Sperry Symposium Archive


"I Glory in My Jesus"

Understanding Christ in the Book of Mormon


The Household of God

Families and Belonging in the World of the New Testament


A Covenant of Compassion

Caring for the Marginalized and Disadvantaged in the Old Testament

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the symposium focuses this year on “Covenant of Compassion: Caring for the Marginalized and Disadvantaged in the Old Testament.” The keynote address will be by Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency. She will be on Church assignment, so her address has been taped and will be shown on Friday night.

Please note that BYU requires masks in classrooms, in any indoor space when physical distancing isn’t maintained, and in other areas when directed.


How and What You Worship

Christology and Praxis in the Revelations of Joseph Smith

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. This revelation insists on both the “how” and the "what" of worship, which indicates that knowledge and practice are inseparable. As this conference demonstrates, Joseph Smith’s revelations and teachings constitute a unique textual setting to analyze this relationship.


Give Ear to My Words

Text and Context of Alma 36–42

The 48th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

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. The diversity of scholarship from this book’s contributors provides this book with valuable new contexts to help readers understand Alma’s doctrinal expositions. The range of topics covered, and the contrasting perspectives will appeal to a broad audience and speak to many different people at different levels.


Thou Art the Christ, the Son of the Living God

The Person and Work of Jesus in the New Testament

The 47th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

While Jesus and his disciples were at or near Caesarea Philippi, Peter testified that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Martha had a similar divine testimony, proclaiming, “I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.” In much the same way, a standard part of Latter-day Saint discourse includes bearing testimony that “Jesus is the Christ,” but what do we mean when we say that Jesus is the Christ?

This volume compiles essays given at a BYU Sidney B. Sperry Symposium that uniquely address such questions from a Latter-day Saint perspective, bringing together both biblical scholarship and Restoration insights that invite us to come to Christ and apply gospel teachings to real life.


Prophets and Prophecies of the Old Testament

The 46th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

This book explains Old Testament prophecies in their original linguistic, historical, and theological contexts, helping us more fully understand the Old Testament and its relevance. Prophetic books such as Amos, Micah, Jonah, Daniel, Jeremiah, and Obadiah are contextualized. Topics include rhetorical questions and prophetic voice, imagery of salvation, and symbolic naming. The volume additionally concentrates on topics such as Daniel’s apocalyptic visions, social domains and dimensions of foreign soil, sacred land and divine communication, gathering outcasts and remnant theology, the everlasting covenant and redemption, and the period of the exile. A section of the volume is also devoted to situating the Old Testament within other books of scripture. Chapters include topics such as Isaiah 7 and the fulfillment of prophecy in Matthew 1–2, the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament and Doctrine and Covenants, as well as the influence Old Testament prophets and prophecies had on the development of the Restoration.


Foundations of the Restoration

Fulfllment of the Covenant Purposes

The 45th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

This book is a compilation of essays from the 45th annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium titled Foundations of the Restoration. The keynote address by Robert L. Millet highlights the restoration of plain and precious truths. Readers will learn how we understand LDS history and doctrine, about the beliefs declared in the Articles of Faith and how we apply their truths, about the development of temples and temple ordinances, and about the restoration of true Sabbath worship. Also included are chapters on Church newspaper editor and hymn writer William W. Phelps’s contributions to our understanding of the Restoration of the gospel; the historical development of sustaining members of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve as prophets, seers, and revelators; and the harmony and counsel needed in their declaring doctrine and making administrative decisions.


The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon

A Marvelous Work and a Wonder

The 44th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

The 2015 Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium explored the modern miracle of the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon. Featuring a keynote address by Elder Merrill J. Bateman discussing the Book of Mormon's restoration of plain and precious truths, this volume describes the development of the teenage seer Joseph Smith Jr. and includes marvelous accounts of the many witnesses to the plates. It tells the story of the Book of Mormon, from Joseph Smith's translation of the sacred record to the process of financing and printing the first edition, and concludes with its message rolling forth to many nations—to "every kindred, tongue, and people."


