Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mormon Scholars Testify

Mormon Scholars Testify

"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."

Mormon "Rain Man" dies

"Rain Man" Kim Peek dead at 58


Idaho gubernatorial candidate discusses white horse prophecy - Mormon men only invited

Excerpts of Rammell calls meeting for LDS elders only by  Nate Sunderland

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 "Most Religious"

Excerpts of Study: Mississippi is 'most religious' state by Julia Duin, Washington Times (Note: Utah ranked 12th overall, 2nd for church attendance, 10th for frequency of prayer and 10th for belief in God.  Mississippi ranked #1 in each measured category)
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.

Review: "Lost Legacy, The Mormon Office of Presiding Patriarch" (reviewed by Richard Russell)


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
Published: 2003
Number of Pages: 272
Binding: Paper
ISBN10: 0-252-02163-0
ISBN13: 0-252-07115-8
Price: $21.95

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

Pure Adamic Language

Ben at Juvenile Instructor has posted "A Sample of pure language" from Joseph Smith.  There is some interesting commentary in part two of the post.  The text is as transcribed in Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations Volume 1: Facsimile Revelation Books, page 265 (with some of the transcription simplified):

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
Answer Awman.

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

Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader's Guide


  • 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

    Member of Polygamist Group Sentenced to 33 Years

    Member of Polygamist Group Sentenced to 33 Years

    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

    Green Temples

    New LEED Certified Temples

    All LDS temples will now be minimum LEED certified through the US Green Building Council starting with the Kansas City and Philadelphia temples.

    Sunday, December 13, 2009

    Origin of famous Mormon couplet uncovered

    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.
    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 --
    "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."
    About the new publication: The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young
    Is the couplet still taught today?
    King Follett Discourse
    Lorenzo Snow's sermon
    LDS Church Plan of Salvation
    Eliza R. Snow's Recollection

    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."

    So who was the author of the famous couplet?
    Joseph Smith discussed these ideas in the 1840s, captured best in his 1844 public address known as the King Follett Discourse. "If you were to see [God] today, you would see him like a man in form."  He continued stating that man must progress "from one small degree to another ... until [they] arrive at the station of a God. ... You have got to learn to become Gods yourselves, the same as all Gods before you have done." 
    Brigham Young remembered the couplet came to him as a strong impression in 1841. He shared the couplet with Lorenzo Snow eight years later in 1849.  His 1849 reply to Lorenzo Snow was recorded immediately (by several individuals) which includes the text of the couplet.
    Lorenzo Snow remembers coming to a realization of the concept in 1840 prior to his mission, and then sharing it with Brigham Young in a private conversation in 1841.  It is unclear when the text of the couplet came to him.
    Lorenzo's sister Eliza R. Snow remembers hearing his thoughts in 1840.  Both Lorenzo and Eliza were recalling events that occurred several decades earlier (published in 1884).
    It is possible that Brigham Young was the original author of the text of the couplet rather than Lorenzo Snow even though the concept had already come to Snow.   However the available information is not conclusive, and the author of the couplet remains unclear. 
    For More Information:

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    "Care for the Poor and Needy" a 4th "purpose" of the church

    New LDS emphasis: Care for the needy
    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

    "Big Love" looks at homosexuality

    Excerpts of Report: 'Big Love' Looks At Ex-Gay Movement by On Top Magazine Staff

    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 ontopmag@ontopmag.com.

    Monday, December 07, 2009

    Three fold mission of the church to become "Four Purposes?" -- Feed the Hungry

    "at the end of tonight's meeting, our stake president prodded Bishop Edgley to share with us that a new Church Handbook would be coming out soon (seems fairly quick since the last one) with a revision to the three-fold mission of the Church. He said they would no longer be called "missions" but "the purpose of the Church." Most importantly, a fourth prong would be added, "to care for the poor and needy."

    From A Soft Answer  via Mormon Times

    Tuesday, December 01, 2009

    Mormon opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment and same-sex marriage

    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.

