"This website gives LDS scholars the opportunity to express their views and feelings about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are some who may feel that people of education and learning can't be religious. It is hoped that these testimonies will help dispel that myth, educate, and give insights into the thoughts and feelings of LDS scholars."
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell will be mixing what he calls doctrines from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into his gubernatorial campaign in a series of meetings slated for LDS elders only.
In January, Rammell will kick off a series of special meetings targeted specifically at "faithful priesthood-holders of the LDS Church" to discuss the so-called "White Horse" prophecy.
The first meeting will held at the Hampton Inn in Idaho Falls between 7 and 8 p.m. on Jan. 19. Subsequent meetings will be held in Rexburg, Blackfoot, Pocatello, Twin Falls and Boise, and only men active in the LDS Church have been invited to attend.
"There is nothing secret about the meeting -- it's just the sacred nature of the things we will be talking about," said Rammell. "We are going to talk about (LDS Church founder) Joseph Smith's prophecy that the Constitution will be hanging by a thread and that the Latter-day Saint elders will step forward and save it.
"Only LDS elders are invited because I don't want people there that don't believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Any active member of the church is welcome to attend."
Rammell said that though LDS women were not invited because of lack of space, he hopes that the men will take the message home to their wives.
In the past, Rammell has been criticized for using his faith to further his campaign.
In response, he cited his believe in freedom of speech.
"Religion has always played a significant part in the making of America and I believe it should be included today," said Rammell. "If there are LDS people that are offended by the fact that I would have an only LDS meeting -- I would have them come and listen to me before they criticize the contents of my speech."
Mississippi is the America's most religious state, according to a Pew Forum study on the levels of devotion in America, which asked respondents whether religion is important in their lives. Eighty-two percent of Mississipians said yes.
Alabama and Arkansas (both at 74 percent), Louisiana (72 percent), Tennessee (71 percent) and South Carolina (70 percent) follow. The least-religious are New Hampshire and Vermont, each at 36 percent, Alaska (37 percent) and Massachusetts (40 percent), which confirms other recent surveys that say New England is the "new Northwest" in terms of unchurched multitudes.
The Pacific Northwest used to be the country's least-churched sector, but Oregon (seventh from the bottom at 46 percent) and Washington (11th from the bottom at 48 percent), have risen in the rankings.
The poll was released Monday with data drawn from the Forum's 2007 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey of 35,556 U.S. residents. It has an error margin of 0.6 percent.
Respondents were asked four questions: about the importance of religion in their lives, their frequency of attendance at worship services, frequency of daily prayer and absolute certainty of belief in God. Mississippi polled highest on all four questions.
On the attendance question, Mississippians polled at 60 percent, saying they go at least once a week. Heavily Mormon Utah (57 percent) is second, with South Carolina (54 percent) following.
Alaska is at the bottom of this list, with only 22 percent of respondents saying they attend weekly. New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine polled next highest at 23 percent.
The fourth question, measuring percentage of those who believe in God, had Mississipians at the top at 91 percent, followed by South Carolina and Alabama at 86 percent. States with the lowest belief in God are New Hampshire and Vermont at 54 percent and Connecticut and Rhode Island at 57 percent.
Title: Lost Legacy, The Mormon Office of Presiding Patriarch
Author: Irene Bates and E. Gary Smith
Publisher: U of Illinois Press
Genre: Non-fiction Year
Number of Pages: 272
Reviewed by Richard Russell
The book is the history of the inherited office of Presiding Patriarch in the Mormon Church from its creation by Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1833 to its demise in 1979. This thoroughly researched history was the winner of the Mormon History Association Best Book Award in 1997 when first published in 1996. This reviews the 2003 edition in paper.
The authors are eminently qualified to write it, both having previously published numerous treatises, papers and articles on the topics that are often quoted in the text. E. Gary Smith is the oldest son of the current Patriarch Emeritus, Eldred G. Smith. Had the office continued, he likely would have succeeded to it. This fact subtly colors the study positively because of unique insights that would not otherwise have been available. It also strongly legitimizes the conclusion he draws after the office was retired.
The hereditary office of Presiding Patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, first occupied by the father of the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., seemed the focal point of a struggle for authority between those appointed and those born to leadership positions. The authors argue that the office's 1979 demise was inevitable. Chronicling the history of the office beginning with the first, Joseph Smith, Sr., through the eighth official holder, they illuminate the tensions between the leadership circle of the Council of the Twelve Apostles and the potential rival power center of the Patriarch. Asserting that the struggle was related to conflict between the Smith family and the rest of the leadership, the book makes the case that the real source of dissonance between the patriarchs and other church leaders was the impossibility of melding familial authority of the Patriarch ("lineal charisma") with official authority of the structured leadership of the church ("office charisma").
