From Calvary to Cumorah

What Mormon History Means to Me

Richard E. Bennett

Richard E. Bennett, “From Calvary to Cumorah: What Mormon History Means to Me,” in Let Us Reason Together: Essays in Honor of the Life’s Work of Robert L. Millet, ed. J. Spencer Fluhman and Brent L. Top (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: 2016), 81–94.

Richard E. Bennett,  was a professor and chair of the Department of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University when this was written. He is the author of Mormons at the Missouri: Winter Quarters, 1846–1852 (Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1987, repr., 2004) and its sequel volume, We’ll Find the Place: The Mormon Exodus, 1846–1848 (Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1997, repr., 2009).

Fifty years ago, when as a young boy I first visited Nauvoo and other Latter-day Saint historical sites, I wrote in my little diary such fleeting comments as “Went to Palmyra [New York] and slept on the Hill Cumorah” (July 23, 1956); “Arrived at Independence, Missouri, today. Saw the place where the Missouri Temple will be built” (July 1, 1956); and finally, “Saw the old Carthage Jail where the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred. Also we saw other historic sites of the Mormons in Nauvoo.”[1] Nauvoo was then a far cry from what it is today. There was no Nauvoo Restoration, Incorporated. There were no beautifully restored buildings, no Williamsburg-like effort to manicure and professionally preserve and restore the past, no missionary-oriented visitors’ center, and certainly no temple restoration as we see today. Rather, Nauvoo slumbered on the banks of the Mississippi—dusty, unkempt, and not at all sure if it had a future. Thanks to the work of a few farsighted private Latter-day Saints, it became possible to resurrect the past. And, of course, families like mine kept coming in ever-increasing numbers to connect with the history of the Restoration.

Awakening to the city’s possible future, the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints changed its policy and determined to invest in Nauvoo’s future by professionally restoring this site. Said Elder Delbert L. Stapley of the Quorum of the Twelve in the early days of the Nauvoo restoration:

Many thousands in the Church today have no real understanding of the personality, power, and mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith and other Church leaders. By developing our understanding and appreciation of Church history, we gain perspective and strengthened sense of purpose. It will aid us in making present-day choices and in obtaining present-day testimonies. . . . History carries the torch of light from the past into the present and illuminates the future. . . . This approach to Church history at Nauvoo demonstrates that Church pioneers were real people, living in the real world of America. History can enable us to ease the transition from one type of living to another and increase our effectiveness in the work of the Kingdom of God. . . . [It] would allow the student to vicariously relive the lives and experiences of these faithful pioneers and to point the way toward increased devotion and perspective. . . . To appreciate the fruits of Mormonism, one must understand its roots.[2]

Developing in parallel with Nauvoo’s restoration was the intellectualization of Church history and the rise of what many term the “new Mormon history,”[3] which have changed the intellectual landscape of our past, invigorating the faith of some while sorely testing others.

A historic place like Nauvoo provides a pause from our busy lives and hectic schedules to ponder on the gospel of Jesus Christ and the meaning of history. Nauvoo is a tangible, physical expression of the spiritual reality of the Restoration, which in turn is the modern, downstream reiteration of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It has power as a sacred place because it reminds Church members of the importance of their heritage—it brings the past to the present. Behind the buildings and the structures, beyond the pioneers and their families, and before the temple and the Red Brick Store is the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith, which is a revelation anew of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Fundamentally, if Nauvoo does not point to Christ, then it means very little.

Perhaps the best starting point to understand what sacred space can mean to all of us is to remember the imprint of the divine in our individual lives. From my experience, there are three essential elements to the sacred moments in my personal life: time, place, and people. I look back at the YMCA Hall on Elm Street in the hardscrabble, heavy-drinking mining town of Sudbury, Ontario, where I was baptized on May 23, 1954. Although the building has been razed and the swimming pool, changing rooms, and doorways no longer exist, the memory remains, and thankfully the record attests that on that day my life changed forever. It will ever remain a sacred time and space to me.

Similarly, the Sudbury Moose Hall on Pine Street—hardly a sacred place with its moose head, beer hall, and dancing floor—became a sacred spot for me. It was the place where Church meetings were held, where my testimony of the living gospel of Jesus Christ began to take root, and where I began to feel those “swelling motions,” as Alma describes, and the power of conversion and testimony (Alma 32:28). Richard J. Mouw recalls something similar in the “gospel tent meetings” of his youth: “I can still smell the sawdust, and this aroma carries with it spiritual associations that have shaped my understanding of what it means to be a Christian human being. And I think it is important—not only for myself but for the evangelical movement in general—to keep smelling the sawdust.”[4] I am sure that to all of us there are such sacred moments, hallowed places in each of our individual lives that still stir our devotions and recollections.

