David O. McKay, Genesis, and Evolution: Part 2.

In a previous post, I detailed President McKay’s explicit, published, written approval of a very pro-evolution LDS magazine article. This served as evidence that President McKay did not understand Genesis 1 to prohibit an old earth, evolution, etc. Shortly after the 1954 publication of Joseph Fielding Smith’s Man, His Origin and Destiny, BYU History professor Richard D. Poll and his wife were invited to discuss the book with the author. Knowing that President McKay disagreed strongly with the book, they managed… Read more

BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 30: Alma 40-42, Three Generations of Repentance

These chapters (and 39) are all focused on Corianton, who gets quite the paternal talk. Assuming that these chapters aren’t using Corianton merely as a framework to talk doctrine (i.e. why would this all be recorded, or is Mormon expanding it?), we can guess that Corianton hadn’t understood some things, such as the resurrection, justice, mercy, atonement. What do we know about Corianton? One thing is that he must have been relatively young, although what that means in a Nephite… Read more

BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 29: Alma 36-39 Notes and Suggestions

The Book of Mormon has a variable pace. Occasionally, we skip through decades or even hundreds of years on a single page. Other times, like today, Mormon’s editing moves us into super slow motion, relatively speaking. What is probably only a few hours in real time for Alma to speak to his sons occupies six full chapters, which we slow down further by breaking it up into two weeks of study. This will be significant for understanding Alma 43 onwards, and I’ll… Read more

BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 28: Alma 32-34

First, the structure of the text. Alma 30-34 are really one unit, which we break up. In the 1830, they constitute one chapter (Alma XVI). Presumably, we’re breaking these up because of their doctrinal nature. Today we cover Alma 32-34, which looks like thisin the rough big-picture outline. 32- Alma continues preaching at Antionum; “faith sermon” on the hill Onidah. 33- Crowd’s negative response; Alma continues his sermon. 34- Amulek takes over, and preaches to the crowd on the hill. Surprisingly, not a… Read more

A Note on Pioneer Day Talks, Sweetwater, and Tradition

I didn’t grow up in Utah, and never heard of Pioneer Day until I was on my mission in France/Belgium. There, a PR event was organized for the Sesquicentennial that included a large parade with handcarts, historical garb, dancing, etc. It wasn’t actually held on Pioneer Day, but a few weeks later in August. It had some Church News coverage, and a local member filmed and edited over an hour of video, all in French. -Related reading: Eric Eliason, “The… Read more

A Testimony Meeting Experiment

One of the things I’ve written about before is the problem of common, broad terminology, that allows us to speak, without expressing what we mean (if we even know ourselves). For example, what does “true” mean in an LDS context, e.g. “the church is true” or “the scriptures are true”? It can be a problem. See my old post here, for example. I’ve encountered two professors in the last year who make students think by requiring them to avoid certain words. In… Read more

BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 27: Alma 30-31

These two chapters are loaded. First, we encounter the third member of the Unholy Trinity of antichrists in the Book of Mormon. First was Sherem (Jacob 7), then Nehor (Alma 1), now Korihor. I highly recommend this Ensign article on Korihor, “Countering Korihor’s Philosophy.” I first encountered I as a missionary, and was so impressed I wrote next to the Alma 30 chapter heading, “Ensign July 1992.” (E. Lund’s discussion is taken up further here.) This article introduces terms and concepts like “epistemology,” “empiricism,”… Read more

New Testament Conference Announcement

As part of the New Testament Commentary Seminar, a conference will be held at BYU Friday July 29. A formal announcement, more information, and audio/video from previous conferences are available here at the Commentary homepage. Click here for a nice PDF. 4th Annual BYU New Testament Commentary Conference:  New Mormon Ideas about Mark and Hebrews Friday, July 29 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Hinckley Center Assembly Hall, Brigham Young University Public welcome, Admission free The Epistle to the Hebrews 9:00  Welcome, Invocation, and Introductions… Read more

BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 26: Alma 23-29

I did an Olympic-distance triathlon this morning, and it’s left me pretty exhausted… body and mind alike. (I hit all my goals, ambitious things like “don’t die” and “finish.”) Historiography is the study of how history is written. For many people, history is simply “the facts about the past,” but history and history-writing is, in fact, far more complex than that. The history writer inevitably shapes the story told, sometimes in obvious and explicit ways, other times not. In the Bible, scholars have… Read more

BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 25: Alma 17-22 (Draft)

Alma 17 begins with a chance meeting between Alma and the sons of Mosiah, and then we get a 14 year flashback. The sons of Mosiah (which either includes some who weren’t his sons, or he had more sons than are previously named) are doing something which is easily perceived as hostile: group of armed (Alma 17:7) princes (remember who Mosiah was) enter enemy territory. A raiding party for glory and honor, perhaps?  This, perhaps, is why Mormon specifies that their… Read more

Follow Us!