    Recently Published and Forthcoming Books on Mormon History

    Posted by Jared T at Juvenile Instructor, Recently Published and Forthcoming Books on Mormon History, November 2009 Edition

    Arthur H. Clark

    Mormon Convert, Mormon Defector: A Scottish Immigrant in the American West, 1848-1861 by Polly Aird

    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

    BYU Studies

    Eliza R. Snow: The Complete Poetry, edited by Jill Derr and Karen Lynn Davidson (see notes from the ERS: TCP event)

    Wayward Saints: The Social and Religious Protests of the Godbeites against Brigham Young (Reprint), by Ronald W. Walker

    The Best of the Frontier Guardian, edited by Susan Easton Black (see this review)

    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)

    Signature Books

    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)

    Shadow Mountain

    Kiss it Goodbye: The Mystery, the Mormon, and the Moral of the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates by John Moody (Forthcoming)

    Greg Kofford Books

    -Hearken O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith's Ohio Revelations by Mark L. Staker

    -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

    "Liberty to the Downtrodden" Thomas L. Kane, Romantic Reformer by Matt Grow

    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: Joseph Smith and the White Horse Prophecy by Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster.

    FARMS/Maxwell Institute

    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

    The Building of the Schoenstein Organ at the Conference Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah by John Longhurst

    Millennial Press

    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

    Pioneer, Polygamist, Politician: The Life of Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon by Mari Grana

    Eborn Books

    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.

    LDS Scholars promote 'Messiah'

    Excerpts of Scholars defend 'Messiah' by Michael De Groote, Mormon Times

    "Every Easter or every Christmas there will be a cover story in one of the major news magazines about the 'historical Jesus,'" said Daniel C. Peterson, a professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at BYU. "A lot of people read this sort of thing and assume ... that there were some new textual finds, documentary discoveries or archeological excavations that have gutted traditional belief."
    "(It's) an approach to the scriptures in terms of human reason," said Gaye Strathearn, a professor of ancient scripture at BYU. "But if you take God out of the New Testament, what are you left with?"

    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.

    Monday, November 30, 2009

    In Utah, Down syndrome is more prevalent


    Utah babies are more likely to be born with Down syndrome than in nine other states studied by the federal government.

    The study, published online today in the American Academy of Pediatrics' journal Pediatrics , showed one in 730 babies born in Utah had the genetic disorder, compared with one in 848 among the 10 states studied.

    The study didn't explore why. But a Utah expert on birth defects says it's likely because of Utah mothers' ages and attitudes.

    Many continue to have children into their late 30s and 40s, which increases the risk of the chromosomal disorder, said Lorenzo Botto, a medical epidemiologist at the Utah Birth Defect Network, which provided data for the study.

    And Utah women are less likely to have abortions once the condition has been detected prenatally, he added.

    The higher prevalence is "not because there is something wrong with Utah," he said in an e-mail, "but is basically a function of family choices."

    Continue reading here.

    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    Evolution and Mormonism: An internal debate

    Charles Darwin
    Charles Darwin

    Today marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles's Darwin's On the Origin of Species.  It has invoked vigorous discussion about science and the creation in Mormon thought.

    In 1930, LDS General Authority B. H. Roberts submitted the copy of a manual he had been assigned to write for adult men of the church containing a chapter attempting to reconcile the scientific understanding of the origin of life to Mormon teachings.  It included a discussion of  "pre-Adamites," human-like beings that lived before Adam and Eve.  It also taught that death had occurred for millions of years before Adam's fall.

    Junior apostle Joseph Fielding Smith disagreed .....

    Continue reading here.

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    Mormon church leaders presented Barack Obama a family tree


    Mormon church leaders presented U.S. President Barack Obama a detailed family tree Monday during a private meeting in Washington.

    The meeting was the first time Obama met with Thomas Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,  Monson was escorted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, the highest ranking Mormon in the government, and accompanied by Dallin Oaks, chairman of the religious organization's genealogical committee.

