Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

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Doctor Scratch
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Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

Post by Doctor Scratch »

I'm not kidding--check it out:
Cruise Lady wrote:Stephen O. Smoot has a master’s degree in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations from the University of Toronto and bachelor’s degrees in Ancient Near Eastern Studies and German Studies from Brigham Young University. His research on Latter-day Saint scripture and history has appeared in such venues as the Religious Studies Center at BYU, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, the Interpreter Foundation, and Book of Mormon Central. His areas of academic interest include ancient Egypt, the Hebrew Bible, German Romanticism, and Latter-day Saint scripture and history.
So, I guess the point of engaging in this sort of weak-sauce attempt at getting credentialed in Egyptology was not so much about defending the Book of Abraham, but rather to get hooked up with some free cruises?

You sort of have to admire the creativity here: priestcraft can take all sorts of forms.
"[I]f, while hoping that everybody else will be honest and so forth, I can personally prosper through unethical and immoral acts without being detected and without risk, why should I not?." --Daniel Peterson, 6/4/14

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Philo Sofee
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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

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Doctor Scratch wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:53 pm
I'm not kidding--check it out:
Cruise Lady wrote:Stephen O. Smoot has a master’s degree in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations from the University of Toronto and bachelor’s degrees in Ancient Near Eastern Studies and German Studies from Brigham Young University. His research on Latter-day Saint scripture and history has appeared in such venues as the Religious Studies Center at BYU, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, the Interpreter Foundation, and Book of Mormon Central. His areas of academic interest include ancient Egypt, the Hebrew Bible, German Romanticism, and Latter-day Saint scripture and history.
So, I guess the point of engaging in this sort of weak-sauce attempt at getting credentialed in Egyptology was not so much about defending the Book of Abraham, but rather to get hooked up with some free cruises?

You sort of have to admire the creativity here: priestcraft can take all sorts of forms.
Well, that clever lil sh-it! I'm impressed! This is far more favorable than anything Gee or Muhlestein did! I bet they are actually jealous..... :lol:
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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

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I've seen the photos--Smoot is a damned fine dresser. I have been reading Esquire for more than 20 years, and I can tell you that, if you are going for "Professorial," then Smoot has got it down pat. The dude has got impeccable duds. Now, as to whether or not that has added to his cachet as a "tour guide" for the Cruise Lady... Well, I can't speak to that.
"[I]f, while hoping that everybody else will be honest and so forth, I can personally prosper through unethical and immoral acts without being detected and without risk, why should I not?." --Daniel Peterson, 6/4/14

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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

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Philo Sofee wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:21 pm
This is far more favorable than anything Gee or Muhlestein did!
Not so fast, Philo:

John Gee the Cruise Lady tour guide

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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

Post by Lemmie »

I thought this 2017 guest post on the faith promoting rumor blog summed up the situation quite well:

It is no secret that a remunerative relationship exists between BYU Religious Education faculty and various LDS publishing houses, most notably Deseret Book. This is categorically different than your average professor writing a textbook and trade book. The physics prof doesn’t make the rounds speaking at EFY, Women’s Conference, Education Week, Time Out for Women, etc. They are not invited to speak at various local church functions (ward, stake, seminary, institute). I doubt many of these Rel Ed profs are openly hawking their publications at the latter venues, but you can see how opportunity presents itself to mention one’s latest book during one’s talk. It’s a bit of a gray area when it comes to Mormon concepts of priestcraft (see 2 Ne 26:29)....


This brings me to something I have only recently noticed:
BYU Religious Education faculty and cruises. There is a Utah County business called Cruise Lady that offers LDS themed cruises and tours
(e.g. Alaska, Europe, “The Book of Mormon Lands”) headlined by local LDS celebrities (e.g. Michael Ballam, Michael McLean, some Osmonds). But a little under half of the sixty or so headlining celebrities are or have been professors or have taught in BYU’s College of Religious Education. This feels unseemly. If it. It is one thing to write and profit from books for the Rel Ed/Deseret Book/Ed Week nexus. At least that has some sheen of respectability for egalitarian spreading of the good news. But cruises and cash? I’m sure they figure it’s no different than business profs doing some consulting on the side. But of course, rather than advice on strategic planning or marketing, the Rel Ed Deans and profs are providing gospel tidbits for the entertainment of wealthy Latter-day Saints. This is no longer a gray area....


