“First Visions and Last Sermons”

“First Visions and Last Sermons” February 21, 2020


James Jordan captures Joseph Smith "backstage"
Joseph Smith (Paul Wuthrich) on the set of the Interpreter Foundation’s Witnesses film project. (Still photograph by James Jordan)


It being Friday, Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship has published yet another new article.  This one is by Val Larsen:


“First Visions and Last Sermons: Affirming Divine Sociality, Rejecting the Greater Apostasy”

Abstract: There is a kinship between Lehi and Joseph Smith. They are linked to each other by similar first visions, and they faced roughly the same theological problem. Resisted by elites who believe God is a Solitary Sovereign, both prophets affirm the pluralistic religion of Abraham, which features a sôd ’ĕlôhim (Council of Gods) in which the divine Father, Mother, and Son sit. These prophets are likewise linked by their last sermons: Lehi’s parting sermon/blessings of his sons and Joseph’s King Follett discourse. Along with the first visions and last sermons, the article closely reads Lehi’s dream, Nephi’s experience of Lehi’s dream, and parts of the Allegory of the Olive Tree, John’s Revelation, and Genesis, all of which touch on the theology of the Sôd (Council).




The release of a new General Handbook was a major story for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over the past few days:


“A Look Inside the New General Handbook for Church Leaders and Members: Congregations of all shapes and sizes can adapt the book’s principles to their needs”

“New church handbook is online and available to all. Here are some of the changes”




Here’s some news about two of the women leaders in the Church:


“Sister Eubank Encourages Women to Become Global Citizens: Church leader speaks on Utah Valley University campus”


And I haven’t forgotten that some of you are still eagerly accumulating materials for your Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” Files.  So I offer these two items:


“Sister Bingham Observes Pilot Nutrition Program in the Philippines: Relief Society leader ministers to Filipino families”

“President Bingham emphasizes Relief Society’s importance in Philippines Area fight against malnutrition”



This is exciting news for those who love and/or live in the vicinity of Brigham Young University:


“BYU to build special concert hall in new Music Building on campus: The special feature will be the first of its kind in the Intermountain West”




And here’s something that invites reflection:


“How sinful is Utah? A new study says ‘not very’: Utahns are active and sober — but also pretty vain — according to a new study by WalletHub”



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