If you missed Sunday night’s Meridian Magazine interview with Mark Goodman, the director of the Interpreter Foundation’s forthcoming Witnesses theatrical film, and Caleb J. Spivak (who plays Oliver Cowdery), Mark Zuccola (the younger David Whitmer), and you don’t have Facebook, you can watch it on YouTube:
The program begins and ends with the official Witnesses trailer.
And, please, don’t forget to go to the Witnesses.com website and sign in at the button marked Bring Witnesses to Your City. This will be very, very helpful to the Witnesses effort.
I’ve resolved to remind people of the rich menu of materials that Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship has published over the past eight-plus years. Accordingly, here are the first six articles from Interpreter’s second volume:
Daniel C. Peterson, “The Role of Apologetics in Mormon Studies”
The following essay was presented on 3 August 2012 as “Of ‘Mormon Studies’ and Apologetics” at the conclusion of the annual conference of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR) in Sandy, Utah. It represents the first public announcement and appearance of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, which had been founded only slightly more than a week earlier, on 26 July. In my view, that rapid launch was the near-miraculous product of selfless collaboration and devotion to a cause on the part of several people—notable among them David E. Bokovoy, Alison V. P. Coutts, William J. Hamblin, Bryce M. Haymond, Louis C. Midgley, George L. Mitton, Stephen D. Ricks, and Mark Alan Wright—and I’m profoundly grateful to them. This essay, which may even have some slight historical value, is something of a personal charter statement regarding that cause. It is published here with no substantial alteration.
Cassandra S. Hedelius, “Attacking Rather Than Explaining”
Abstract: In his book on Mormonism, the Reverend Andrew Jackson claims to explain “the teaching and practices of the LDS Church,” with an intended audience of non-Mormon Christians but also “interested Mormons.” He doesn’t succeed well. Although his presentation of Mormon history is mostly fair, his discussion of the faith of Latter-day Saints devolves into the usual anti-Mormon tropes, to which he adds a celebration of a simplified evangelical theology. What might have been a useful, straightforward account of The Church of Jesus Christ and its history ended up, instead, as a clumsy attack. Reverend Jackson eventually re-released his book under a different title as a warning against what he considers Mitt Romney’s reticence to publicly explain his faith to the Reverend’s specifications. The later iteration of Reverend Jackson’s opinions was not even revised beyond a new introduction, making plain his basic antagonistic agenda.
Review of Andrew Jackson, What Latter-day Saints Teach and Practice: Mormonism Explained, Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books [a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers], 2008. 208 pp., with four appendixes, name index, and scripture index. $29.64 (paperback).
Steven C. Harper, “Evaluating Three Arguments Against Joseph Smith’s First Vision”
Abstract: Historically there have been just three basic arguments against the authenticity of Joseph Smith’s first vision. They all begin with the a priori premise that such a vision simply could not have happened. The arguments originated with the Methodist minister to whom Joseph related his vision, author Fawn Brodie, and the Reverend Wesley Walters. The minister’s critique is explained by Methodism’s shift away from ecstatic religious experience. Fawn Brodie is shown to have made innovative yet flawed arguments within the narrow scope allowed by her conclusion that Joseph was a charlatan—a conclusion that did not allow for alternative interpretations of new evidence. Walters is shown to make fallacious arguments of irrelevant proof and negative proof in his understandably determined effort to undermine Joseph Smith’s credibility. Close-minded believers in Joseph’s vision are similarly likely to make unfounded assumptions unless they become open to the rich historical record Joseph created. Belief in the vision should correspond to Christian empathy for and civility toward critics.
Louis C. Midgley, “Christian Faith in Contemporary China”
Review of Lian Xi. Redeemed by Fire: The Rise of Popular Christianity in Modern China. New Haven: Yale University, 2010. 352 pp., with glossary, bibliography and index. $45.00 (hardcover).
Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Jacob A. Rennaker, and David Larsen, “Revisiting the Forgotten Voices of Weeping in Moses 7: A Comparison with Ancient Texts”
Abstract: The LDS Book of Moses is remarkable in its depiction of the suffering of the wicked at the time of the Flood. According to this text, there are three parties directly involved in the weeping: God (Moses 7:28; cf. v. 29), the heavens (Moses 7:28, 37), and Enoch (Moses 7:41, 49). In addition, a fourth party, the earth, mourns—though does not weep—for her children (Moses 7:48–49). The passages that speak of the weeping God and the mourning earth have received the greatest share of attention by scholars. The purpose of this article is to round out the previous discussion so as to include new insights and ancient parallels to the two voices of weeping that have been largely forgotten—that of Enoch and that of the heavens. ((An expanded and revised version of material contained in this study will appear as part of Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and David J. Larsen, Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel (Salt Lake City, UT: Eborn Publishing, forthcoming, 2014). All translations from non-English sources are by the first author unless otherwise specifically noted.))
Abstract: Some critics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have noted that the different accounts of Joseph Smith’s first vision, though written by the prophet himself, vary in some details. They see this as evidence that the event did not take place and was merely invented to establish divine authority for his work. They fail to realize that the versions of Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus, in which the risen Christ appeared to him, also differ from one another. Indeed, they vary more than Joseph Smith’s accounts of his experience. This article examines those variants.
There is, of course, an anti-Trump element to the item below. So, having vowed to forego partisan political statements here on my blog, I’ve hesitated to post a link to it. I know that some, perhaps many, will criticize me for doing so. But, in a very real sense, it’s actually bipartisan, even non-partisan. It transcends partisanship. And it’s so powerful and, to me, even so moving, that I think everybody ought to watch it.
As I’ve mentioned here many times before, I am the son of a man who, as a non-commissioned officer in the Eleventh Armored Division of General George A. Patton’s Third Army, participated in the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Mauthausen, Austria. I grew up with his accounts (and his photographs) of that horrible experience, and with his admonitions to never let the evils of Nazism and of Hitler’s Final Solution be forgotten. I’ve felt a moral and a filial duty to take him seriously in this regard.
Accordingly, here’s the link: