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 ploni almoni (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 history, and current events.
My name is Stephen Owen Smoot. I hail from Salt Lake City, Utah. I served an LDS mission from 2009-2011 in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission. 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 completing a Masters degree in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto with a concentration in 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.
Politically I am (ideologically speaking) a proponent of Social Democracy but am at this time unaffiliated with any party (I’m an independent, in other words).
My favourite movies include Shaun of the Dead, Noah, Office Space, Der Untergang (The Downfall), Psycho, The Big Lebowski, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Pulp Fiction, Zootopia, and How to Train Your Dragon.
My favorite TV shows include Rick and Morty, The Simpsons, Parks and Recreation, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Archer, The Walking Dead, Dexter, Bojack Horseman, Downton Abbey, Battlestar 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 Quest, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Borderlands 2, Mass Effect 2, Overwatch, Fallout 4,The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Banjo-Kazooie, and Pokémon Red/Blue Version.
My favourite bands are The Killers and CHVRCHES. My favorite composer is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (with Franz Schubert at a close second).
My favorite painter is Caspar David Friedrich (by a long shot).
My favorite novels are Die Leiden des jungen Werthers by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.