As an example of the back and forth nature of the conflict the text says: The different names the office went by is an indication of the variations in administrative authority extended and, to some degree, the varying degrees of dissonance. The title fluctuated between "Patriarch over the whole Church." "Patriarch of the Church." "Presiding Patriarch," and "Patriarch to the Church." During the 1932-42 hiatus, it was determined that the name should henceforth be "Patriarch to the Church." > From the final chapter, Conclusion, on Page 227:
As a member of the Mormon Church, I was unaware of all this underlying turmoil and conflict in the office between the patriarchs and the twelve. Most of the trouble originated within the body of the Quorum of the Twelve, not generally in the person of the patriarch except for William Smith in 1845. In 1979, the year of the demise of the position, the church had 4.4 million members and 1,092 stakes of Zion. It made perfect sense to me to discontinue the office with so many stake patriarchs functioning within closer reach to those not in stakes (only 1100 branches) than the church patriarch located in Salt Lake City. Add to this the needed resolution of the conflict and the authors reasonably conclude that the end of the position was inevitable.
Eldred G. Smith continued to give patriarchal blessings by request after he assumed emeritus status.
This table details the office holders.
1. 18 Dec 1833 – 14 Sep 1840 Joseph Smith, Sr., Father of Joseph Smith, Jr.
2. 14 Sep 1840 – 27 Jun 1844 Hyrum Smith, Oldest surviving son of Joseph Smith, Sr.
3. 24 May 1845 – 19 Oct 1845 William Smith, Oldest surviving son of Joseph Smith, Sr.
1845-1847 was a patriarchal interregnum that left the office vacant during a period of turmoil and transition as the saints emigrated from Illinois and the Quorum of the Twelve sorted out church leadership roles. Another factor was the controversial personality of William Smith, the struggle between him and Brigham Young, and William's eventual excommunication after a short term in office.
4. 1 Jan 1847 – 23 May 1854 John Smith, "Uncle John" brother of Joseph Smith, Sr.
5. 18 Feb 1855 – 6 Nov 1911 John Smith, Son of Hyrum Smith by Jerusha Barden.
6. 9 May 1912 – 4 Feb 1932 Hyrum G. Smith, Grandson of John Smith, previous Presiding Patriarch; great-grandson of Hyrum Smith.
1937 – 8 Oct 1942 George F. Richards (Acting Presiding Patriarch). Unrelated to Smith family, was officially called, set apart, and sustained as the Acting Presiding Patriarch.
7. 8 Oct 1942 – 6 Oct 1946 Joseph Fielding Smith II, Great-grandson of Hyrum Smith; not a descendant of previous Presiding Patriarch Hyrum G. Smith; released by President George Albert Smith amid reports of homosexual activity. Restored to "priesthood status" in 1957.
8. 10 Apr 1947 – 4 Oct 1979 Eldred G. Smith, Son of former Presiding Patriarch Hyrum G. Smith; great-great-grandson of Hyrum Smith. Released to emeritus status.
Local patriarchs assisted with the duties of the vacant office of Patriarch from 1932-1937. This included:
4 February 1932 – 1934 Nicholas G. Smith (de facto Acting Presiding Patriarch) Son of Apostle John Henry Smith; grandson of Apostle George A. Smith; great-grandson of former Presiding Patriarch "Uncle" John Smith; was never officially called, set apart, or sustained as the Acting Presiding Patriarch, but carried out the functions of the office. 1934 – 1937 Frank B. Woodbury (de facto Acting Presiding Patriarch) Unrelated to Smith family; was never officially called, set apart, or sustained as the Acting Presiding Patriarch, but carried out the functions of the office. Others who helped during this time were stake patriarchs Charles Jones, and James Wallis.
I found the extensive chapter end notes particularly helpful and strongly advise readers to consult them. This edition includes two appendices, a sizeable bibliography and useful index.
No serious student of Mormonism should be without this volume in her library. I recommend it highly.
Monday, December 21, 2009
A SAMPLE of pure language
given by Joseph the Seer as copied by Br Johnson
[There is one continuous vertical line which crosses out the Q's and A's below]
Question What is the name of God in pure Language
Q The meaning of the pure word Aman
A It is the being which made all things in all its parts.
Q What is the name of the Son of God.
A The Son Awman.
Q What is the Son Awman.
A It is the greatest of all the parts of Awman which is the godhead the first born.
