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 third volume by the Book of Mormon Academy at Brigham Young University is a study of the sermon of Samuel the Lamanite by means of four analytical lenses. The first, a prophetic lens, discusses the roles of prophets, the prophetic promise of “prolonged days,” and Samuel’s prophecies. The second lens is pedagogical, providing readers with a greater understanding of how to teach the sermon. Readers who take advantage of the third lens, which is cultural-theological, will discover a useful framework for comprehending the ethics of wealth in the sermon, witness how Samuel stands up to Nephite discrimination, and benefit from a detailed reading of the sermon that will enable them grasp how spiritual death divides both Christ and human beings. Lastly, the fourth set of lenses, literary in nature, assists the reader in recognizing a newly identified type-scene, traces possible sources Samuel may have relied on, explores sources Mormon may have turned to as he abridged the work, and studies parallels between the ancient sermon and a form of early American speech known as the “jeremiad.”
In general conference, President Russell M. Nelson spoke about poverty and other humanitarian concerns, declaring, “As members of the Church, we feel a kinship to those who suffer in any way. . . . We heed an Old Testament admonition: ‘Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy’ (Deuteronomy 15:11).” President Nelson’s linking of Old Testament law with modern social concerns highlights the continued relevancy of the Old Testament for confronting modern challenges, including poverty, ethnocentrism, and the world’s growing refugee crisis.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were among US soldiers in World War II who endured the atrocities of the Bataan Death March in the Philippines and the brutality of Japanese POW camps. This is the story, largely told through their personal accounts, of a group of twenty-nine Latter-day Saint POWs in the Philippines, the events that brought them together to form an informal branch of the Church in an infamous POW camp, a remarkable event in the history of the Church, and the events that would later pull them apart—twelve to their liberation and seventeen to their death.
For some, the Old Testament is a difficult volume to read, much less understand. The language, symbolism, and history depicted within it can be challenging and at times frustrating. Modern biblical research and the methodologies used in that research have opened up this book of scripture to greater understanding. So too has the restoration of the priesthood and continuing revelation, which have revealed that the Old Testament patriarchs are not simply literary examples of righteous behavior in the past but living beings who have engaged with the Saints in this dispensation. This volume incorporates both academic insights and restoration revelation, thus demonstrating the way in which both can be used to gain greater insight into these pivotal narratives.
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