The Ministry of Peter, the Chief Apostle

The 43rd Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

This volume sheds important light on the mission of the man whom Jesus himself referred to as “the rock.” As a sometimes fallible but nonetheless earnest disciple, Peter is an important example of grace, transformation, service, and power. Essays in this collection treat his cultural background and context, his role in the apostolic church, many of his noted teachings, and his important legacy in early Christianity and the Restoration. But above all, Peter is revealed as one who, through the Atonement and the endowment of the Spirit, overcame his own weaknesses to become one of the greatest, and most powerful, witnesses of the divinity, mission, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Ascending the Mountain of the Lord

Temple, Praise, and Worship in the Old Testament

The 42nd Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

The Psalmist asks, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?” This year’s Sperry Symposium discusses ascending into the Lord’s mountain within the context of theophany, ancient temple worship, sacred space, sacrifice, offerings, and hymns and songs in the text of the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon. The scriptures contain a rich treasury of information of how ancient Israelites and the people in the Book of Mormon worshipped God and expressed themselves through ritual and devotions as found in the Psalms. These explorations of ancient temple worship help us to better understand and appreciate latter-day temple and worship traditions.


You Shall Have My Word

Exploring the Text of the Doctrine and Covenants

The 41st Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

The Lord declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “This generation shall have my word through you.” The Doctrine and Covenants helps fulfill that purpose. Jesus declares of this record, “These words are . . . of me; . . . for it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power.” The Doctrine and Covenants is another witness of Jesus Christ to the children of God in these latter days. It strengthens faith and confidence in the words of the Lord. It explores significant messages, teachings, doctrines, and themes given by the Lord. It contains a Christ-centered message that expands our understanding of the Lord’s purposes for each of us.


The Things Which My Father Saw

Approaches to Lehi's Dream and Nephi's Vision

The 40th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

A dark and dreary waste, a man in a shining robe, a rod of iron, and a tree of life—these symbols evoke powerful images in our minds and deepen our appreciation for the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The 2011 Sperry Symposium volume explores the rich symbolism of Lehi’s dream and Nephi’s vision, placing such symbols as the mists of darkness, the great and spacious building, and the church of the Lamb of God in the context of the last days. By introducing new perspectives to a familiar account, this volume offers a stirring reminder of the implications for Latter-day Saints.


The Sermon on the Mount

In Latter-day Scripture

The 39th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

Christians around the world look to the Sermon on the Mount for encouragement and guidance in developing the attitudes and behavior the Lord admonished us to have. The 2010 Sperry Symposium focuses on the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, Luke, and 3 Nephi. It will discuss in depth specific passages and textual variations in the different accounts of the Sermon, as well as the social and cultural context of the Sermon. Chapters will review the contributions that the Joseph Smith Translation makes to our understanding, as well as the use of the Sermon in later biblical and Book of Mormon teachings.

Contributors include Richard D. Draper, Matthew J. Grey, Daniel K Judd, Jennifer C. Lane, Eric-John K. Marlowe, Robert L. Millet, Thomas A. Wayment, and John W. Welch.


The Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament

The 38th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

The Prophet Joseph Smith said that those who read the Bible can “see God’s own handwriting in the sacred volume: and he who reads it oftenest will like it best, and he who is acquainted with it, will know the hand [of God] wherever he can see it.”

We cannot be true students of the Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants without also being students of the Old Testament, for Jesus declared that the Old Testament scriptures “are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). This book of scripture serves as the First Testament of Jesus Christ.


The Doctrine and Covenants: Revelations in Context

The 37th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

Awareness of the background and development of Joseph Smith’s revelations allows us to better understand their significance. The 37th annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium can help readers gain that knowledge. Written by scholars trained in a variety of fields, the articles are intended to help Latter-day Saints better appreciate the setting in which Joseph received his revelations. This volume will help readers better understand and appreciate the significant roles Joseph Smith’s revelations have played, and continue to play, in the dispensation of the fulness of times.


Living the Book of Mormon

Abiding by Its Precepts

The 36th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

Mark Twain reportedly said, “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.” Perhaps a similar statement could be made regarding the Book of Mormon: the person who reads the Book of Mormon but does not follow its teachings is not much better off than the person who does not read it. The 2007 Sidney B. Sperry Symposium, Living the Book of Mormon: “Abiding by Its Precepts,” focuses on how the Book of Mormon can immeasurably bless our lives as we strive to live what it teaches.

In this volume are papers presented at the Sidney B. Sperry Symposium held on the Provo campus of Brigham Young University on October 26–27, 2007. This year the symposium takes its theme from Joseph Smith’s statement, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (introduction to the Book of Mormon).

