What You’ll Read About in the New Institute Manual on Early Church History

Some time ago I blogged about a new seminary manual on the Doctrine and Covenants released by the Church. The manual is significant because it includes discussions of sensitive topics related to Church history, such as the multiple accounts of the First Vision, the Mountain Meadows Massacre and the Utah War, the history of plural … Read more

A Thought on Joseph Smith

Carlfred Broderick (1932–1999) The Latter-day Saint psychologist and family therapist Carlfred Broderick shared the following thought on Joseph Smith in his 1996 volume My Parents Married on a Dare: And Other Favorite Essays on Life. I am impressed with the enormous amount of scholarship that has, in recent years, provided us with a far more textured … Read more

Revelations in Context

For anyone interested in the historical context behind the individual (and collective) sections of the Doctrine and Covenants, this resource provided by the Church is an excellent study aid. Especially helpful is the “Index by Section Number” that should help in quickly finding articles to specific sections: D&C 1 William McLellin’s Five Questions D&C 2 … Read more

“Faith in the Past: Church History in an Information Age”

J. Spencer Fluhman, associate professor of history at Brigham Young University. Professor J. Spencer Fluhman delivered an excellent devotional talk at the LDS Business College some time ago (I recall encountering this article for the first time back in 2014, when I believe it was delivered) that is worth reposting here. (Hat tip to Dan Peterson … Read more

“The Problem With History Classes”

Michael Conway, writing for The Atlantic, has some excellent observations on “[s]ingle-perspective narratives” in historiography, which he claims “do students a gross disservice.” Conway, using the recent controversy over the movie Selma‘s portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson and other films on historical figures as his catalyst, explains the perils of boiling down history into reductionistic … Read more

“Joseph Smith: Seer, Translator, Revelator, and Prophet”

Professor Alexander L. Baugh is a professor of Church History at Brigham Young University. He is the author of numerous articles on early Church history and wrote the magnificent dissertation A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri, one of the definitive works on the 1838 Mormon War. You can read the … Read more

An Overlooked Part of Sidney Rigdon’s Fourth of July Oration

Sidney Rigdon (1793–1876) On the Fourth of July, 1838, in Far West, Missouri, Sidney Rigdon delivered a powerful, if not verbose, oration.[1] Being the Fourth of July, his sermon is filled with the kind of patriotic and nationalistic rhetoric you’d expect on such an occasion. His speech, however, also contained some over-the-top fiery rhetoric that … Read more

Changes in the Doctrine and Covenants: What the Mormon Church is Hiding from You!

There’s a dark secret about this book that the Mormon Church doesn’t want you to know! This evening I bought a new set of scriptures. I have normally just been using the Gospel Library app on my phone, but I felt prompted during General Conference to start using a printed set of scriptures. I was … Read more