama. The memorial will contain rows of over 800 concrete columns representing the counties where lynchings took place, with the names of those lynched engraved on the columns. The columns are free-floating, suspended from the ceiling in imitation of hanging (Next City, August 16).