Anyone who is lucky (or unfortunate) enough to have stumbled upon this blog may be wondering, "Where the heck does the name of your blog come from?"

The name Ploni Almoni comes from the book of Ruth in the Hebrew Bible.
No sooner had Boaz gone up to the gate and sat down there than the next-of-kin, of whom Boaz had spoken, came passing by. So Boaz said, ‘Come over, friend; sit down here.’ And he went over and sat down. (NRSV Ruth 4:1)
The word translated as "friend" in Hebrew is, you guessed it, פלני אלמני. The basic function of ploni almoni in Hebrew is an alias meaning "Joe Schmo," "John Doe," or "Mr. So-and-So." I chose this name because I am just a random guy (a "Mr. So-and-So") sharing some of my thoughts.

So, what will be discussed on Mr. So-and-So's Mormon blog? Mostly Mormon stuff, as you might guess, as well as things related to my other areas of academic interest, namely, ancient Near Eastern Studies and German Studies. On this blog I discuss the Bible, ancient history, Mormon scripture and theology, and current events.

About Me
My name is Stephen Owen Smoot. I hail from Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2015 I graduated cum laude from Brigham Young University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Ancient Near Eastern Studies and German Studies. I am currently a Master's student in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto focusing on Egyptology.

While at BYU I was a vice president of the Students of the Ancient Near East Council, a research assistant for many great professors, and a student intern at the Joseph Smith Papers Project.

Before attending school in Toronto I was a Research Project Manager at Book of Mormon Central and an editorial consultant for Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture.

Politically speaking I'm a Social Democrat who is unaffiliated with any political party (independent). By the political standards of the New England states (where I served my mission) or Canada (where I currently live), I might as well as be a member of the Tea Party, whereas by most Utah Mormon standards I'm basically a pinko commie.

My favourite movies include Shaun of the Dead, Noah, Office SpaceDer Untergang (The Downfall), Psycho, The Big Lebowski, The Grand Budapest HotelPulp Fiction, Zootopia, and How to Train Your Dragon. My favourite TV shows include Rick and MortyThe Simpsons, Parks and RecreationBreaking Bad, Better Call SaulArcherThe Walking Dead, Dexter, Bojack Horseman, Downton AbbeyBattlestar Galactica, Arrested Development, and Futurama. I am semi-religiously devoted to the Star Wars franchise. My favourite video games include Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong QuestThe Legend of Zelda: Majora's MaskBorderlands 2, Mass Effect 2Overwatch, Fallout 4, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Pokémon Red/Blue Version. My favourite bands are The Killers and CHVRCHES. My favourite composer is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (with Franz Schubert at a close second). My favourite painter is Caspar David Friedrich (by a long shot). My favourite novels are Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (The Sorrows of Young Werther) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. 

About Comments

I'm happy to allow comments on my blog under the following conditions:

1. The comments are constructive and contribute to the discussion. I don't mind people expressing disagreement (even if it is vehement disagreement), so long as the disagreement doesn't create trouble or inordinate contention.

2. The comments don't violate standards of common decency and Internet etiquette.

I reserve the right to delete comments as I wish.

If you wish to contact me, feel free to send me an email at stephen @ plonialmonimormon . com.

You can also follow me on Twitter @Stephen_Smoot