Seven Reasons Why Letter VII Is Not A Heartlander Silver Bullet

The so-called Heartland model for the geography of the Book of Mormon is built on a foundation of fraud. Fraudulent artifacts, fraudulent science, fraudulent theology, and fraudulent history secured in place by racist ethno-nationalism are the four cornerstones of Heartlanderism. (By Heartlanderism I do not mean general belief in a North American setting for the … Read more

Fun Fact: Zelph on the Shelf Doesn’t Know What They Are Talking About

Zelph on the Shelf is the name of a blog run by Samantha Shelley and Tanner Gilliland, two millennial ex-Mormons who are, sadly, afflicted with the handicap of thinking that Twitter hot takes and edgy memes are suitable substitutes for sound historical scholarship and critical thinking. Take, for instance, the “fun facts” which Zelph recently … Read more

A Note on Book of Mormon “Trinitarianism”

One exercise I have found interesting is looking at the criticisms Joseph Smith’s contemporaries made against the Book of Mormon. The granddaddy of Book of Mormon skeptics is without a doubt Alexander Campbell (1788–1866), the learned Christian divine who spearheaded, along with his father Thomas, the Restorationist movement of Christianity. Campbell published the first substantive … Read more

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

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

“Whose Fruit was Desirable to Make One Happy”: The True Story of José Almerich

José Almerich (left) with my uncle Matthew Stevens (right) circa 1973–1976. This account was written by my mother Jill Stevens Smoot. The following transcription has standardized and corrected some grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  This is the true story of José Almerich. From 1973–1976 my father, Robert V. Stevens, along with his wife Sue Stevens and their … Read more

Book Review: Joseph Smith’s Seer Stones

Joseph Smith’s Seer Stones (2016) At a church conference on October 25–26, 1831, the topic of the translation of the Book of Mormon arose and Joseph Smith was pressed to furnish the details pertaining thereto. According to the minutes taken at the conference, “Br. Joseph Smith jr. said that it was not intended to tell … Read more