Topics of the 2007 Sidney B. Sperry Symposium include redemption through Christ, the “three Rs” of the Book of Mormon, and the divine precept of charity. Presenters include Elder Joe J. Christensen, Terry B. Ball, Richard O. Cowan, and Robert L. Millet.

This symposium is distinctive in that it centers on the practical application of the precepts taught in the Book of Mormon—precepts that can help us draw nearer to God.—Elder Joe J. Christensen, emeritus member, First Quorum of the Seventy.


How the New Testament Came to Be

The 35th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

This newest addition to the Sperry Symposium series celebrates the writing of the New Testament and the faithful service of those who brought that book of sacred scripture into existence. The chapters of this volume, presented on the Brigham Young University campus on October 27–28, 2006, explore the New Testament's origin and examine ancient scriptural evidence on a variety of topics, ranging from the earliest ancient manuscripts to the contributions of Joseph Smith to our understanding of the New Testament.

A great deal of interest has been generated lately in the origin, early history, and reliability of the documents that make up the New Testament. Books and motion pictures have exposed us to many new ideas relating to New Testament studies. This volume, although not responding directly to any of those works, puts into print the research of faithful Latter-day Saint scholars who have explored the earliest evidence for the New Testament and have asked hard questions concerning it.

Indeed, the New Testament presents us with many questions. We do not know, for example, when and under what circumstances many of the documents were written. We do know that "plain and precious things" were removed from the scriptural text (1 Nephi 13:28), but because the original manuscripts do not exist, how can we find out what those things were and when they were lost? What can we say about the traditional attributions of the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? What can we say about how those and other books were collected to form the New Testament? Do the ancient manuscripts provide answers? What does modern revelation teach us?

How the New Testament Came to Be deals with these and other questions as it explores the writing and compilation of the New Testament. The authors, though they may not always interpret the evidence in the same way, have in common a strong commitment to the centrality of the sacred mission of Jesus Christ and a belief that modern revelation is an indispensable guide for reading and understanding the New Testament.


The 34th annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

Held at Brigham Young University, this symposium marks several significant anniversaries. One hundred eighty-five years before, in the spring of 1820, the Prophet Joseph Smith experienced the First Vision when our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ appeared to him in Palmyra, New York, ushering in the dispensation of the fulness of all times. The year also represented the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith, born December 23, 1805; the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Church, in April 1830; and the 170th anniversary of the calling of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, ordained in February 1835.

The focus of this symposium was to help those in attendance discover that the Restoration is real. And 175 years later it continues to move forward at a quickened pace to fulfill its ultimate and prophesied purpose.


The 33rd Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

Before Joseph Smith was born, religious scholars such as William Tyndale and Martin Luther put their lives in jeopardy to spread the word of God to their followers, blazing doctrinal trails so that a restoration of the gospel could occur. This volume highlights these influential men and other important Reformers who helped pave the way for the Restoration.


The 32nd Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

The first publication of the Book of Mormon was completed only a few days before the Church was organized. The Lord revealed that it "contains a record of a fallen people, and the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Before the revelation was received on the organization of priesthood quorums, before the vision of the three degrees of glory, before knowledge of vicarious work for the dead, and before Joseph Smith was instructed to begin an inspired translation of the Bible, the Book of Mormon was received as scripture for all members of the Church. As the "keystone" containing a "fulness of the gospel," the Book of Mormon connects, enhances, and clarifies the other standard works. This volume was published to encourage all who read it to discover and rediscover for themselves that the Book of Mormon does indeed contain the fulness of the gospel.


The 31st Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

The messages of the New Testament Apostles—most notably Peter, James, John, and Paul—are some of the most important and powerful teachings in all of scripture. In this volume, scholars illuminate these teachings and help us understand their influence in the church of the New Testament. Many insights and teachings in this book help us understand the value and the power of the messages of the New Testament Apostles, not only for the primitive church, but for us in the latter days.


Covenants, Prophecies and Hymns of the Old Testament

The 30th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium


Out of Obscurity: The Church in the 20th Century

The 29th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium


The Book of Mormon: the Foundation of Our Faith

The 28th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium


The Testimony of John the Beloved

The 27th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium


Voices of Old Testament Prophets

The 26th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium


The Doctrine and Covenants: A Book of Answers

The 25th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium