Front Matter

An E​ye of Faith
Essays in Honor of Richard O. Cowan

Edited by Kenneth L. Alford and Richard E. Bennett


Published by the Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, in cooperation with Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City.

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Any uses of this material beyond those allowed by the exemptions in US copyright law, such as section 107, “Fair Use,” and section 108, “Library Copying,” require the written permission of the publisher, Religious Studies Center, 167 HGB, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602. The views expressed herein are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of Brigham Young University or the Religious Studies Center.


Cover design by Madison Swapp and interior layout by Rebecca Hamson.


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Key Events in the Life of Richard O. Cowan

1.               Richard Cowan: Fifty-Three Years as a BYU Teacher, Scholar, and Mentor
        Interview by Lloyd D. Newell

Temples: Ancient and Modern

2.               Isaiah and the Latter-day Temple
        Terry B. Ball

3.               Hyrum Smith’s Building of the Kirtland Temple
        Craig K. Manscill

4.               Solomon’s Temple Compared to the Salt Lake Temple
        Ann N. Madsen

5.                The Woman at the Veil: The History and Symbolic Merit of One of the Salt Lake Temple’s Most Unique Symbols

Alonzo L. Gaskill and Seth G. Soha      

Revelations to the Saints

6.               “For Their Salvation Is Necessary and Essential to Our Salvation”: Joseph Smith and the Practice of  Baptism and Confirmation of the Dead
        Alexander L. Baugh

7.               “I Mean to Be Baptized for Scores More”: Baptisms for the Dead among the Latter-day Saints, 1846–65
        Richard E. Bennett

8.               The Promises Made to and the Right Belonging to the Fathers
        Craig James Ostler

9.               Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde’s 1837 Vision of the Infernal World
        Christopher James Blythe

Serving Others and Sharing the Gospel

10.  Nauvoo’s Monument to Women Memorial Garden
              Susan Easton Black

11.  Prophets Rendering Christlike Service: Looking to Peter as an Example
        Kenneth L. Alford

12.Deconstructing the Sacred Narrative of the Restoration
              Nicholas J. Frederick

13.  Using Art and Film to Form and Reform Collective Memory of the First Vision

        Elise Petersen and Steven C. Harper

Increasing Scriptural Understanding

14.  A Scriptural Basis for the Doctrine of Sexual Purity
            Richard D. Draper

15.  How the King James Translators “Replenished” the Earth
            Kent P. Jackson

16.  Missionaries in War and Peace (Helaman 4–5)
            Kent S. Brown

A Mighty Work to Come Forth

17.  The Mormon Pavilion at the 1964–65 New York World’s Fair
            Brent L. Top

18.  Visions of Faith: Early Church Pioneers in Ghana
            JeanMarie Stewart and Kenneth L. Alford

19.  Why the “Mormon Olympics” Didn’t Happen
            J. B. Haws

A Chronological Bibliography of the Publications and Writings by Richard O. Cowan




The Oakland California Temple. (Photo by Brent R. Nordgren.)


Festschrift, a German word, literally means “celebration writing.” A centuries old academic tradition, a Festschrift is “a collection of writings published in honor of a scholar.”[1] This volume of original essays is a Festschrift prepared in honor of Dr. Richard O. Cowan, recently retired professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University. Brother Cowan, as he is affectionately known to most of his former students, served at BYU for more than half a century teaching, researching, writing, mentoring, and befriending all who crossed his path. It has been estimated that he personally taught over 40,000 students during his academic career. And did we mention that Dr. Cowan did it all while being unable to see with his physical eyes? Yes, he is blind. But Richard Cowan has clear vision in the things of God. Hence the title of this book, “An Eye of Faith.”