And as for people, I came to know the Savior most intimately through my study of the scriptures. I remember reading Jesse Lyman Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible for Young and Old with its helpful illustrations.[5] I was given my first Bible when I was ten. I can still remember the smell of the leather, the cool crispness of the pages and the warm invitation to read from them. I recall the many stories of Jesus taught to me in Sunday School and Primary by loving teachers. In my very early life, the Holy Bible became the anchor of my faith, the authority of my life, my illuminated passageway to Christ, a companion with prayer to personal revelation. The Bible made Christ a present, living person in my life. Neither a collection of ethical statements nor a mere standard for a moral life, the Bible was a call to Christ and to the Restoration of the gospel.

When I was eighteen, one of my greatest religious experiences came in my own grove of trees while working for the railroad in the Canadian wilds. That spiritual experience, with the Book of Mormon in hand, remains forever engraved in my heart, not only as a witness of the book’s truthfulness but also of my Heavenly Father’s personal love and concern for me. To me, the Bible and the Book of Mormon are far more than mere publications: they are living water from a living Christ. As one scripture in the Book of Mormon says of these things, “They [the plates of brass] have enlarged the memory of this people, yea, and convinced many of the error of their ways, and brought them to the knowledge of their God unto the salvation of their souls” (Alma 37:8; emphasis added).

Memory connects us to the physical places where we have experienced the Lord’s Spirit. Just as Paul could never disassociate his conversion from the road to Damascus, so we, as members of the Church who have been touched by the grace of Christ and by the enticing of the Holy Spirit, can never disconnect ourselves from our own history in these sacred places. We find meaning for our living in the history of our lives, those times and places that God has touched.

Similarly, there is a compelling sense of Christian history that should bind our collective experiences. From the New Testament’s accounts, places such as Calvary, Gethsemane, the Tomb, Mars Hill, and the Isle of Patmos are of lasting importance. We remember them for what historically transpired there, but for those of us who have been converted, such locations mean more because of their connections to our own experience. Places such as these teach us the mighty truth that Christianity, as the great Protestant scholar J. Gresham Machen has so well stated, “is more than just a way of life but a historical fact.” Faced with a growing opposition intent on socializing and secularizing the faith, Machen continued:

The great weapon with which the disciples of Jesus set out to conquer the world was not a mere comprehension of eternal principles; it was an historical message, an account of something that had recently happened, it was the message, “He is risen.”

The world was not to be evangelized by the spread of a wonderful new philosophy but would “be redeemed through the proclamation of an event. . . . Christianity is based, then, upon an account of something that happened. . . . Christianity is based on a real Person and a real series of historical events in that Person’s life which, if He or they did not exist or happen means the end of Christianity.[6]

In more recent times, Adolf Koberle has likewise argued against what he calls the “nonhistorical trend of thought which, as our present age discloses all too clearly, constantly seeks to dominate not only philosophy but also theology. Today it is popular to say that faith is the historical event per se.” He continued, “The proud spirit will always maintain that he can grasp the Absolute with equal immediacy at all points of history and that he is in no way dependent on any particular historical events for the appreciation of truth.”[7] Koberle rejects such views with this argument: “If Jesus did not live, if He did not die on Golgotha, if the crucified one was not resurrected, then all existential appropriation of these things is left hanging in air. How is it possible, therefore, to disparage the ‘facts of salvation,’ to totally compress the objective occurrence into its subjective consummation in the life of the believer, when everything depends upon the fact that faith has firm ground beneath it because God has acted in Christ as the Saviour.”[8]

Charles Colson has written in a similar vein: “What we need to understand about our faith is that it is not based on wise writings or philosophies or books written in so-called prophetic trances. It is not based on ideologies, which come and go. It is based on the facts of history, real events. . . . That’s what Christianity is: history.”[9] Again, I quote from Machen: “Give up history and you can retain some things. You can retain a belief in God. But philosophical theism has never been a powerful force in the world. You can retain a lofty ethical ideal. But be perfectly clear about one point—you can never retain a gospel. For gospel means ‘good news,’ tidings, information about something that has happened. In other words, it means history. A gospel independent of history is simply a contradiction in terms.”[10]

Latter-day Saints share this view of Christianity’s historicity—that Christ actually lived, died, and was resurrected, that the glad tidings of his Resurrection spawned a movement and a doctrine that continue to change lives. If there is a recurring theological position of the Book of Mormon, it is that Christ was born, that he lived and died in Jerusalem, that he was literally resurrected, and that his atoning sacrifice for sin happened in time and place. The Book of Mormon prophet Abinadi prophesied of Christ some 150 years before the Lord was born:

And now if Christ had not come into the world, speaking of things to come as though they had already come, there could have been no redemption.

