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

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

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

Wrestling the Angel

Alexander Louis Leloir, Jacob Wrestling With the Angel (1865). This evening I (finally) finished reading Terryl Givens’ excellent Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity. (Before I say anything else, may I express my delight in Givens using a story from the Hebrew Bible to symbolize his treatise on Mormon theology?) … 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

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

Putting Together an Awful Story

[Cross posted from the FairMormon Blog.] An anonymous author* writing at the MorningStar Post blog “had an awful time putting [a] story together” on “the number of Latter Day Saints [sic] that are actually considered active,” and that Mormons are, per the title of the post, allegedly “leaving their religion in record numbers around the world.” (Link) … Read more