Joseph F. Merrill became the first native Utahn to earn a PhD. Working at the University of Utah, he labored to reconcile the secular world with the spiritual world of his youth. In 1912 he helped establish the first Latter-day Saint seminary at Granite High School. As Church commissioner of education, he helped establish the institutes of religion, with a mission to allow college students to reconcile the secular truths learned in university settings with the truths of the gospel. He created the Religion Department at Brigham Young University and encouraged young scholars to produce professional studies of the Latter-day Saint religion. In 1933 Merrill was called as an Apostle, where he continued his work to modernize the Church. In the final years of his life, Merrill continued to work to show that science and religion could be reconciled.
This volume celebrates the bicentennial of Joseph Smith’s 1820 First Vision of the Father and the Son, a founding event in the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. Contributors examine the various accounts of the vision, the religious excitement prevalent in the region, the question that prompted Joseph to enter the grove, the powers of darkness that assailed him, and the natural environment and ultimate preservation of the Sacred Grove. This volume brings together some of the finest presentations from a 2020 BYU Church History Symposium honoring the bicentennial of the First Vision.
This volume explores the possibility that mortality is framed and informed by God’s love in more ways than we normally suppose. We live within the cosmic embrace of God’s love, even when we encounter difficulties. Hence, as the medieval Catholic thinker Catherine of Siena suggested, “All the way to heaven is heaven” because gospel obedience brings joy and, in a perfectly natural way, fits us for the celestial kingdom. In the process we are stretched out along the long arc of God’s love. Our hearts turn to others, and not just to those about us but also to our ancestors and generations yet unborn. As we discover the depths of Christ’s Atonement, our everyday thinking and conduct begin to hum the miracles of God’s love, chief of which is that there is no bottom to that love.
Light is everywhere! It gives us vision, keeps us warm, and facilitates life. Light is even responsible for developments in communications technology, the internet, and space travel. However, light is not just a physical concept. It is a central theme used throughout scripture to literally and metaphorically describe spiritual concepts. Throughout history, scientists have studied light physically and theologians have studied light spiritually. But what if these two realms of study were combined? What if the physical light we see is actually related to the spiritual light discussed in scripture? Can we apply what we know about light scientifically to what we know about light doctrinally? In this book, engineer, chemist, and professor Aaron D. Franklin explores these questions and more by connecting principles of physical light to gospel truths about spiritual light. In so doing, Franklin provides an accessible way for us all, no matter our scientific or doctrinal prowess, to learn how we see, feel, and know truth—which is, of course, light.
Thirteen-year-old Mary Goble and her family were part of the pioneer overland journey to Utah Territory in the John A. Hunt wagon company in 1856. They traveled close to the Edward Martin handcart company and suffered with them through the cold of Wyoming. The core of the book is a transcription of Mary’s handwritten memoir with annotations that corroborate, correct, and provide context. This annotated transcription is bookended by an introduction and epilogue that place Mary’s story of her journey in the context of her life before and after her emigration.
This volume takes a fresh look at the history, people, and places in Washington, DC, that have affected the Church. Beginning with Joseph Smith’s earliest interactions with the federal government in the 1830s, the Church’s progress has been shaped by leaders and members interacting in Washington. This volume is filled with essays on many topics about the Church’s history, people, and places in the nation’s capital. It also chronicles many of the Saints and statesmen who have worked to bring the Church out of obscurity and onto a national and international stage.
This volume explores events and teachings of the early years of the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Featuring scholars from Brigham Young University, the Church History Department, and the Joseph Smith Papers, the collection of prominent materials previously produced by the BYU Religious Studies Center is designed as a companion to personal and family study of the Doctrine and Covenants and Church history. Chapters explore Joseph Smith’s accounts of his First Vision, the translation of the Book of Mormon, and the restoration of priesthood power. Doctrinal teachings about consecration, Zion, the kingdoms of glory, and work for the dead are also investigated, as are harrowing experiences in Liberty and Carthage Jails and the exodus to the West.
While existing artwork that portrays the Restoration is rich and beautiful, until now many key events in Latter-day Saint history have surprisingly never been depicted to accurately represent important events of the historical record. The purpose of this volume is to produce paintings of some of the underrepresented events in order to expand our understanding of the Restoration. Each image includes a richly researched historical background, some artistic insights into the painting’s composition, an application section providing one way this history may inform our present faith, and an analysis section offering potent questions that can be considered for further discussion. Through these new paintings, artist, author, and Professor Anthony Sweat takes readers through a timeline history of pivotal events and revelations of the early Restoration. This book is not just a wonderful art book, it is also a pedagogical book using art as a launching pad to learn, evaluate, apply, and discuss important aspects of Latter-day Saint history and doctrine as readers repicture the Restoration.
