Relaxing at the end of a busy week


Main Street in Park City


Well, BYU Education Week is over.  Yesterday, responding to claims made since at least the time of the  Tübingen School in the nineteenth century, I laid out a case for dating accounts of the resurrection of Christ within the New Testament all the way back into the thirties of the first century AD.  There is, thus, I contended, little time for a “myth” of the resurrection of have grown up.  The story of the empty tomb and the resurrection was, I argued, part of the earliest Christian kerygma or preaching.


Today’s presentation sought to set forth the logical possibilities for Joseph Smith and the purported plates of the Book of Mormon — e.g., he never had them, or he did; if he never had them, he either knew that he didn’t have them or imagined that he did have them; and so forth.  I also laid out my reasons for eliminating most of the logically conceivable options.


I continued the day with a couple of meetings related to The Interpreter Foundation and a good Mexican dinner in Midway, and am now about to relax with a movie in which lots of things blow up.  I’m too tired tonight for subtlety.


Posted from Park City, Utah



"The science of sleeping in, and why you probably shouldn't"
Personal Encounters with Elder Packer (Part 3)
"5 Reasons Why Mormons Are Happier"
"ISIS opens new front in Egypt"
  • Steven Glover

    We really enjoyed spending time with you each morning at Education week. All of the classes we attended were well presented and enlightening. Is it just me or do all of us soften our hardened opinions and open up to wider views of things in life, both spiritual and temporal as we “mature”? I find it very comforting as my pre-conceived notions tend to get soft around the edges! We look forward to seeing you at the Summerhays Lecture in September.

  • RaymondSwenson

    As I have grown over time in my understanding of the process of writing and reading books, and have benefited from the insights of scholars who have applied their knowledge of ancient cultures and literary analysis to The Book of Mormon, I have come to appreciate the deep learning and intelligence that was employed in its writing, at the same time understanding that this was not within the capacities of Joseph Smith at age 25. He lacked the “method” to perform the deed of composing this lengthy record.

    So far as I can see, he also lacked a “motive” to create such a magnum opus. Plenty of enterprising young men in America in 1829 were able to become popular and wealthy ministers of the Christian gospel without the tremendous investment of effort and time and money that was necessary to dictate and then print the Book of Mormon. If he wanted to present some novel variations on traditional Christianity, he could do so in sermons and essays requiring far less effort than producing a lengthy book that presented an additional hurdle to people accepting his spiritual leadership. Certainly there was no precedent for such an approach succeeding, so why bother?

    And of course we know that he lacked the ” opportunity” to create a coherent manuscript in the time when he actually dictated it. And if he had a first draft completed, why go through the whole process of dictating to a scribe rather than simply writing out a cleaner manuscript by himself?

    I have to conclude that Joseph’s enemies have failed to carry the burden of proof of their charge that Joseph composed the Book of Mormon in order to bootstrap himself into a career as a preacher. And there is a completely separate analysis with regard to their claim that the Book of Mormon lacks the features of an Israelite record dating to 600 BC.

    • Michael Hoggan

      Joseph was a charismatic and likeable person, though very poor. I’m sure he would have had a wonderful career as a run-of-the-mill Protestant preacher had he so desired and had he not received the witnesses that he did. The Book of Mormon was not a financial success and Joseph and many of those around him lived under constant threat of violence. Someone who was smart enough to write the Book of Mormon would also have been smart enough to anticipate this.

      Joseph subjected himself and those around him to the persecutions because he knew it was true. Many of those around him also received a witness from God that it was true. We can have that witness as we seek it.

  • IamMeWhoareYou

    I was there for your class and found it to be very enlightening. Thank-you for your time and effort.

    • DanielPeterson

      Thank you for coming!