January 22, 2022

    ***   For much of his lifetime, newspaper reports insinuated that Joseph Smith was duping his followers in a greed-motivated religious scam.   For a person of his remarkable abilities and undeniable charisma, however, it seems that he derived very little monetary profit from his devilish scheme, if such it was.   “Now father,” Helen Soby wrote in an 1841 letter responding to such concerns, “if you want to know about us or Joe Smith read the Book… Read more

January 21, 2022

    ***   A new article went up today — at this point, you probably shouldn’t be surprised by that fact — in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:   ““The Lord God Will Proceed”: Nephi’s Wordplay in 1 Nephi 22:8–12 and the Abrahamic Covenant,” by Matthew L. Bowen Abstract: Nephi quotes or alludes to four distinct Old Testament passages — Genesis 22:18; Isaiah 29:14; Isaiah 49:22–23; and Isaiah 52:10 — twice each in 1 Nephi 22:6,… Read more

January 20, 2022

    ***   I’ve posted this list several times before.  It seems appropriate to post it yet again:   I’m sometimes contacted by people who’re experiencing doubts about the claims of the Restoration or whose spouse or father or daughter has lost faith.  I always ask what the specific issues might be, and I then try to address those or to locate colleagues or printed resources that might help resolve their concerns.   I think that such efforts are… Read more

January 19, 2022

    ***   In case you haven’t heard, Deseret Book and Excel Entertainment have now established a program for streaming videos called Deseret Video+ and, if you scroll down on its initial page, you will see that Interpreter’s theatrical film Witnesses is one of the program’s premiere offerings.  Please take a look.  And — I think Deseret Video+ has had some glitches, but I hope they’re now mostly in the past — I would love to hear from you… Read more

January 18, 2022

    ***   I recycle here, with a small handful of slight modifications, some thoughts that I jotted down a few years back.  I think they’re still relevant:   Not infrequently, I read comments from purportedly liberated ex-Latter-day Saints about the glories of churchless Sundays.  Instead of attending mind-numbingly dull and repetitious meetings, they seemingly claim to spend most of their Sundays skiing, golfing, biking, reading classic literature, listening to superb music, perfecting their highly toned bodies through exercise,… Read more

January 17, 2022

    ***   This link went up on the website of the Interpreter Foundation earlier today:   Interpreter Radio Show — December 19, 2021 The 19 December 2021 broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show is now archived and available, at no charge and freed from commercials and similar interruptions, for your listening pleasure and edification.  This episode featured Bruce Webster and Kris Frederickson. In the first portion of it, they discuss the Church’s official proclamations. The second portion of… Read more

January 16, 2022

    ***   This interfaith discussion series, keyed to the “Come, Follow Me” curriculum of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, seems to me an absolutely wonderful idea.  I intend to incorporate it into my regular ponderings for this new year:   John A. Widtsoe Foundation “Come Follow Me” Conversations: The Old Testament / Hebrew Bible   ***   My wife and I are enthusiastic admirers of Britain Covey and of his family.  (We couldn’t have been… Read more

January 15, 2022

    ***   In his important book Religion of a Different Color, Paul Reeve recounts an interesting episode involving Brigham Young:   An early mixed-race (Black and American Indian) member of the Church named William McCary — a rather tenuous and somewhat erratic and even unbalanced fellow, as it turned out, who ultimately didn’t endure faithfully to the end — had encountered racial prejudice among some Church members.   In response to this, President Young counseled the Saints to “use… Read more

January 14, 2022

    ***   A new article went up today in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:   “Verbal Punctuation in the Book of Mormon I: (And) Now,” by John Gee Abstract: The Book of Mormon, being an ancient book, was originally written without typographic punctuation and employs verbal punctuation instead. This article looks at the use of “and now” as verbal punctuation in the Book of Mormon. The phrase is used to mark major breaks in the text, not only for… Read more

January 13, 2022

    ***   I think that — understandably, given the many years and the considerable inflation that have intervened since the late 1820s — we modern Latter-day Saints typically fail to grasp the magnitude of the sacrifice made by Martin Harris in order to publish the Book of Mormon.   E. B. Grandin’s price was $3000 to produce 5000 high quality books.   Martin Harris was a locally prosperous small town farmer on the outskirts of Palmyra, New York,… Read more

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