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

Why the Book of Mormon’s Battle Numbers Don’t Add Up (And Why That’s Evidence for its Authenticity)

I Even Remain Alone by Walter Rane. An easy target for critics of the Book of Mormon is its reported army sizes and battle casualties. The final extermination of the Nephites, for instance, reportedly involved tens of thousands of combatants and hundreds of thousands of combatant and non-combatant casualties (Mormon 6:11–15). This pales in comparison to … Read more

Book Review: “A Reason for Faith: Navigating LDS Doctrine & Church History”

When I was in junior high school I attended a performance of Annie Get Your Gun that was put on by a nearby high school. I vividly remember the number “Anything You Can Do” because the actress playing Annie Oakley broke or sprained her ankle in the middle of the performance (she badly misstepped during … Read more

Out of Mesoamerica: The Archaeological Context of the Book of Mormon

Yours truly with Professor Neal Rappleye, deciphering a Maya stele that reads, “I, Nephi, made this stele.” Speaking of the lack of direct archaeological verification for an Israelite exodus from Egypt, James K. Hoffmeier, an American Egyptologist who has written extensively on the historicity of the Exodus, remarked, There are several possible reasons for this … Read more