“Record-Keeping Technology among God’s People in Ancient and Modern Times,” and a Remarkable New Website

“Record-Keeping Technology among God’s People in Ancient and Modern Times,” and a Remarkable New Website January 25, 2021

 

Cameraman and Martin Harris
Gordon Huston (cinematographer) and Lincoln Hoppe (“Martin Harris”) on one of the sets for the Interpreter Foundation’s forthcoming theatrical film, “Witnesses.”   (Still photograph by James Jordan)

 

In an effort ably spearheaded by Steven T. Densley, Jr., and with the assistance of our friends at FAIR and at Book of Mormon Central, the Interpreter Foundation has created a freestanding website, Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, to accompany and supplement the productions of its forthcoming Witnesses film project.  However, it is intended to be significant in its own right, even apart from the films.  It will be a repository of helpful information on not only the Three Witnesses and the Eight Witnesses but on the informal or unofficial witnesses, as well.

 

The site is still a work in progress — much more will be added in the weeks and months to come, and we expect that it will continue to grow even thereafter — but we believe that it has reached a point where it’s ready to share with the public.  Please take a look!

 

“New Website: “Witnesses of the Book of Mormon””

 

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An article by Richard E. Turley Jr. and Stephen O. Smoot has appeared today in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:

 

“Record-Keeping Technology among God’s People in Ancient and Modern Times”

Abstract: In a fascinating survey of the efforts of ancient and modern Saints to honor the Lord’s commandment to keep reliable records of their doings, the authors take us on a colorful tour of the past, present, and future of technology for records preservation. These efforts are not only awe-inspiring, but have had and will have important consequences for the faith and memory of the goodness of God and the fulfillment of His purposes in history.

[Editor’s Note: Part of our book chapter reprint series, this article is reprinted here as a service to the LDS community. Original pagination and page numbers have necessarily changed, otherwise the reprint has the same content as the original.

See Richard E. Turley Jr. and Stephen O. Smoot, “Record-Keeping Technology among God’s People in Ancient and Modern Times,” in “To Seek the Law of the Lord”: Essays in Honor of John W. Welch, ed. Paul Y. Hoskisson and Daniel C. Peterson (Orem, UT: The Interpreter Foundation, 2017), 467–94. Further information at https://interpreterfoundation.org/books/to-seek-the-law-of-the-lord-essays-in-honor-of-john-w-welch-2/.]

 

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And now, systematically pursuing my fiendish and diabolical plan, I again call your attention to several articles published in an earlier volume of Interpreter.  Perhaps you haven’t yet read them.  Or perhaps you should read them again:

 

Daniel C. Peterson, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants”

 

Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and David J. Larsen, “Ancient Affinities within the LDS Book of Enoch Part One”

Abstract: In this article, we will examine affinities between ancient extracanonical sources and a collection of modern revelations that Joseph Smith termed “extracts from the Prophecy of Enoch.” We build on the work of previous scholars, revisiting their findings with the benefit of subsequent scholarship. Following a perspective on the LDS canon and an introduction to the LDS Enoch revelations, we will focus on relevant passages in pseudepigrapha and LDS scripture within three episodes in the Mormon Enoch narrative: Enoch’s prophetic commission, Enoch’s encounters with the “gibborim,” and the weeping and exaltation of Enoch and his people.

 

Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and David J. Larsen, “Ancient Affinities within the LDS Book of Enoch Part Two”

Abstract: In this article, we will examine affinities between ancient extracanonical sources and a collection of modern revelations that Joseph Smith termed “extracts from the Prophecy of Enoch.” We build on the work of previous scholars, revisiting their findings with the benefit of subsequent scholarship. Following a perspective on the LDS canon and an introduction to the LDS Enoch revelations, we will focus on relevant passages in pseudepigrapha and LDS scripture within three episodes in the Mormon Enoch narrative: Enoch’s prophetic commission, Enoch’s encounters with the “gibborim,” and the weeping and exaltation of Enoch and his people.

 

Neal Rappleye, “Trusting Joseph”

Abstract: The “first steps” of Mormon history are vital to the faith claims of the Latter-day Saints. The new volume Exploring the First Vision, edited by Samuel Alonzo Dodge and Steven C. Harper, compiles research into the historical veracity of Joseph Smith’s First Vision narrative which shows the Prophet to have been a reliable and trustworthy witness. Ultimately, historical investigation can neither prove nor disprove that Joseph had a theophany in the woods in 1820. Individuals must therefore reach their conclusions by some other means.

Review of Samuel Alonzo Dodge and Steven C. Harper, eds. Exploring the First Vision. Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 2012. 338 pp. with index. $25.99

 

Louis C. Midgley, “Confronting Five-Point Calvinism”

Review of Roger E. Olson. Against Calvinism. Foreword by Michael Horton, author of For Calvinism. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. 207 pp., no index. $16.99 (paperback).

 

John Gee, “Whither Mormon Studies?”

Abstract: The proliferation of Mormon Studies is surprising, considering that many of the basic questions about the field have never been answered. This paper looks at a number of basic questions about Mormon Studies that are of either academic concern or concern for members of the Church of Jesus Christ. They include such questions as whether Mormon Studies is a discipline, whether those who do Mormon Studies necessarily know what is going on in the Church, or if they interpret their findings correctly, whether there is any core knowledge that those who do Mormon Studies can or should have, what sort of topics Mormon Studies covers or should cover and whether those topics really have anything to do with what Mormons actually do or think about, whether Mormon Studies has ulterior political or religious motives, and whether it helps or hurts the Kingdom. Is Mormon Studies a waste of students’ time and donors’ money? Though the paper does not come up with definitive answers to any of those questions, it sketches ways of looking at them from a perspective within the restored Gospel and suggests that these issues ought to be more carefully considered before Latter-day Saints dive headlong into Mormon Studies in general.

 

 


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