Brigham Young’s Favorite Hymn

Eliza-R.-Snow

On April 8, 1877, Brigham Young delivered a sermon on the occasion of his imminent departure from the St. George Temple. Many observers of Young’s multifaceted career forget how significant temple-building was for him and for his legacy. “We shall build Temples over north and South America,” Young declared in 1875 while planning the construction [Read More...]

Joseph Smith and the Book of Abraham

Outsiders to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints familiar with Mormonism typically have heard something about the Book of Mormon. Perhaps they know that Joseph Smith claimed to have received golden plates from an angel. Those a bit more familiar with Mormonism might know that Smith also dictated scores of revelations, messages from [Read More...]

Have Visions Ceased?

luther-tischreden

In his published account of his first visionary experience, Joseph Smith reported that a Methodist preacher reacted to his report of his vision with utter contempt: “he treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in [Read More...]

The Papers of a Prophet

The Joseph Smith Papers Project website (josephsmithpapers.org) is one of the very best electronic resources pertaining to the history of religion in the United States. It is a companion to the printed volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers, which have set an outrageously high standard for documentary editions because of their clarity of transcription, extensive [Read More...]

Nihilism and “The Book of Mormon”

I refer to the blockbuster musical, not the sacred book of Mormons.  Recently, I took a group of (mostly evangelical) students at Gordon College to see the play when it was staged in Boston.   (No parents have complained—not yet anyway!)   Much has already been written about the play.  Still, after watching it, I could not [Read More...]

The Brightness of the Sun

The Conversion of St. Paul, Jean Fouquet, in the Hours of  Étienne Chevalier, ca. 1450s

Sometime around the year 1820, the young Joseph Smith was troubled. According to the earliest account, written in 1832, Smith was anxious over the state of his sinful soul. He “felt to mourn,” for his own sinfulness and that of the world. He was convinced of God’s existence, simply by looking at the wonders of [Read More...]

American Pseudobibles (and the Book of Mormon)

American-Zion

Americans during the Revolutionary era and the Early Republic lived in a world suffused with the Hebrew scriptures. That reality, already charted by many historians (including Mark Noll, who once termed the Old Testament (“the common coinage of the realm”), is only the backdrop to Eran Shalev’s remarkable American Zion: The Old Testament as a [Read More...]

Stephen Webb’s Mormon Christianity

I recently had the pleasure of reading Stephen Webb’s Mormon Christianity: What Other Christians Can Learn from the Latter-day Saints (Oxford, 2013). My review is up on the Books & Culture website — I characterize Mormon Christianity as “brilliant, provocative, and occasionally maddening.” The maddening, from my vantage point, is what I consider a rather [Read More...]

The Latter-day Saints and Anti-Polygamy Laws

Sister_Wives_TV_series_logo

One would think that with the half-decade “Mormon moment” now well past, Mormonism would now generate news only infrequently. That is not quite turning out to be the case. New missionary requirements, concerns about internet-driven apostasy, the recent statement on the priesthood ban, and now a Utah District Court decision that strikes down part (but [Read More...]

Mormons and Race

Last week, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a new, detailed statement on “Race and the Priesthood” on its “Gospel Topics” website. For those unfamiliar with the topic, during Joseph Smith’s lifetime the church ordained a number of black men into the priesthood, an expected progression for any male member of the [Read More...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X