What do the Scriptures Say about “Mocking” Sacred Things?

Over on Twitter my friend Kwaku El tweeted his dissatisfaction with those who “mock” Mormonism. The ensuing discussion centered around what exactly is meant by “mocking” and when or if it is ever appropriate when it comes to sacred things (e.g. religious doctrines). Mocking Mormonism and “participating in a dialogue” are not the same & … Read more

Book Review: The Council of Fifty: What the Records Reveal about Mormon History

The remarkable work of the Joseph Smith Papers Project has continued unabated since the publication of Journals, Volume 1: 1832–1839 in 2008. Last year the Church Historian’s Press, which publishes the volumes of the series, released Administrative Records, Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844–January 1846. This landmark occasion has finally brought to light a set … Read more

Gadiantonism as a Counterfeit Temple Priesthood

A depiction of Cain slaying Abel by Gustave Doré. The Gadianton Robbers are infamous among readers of the Book of Mormon. The phrase “secret combination(s),” now synonymous among Latter-day Saints for conspiracy, was used by Mormon to describe them (Helaman 2:8; 3:23; 6:38). They are introduced in the book of Helaman during “the fortieth year of … Read more

Book Review: Embracing the Law: Reading Doctrine and Covenants 42

Click to enlarge Section 42 of the Doctrine and Covenants is arguably one of the more seminal sections of this book of restoration scripture, alongside other important sections including 20 (the Articles and Covenants of the Church), 76 (the Vision), 110 (Kirtland Temple theophanies), 119 (revelation on tithing), 121 (Joseph Smith’s Liberty Jail pleadings), and … Read more

On the Internet, Libraries, and Seeking

Pictured: techies at Google headquarters in ancient Alexandria polishing their search engine algorithms (ca. 56 BC). Steven C. Harper (who holds a PhD in early American history from Lehigh University) is a former professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University, a current editor at the Joseph Smith Papers Project, and a historian … Read more

As Far As It Is Translated Correctly: Translation, Interpretation, and Revelation

The first half of the eighth Article of Faith reads, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.” This simple statement captures the theological position on the Bible accepted by Latter-day Saints. Unlike their Protestant friends, Latter-day Saints reject the doctrine of sola scriptura and instead … Read more