I am a former Latter-day Saint Director of Interfaith Relations for Orange County, California.
During the last two years, I have realized that preserving the remarkable early Eastern Christian heritage, especially in its Syriac (Ephrem, Aphrahat, Narsai, Isaac of Nineveh), Antiochian (Theodore of Mopsuestia), Early Liturgies, and early Church Orders, areas of emphasis.They are completely consuming my spiritual growth, research focus, and time. So I will be contacting the experts at Beth Mardutho (The Syriac Institute); Hugoye: (Journal of Syriac Studies), and people involved with BYU’s Syriac Studies (Kristian S. Heal, Carl W. Griffin and Steven Booras) to be a small part of making these treasures more broadly available to a wider audience in English and French. I already have in Word Document format, dozens of non-copyrighted texts extracted from library books and online archives using Omnipage Pro, Acrobat Pro, and many hours of proofreading, which I will post on my blog.
I went on a Mission to France and Switzerland, where I attended on Preparation Day Hebrew Lessons with a highly-educated branch member who had lived in Israel.
At BYU, I attended Hebrew and Religion courses including three graduate seminars by Kent Brown, and was closely acquainted with Steven Robinson when he was an undergraduate student, and I was regularly his substitute teacher in New Testament.
A few years ago, I enrolled in the Master’s Religion Program in Old Testament and Early Judaism at the Claremont Graduate School under the direction of Dr. James Sanders. I completed 32 units during 5 part-time years, including four Doctoral Seminars. I also Became a member of the Board of Dr. Sanders’s Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center, and attended several meetings with BYU Religion Scholars. I stopped my studies when I became an LDS Bishop.
As an Interfaith Relations Director for ten years, I worked mostly with conservative Christian Mega-churches, Churches, Organizations and Universities:
- Evangelicals (Because of the Latter-day Saints origins in the Anti-Calvinist / Restorationist / Arminian / Methodist groups, I worked extra hard to interact with their modern counterparts)
- Catholics who Support His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI (This is finally happening in California as extremely moderate retiring Archbishops and Bishops are being replaced by much more Conservative replacements)
- Middle Eastern Christians (Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox)
- Charismatic Churches from the Global South (Asian, African, and Central and South American)
I also worked with Truly Conservative Jewish Leaders and scholars:
- Orthodox Jews
- Chasidic Jews