    "I enjoyed my meeting with President Monson and Elder Oaks," Obama said in a statement after the meeting. "I'm grateful for the genealogical records that they brought with them and am looking forward to reading through the materials with my daughters. It's something our family will treasure for years to come."

    Church leaders have traditionally presented presidents with genealogical breakdowns, giving similar reports to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the Tribune reported. However, church officials said none of their previous genealogical reports was as varied Obama's, whose mother was from Kansas and whose father from Kenya. Previous ancestral examinations uncovered Irish and German lineage, too.

    The meeting was arranged by Reid.

    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    Forthcoming: Hearken O Ye People: The Historical Setting for Joseph Smith's Ohio Revelations

    Overview of Hearken

    The book Hearken is a history of Mormonism in Ohio that focuses primarily on the decade from 1829-1839 but includes elements from the larger Mormon experience. It examines the theolological, social, economic, and histrical context in which Joseph Smith, leader of the movement, received revelation. The book is divided into four parts with each part seeking to explore the historical roots of a specific aspect of the Ohio experience in depth. Hearken begins with a Forward written by Lachlan Mackay, Community of Christ Historic Sites Coordinator, and a Prologue that introduces Kirtland, Ohio through the perspective of those who were forced to leave their religious community. It ends with an Appendix that includes nine sermons addressing elements of Ohio's Latter-day Saint experience as recalled by George A. Smith and Brigham Young in November 1864. LaJean Carruth, an expert in Pitman shorthand, has transcribed these sermons.

    The book's four sections are:

    Part One: Ohio's "Mormonites"
    This is an examination of the Morley Family religious community in Kirtland, Ohio and its transition to the "Mormonite Family" organizations that developed between November 1830 and February 1831 in northeastern Ohio. "Mormonite" was a term first applied by newspaperman Eber D. Howe to the nascent religious community that grew out of the original Morley Family commune. This section looks at the early revelations dealing with religious enthusiasm and the gifts of the Spirit through the eyes of Black Pete, an early member of the Morley Family who became part of the movement.

    Part Two: Consecration
    Newel K. Whitney, an early merchant active in Michigan and Ohio exemplifies the concept of consecration as it developed in Kirtland. This section examines the development of the concept of consecration as exhibited by N. K. Whitney. Whitney became an Overseer or Bishop of the Kirtland community where he helped distribute offerings consecrated by others and consecrated his own businesses to help build Mormonism in Ohio.

    Part Three: "It Came from God": The Johnson Family, Joseph Smith, and Mormonism in Hiram, Ohio
    The Johnson family played a pivotal role in Mormonism during the Ohio experience. This section explores their influence on Joseph Smith. It examines the "Plan of Salvation" as understood and preached by Reformed Baptists in the community and how The Vision, an experience had by both Joseph Smith and his scribe Sidney Rigdon, responded to current doctrine by reshaping and refining it in significant ways. This experience led to a violent attack on the two men that culminated in their attempted murder.

    Part Four: Kirtland's Economy and the Rise and Fall of the Kirtland Safety Society
    This section explores the beginnings of Kirtland's economy that eventually led to the organization of a quasi-banking, money-lending institution known as the Kirtland Safety Society. The institution encountered severe and sustained opposition from both within the religious community and without. Those involved in the community recalled that virtually the entire membership refused to follow Joseph's direction in financial matters as he sought to create a "Zion" community in Kirtland. It eventually led to the "excommunication" of Joseph Smith by a renegade part of the Mormon community and the mass defection of large numbers of members. Understanding the major issues of this economic battle helps place the widespread collapse of the Kirtland community within its historical context.