And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.

But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.

He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death. (Mosiah 16:6–9)

Elder LeGrand Richards, a former Latter-day Saint Apostle, in a 1955 Easter address, wrote of our understanding of the risen Christ’s historicity:

The resurrection which we celebrate today has lost all its significance if Jesus did not retain his body following the resurrection. Why should some assume that he is now but a personage of spirit, while he declared so emphatically to the apostles: “For a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have”? Why did he take up his body from the tomb at all if the work he had to do following his crucifixion could have been done better while in the spirit only? Why did he not leave his body lying in the tomb? Where in the scriptures is there justification for the belief that he has laid his body down again since he took it up from the tomb. . . . Is it possible that our Lord has died a second time, that he can be but a personage of spirit? If so, why do we celebrate Easter in commemoration of his resurrection?[11]

The Latter-day Saint view of biblical Christianity’s historicity is similar to our views of the Restoration. Just as Machen argues that without Christianity’s history there is no real Christianity, in similar fashion Latter-day Saints argue that without the factuality of our history, there is no Restoration. The First Vision—the appearance of the Father and Son to Joseph Smith in a very real grove of trees near Palmyra in upstate New York in the spring of 1820—actually happened or Mormonism is a fraud. “Every claim that we make concerning divine authority, every truth that we offer concerning the validity of the work, all finds its root in the First Vision of the boy prophet,” taught President Gordon B. Hinckley. “That becomes the hinge pin on which this whole cause turns. If the First Vision was true, if it actually happened, then the Book of Mormon is true. Then we have the priesthood. Then we have the Church organization and all of the other keys and blessings of authority which we say we have. If the First Vision did not occur, then we are involved in a great sham. It is just that simple.”[12]

Such tangibility in Latter-day Saint history includes a book of scripture written on actual gold plates, which were accompanied by a real object called the Urim and Thummim, the restoration of priesthood by heavenly messengers on the banks of the Susquehanna River in 1829, and the laying of heavenly hands on earthly bodies. Just as the irreligious mind recoils at having to see Christ as the center of history—that the accent of eternity should be placed upon this one point of history—so too many take offense at the Mormon emphasis on the literality of the Restoration.

Of course, the theology of Christian history, as Machen later said, was not merely that Christ died—a historical fact—but that he died for our sins. This becomes the theological expression of the historical reality—the spiritual meaning of a physical experience. Latter-day Saints agree with this theology but take it one vital step further. The Restoration of the fulness of the gospel is not merely a historical fact but a doctrinal necessity—that it happened for the endowment of our eternal life. The fulness of Christ, the fulness of the gospel, its complete set of teachings and ordinances, the supernal gift of the Holy Ghost made possible through the restoration of divine authority—these constitute the theological meaning of our history. These doctrinal truths make our historical facts invaluable and memorable, symbolic reminders of modern revelation and its centrality in our restored faith. This is why we seek to remember and keep sacred such places as Nauvoo. But to separate these places, the Sacred Grove or the Hill Cumorah, from the Christ of the Bible is to ensure that historical memory of them will inevitably fade. Ultimately, Nauvoo is sacred not just because of the pioneers, not merely because of Joseph Smith or his martrydom, but because the Christ of the Restoration is the Christ of the Resurrection. For us, the Resurrection and the Restoration are a continuum, running from Calvary to Cumorah, from the River Jordan to the Mississippi.