Q What is man.
A This signifies Sons Awman. the human family the children of men the greatest parts of Awman Sons the Son Awman
Q What are Angels called in pure language.
A Awman Angls men
Q What are the meaning of these words.
A Awman's Ministering servants Sanctified who are sent forth from heaven to minister for or to Sons Awmen the greatest part of Awman Son. Sons Awmen Son Awmen Awman
- Pub. Date: April 07, 2010
- Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
- Format: Hardcover, 360pp
Mark Twain once derided the Book of Mormon as "chloroform in print." Long and complicated, written in the language of the King James version of the Bible, it boggles the minds of many. Yet it is unquestionably one of the most influential books ever written. With over 140 million copies in print, it is a central text of one of the largest and fastest-growing faiths in the world. And, Grant Hardy shows, it's far from the coma-inducing doorstop caricatured by Twain.
In Understanding the Book of Mormon, Hardy focuses on the work's narrative structure. Unlike virtually all other recent world scriptures, it is presented as an integrated narrative rather than a series of doctrinal expositions, moral injunctions, or devotional hymns. Hardy takes readers through the characters, events, and ideas, as he explores the story and its messages. He identifies the book's literary techniques, such as characterization, embedded documents, allusions, and parallel narratives. Whether Joseph Smith is regarded as author or translator, it's noteworthy that he never speaks in his own voice; rather, he mediates nearly everything through the narrators Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni. Hardy shows how each has a distinctive voice, and all are woven into an integral whole.
As with any scripture, the contending views of the Book of Mormon can seem irreconcilable. For believers, it is an actual historical document, transmitted from ancient America. For nonbelievers, it is the work of a nineteenth-century farmer from upstate New York. Hardy transcends this intractable conflict by offering a literary approach, one appropriate to both history and fiction. Regardless of whether readers are interested in Americanhistory, literature, comparative religion, or even salvation, he writes, the book can best be read if we examine the text on its own terms.
Grant Hardy is Professor of History and Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. In addition to having written books and articles on early Chinese history, he is also the editor of The Book of Mormon: A Reader's Edition. Hardy is currently an associate editor for the Journal of the Book of Mormon and Restoration Scripture.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
ELDORADO, Texas (AP) - The Texas attorney general's office says a 57-year-old member of a polygamist group has been sentenced to 33 years in prison for the sexual assault of a child. The office says in a statement that a jury decided Thursday on the punishment for Allan Eugene Keate, the second member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to be convicted on that charge.
The jury at a court in Eldorado, West Texas, deliberated for under two hours Tuesday before convicting Keate for his "spiritual marriage" to a 15-year-old girl who gave birth at age 16. The prosecution's case largely relied on records seized from the polygamists' Yearning For Zion Ranch in April 2008, including some that indicated Keate had six wives aged 17 to 49 in 2007.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Lorenzo Snow, 5th prophet of the LDS Church
A Mormon historian has published a previously unavailable Brigham Young sermon shedding light on a foundational teaching of LDS Church.
So declared Lorenzo Snow, fifth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since this pronouncement on Sept. 18, 1898 the couplet has been quoted hundreds of times by LDS general authorities and instructors to summarize the Mormon concept of "eternal progression."
As man now is, God once was;
as God now is, man may become
"That exalted position was made manifest to me at a very early day. I had a direct revelation of this" said President Snow, considered a prophet by members of the LDS church.
Nearly fifty years earlier Lorenzo Snow had been ordained an apostle. Later that week Mormon Church President Brigham Young noted, "Lorenzo Snow put out some principles arguing that Jesus Christ is our father and not our elder brother and asked for light." From the newly published 1849 sermon, Brigham Young explained:
"While on a mission to England, the following came forcibly to my mind -- As God was, so are we now; as he now is, so we shall be."
Continue reading here
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Salt Lake Tribune
December 9, 2009
By Peggy Fletcher Stack
Compassion for the elderly and infirm that has come to characterize Thomas S. Monson's ministry soon will be embraced more fully by the worldwide church he leads.
The LDS Church is adding "to care for the poor and needy" to its longstanding "threefold mission," which is to preach the LDS gospel, purify members' lives and provide saving ordinances such as baptism to those who have died.
This mission first was coined by late LDS President Spencer W. Kimball in the 1980s and since then has been repeated as a mantra by the church's more than 13 million members.
The new group of phrases will be described as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' "purposes," rather than missions, and will be spelled out in the next edition of the LDS Church Handbook of Instructions , due out next year, church spokesman Scott Trotter confirmed this week.