    Book Table of Contents

    Preface and Acknowledgements
    A Selective Chronology of Significant Events in Ohio's LDS History

    Part One: Ohio's "Mormonites"
    Chapter 1 Black Pete
    Chapter 2 The Shout Tradition and Speaking in Tongues in the Black Community
    Chapter 3 Barton Stone, Alexander Campbell, and the Foundations of Black Pete's Religious Involvement in Ohio
    Chapter 4 Freedom and Authority
    Chapter 5 Owenites and the Morley Community
    Chapter 6 The Morley Family in Kirtland
    Chapter 7 The Book of Mormon Comes to Ohio
    Chapter 8 Black Pete and Early Mormonite Religious Enthusiasm
    Chapter 9 Dissension in Ohio's Mormonite Family
    Chapter 10 The Law of the Church
    Chapter 11 Joseph Smith and the Gifts of the Spirit
    Chapter 12 The June Conference and Authority to Discern Religious Ecstasy
    Chapter 13 A New Understanding of the Gift of Tongues in Kirtland and Missouri

    Part Two: Consecration
    Chapter 14 "To Manage the Affairs of the Poor": N. K. Whitney and Company
    Chapter 15 Sidney Gilbert as an Independent Entrepreneur
    Chapter 16 N. K. Whitney & Co.
    Chapter 17 The Whitneys and the Latter-day Saints
    Chapter 18 Whitney's Role as Bishop
    Chapter 19 At the Whitney Store

    Part Three: "It Came from God": The Johnson Family, Joseph Smith, and Mormonism in Hiram, Ohio
    Chapter 20 From Vermont to Ohio
    Chapter 21 Hiram Township in Portage County
    Chapter 22 Ezra Booth and the Johnson Family
    Chapter 23 The Apostasy of Ezra Booth and Symonds Ryder
    Chapter 24 Joseph Smith at the Johnson Home
    Chapter 25 Continuing Revelation and the Seeds of Violence
    Chapter 26 Reactions to "The Vision"
    Chapter 27 The Mobbing of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon
    Chapter 28 Last Days in Hiram
    Chapter 29 The Johnson Family's Epilogue

    Part Four: Kirtland's Economy and the Rise and Fall of the Kirtland Safety Society
    Chapter 30 The Foundation of Kirtland's Economy
    Chapter 31 The Lyman and Loud Mills, Arnold Mason's Tannery, and the Means to Build a House of God
    Chapter 32 A Plan to Get out of Debt
    Chapter 33 The Kirtland Safety Society
    Chapter 34 The End of Kirtland's Banking Experiment
    Chapter 35 Epilogue

    Appendix: Sermons
    George A. Smith      November 12, 1864
    Brigham Young        November 12, 1864
    Brigham Young        Two Sermons, November 13, 1864
    George A. Smith      November 13, 1864
    George A. Smith      November 14, 1864
    Brigham Young        November 15, 1864
    George A. Smith      November 15, 1864

    Mark Lyman Staker, Senior Researcher, Historic Sites Division, Church History Department, LDS Church

    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Textual versions of D&C 8 (Rod of Nature Revelation)

    Early copy of D&C 8, (Manuscript Revelation Books, April 1829-B)

    Shortly after Joseph Smith met Oliver Cowdery, a revelation was received regarding a gift belonging to Oliver Cowdery, referred to as Section 8 of the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C).

    Revelations Book 1 (circa 1831) was a handwritten copy of revelations primarily assembled in 1831 by John Whitmer. It contains earlier versions of revelations than published in the Book of Commandments (1833) or the Doctrine and Covenants (1835).

    Here is the text of four versions of D&C 8, a revelation with one of the more interesting textual histories.

    Keywords: Rod of Nature, Rod of Aaron, Sprout, Gift of Aaron

    Utah 2nd healthiest state

    Excerpts of Utah ranked No. 2 healthiest state, by Carrie A. Moore, Deseret News
    New data released in the United Health Foundation's 20th annual America's Health Rankings rate the Beehive State second only to Vermont in a broad measure of health and overall physical well-being. Utah ranked fifth last year, so the newest rating is a significant boost, health officials said.

    The yearly report credited Utah with the lowest rates in the nation for smoking, cancer deaths, infant mortality and binge drinking, but found the availability of primary care physicians here limited compared with other areas.

    It also noted a high "geographic disparity" regarding access to health services for those in remote rural areas, and cited a low rate of funding for public health as significant health challenges.

