It’s grad school application season and students are anxious over GRE, letters of rec, personal statements, GPA etc. It’s a stressful time, we at FPR have been there. We sympathize. Many of us are now on the other side of the portfolio, whether for MA or PhD programs. I don’t speak for us all, but let me say a few things that might be generally true. If you are LDS and are serious about doing graduate work in Religious Studies… Read more

  Our investigations so far in Part  1 and Part 2 have concluded that the reference to Nahom in 1 Nephi 16:34 does not provide compelling evidence for the antiquity of the BoM and a number of aspects relating to the presentation of the name point to its inauthentic and artificial character. So how do we explain the accuracy with which the BoM places Nahom near the tribal area of Nihm in Yemen, showing knowledge of its general location in… Read more

One purpose of my previous post was to highlight the way in which the intent we ascribe to others impacts our ability to trust them. If we believe that that someone is out to get us, we ought not trust them. On the other hand, if we believe that someone has our best interest in mind, we can trust him or her provided that other conditions are met (e.g., they are capable of carrying out the task for which they… Read more

Since its publication in 2013, the “Letter to a CES Director” has gained lots of attention. I know people for whom it has been a contributing factor in their disaffection with the Church. In what follows, I will explore a few of my own thoughts as to how it works, and why it ought to be less successful, in creating disaffection. (more…) Read more

  In part 1 we discussed how the journey of Lehi through Arabia described in 1 Nephi 1-18 is highly implausible as a depiction of historical events, because of the unrealistic nature of various details and the narrative’s modeling after the biblical Exodus. Which raises the question of the significance of the reference to Nahom in 1 Nephi 16:34. As we saw earlier, the mention of Nahom is widely regarded as the clearest instance where the BoM preserves a real… Read more

Introduction The fact that New Testament (NT) language appears throughout the Book of Mormon (BM) has troubled many readers. Some of the initial written responses to the work described in detail the King James English that pervades the text with special attention given to the NT passages that appear sprinkled throughout the book.[1]  Elder B. H. Roberts, who spent many years of his life writing about and defending the BM, discussed the presence of NT phraseology and ascribed the phenomenon… Read more

Even though D&C 76 was prompted by revision of John 5:29, it also creatively draws from Paul’s discussion of resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. Because the revelation of the three degrees of glory is framed as lost biblical material (see the section heading), it can come as a surprise to learn just how different Paul’s views of heaven were from modern LDS beliefs. In 1 Corinthians 15:40-43 (KJV as always), we do find the words celestial and terrestrial as well as… Read more

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul, on the one hand, takes it for granted that women pray and prophesy alongside men – historical evidence of female prophetic roles. On the other hand, he distorts scripture in order to argue that women should do so veiled. The distortion is not always recognized much less challenged, in part because of its longstanding influence on Christian culture and society. Paul distorts the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 by using bits and… Read more

  The issue of Nahom as evidence of the BoM’s antiquity has recently been a topic of heightened discussion and debate online, inspired by Philip Jenkin’s blog post Nahom Follies, which argues that the presence of the place name Nahom in the story about Lehi’s journey through Arabia is of doubtful historical significance and cannot be used to validate assumptions about the BoM’s historicity. His strong dismissal has not surprisingly engendered various counter responses from LDS apologists, including here and… Read more

Mostly because it isn’t very good scholarship, but also because it hasn’t produced a single new idea in twenty years. This is not to say that the Book of Mormon is not ancient, only that the scholarly field that attempted to build up around it failed on its own merits, which have much to do with the leadership style of those who see themselves as founders of this movement.   Read more

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