Section 93 of the Doctrine and Covenants deals with concepts that scholars term Christology and praxis. Christology has to do with the study of Christ’s nature, while praxis involves religious practice. That this revelation should insist on both the “how” and the "what" of worship indicates that knowledge and practice are inseparable. As this volume demonstrates, Joseph Smith's revelations and teachings constitute a unique textual setting to analyze this relationship. This volume focuses on both the person of Christ and the practice of worshipping him as outlined in the revelations of Joseph Smith. More specifically, this volume seeks to understand Christ as revealed in the revelations and clarify the practices required of those who worship a being who grew “from grace to grace.”
This is a new volume from the Book of Mormon Academy at Brigham Young University. This volume explores the relationship between the Nephite and the Jaredite records culturally, politically, literarily, and theologically. The first approach is a cultural-historical lens, in which elements of Jaredite culture are discussed, including the impact of a Jaredite subculture on Nephite politics during the reign of the judges, and a Mesopotamia perspective as seership and divination, and the brother of Jared’s experience as a spiritual transition. The second grouping looks at the book of Ether through a narratological lens, all three papers exploring different aspects of Moroni’s construction of the book of Ether. The third grouping explores the book of Ether’s depiction of women, as it contains one of the most descriptive, yet ambivalent females in the Book of Mormon, both historically and in our contemporary era. Finally, the book of Ether is reviewed via a teaching lens. In Alma 37, Alma the Younger explained the teaching value of the Jaredite records. These last two studies examine ways in which the book of Ether in particular can be taught to a modern audience.
Interfaith dialogues of understanding are valuable both for challenging individuals to articulate their beliefs and practices in a careful way and for deepening connections between people of different faiths. The Jewish and Latter-day Saint communities have at times been at odds, yet they share a number of significant historical and communal bonds. Understanding Covenants and Communities comes out of the Jewish–Latter-day Saint Academic Dialogue Project, a groundbreaking interfaith encounter between these two religious communities. The fruit of five conferences held semiannually since 2016, the volume addresses such themes as theological foundations, sacred scriptures, lived experience and worship, and culture and politics. Readers will emerge with a deeper understanding of the Jewish and Latter-day Saint traditions and how the two faith communities can engage in a meaningful dialogue.
It should come as no surprise that the Book of Mormon reads like an ancient Hebrew book. After all, its story begins in the world of the Old Testament and its chroniclers were literate in some form of Hebrew.
What is surprising is that there are so many Hebraisms in the book—and that they have survived translation into English! Many of these remnants that persist in the text make for odd English but are perfectly sound Biblical Hebrew.
This volume uncovers the significant but previously unknown contributions of the electioneers who advocated for Joseph Smith’s 1844 presidential campaign. The focus is the cadre of more than six hundred political missionaries—who they were before the campaign, their activities and experiences as electioneers, and who they became following the campaign’s untimely collapse. This book recounts their important and even crucial contributions they made in the succession crisis, the exodus from the United States, and the building of Zion in the Great Basin. Importantly, this narrative describes how their campaigning with the Quorum of Twelve Apostles using theodemocratic themes, coupled with the shock of Joseph Smith’s assassination, steeled and subsequently spurred many of them into effective religious, political, social, and economic leaders—leaders who shaped Latter-day Saint history.
What was the world like in 1820? Written to commemorate the bicentennial of the First Vision, this new book introduces the vision and the Restoration of the gospel within a global setting. Seeking to capture the qualities and essential meanings of the age, Richard E. Bennett explores what he calls the “four dominant constellations in the skies of early nineteenth-century history,” namely revolution and reform, Romanticism, emancipation and independence, and religious revivalism. From Napoléon to Beethoven to Bolívar, Dawning of the Restoration is a biographical examination of “the year of our Lord 1820” as it broke upon a weary world that was cautiously seeking new hopes, new dreams, and bold new visions—including Joseph Smith’s.
This volume offers a fresh but faithful focus on the journey of covenants and discipleship through the double lens of ancient words and medieval images. The first part of the book helps us see Christ’s identity as our Redeemer by exploring the ancient words that connect covenants, redemption, worship, the presence of the Lord, and sitting down enthroned in God’s presence as his children and heirs.