But maybe you still feel OK about this. What do you say to former BYU Rel Ed professor George Durrant? Here is his Headliner Bio in full:

“Current sealer at the Mt. Timpanogos Temple; author of more than 50 books including the popular Love at Home—Starring Father and Don’t Forget the Star; has taught religion at BYU; worked in many capacities for the Church Education System; and also served as director of Priesthood Genealogy. He served as president of the Kentucky Tennessee Mission, president of the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah and recently in the Nauvoo Illinois Temple.”

If that does not strike you as disagreeable or well past the gray area, you can reserve an Ocean View room for you and your spouse to hear Prof Durrant and Prof Susan Easton Black co-headline a cruise to Hawaii this September for $2,878.50, not including airfare, excursions, gratuities, and, of course, drinks. The Junior Suite will run you a hair under $5,000.00.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithprom ... education/

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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

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The Interpreter Foundation and Cruise Lady are pleased to present this ULTIMATE EGYPT tour! It includes Old Cairo and the magnificent temples of Abu Simbel as well all the main highlights of Egypt. We have THE top Egyptian guide, HANY TAWFEEK to provide the history of Egypt and elaborate on all the sites. He has a master’s degree in Archaeology. When President Obama was visiting Egypt, Hany was the guide picked to escort his group. In addition to Hany, we have the added benefit of touring with BYU Egyptologist JOHN GEE and Interpreter Foundation President and BYU professor of Islamic Studies DANIEL PETERSON. This opportunity to travel with John, Dan and Hany to these UNFORGETTABLE sites only comes once in a lifetime!
Maybe it would be appropriate to offer some advice for the Interpreter (nonprofit) foundation:

Can nonprofit “partner” with for-profit?

Can our 501(c)(3) cultural organization partner with a private for-profit business? Could we sponsor a stage at an event held by a private company? It is a cultural New Year's event and the stage would be showcasing cultural performances of the kind that we promote.

This is a question where the terminology is important....

The term “partner,” however, usually implies some sort of working together, something like a joint venture, where each partner has some say in how the activity is conducted. The IRS takes the position that if a charity enters into a joint venture with a for-profit, the entire activity (and any income received from it) will be treated as unrelated business activity unless the charity “controls” the joint venture so that it can assure that the charitable activities are paramount. (See Ready Reference Page: “IRS Says Charities Must Control Joint Ventures”) Therefore, if you are entering some type of agreement for joint activity, it could be unrelated business activity if you don’t control the operation. Some unrelated activity is ok, but ultimately a charity could lose its exemption if unrelated activity constitutes a substantial portion of its activity. (See Ready Reference Page: “Nonprofits Often Worry About UBIT”)

https://www.nonprofitissues.com/to-the- ... er”-profit
Regarding the bolded part about substantial portions of activity, doesn’t the newest Interpreter Board member also work as VP for CRUISELady?

The issue came up in an Interpreter radio bradcast in 2019, where panelists were Steve Densley (Cruiselady VP) and Matthew Bowen. The only comment:

Morris on October 15, 2019 at 2:25 pm

More roundtable and less advertising for Cruise Lady, please.

https://interpreterfoundation.org/cfm-a ... lesson-40/

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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

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Doctor Scratch wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:38 pm
I can tell you that, if you are going for "Professorial," then Smoot has got it down pat.
For the tour-goers who have not read Esquire, wouldn't they look for a tweed suit with arm patches and perhaps an Indiana Jones hat? No pipe for the LDS Cruise Lady customers.

Smoot definitely has an adequate educational background, with some snappy patter and the ability to make things up, he will make for great Cruise Lady addition. He is young enough to survive any COVID-19 maladies.
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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

Post by Symmachus »

Meh. What is he supposed to do with an Egyptology degree but no Ph.D.? It is mostly confined to elite and flagship public schools, but indeed there are academics who do this kind of stuff:
Join Egyptologist Dr. Robert K. Ritner on a magnificent tour of Egypt, featuring the Pyramids of Giza, Sakkara, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Abu Simbel, Luxor, Medinet Habu, a Nile cruise, a visit to Chicago House, and more!
I have not been on one of these cruises myself, but judging from the stories of friends who have done them, these aren't middle class affairs and probably put Cruise Lady to shame. I don't see anything wrong with this in general, or with the Mormon version in particular. You can parse this by making a distinction between education and private business down to a Talmudic level, which is what I'm sure the righteous hysterics at FPR would like us to, but frankly that's ____ for reasons we don't need to get into deeply here. In any case, there are lots and lots of private companies that do this kind of thing. Cruise Lady is one more, and educated Mormon adults with brains who believe in this stuff are willing to pay to have a vacation that confirms their beliefs.