This volume appropriately begins with an interview with Richard O. Cowan by Lloyd D. Newell and concludes with a chronological bibliography of his many publications; a timeline of his life is also included. Dr. Cowan has a deep and abiding interest in temple work and has written prolifically and wonderfully about this important subject. In over five decades of scholarly writing, he has also published a wide variety of books, essays, and articles about modern-day revelation, service and missionary work, increasing scriptural literacy, and the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The essays in this volume have been organized likewise, and each essay begins with a personal reflection from the author regarding their associations with Richard O. Cowan. We should also note that there were several additional authors who also wished to contribute essays in his honor, but this volume was unable to include all of them. The first section in this volume, “Temples: Ancient and Modern,” begins with an essay by Terry B. Ball discussing Isaiah’s prophetic insights into temple building and temple worship. Next Craig K. Manscill explains several recent discoveries regarding the significant role that Hyrum Smith played in building the Kirtland Temple. Ann N. Madsen compares and contrasts ancient and modern temples as she looks at Solomon’s Temple and the Salt Lake Temple. The last essay in this section, by Alonzo L. Gaskill and Seth G. Soha, searches for the meaning and purpose of an unusual statue that has been mounted over the veil in the Salt Lake Temple’s celestial room since the temple was dedicated.

The second section, “Revelations to the Saints,” opens with two complementary essays investigating the doctrine and practice of baptism for the dead in the mid-nineteenth century. Alexander L. Baugh reports on the introduction of baptisms for the dead in Nauvoo, Illinois, while Richard E. Bennett’s essay picks up that narrative and expounds on the practice of baptism for the dead from 1846 through 1875. Craig J. Ostler explores the meaning of Moroni’s 1823 statement to Joseph Smith regarding “the promises made to the fathers,” and Christopher J. Blythe examines a vision that Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde received in 1837 at the beginning of missionary work in England.

“Serving Others and Sharing the Gospel,” the following section, begins with Susan Easton Black’s account regarding the 1970s creation of the Monument to Women Memorial Garden in Nauvoo, Illinois. Kenneth L. Alford shares little-known stories regarding acts of personal service and kindness rendered by each of the prophets of this dispensation from Joseph Smith Jr. to Thomas S. Monson. Nicholas J. Frederick analyzes early missionary outreach efforts by Joseph Smith and Parley P. Pratt. In the final essay in this section, Elise Petersen and Steven C. Harper investigate how collective memory and mass media have played a role in the Church’s understanding and use of Joseph Smith’s First Vision.

The fourth section, “Increasing Scriptural Understanding,” includes three scripturally based essays. Richard D. Draper carefully outlines the Lord’s doctrine in the scriptures regarding sexual purity. Kent P. Jackson scrutinizes the King James translators’ use of the word “replenished” in the Bible. In the concluding essay in this section, Kent S. Brown weaves a missionary narrative with a moral for our time from Helaman chapters 4 and 5.

“A Mighty Work to Come Forth,” the final section in this volume, begins with a nostalgic half-century look back by Brent L. Top to the popular Mormon Pavilion at the 1964–65 World’s Fair held in New York City—arguably one of the first times that the Church appeared prominently on a world stage. JeanMarie Stewart and Kenneth L. Alford trace the history regarding the establishment of the gospel in the African nation of Ghana. And in the final essay, J. B. Haws explores more recent history as he discusses the roles that the Church played, as well as those it consciously did not play, during Salt Lake City’s hosting of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

We appreciate this opportunity to honor our great colleague, Richard O. Cowan, and hope you enjoy this volume!

Kenneth L. Alford

Richard E. Bennett


Key Events in the Life of Richard O. Cowan



January 18, 1932

Dawn Sandra Houghton born in Oakland, California

January 24, 1934

Richard O. Cowan born in Los Angeles, California

December 3, 1935

Richard’s Sister Jean Isabelle Cowan born in Los Angeles, California

April 4, 1942

Baptized in the Wilshire Ward Chapel, Los Angeles, California

November 1, 1949

Received patriarchal blessing at age fifteen from Orson Haynie

February 1, 1952

Received a priesthood blessing from President David O McKay

Summer 1952 and Summer 1953

Called to serve in the Los Angeles Stake Mission, Spanish-speaking

February 21, 1953

Ordained to the office of elder by his father

June 23, 1953

Received mission call to the Spanish-American Mission

August 9, 1953

Missionary farewell in the Arlington Ward

August 19, 1953

Entered the Missionary Home

August 26, 1953

Set apart as a missionary by Elder S. Dilworth Young, First Council of the Seventy

March 8, 1955

Dawn received her mission call to the Spanish-American Mission

Summer 1955

Met Dawn in the Spanish-American Mission in Texas.

