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

CES Letter Author Jeremy Runnells to Face Disciplinary Action: The Non-Scandal

As all students of Christianity know, poor St. Sebastian was viciously martyred after simply voicing some innocent doubts about Diocletian and the Roman government.  Those who have studied the history of Christianity will be familiar with the term hagiography. The term derives from Greek and means, essentially, writings about saints. Hagiographical accounts were valuable tools … Read more

Why Were the Plates Necessary?

By the way, there’s really no reason to think Joseph Smith didn’t actually have these in his possession. A question I’ve encountered from time to time is why, if Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon through revelatory means, were the golden plates necessary. Jeremy Runnells, for instance, wonders how this doesn’t make useless “the … Read more

Admission and Omission: What Is the Church’s Position on the Book of Abraham?

“Printing Plates of Facsimiles of Papyrus Drawings, Nauvoo, IL, early 1842” (http://josephsmithpapers.org) In his March 2015 letter to the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints appealing his excommunication, John Dehlin claims there has been a “recent admission” on the part of the Church “that the Book of Abraham is not … Read more

More Blatant Misrepresentations from Jeremy Runnells

Jeremy Runnells has a bad habit of misquoting people. As I showed on my blog a little while ago, he misquoted the printed endorsements of Brian Hales’ three-volume Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, for example. Most recently, he has misquoted both a dead and a living Latter-day Saint apologist, namely, B. H. Roberts and Daniel C. Peterson. … Read more

The “Real Scholars” of Jeremy Runnells

When Jeremy Runnells accused Brian C. Hales of being an “amateur,” he assured me that “[t]he real scholars in the field of polygamy have issues with many of Hales’ conclusions and interpretations.” I asked Runnels who exactly these “real scholars” were, and also specifically asked where they had published their rebuttals of Brian’s work. Remember, before … Read more

Follow-Up Statements from Brian Hales and Don Bradley

Brian Hales (right) and Don Bradley (left) at Pioneer Bookstore in Provo, Utah discussing their research on Joseph Smith’s polygamy (March 2013).  Last week I criticized Jeremy Runnells, who has no academic qualifications in Mormon history, for hypocritically accusing Brian Hales of being an “amateur” when it comes to research on Joseph Smith’s polygamy. In response … Read more

Who’s the Real Amateur?

Pictured: Brian C. Hales, a rank amateur who doesn’t know the first thing about Joseph Smith’s plural marriage. Jeremy Runnells, author of the popular anti-Mormon tract “Letter to a CES Director,” is upset. He’s upset that Brian Hales, one of the foremost authorities on Joseph Smith’s plural marriage, would dare challenge him and his accusations … Read more