"Caring for the poor and needy," Trotter said, "has always been a basic tenet of the [LDS] Church."
Elevating it to one of the faith's major purposes brings added emphasis.
"This is a dramatic move and very important message," said Jan Shipps, an Indiana-based American religion historian who has spent decades studying the LDS Church. "It's not that Mormons haven't already been caring for the poor and needy with its humanitarian program. It's just that this moves it to the top of their priorities, along with proselytizing and temple work."...
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
The HBO drama Big Love is preparing to take a big look at the ex-gay movement and the Mormon Church's relationship with the gay community, Entertainment Weekly reported.
Big Love, the highly-acclaimed drama about a polygamist Mormon family in Utah that stars Bill Paxton and Jeanne Tripplehorn, begins its fourth season on January 10. ...
Joining the cast this year is Benjamin Koldyke as the character of Dale Tomasson, a gay man undergoing reparative therapy to "pray away the gay." The two men begin an affair....
The gay storyline will "highlight certain aspects of the church's relationship with its gay members that I think, as the story unfolds, is going to cause no [small] amount of controversy," Olsen added.
Gay Entertainment Report is a feature of On Top Magazine and can be reached at email@example.com.
Monday, December 07, 2009
From A Soft Answer via Mormon Times
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Thirty years ago today in Mormon history ... Mormon feminist Sonia Johnson was excommunicated from the LDS church for her outspoken support of the Equal Rights Amendment. The LDS Church had launched a concerted effort to prevent the amendment from passing, and Johnson led efforts to promote the amendment.Today the Mormon Church is waging a similar battle against same-sex marriage by supporting and coordinating anti-gay marriage efforts around the country. Today's efforts have parallels in the church's battle against the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
In October 1976, the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement against the Equal Rights Amendment, ..fearing it would promote "an increase in the practice of homosexual and lesbian activities." ....
Read the rest of the article here.
Posted by Jared T at Juvenile Instructor, Recently Published and Forthcoming Books on Mormon History, November 2009 Edition
Arthur H. Clark
The Nauvoo Legion in Illinois by Richard E. Bennett, et al. (Forthcoming May 2010)
Gettysburg to Great Salt Lake: George R. Maxwell, Civil War Hero and Federal Marshall Among the Mormons by John Gary Maxwell (Forthcoming April 2010)
Bill MacKinnon mentioned that At Sword's Point, Part 2 will be completed in 2010, but likely not published until 2011.
BYU Religious Studies Center
Days Never to be Forgotten: Oliver Cowdery, edited by Alexander Baugh
Champion of Liberty: John Taylor, edited by Mary Jane Woodger
The Colonia Juarez Temple: A Prophet's Inspiration by Richard O. Cowan and Virginia Hatch Romney
In Harm's Way: East German Latter-day Saints in World Ward II by Roger P. Minert (Forthcoming) Recently released
Wayward Saints: The Social and Religious Protests of the Godbeites against Brigham Young (Reprint), by Ronald W. Walker
Mountain Meadows Massacre: The Andrew Jensen and David H. Morris Collections, edited by Richard E. Turley and Ronald W. Walker
Oxford University Press
The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction by Terryl Givens
Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader's Guide by Grant Hardy (Forthcoming March 2010)
Additionally, Matt Grow and Terryl Givens are working on a biography of Parley P. Pratt entitled Parley Parker Pratt: The St. Paul of Mormonism. It has been projected for late 2010, but it may end up being a 2011 production.
