Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sealed Metallic Plates -- may be biggest find since Dead Sea Scrolls

Book found in JordanSome are saying this could be as big as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Buried anciently, these metallic plates are bound by rings and written in code. And some of them were sealed. Scholars are excited to open the sealed plates -- as they may provide the earliest look at the ancient Christian church.

Association for Mormon Letters announces 2010 Awards

A Sense of Order and Other StoriesOrem, Utah, 30 March 2011—The Association for Mormon Letters (AML) announced its 2010 awards last Saturday at AML's annual meeting held at Utah Valley University.  A list of the awards follows:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pseudepigrapha and the role of women

Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They AreExcerpts of  Who Wrote The Bible and Why It Matters by Bart D. Ehrman, Huffington Post

Apart from the most rabid fundamentalists among us, nearly everyone admits that the Bible might contain errors ... But is it possible that the problem is worse than that -- that the Bible actually contains lies? ...
Good Christian scholars of the Bible...will tell you that the Bible is full of lies, even if they refuse to use the term. And here is the truth: Many of the books of the New Testament were written by people who lied about their identity, claiming to be a famous apostle -- Peter, Paul or James -- knowing full well they were someone else.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Regarding the new "Published Revelations" volume of the Joseph Smith Papers project

I was able to attend what I suspect was an experiment on the part of the Church History department.  A "blogger event" was held in conjunction with the release of the two volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers (JSP) project -- as a way to inform, and advertise the release of these volumes.

Richard Turley said that the goal of the editors of the JSP project is to present Joseph Smith's papers in an unfiltered, quality format.  In the past, most publications have included interpretive context for Joseph Smith words.  The JSP project includes only the text, background of that text, and other related tools, leaving interpretation and other scholarly endeavors to other historians.

Originally the JSP project planned to present all the papers in a letter press form, but have since decided to present some of the papers in digital media only.

The sixth gathering of the Book of Commandments

Sample from the Book of Commamdments

In ways, it reads like a Dan Brown novel.  A handwritten book of revelations hidden in a vault is finally uncovered. Its publication reveals mysterious content including unpublished revelations, text written in the "Adamic" language, a song sung with the gift of tongues, versions of revelations different than those we have today, and more. Episode 1 of this Dan Brown-ish story occurred in 2009. But now, a sequel is available.  Using clues from the book recovered in episode 1, scholars have been able to reconstruct the so called "sixth gathering" or missing portion of the Book of Commandments.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fundmentalist Mormon show "Big Love" ends

Big Love: The Complete Fourth Season
The successful five year run of a story about Mormon fundamentalists ends with a vision from Emma Smith and more. 

Below, an interview with the creators encompass an interesting and (to some Latter-day Saints) an uncomfortable  mix of issues -- including Polygamy, feminism, patriarchy, gay marriage, family values and more.

Excerpts of 'Big Love's Creators Deconstruct The Show's Finale, from NPR's Fresh Air  (Spoiler Alert!! - don't read on if you want to be surprised by the season finale ending)

Mother-in-heaven(?) was edited from Bible, but evidence of Her existence grows

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mormon PDF Web Site

Mormon historian Michael Marquardt has put together a collection reviews on important historical works at Mormon PDF Web Site.  Marquardt. author of numerous articles and books, plans on expanding the collection over time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Diaries of Joseph F. Smith, 1856-1857

Just announced:

"My Candid Opinion": The Sandwich Islands Diaries of Joseph F. Smith, 1856-1857 
Nathaniel R. Ricks editor

1-1-Beach_with_Palm_Trees.1012107421.jpgFor the first time, the earliest surviving diaries of Joseph F. Smith (b. 1838), will be available. Smith, the sixth president of the LDS Church, served from 1901 until his death in 1918. He was also one of the youngest LDS missionaries ever called to serve. He arrived in the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaiian Islands) in 1854 at the age of fifteen. For the next  three years, he labored to bring native converts into the Church while combating loneliness, depression, a fiery temperament, and doubts about his own competence. In fact, one of the perhaps surprising themes to emerge from the diaries is Joseph F.'s driving quest for self-improvement and intellectual competence. Editor Nathaniel Ricks has carefully annotated these earliest diaries of Joseph F. (earlier volumes were destroyed in a fire) to make them accessible to modern readers. The diaries offer a fun look into the formative years of one of Mormonism's most commanding personalities. "My Candid Opinion" will be a Smith-Pettit Foundation imprint (Smith-Pettit is our sister company).

due: May 2011
ISBN: 978-1-56085-219-3
limitation: 250 copies
price: $100

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Development of LDS Temple Worship

The temple and its associated ordinances stand at the center of Latter-day Saint worship and theology. Yet an understanding of its origins and development are not well understood. Devery Anderson's The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History goes a long way to fill that void.

With 478 pages of documents, plus 52 pages of introductory and explanatory text, Anderson's book is packed with an array of fascinating information, tracing through more than 150 years of developments related to the temple.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Hauglid, "A Textual History of the Book of Abraham: Manuscripts and Editions" (reviewed by Blair Dee Hodges)

"... Hauglid has provided a meticulously compiled source book for future researchers, and an interesting volume which Latter-day Saints can use to read the Book of Abraham in a different light."


Title: A Textual History of the Book of Abraham: Manuscripts and Editions
Author: Brian M. Hauglid
Publisher: Neal A. Maxwell Institute of Religious Scholarship

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Background of "The Proclamation on the Economy"

Directors and officers of Z.C.M.I, 1880

It has been pointed out that the title "The Proclamation on the Economy" of an item in circulation on the Internet (posted on this site earlier) was not the original title of the document.  It was part of a letter to the Latter-day Saints reviewing the progress of the church's economic cooperative system Z.C.M.I. (Zions Cooperative Mercantile Incorporated).

Z.C.M.I was set up by the political organization - The Council of the Fifty in March, 1868 as a "co-operative covenant" among Mormons to sell goods "as low as they can possibly be sold" with "the profits be[ing] divided among the people [Mormons] at large."  Concerns over the economic impact of the transcontinental railroad and economic tensions with non-Mormons prompted its creation.

Brigham proposed a boycott of all "Gentile" (non-Mormon) merchants, which was sustained by the Salt Lake City School of Prophets, and later sustained in General Conference.  The church opened the first store in 1869 and the next year began a manufacturing enterprise which became known particularly for their boots, shoes and "mountaineer" overalls. 

Thursday, March 03, 2011

A Proclamation on the Economy from the First Presidency and Twelve

An excerpt, and full version of the mis-titled "Proclamation on the Economy" (background info available here).
A Proclamation on the Economy
from the First Presidency and Twelve (1875)

To The Latter-day Saints -
"The experience of mankind has shown that the people of communities and nations among whom wealth is the most equally distributed, enjoy the largest degree of liberty, are the least exposed to tyranny and oppression and suffer the least from luxurious habits which beget vice."