I'm still reeling from Reverend Kishkumen's brilliant insight into earliest Mormonism as starting out, basically, as a tourist venture. Obviously it is more layered and complex, but that seems to be a fruitful germ inside of Mormonism. I see Cruise Lady as an offshoot if that stalk. But Cruise Lady's hiring Indiana Jones look-a-likes to ennoble a vacation with a few entertaining "educational" lectures isn't an innovation or unique to Mormonism. Come to think of it, I'm describing the bedrock of the Egyptian economy.
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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

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Good for Stephen. The only harm I have seen done by these LDS tours of ancient sites is that they do violence to history. But I am sure they are lots of fun. My dad heard a lot of nonsense about the Book of Abraham that runs absolutely contrary to the best scholarship, but there you are. Let's face it, any religion that has a narrative encouraging its followers to ignore Western history between 100 AD and 1820 AD is not going to do justice to history anyway.
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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

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Leveraging a masters in Egyptology to make money as a professional tour guide is fine. But leveraging work as a religious educator and prestigious church callings to make money by giving first-class religion to the elite? The word "priestcraft" comes to mind. I personally have no problem with religious pastors being paid for their work, but in the Mormon context this is hypocrisy.

Visualizing a group of wealthy Mormons in the corner of a cruise ship having an opening prayer before a lecture with the most charismatic and spiritual tour guides money can buy makes me want to get as far away from that rameumptom as possible; I'd be making a beeline for the aft bar by the pool on the Aloha Deck to have a double rum-runner.
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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

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You can't make this stuff up, folks. You just can't. [smh]

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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

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I think it is disgusting. But I hate cruises, so I'm biased. I'll get on a boat to sport fish, but not to hear some twit.

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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

Post by Kishkumen »

Yahoo Bot wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:48 am
I think it is disgusting. But I hate cruises, so I'm biased. I'll get on a boat to sport fish, but not to hear some twit.
I enjoy cruises, but I don’t waste a mindless good time on infotainment. Too much info there, and not much of it accurate.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist

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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

TBM: Have you any tours or tickets?

(Brother Smoot steps up to the TBM and interjects his query.)

SMOOT: Have you any money?

TBM: We have credit cards with healthy limits.

SMOOT: You can buy anything in this world with credit.

TBM: Do you sell your tours or tickets online? You have a website, I presume.

TOUR LADY: I have them, but I do not accept Discover. I hold Visa or American Express sacred. I am looking forward to the further light and knowledge Brother Smoot promised us.

- Doc

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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

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The Mopologists have always tried to downplay the "priestcraft-y" elements of these tours, but after a certain point, you kind of have to say, "Gimme a break!" DCP, for instance, emphasizes over and over again that he doesn't get paid for these things, and yet, all his travel, lodging, and food costs get covered, and these things cost thousands of dollars.

And so now here we have Smoot, sans Ph.D., who has somehow snagged a spot on the Cruise Lady's roster of guides. You have to wonder if this was sort of held out to him as a kind of "temptation" or a means of ensuring his loyalty. I.e., as long as he stays committed to the Mopologetic cause, then he will get the "hook-up" as far as these cruises are concerned. Conversely, it will get taken away if he ever dares to (e.g.) suggest that the LGT is flawed.
"[I]f, while hoping that everybody else will be honest and so forth, I can personally prosper through unethical and immoral acts without being detected and without risk, why should I not?." --Daniel Peterson, 6/4/14

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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

Post by Philo Sofee »

Doctor Scratch
I.e., as long as he stays committed to the Mopologetic cause, then he will get the "hook-up" as far as these cruises are concerned. Conversely, it will get taken away if he ever dares to (e.g.) suggest that the LGT is flawed.
Mormonism in a nutshell.....from the larger church perspective, what is hanging over their heads is their own godhood. The ultimate carrot and a stick... ultimate egotism. It's why they can't tell the truth, it causes them to lose everything they are promised, so they defend, no matter how patently absurd it is. No wonder they can get VERY self righteous about it......
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Re: Steve Smoot is a Cruise Lady Tour Guide?

Post by Everybody Wang Chung »

I don’t even know where to begin. Sic et Non just posted a very bizarre entry justifying why DCP is entitled to lavish paid vacations and why it’s not priestcraft.

There are just too many Mopologetic gems in the Sic et Non post for me to do it justice. I hope Dr. Scratch can find the time this week between his teaching duties and research projects to address this:

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeters ... nd-me.html
"I'm on paid sabbatical from BYU in exchange for my promise to use this time to finish two books."

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