    Utah's spending was $60 per person for public health last year, compared with a national average of $94 per person and $150 per person in Vermont.

    Sundwall was particularly pleased that the boost "comes at a time when the state is increasingly diverse."

    "We can't just say anymore that those white Mormons are healthy people," he said. "We have to assume some of these improvements are due both to public health practices and state policies," including a legislative mandate that children in Utah who meet the income guidelines qualify for government-funded health insurance.

    Though Utah's rate of obesity continues to increase at about the same rate as the rest of the nation, "we have a lower rate overall and a much lower rate than some parts of the nation, especially in the Southeast," Joy said.

    Sundwall said he takes no comfort in the fact that Utahns were fifth best in the nation in the percentage of obese residents, noting 23 percent of Utahns still fall into that category.


    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Church support of gay rights raises anti-gay sentiment

    Apparently the photo did not make it through in my last post -- so I'm resending. 

    With the recent support by the church for gay rights in Salt Lake, thousands of these are being sent to fax machines around Utah . 

    Larger photo at https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEh_HRmQXfss6Dg4q__g76lE8WHHSwn3u4fXDBusDo5Iurg_FZccTQdRy0ewzDkyxfLhbhho8Prb38u7QYJSrnCQv2wHOpbB_Jo7rv1JMElL9KPofOE7qKepu_YsG6-_lycZ12dpwA/s1600-h/

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Conservative Group surprised at LDS support of gay rights

    From Off the Agenda: Gay-rights bombshell blew up in Sutherland's face, Salt Lake Tribune

    Note:  The Sutherland's full statement against gay rights can be read here,  Many are anxiously awaiting the ultra-conservative Eagle Forum's reaction to the LDS church's new moderate view.

    Minutes before the LDS Church's startling announcement of support for Salt Lake City's anti-discrimination laws, one of Utah's conservative mouthpieces insisted it would not happen.

    Standing in the City Council Chamber, the Sutherland Institute's Jeff Reynolds told reporters rumors of the church's support were both ridiculous and a glaring case of "journalistic fraud." The church, Reynolds said, simply would proclaim non-opposition to the ordinances.

    Then church spokesman Michael Otterson strode to the lectern to deliver the bombshell. Soon after, Reynolds skedaddled to write a response that showed up two hours later. Blindsided by the news, Sutherland nonetheless reiterated its call for the Legislature to kill the ordinances, which outlaw firing or eviction in Utah's capital based on a person being gay or transgender.

    Sutherland's argument: Such measures mean "marriage will die by a thousand cuts."

    "As a public-relations opportunity, the LDS Church's statement before the Salt Lake City Council may assuage the minds and soften the hearts of advocates of "gay rights" in Utah, the think tank argued. As a policy statement, it is problematic.

    "The approved ordinances," Sutherland continued, "are vague, dangerously broad and unjust to the parties they seek to regulate."

    But in light of the church's position, it remains to be seen whether this conservative stalwart or another -- the Eagle Forum -- influences any lawmakers.


    Bias knows no bounds » According to participants of the secret meetings between gay leaders and church officials, personal anecdotes describing discrimination proved a powerful tonic in the negotiations. And at least one former state employee says such bias is not uncommon in the ranks of state workers.

    On Tuesday, John Bennett, grandson of former U.S. Sen. Wallace Bennett and nephew of current Sen. Bob Bennett, told the City Council he was fired in 1986 from the Utah Department of Community and Economic Development because he is gay.

    "Coming from a very politically powerful family does not protect you," he said as he urged the council to pass the anti-discrimination measures.

    Now an employee of Salt Lake County, which has nondiscrimination protections in place for its work force, Bennett laments that many employees across Utah still are not so fortunate.


    How will the church communique play on Capitol Hill? » Sen. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake City, said he is thrilled with the church's declaration of support. And he predicts the rare public stance will have an impact when state lawmakers convene early next year.

    "It makes a huge difference," McCoy said moments before Tuesday's announcement at City Hall. "The church does not run what happens on Capitol Hill. But it would be ridiculous to suggest that the leaders on the Hill would not sit up and take notice of what's happening here tonight."

