3 May 2014
Dear friends of The Interpreter Foundation:
As I write, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture is closing in on its hundredth straight week of publishing at least one article every Friday, the Foundation has just recorded its seventy-first scripture roundtable, our blog is flourishing, we’ve hosted a major conference on religion and science (the proceedings of which will eventually appear in print), we’ve established an article prize, we’ve obtained 501(c)(3) status from the United States Internal Revenue Service, and our first published book is selling well. And even that list doesn’t exhaust what The Interpreter Foundation has accomplished and what it has still in the works.
We’ve been able to do this on a remarkably small budget—and we’ve been wholly transparent about that budget. Some expenses are unavoidable, and we pay a few people (mostly well below market rates) because . . . well, we simply didn’t feel right about exploiting their willingness to serve to the degree that the work demands. But our donated funds have been used very efficiently. A very large proportion of our work is performed by volunteers, and I’m astonished at what’s regularly accomplished, every week. I can’t adequately express my gratitude for the generosity of so many people out there.
That said, our expenses are rising. (This is the inevitable penalty of success.) It costs significant money to sponsor conferences and publish books, and we intend to continue to do both—on an even larger scale.
So, just as I thank all of those who have contributed their time and their effort to make The Interpreter Foundation the resounding success that it is, I express my appreciation to all those who’ve contributed financially. This isn’t sentimental boilerplate: We couldn’t have pulled this off without you.
But there’s more to be done and—to put it bluntly—that’s going to require more money. Our expenditures of late have been higher than our income. Not by much, and we’re not in a crisis. But I’m writing with the long-term prospects of the Foundation in mind.
So I wish to say to those who’ve contributed to The Interpreter Foundation what I’ve said to those who work with us. We’re deeply grateful for what you’ve done in the past . . . and we need more. Whether it’s an hour of time or a five-dollar bill—or, of course, a million dollars!—we are and will be grateful.
Instructions on how to donate to The Interpreter Foundation can be found at https://interpreterfoundation.org/donations/ .
Very sincerely yours,
Daniel C. Peterson
Chairman and President
The Interpreter Foundation
9 September 2014
Dear Professor Peterson,
A daughter of mine, living in Bountiful, has just forwarded to me your article, in the Deseret News of 26 July 2014, on Constantine. Having published, in the last twenty years, two books and numerous articles and book reviews on Constantine and on his mother Helena, I found your article of great interest to me. I realize, of course, that your article addresses not fellow scholars but the readers of a daily newspaper. Nevertheless I thought that I should point to you
several points on which your article appears to me to be in error.
1. I do not think that Constantine deserves do be called “pious.” He never made his own some key concepts of the Christian faith, such as repentance, atonement, or redemption. He was utterly without humility. The arrangements which he made for his own burial were presumptuous. And he died with blood on his hands (Maximian, Licinius, Crispus, Fausta).
2. The phrase that Constantine was baptized “on his deathbed” sounds dramatic and has often been repeated, but is not very accurate. in April of
337, after Easter (3 April,) he visited Drepanum, or Helenopolis, in Bithynia,
most likely the birthplace of his mother Helena, and there he prayed at the
tomb of the martyr Lucian, his mother’s favorite saint. He then proceeded to
Nicomedia, where he was baptized by the Arian (!) bishop Eusebius and died several weeks later, on 22 May. We know of other Christians at the time who delayed baptism until late in life.
3. There is no reason to think that Helena was a Christian already when she
bore and raised Constantine.
4. Of the miraculous “conversion” of Constantine before the Battle of the Milvian
Bridge there are two different accounts, one by Lactantius and one by Eusebius (the bishop of Caesarea); the former is far more believable than the latter.
5. The term “labarum” refers to the imperial standard, carried into battle by Constantine’s soldiers, not to the image on it. The Chi-Rho symbol, or Christogram, is found also elsewhere in early Christian art, typically on a sarcophagus or in a mosaic, and on coins.
6. The Nicene Creed which is recited in mainstream Christian churches to this day is actually a revised form, the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed adopted by the Council of Constantinople in 381-382.
7. No “monumental statue of Constantin sits in Rome.” Rather, a colossal marble head of Constantine, eight-and-a-half feet high, stands in the court of Rome’s Palazzo dei Conservatori.
Nevertheless your article served a a valuable purpose in instructing casual readers on a major personality in church history. I only wish it were more
Hans A. Pohlsander
University at Albany
State University of New York
30 Community Way, Apt. 102
East Greenbush, NY 12061
Hi I would just like to say a big thank you for the interpreter I am not lds at the moment but thanks to the articles and the excellent round tables I am moving closer and closer I hope to joining.
For me the interpreter has been a blessing.
Leroy Thomas from the UK