Before posting more on my trip to the SBL Conference in New Orleans, I wanted to mention just a couple of websites that I think you should see (of course that is up to you!).

Follow the Prophet

Bryce Haymond, the talented web designer who has blessed us with for the past couple of years (which, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned, has been a great inspiration for my own blog), has now, along with his brother Brad,  launched a new website designed to help readers get to know LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson better by reporting on the prophet’s words and activities.  The new site is called FollowtheProphet.Net.

In Bryce’s own words:


This site’s mission is to help members of the Church follow the prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by collecting all the news, talks, speeches, devotionals, dedications, interactions, and activities he does and posting links to those things in one central location. This way members of the Church may more easily learn more about the prophet, and his ongoing counsel to us, as well as his daily example.

The site includes detailed reports,  information, pictures, and maps showing where in the world the prophet has been.

Although some early critics have dubbed the site’s efforts as “stalking”, I totally disagree.  One of the most admirable characteristics of our current prophet is the fact that he is so people-oriented — so loving and caring and down-to-earth.  It is great, in my opinion, for Latter-day Saints to see him interacting with people, visiting members of the Church, and sitting down to dinner with common folk at a common restaurant like Dee’s (as was reported on the site).  Pres. Monson takes time to talk to people, gives attention to small children, and changes his busy schedule to take care of his wife and family when they are in need.

Keeping in mind the safety of the prophet, Bryce notes:

Please note that we will only post about the prophet’s activities some time after he has visited a location, unless it is a scheduled event, so there is absolutely no security concern for the prophet.

I believe that the items posted by the site are important for us as members of the Church (or anyone else) to see, and I support their efforts and congratulate them on their fine work.  The site is beautiful, smooth and user-friendly, as we have come to expect from the Haymonds.  I send my many thanks to them for their great work.

Andrei Orlov’s Blog

For those who haven’t noticed it, my former professor and adviser Andrei Orlov (Associate Professor at Marquette University), has his own blog and has been posting some great material there.

The blog is at

Much of the blog is written in Russian, but I have recently noticed that Dr. Orlov is posting much more in English than I had previously seen.  And the items posted appear to be segments from some of his most recent research, so it is especially interesting.  If you’ve read any of the stuff I’ve posted from him before (or even if you haven’t), you will find this blog very enlightening.  Andrei Orlov is an expert in many areas that are of interest to Latter-day Saints, including the Enochic literature, Abrahamic traditions, heavenly temple themes, throne theophanies and other visions of God, apocalyptic literature, mystical texts, and so on.

One very interesting recent post is entitled: Re-enactment of the Yom Kippur Festival in the Apocalypse of Abraham:  The Scapegoat Ritual

Another great one is:  Mosaic Background of Abraham’s Priestly Initiations and the Day of Atonement

Also: Arboreal Metaphors and Divine Body Traditions in the Apocalypse of Abraham

This is the cool cosmological pic Orlov includes with this post

This is the cool cosmological pic Orlov includes with this post

Orlov is an incredible resource for these materials and his writing style is very interesting.  I highly recommend looking at his blog.  Unless you read Russian, you may have to scroll down a bit, but its very much worth your time and effort to search for the hidden treasures he has posted.

I have posted the RSS feed of both Dr. Orlov’s and Bryce’s sites in the right sidebar of Heavenly Ascents.  That way you can keep up to date with their most recent posts right here and have a convenient link to their websites.  Check them out!

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