Blog Archives

Two coalminers

November 17, 2005 | 43 comments

Their story would have made an agreeable Ensign article were it not for that later development that ruined its beauty. Oh, believe me, I was tempted to censor the second part. But it would feel like cheating. Besides, the aftermath carries the morale of the story. Read more »


October 31, 2005 | 72 comments

What do we know about the covert life of our members? Take Irma. Read more »

Remain in your homeland

October 19, 2005 | 82 comments

In last General Conference, Elder Uchtdorf reiterated the 1999 counsel of the First Presidency, a counsel that has actually been given since the 1950s. Read more »

The encounter

October 5, 2005 | 14 comments

Saturday afternoon on a rainy day in Antwerp. Read more »

The flute

September 19, 2005 | 13 comments

Jessica is sad. Read more »

The date

September 6, 2005 | 37 comments

The phone call was innocent. Sister Walker, the mission president’s wife, wanted me to come over for dinner. Read more »

They govern themselves

August 27, 2005 | 56 comments

A busy downtown intersection. No traffic lights, no road markings, no speed limits, no sidewalks, no pedestrian crossings. Cars, cyclists, pedestrians, all move on the same street level, side by side, carefully merging. Read more »

Two priesthoods

August 24, 2005 | 25 comments
Two priesthoods

There is a tiny village, on a remote hill in Burundi, Central Africa, committed to my memory as the place where two priesthoods, Catholic and Mormon, joined. Read more »

Cyril’s tie

August 18, 2005 | 11 comments

Cyril doesn’t know how to dress, except for his tie. Read more »

The dog

August 11, 2005 | 25 comments

It happened in the back of the former living room we called our chapel. The church itself was an insignificant Flemish rowhouse. Thirty-six chairs crammed the room. Six rows of six. When half of them got filled, we boasted on the Church’s growth in our city. Read more »


August 6, 2005 | 32 comments

It happened. From pictures and testimonies we can grasp somehow what happened. Read more »

No more foreigners

August 4, 2005 | 48 comments

Our worldwide missionary effort is plurilingual. The Church has always been involved in outreach efforts to other tongues, now translating material into 185 languages. There are wards and branches, led in the local idiom, in 165 countries. Read more »

When God became American

July 18, 2005 | 39 comments

When God became American is the novelized biography of Joseph Smith by the French author Marc Chadourne: Quand Dieu se fit Americain. Read more »

Missionary work versus religious correctness

July 7, 2005 | 21 comments

When the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake were being announced, I remember how in our priesthood meetings in Provo exciting plans were forged to turn the event into a massive missionary opportunity: we would fill the streets with members passing out copies of the Book of Mormon and taking referrals. Read more »

Why I have a testimony

May 20, 2005 | 37 comments

In my Belgian environment, I’m an oddity. A university professor who is a Mormon. Colleagues and students whisper about it. They can’t place me in the normal spectrum of the centuries old allegiances to our society. They wonder: how can this scholar believe the rigmarole of that foreign cult? Read more »

Love and a fence

April 8, 2005 | 23 comments

They were all to their love. A silent, suffering love, eyes staring into eyes. Standing at a few inches from each other, the fence between them. A huge fence, of strong wire-netting that would not let a hand get through. Both were barely twenty years old. Read more »


April 4, 2005 | 25 comments

– And, Brother Decoo, could you come in your native dress? It’s this time of the year again. Circus by the aliens. Officially it’s called Cultural Heritage Night, or International Fashion Show, or LDS WorldFest. Mormons love it. Read more »

Sweet spirit

March 15, 2005 | 62 comments

I failed as a primary teacher. No, not in Belgium. Here in my Provo ward. But it cannot be said I did not try. Velcro, scissors, wax crayons, strings, glue, buttons, figurines. Scriptures and stories. We made the armor of God in cardstock, dressed King Lamoni’s sheep in wads of cotton, notched Nephites, laminated Lamanites, and did the Jaredite Journey Goose Game (“You are at the Tower of Babel. Can’t understand what they say. Lose 1 turn”). But at the end of each lesson, the little faces would look up at me and one would voice for all: –... Read more »

Ninety one words

February 15, 2005 | 29 comments

Karl was a stutterer and he had to say the sacrament prayer. Read more »


February 9, 2005 | 64 comments

Some of us like to throw in some Latin from time to time. Read more »


January 26, 2005 | 50 comments

Sixty years ago the death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated. Behind the barbed wires, many of the survivors could not stand on their feet to greet the liberators. The average weight of an adult was 77 pounds. Emaciated, with hollow eyes, those breathing skeletons, covered with a thin layer of tensed skin, only experienced a shift in their nightmare, for the nightmare of their memories would last for the rest of their lives. More than one million people had been murdered in Auschwitz alone. Read more »


January 18, 2005 | 6 comments

My parents died a few years ago, both in their nineties, after a fulfilling life and with the memories of having survived two world wars and sixty years of marriage on the Old Continent. Read more »

Opposed, if any?

January 5, 2005 | 56 comments

The sustaining of the second counselor in the Relief Society Presidency in our ward was unanimous. The bishop, who asked the question for opposing votes, had just a quick glance over the audience, while gathering his papers to sit down. No opposing votes. Of course not. But again, I felt relieved. Read more »


December 29, 2004 | 44 comments

Belgium, December 29, 2004. For days now I have been confronted with TV-images of bloated and rotting bodies littered along shores, of parents crying over the corpses of their children, of living children staring dumbfounded into a camera and holding up a note with their name and the question “Seen parents?” – while it is almost certain, after three days, they have become orphans. Thousands of orphans and they still cling to their note. Read more »