The second part of the book reveals Christ as our ransom by exploring medieval images, particularly the image of Christ. With personal anecdotes, historical background, and scriptural analysis, this section uses devotional images and late medieval practices of contemplation as a strategy to come unto Christ. By using medieval images as a counterpoint to Restoration practices and ordinances, we can more fully appreciate the gift of God’s Son and see it with fresh eyes.
This volume is a compilation of inspirational stories shared by Latter-day Saints who served on the front lines in several recent military conflicts. These stories detail their trials, challenges, setbacks, faith, courage, and numerous victories in overcoming extraordinary circumstances. This book is filled with remarkable first-person accounts from Latter-day Saint soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and civilians who served in the Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War. Their amazing stories—published together for the first time—chronicle the sacrifice, dedication, and humor of day-to-day life in modern combat zones.
In Oxford, Britain’s most ancient seat of learning, a series of events commemorated the visit of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles just before Christmas. Elder Holland spoke at the university and in Pembroke Chapel at a “Nine Lessons and Carols” celebration. Eminent speakers from the Catholic, Anglican, and nonconformist traditions joined him to commit enthusiastically to common service and exploration, and an agenda has been set for further dialogue, action, and deeper friendships. Featured speakers in this volume include the Reverend Dr. Andrew Teal, Lord David Alton, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, former Archbishop Rowan Williams, and the Reverend Professor Frances Young. At the conclusion of his visit, Elder Holland delivered a moving address titled “Christmas Comfort.” This book celebrates the marvelous start of deeper commitment, dialogue, and friendship.
Built amid sugarcane fields on the island of O‘ahu and dedicated in 1919, the Lā‘ie Hawai‘i Temple was at the forefront of a Churchwide shift away from gathering to the Intermountain West. This temple was among the first brought to the people, and for decades it stood as the closest temple geographically to half the planet. One of the first Latter-day Saint temples to accommodate large numbers of patrons from different cultures speaking different languages, it has been one of the most ethnically prodigious temples of the latter days. It was an early physical symbol of the boldness of a relatively young and provincial church to take the fullness of the gospel, realized only in temples, to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Commemorating the Lā‘ie Hawai‘i Temple’s one hundredth anniversary, this volume shares the remarkable history and contributions of this beloved temple.
Tonga has by far the highest percentage of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of any country in the world. How did this come to be? At first, missionary work in Tonga appeared to be a failure. Then after the mission was closed for a decade, the Church returned and began harvesting the fruits from the seeds that were planted earlier amid tremendous official opposition. The truths of the gospel resonated with the Tongan people, who exhibited tremendous faith and sacrifice. The Church grew to be a strong influence in the Kingdom of Tonga and with the people of the country.
Alma’s deeply personal writings to his sons contain some of the most informative doctrinal discussions in scripture. Originating out of the love and concern of a parent, these chapters present salient teachings on key gospel principles, proper behaviors, and correct theology. Here the pure doctrines of God’s merciful plan of redemption through his Son, Jesus Christ, are laid plain. This volume compiles essays given at a BYU Sidney B. Sperry Symposium. Drawing on both academic training and dedicated study of the scriptures, the authors in this volume provide valuable new contexts to understand Alma’s doctrinal expositions. Tad R. Callister, former Sunday School General President, was the keynote speaker.
Newel Knight (1800–1847) was one of the very earliest Latter-day Saint converts and maintained a lifelong friendship and close association with Joseph Smith Jr. The journals of Newel Knight are part of a handful of essential manuscript sources that every historian of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints relies on to understand its early history. He was one of a few early converts to provide an eyewitness account of the founding events in Church history.
Historians have increasingly examined how economics and business have influenced religion and religious practices, and these examinations have provided better understandings of race, gender, and ethnicity within American religion. This volume highlights the research of fifteen presenters at a BYU Church History Symposium, including keynote addresses by Bishop Gérald Caussé and Sharon Ann Murphy. The remaining essays examine the practice of consecration and cooperation by the Church, specific case studies of business and economics in Utah Territory, and financial issues pertaining to the institutional Church. These essays illuminate topics such as plural marriage, immigration, the Saints’ relationship to the federal government, and the creation and demise of Church programs. The BYU Church History Symposium highlighted that the field of economics and finance have much to offer to Latter-day Saint history.
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