February 1956

Released from full-time missionary work

April 28, 1957

Dawn was released from full-time missionary work

November 19, 1957

Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

April 1958

Engaged to Dawn Houghton

April 1958

Awarded the Danforth Fellowship

June 14–15, 1958

Graduated from Occidental College

August 14, 1958

Married Dawn in the Los Angeles Temple

May 8, 1959

Notified that he would receive a Recordings for the Blind scholarship

May 19, 1959

Recordings for the Blind scholarship presented by President Dwight D. Eisenhower

June 14, 1959

Received master’s degree from Stanford University

June 10, 1960

Daughter Sandra Lynn born in Redwood City, California

January 25, 1961

Joined full-time religion faculty at Brigham Young University

August 11, 1961

Received PhD from Stanford University

August 29, 1961

Moved to Provo, Utah

September 20, 1961

Began first year of teaching at Brigham Young University

July 13, 1962

Daughter Linda Dawn Cowan born in Provo, Utah

June 11–14, 1962

Taught at BYU Campus Education Week for first time

July 27, 1963–June 1965

Served as an elders quorum president

August 2, 1964

Son Reed Richard Cowan born in Provo, Utah

July 10, 1964

Published his first book

June 24, 1965

Ordained a high priest

June 24, 1965–1967

Call to serve on the BYU 6th Stake High Council

May 13, 1965

BYU “Professor of the Year”

March 20, 1967

Son Lee Richard Cowan born in Provo, Utah

April 28, 1967

Served as counselor in BYU 6th Stake Presidency

November 25, 1970

Contributor to Gospel Doctrine teachers manual

September 26, 1971

Daughter Patricia Ann Cowan born in Provo, Utah

April 30, 1972

Released as a counselor in the BYU 6th Stake Presidency

February 1973

Called to serve on the Church blind programs advisory committee

August 22, 1973

Assigned to be the Doctrine and Covenants coordinator at BYU

November 1973

Member of the Church Melchizedek Priesthood Research Committee

November 4, 1975

Served on the Church Gospel Doctrine committee

December 20, 1976

Daughter Donna Jean Cowan born in Provo, Utah

May 1, 1976–1979

Served on the Mormon History Association executive council


Taught noon Spanish class for faculty colleagues


Produced Church history television modules


Received the Karl G. Maeser Excellence in Teaching Award

December 18, 1979

Called to serve as the Missionary Training Center historian

September 1980–June 30, 1993

Church Gospel Doctrine Manual Writing committee chairman


Member of university rank advancement committee

October 21, 1992

Served on Faculty Advisory Committee


Joined Church Education System Church History text committee

November 12, 1983

Continuing Education Outstanding Teacher Award

July 8, 1986–2008

Member of Provo East Stake High Council

August 21, 1989–1993

Religious Studies Center Doctrine and Covenants director

Fall 1989

Taught at the BYU Jerusalem Center

April 13, 1994–1997

Chair, Church History and Doctrine Department, BYU

July 24, 1996

Directed faculty study tour to California

September 2000

Concluding speaker at Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

November 20, 2003

Gave annual Phi Kappa Phi lecture

Fall 2006

Church History area coordinator


Chair of Religious Education rank and status committee

April 3, 2007

Gave devotional assembly address in the Marriott Center

Spring Term 2007

Taught spring term at BYU–Hawaii

January 27, 2008

Ordained a stake patriarch

March 22, 2008

Received the Robert J. Matthews Excellence in Teaching Award

August 14, 2008

Fiftieth wedding anniversary


Completed fifty years in Religious Education as a faculty member


Retired after teaching fifty-three years as a full-time faculty member at Brigham Young University