    Salt Lake County Council Chairman Joe Hatch says he is not convinced the church endorsement will sway conservatives at the Legislature.

    "It might actually hurt," Hatch said, explaining that the long-held perception is that when the LDS Church says jump, legislators ask how high. "Here's a way for the Republican Mormon leadership to say, 'We don't do what the church says.' "

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Utah ranks last in attitude to pro-gay policies

    A recent study ranks Utah last in pro-gay policy attitudes. By these criteria, Utah's percentage who favor gay protections and rights (38%) is 5% lower than the next lowest state - Oklahoma; and 30% below the highest ranked state - Massachusetts (68%). Utah's ranking for each category is as follows:
    • 50th ∙Adoption—Do you think there should be adoption rights for gay and lesbian couples?
    • 50th ∙Hate Crimes—If a hate crime law were enacted in your state, do you think that homosexuals should be covered?
    • 50th ∙Health: Should there be health insurance and other employee benefits for gay spouses?
    • 50th ∙Housing: Should there be laws protecting homosexuals from discrimination in housing?
    • 50th ∙Jobs: Should there be laws to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination in job opportunities?
    • 46th ∙Marriage: Do you favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally?
    • 45th ∙Sodomy: Do you think homosexual relations between consenting adults should be legal?
    • 50th ∙Unions: Do you favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to form legally recognized civil unions, giving them many of the legal rights of married couples?
    • 50th: Overall

    From Jeffrey Lax and Justin Phillips, “Gay Rights in the States: Public Opinion and Policy Responsiveness,” American Political Science Review, p.41. Estimates of explicit pro-gay policy support are shown by state as a percentage, ordered by average opinion.


    State2nd Parent Adoption Hate CrimesHealth BenefitsHousingJobsMarriage SodomyCivil UnionsMean Opinion


    mean43705975 6239454955


    st. dev.86 656999 7


    total congruent43 3116202246 3237245


    Utah22554157 4025333138


    Oklahoma2659 4965502532 35 43


    Arkansas27 6551685025 30 3444


    Alabama 2961546853 23 283444


    Mississippi29645571 5523283445


    Tennessee316554 7053262935 45


    Kentucky3263 5269532835 3946


    Idaho33 5951675334 424047


    South Carolina 3366577359 28334249


    Louisiana36675876 6230344051


    Georgia3668 5874603039 43 51


    North Carolina36 6858746031 344050


    Wyoming 3759547058 36454551


    Texas37655974 6132384351


    Nebraska3962 5372603239 43 50


    Kansas39 6554736136 41 4652


    South Dakota 40 6555736035 404451


    Missouri 4069547357 34444552


    North Dakota41635573 6233414451


    Indiana4166 5474603542 45 52


    West Virginia41 6757756233 384452


    Montana 4366587361 41515256


    Alaska43665975 6242495056


    Virginia4371 6277643744 45 55


    Arizona44 7062766444 52 5458


    Wisconsin 4473567762 42 515057


    Florida45716376 6439495257


    Iowa457258 7662384451 56


    Ohio4673 6078643942 4656


    Pennsylvania 4673617866 43 475258


    New Mexico47736178 6545525359


    Michigan477460 7864394449 57


    Minnesota47 74 6078644249 5158


    Oregon47 7561776345 545660


    Nevada 4873637865 46515560


    Colorado48746178 6647555661


    Illinois487764 8066425053 60


    Delaware4976 6681684146 5460


    Maryland49 7967826941 505561


    Hawaii 5076627865 49565762


    Washington51766179 6549565762


    California5178 6581685058 58 64


    Maine52 7564796749 52 5862


    New Hampshire 5275668068 51536163


    New Jersey53766781 7048536164


    Connecticut5477 6881705256 62 65


    Vermont55 7966816953 56 6265


    Rhode Island 5579678270 53576466


    New York56797182 7052586366


    Massachusetts5781 6882705661 69 68