Author: Wilfried Decoo

I am a native of Belgium - the Flemish side. Born in 1946, I grew up in Antwerp. I obtained my B.A. from the Antwerp Jesuit University, my M.A. from Ghent University - both degrees in Romance languages. As a teacher of French and history I worked a few years in Central Africa for the Belgian Cooperation. Next I went to BYU where I finished a PhD in comparative literature. From 1974 on I spent most of my academic career at the University of Antwerp, as professor of applied linguistics and language education. In 1999 the department of French and Italian at BYU asked me to join their ranks, but I also retained an affiliation with Antwerp. I retired from BYU in 2011 and remain an "active emeritus' in Antwerp. I am a convert to the Church and have a strong testimony of the Restoration. My wife, Carine Decoo-Vanwelkenhuysen passed away in 2018, at age 58. We have one daughter, Ellen, born in 1988, who became a sociologist.

Mormons without the Mormon Church

In his recent conference address, Elder Ballard emphasized that we must avoid the name “Mormon Church” and instead use as much as possible the official, full name of the Church. His message stems from two concerns: (1) the missing association…

Mormon identity and culture

The following is part of a larger study on the concept of “gospel culture”, which I have been working on. In a previous post I presented the question “How American is the Church?”, which yielded very interesting comments. For the…

How American is the Church?

(The following is an excerpt from a larger study on the concept of “gospel culture”, which I have been working on. I hope that comments will help me correct and refine this aspect on Americanness). For the past few decades,…

Iza

The mission president called. Would I, as his counselor, conduct a baptismal interview? A case he wouldn’t have the zone leaders handle, a woman with a troubled past. Most likely involving a chastity issue.

Watching conference

Stake conference in the mission field. Still the mission field, for although we are a stake, there is no stake center, only a chapel in some of the main cities, and rented rowhouses elsewhere. The stake covers some 10,000 square…

Church whisperers

The buzz pervades the chapel. The whispers assemble to an insistent setting escorting the speaker’s voice over the sound system. The multiple murmurs from all corners of the audience spawn a hum that any outsider would consider disturbing. But we…

Fridays in Congo

I was still single when I was sent to Central Africa as an international aid worker, to work as a teacher in a slum suburb of Kinshasa, capital of Congo. I got a room in a frail school building, part…