Utah State University Press
Utah in the Twentieth Century, edited by Brian Q. Cannon and Jessie Embry
The Mormon Passage of George D. Watt: First British Convert, Scribe for Zion, by Ronald G. Watt (Forthcoming 2009)
Post Manifesto Polygamy: The 1899-1904 Correspondence of Helen, Owen and Avery Woodruff, edited by Lu Ann Faylor Snyder and Phillip A. Snyder
Peculiar Portrayals: Mormons on the Page, Stage, and Screen, edited by Mark T. Decker and Michael Austin (Forthcoming May 2010)
Paul Reeve and Mike van Wagenen, eds., Between Pulpit and Pew: Mormon Encounters with the Paranormal (Forthcoming 2010)
New Mormon Studies CD-ROM, 2009 Edition (Forthcoming)
The Complete Brigham Young Discourses, 5 Volumes, Edited by Richard Van Wagoner
Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia, edited by W. Paul Reeve and Ardis Parshall (Forthcoming)
Harvard University Press
On Zion's Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (Paperback Edition) by Jared Farmer (Forthcoming April 2010)
Cedar Fort, Inc. (I cannot vouch for the quality of these publications, but I've listed them here just FYI)
Far West, Missouri: It Shall Be Called Most Holy by Janet and Dan Lisonbee (Forthcoming 2010)
Bodyguard to the Prophet by Larry Mullins (Forthcoming 2010)
Mere Mormonism: Defense of Mormon Theology by Ronald Zollinger (Forthcoming 2010)
The University of Nebraska Press
Excavating Nauvoo: The Mormons and the Rise of Historical Archaeology in America by Benjamin Pykles (See also Page 47 of the UNP Catalog) (Forthcoming)
The University of Missouri Press
The Missouri Mormon Experience, Edited by Thomas M. Spencer (Forthcoming)
Kiss it Goodbye: The Mystery, the Mormon, and the Moral of the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates by John Moody (Forthcoming)
Greg Kofford Books
-A reprint of Andrew Jenson's LDS Biographical Encyclopedia (still forthcoming)
- The Development of Mormon Theology by Charles Harrell (forthcoming)
University of Utah Press
Amasa Mason Lyman: Mormon Apostle and Apostate, A Study in Dedication by Edward Leo Lyman
At Rest in Zion: The Archaeology of Salt Lake City's First Pioneer Cemetery by Shane A. Baker (Forthcoming February 2010)
Early Mormon Missionary Activities in Japan, 1901-1924 by Reid L. Neilson (Forthcoming 2009)
Mormons as Citizens of a Communist State: A Documentary History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in East Germany, 1945-1990 by Raymond Kuehne (Forthcoming 2009)
On The Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1844-1889 (Paperback edition) edited by Juanita Brooks
The Autobiography of Hosea Stout edited by Reed A. Stout, Revised by Stephen L. Prince
The Church Historian's Press
The Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations (Facsimile Edition)
The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 1 (Forthcoming, 2010) [The JSP website says these two books are forthcoming in 2010, though I've heard from other sources that this may be optimistic with the History volume being more likely to arrive in 2010]
The Joseph Smith Papers, History, Volume 1 (Forthcoming, 2010)
Yale University Press
The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text, edited by Royal Skousen
John Whitmer Books
Strangites: The Great Lakes Mormon Experience, edited by John Hamer and Vickie Speek (Forthcoming)
Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism's Original Quorum of the Twelve, edited by William Shepard and H. Michael Marquardt (Forthcoming)
An Illustrated History of Nauvoo by Steve Shields (Forthcoming)
Let Contention Cease: The Dynamics of Dissent in the Reorganized Latter-day Saint Tradition by W. B. Spillman (Forthcoming)
I know that a volume of collected essays on polygamy is in the works, as well as Hanging by a Thread: and the White Horse Prophecy by Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster.
One Eternal Round by Hugh Nibley (Forthcoming, 2010–It has been said that release of this book will coincide with Nibley's 100th birthday)
Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Volume 6 by Royal Skousen
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
When the Saints Came Marching In: A History of the Latter-day Saints in St. Louis by Fred Woods and Thomas Farmer
Southern Utah University Press
"I Would to God:" A Personal History of Isaac Haight by Caroline Woolley.
Globe Pequot Press
A History of the B. H. Roberts Family by Richard C. Roberts
Eborn Books will also publish the newest found manuscript of William E. McLellin with Harvard Heath as editor, though I do not have any info on timetable. Also on deck is the Lorenzo Snow Prison diary and also I've heard of a Wilford Woodruff autobiography that Eborn is hoping to publish. There is one other manuscript in the works, but the editor chosen not to make it public yet, so I'll wait until that's the case.
Digital Legend Press
Historia de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias en Bolivia by Nestor Curbelo
Megan Sanborg Jones, Performing American Identity in Anti-Mormon Melodrama.
No virgin birth. No Atonement. No Resurrection.
"Messiah: Behold the Lamb of God," a seven-part series that featured LDS scholars... was aimed at the younger members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to Hoskisson. It is meant to appeal to those who are most likely to confront the secular perspective about Christ.
Peterson, Strathearn, Hoskisson and Holzapfel were some of the 50 Mormon scholars who were interviewed for the new documentary. The documentary is a presentation of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, BYU Religious Education, BYU Broadcasting and Kaleidoscope Pictures.
BYU Television will broadcast a "sneak preview" of "Messiah: Behold the Lamb of God" on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. MST. The seven-part documentary's first episode will premiere on Jan. 10. The episodes will eventually be available on DVD and online. A 15-minute video overview of the series is available online at messiah.byu.edu.