There are, however, other compelling reasons why we Latter-day Saints revere these sacred sites. One of these surely must be that they point to the importance of the institution and the establishment of an organization, a church, a very corporeal expression of the gospel message. The Restoration of the Church is of signal importance, for with it came authority and ordinances, levels of government and jurisdiction, hierarchies and bureaucracies—the very things that many who wish to spiritualize or individualize religion despise. Yet this has given weight and structure and permanence to the Restoration at a time when many others were downplaying the ecclesiastical structures of Christianity. Leonard I. Sweet spoke of such modern trends when he wrote of the anti-institutionalism of the late 1960s: “For the first time in American religion, the authority of the church was widely discredited. Many Christians abandoned an understanding of the church as an institution that sets standards for society in favor of an institution that meets the needs of society, a change in definition that had shuddering consequences for the formation of religious and personal identity.”[13]

Likewise the restoration of such sites, and in particular the City of Joseph, or Nauvoo, points to the importance of community to the Latter-day Saints. Every careful observer of the Latter-day Saints will recognize that although salvation is essentially an individual affair, much is accomplished collectively. The Saints did not come west as individuals; rather, they came as a group or they did not come at all. As William Clayton penned in his famous hymn “Come, Come Ye Saints,” it was always a sense of the collective—that “We’ll find the place.” Nauvoo represented a gathering of converts to Zion in great numbers, the building of a new city of believers. Nauvoo, then, represents a community of Saints who shared common beliefs and values. Even in temple worship, Latter-day Saints go through in companies, not by themselves. Though Mormonism preaches individual responsibility, it advocates interdependency on one another as well. Its emphasis on marriage, particularly eternal marriage and the family, points to family exaltation as much, if not more, than individual salvation. It is this community of believers, this family of support, which means so much to modern Mormon worshippers. And with it has come a strong sense of tradition, family history, or what might be termed an LDS “legacy.” Some Latter-day Saints see more of this than anything else when visiting such places as Nauvoo. Many who have ancestors who lived and were persecuted there see in such a place the establishment of lasting family values and of compelling individual family stories.

This emphasis on heritage, on preserving our legacy, has kept The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the loss of identity, from what Sweet called “culturalist Christianity,” an age when promoting social causes has come to mean more than preserving historical consciousness. He writes:

What a religious tradition does with its past has everything to do with the establishment of a distinctive identity. The preservation and transmission of the tradition is an ineluctable obligation of the church. But culturalist Christianity discarded the cultivation of religious belief and the preservation of the heritage for social engagements in changing national and international society. . . . In the 1960s . . . the goal was not to prepare a new generation for the church but to promote social and personal values among the young and to translate religious symbols into ethical and political imperatives among the adults. . . . Thus Protestantism raised a generation of kids who were robbed of their history and without inheritance. . . . A tradition cannot long survive without a living memory. By failing to generate among church members a sense of living out their past, much of Protestantism cuts the cords of community in the present and endangered its survival.[14]

A combination of collective and individual memory in Mormonism is reflected in the Nauvoo Temple. No more sacred space exists in Mormonism than its holy temples. Such are sacred not only as monuments to our history but as places for personal revelation, covenant making, sanctification, and personal holiness. Though the inscriptions on such buildings invariably say “Holiness to the Lord,” they are invitations to personal holiness, consecration, and sacrifice that no ordinary Church history site can ever afford.

Not that the reconstruction of these temples came without debate among those in the highest councils of the Church. Even with the work of President Joseph F. Smith in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to purchase historical properties, many modern Church leaders did not support such expenditures. Considered by some to be a peripheral part of the Church’s mission, the preservation of such places as Nauvoo by the institution of the Church was slow in coming. Brigham Young tried desperately to sell the Nauvoo Temple to the Roman Catholic Church, and the temple lot in Independence, Missouri, and Ohio’s Kirtland Temple were let go out of a desire to establish the Church in the West. Restoration of Church history sites would have to wait until the survival of the Church was assured. All would come in order. Thanks to the vision, tireless efforts, and financial sacrifices of such modern preservation pioneers as Wilford Wood and Dr. LeRoy Kimball, Nauvoo is the classic expression of the inspiration of the rank-and-file membership who insisted on remembering this place. The restoration of Nauvoo is a wonderful example of how fluid revelation in Mormonism can be, inspiration coming almost as much from the bottom up as from the top down.

There are, of course, problems and pitfalls for a Church that insists on preserving its history. I will mention but two. The first rests in the selectivity of what the institution chooses to remember and celebrate—i.e., while we emphasize some parts of our history, we also de-emphasize some other things that happened at a given site. In Nauvoo, there is little in the corporate memory and even less in the missionary tours that ever speaks to such practices as plural marriage. It is as if such a practice never happened or was part of the Prophet’s teachings. Such selectivity of what to remember and honor and what to discard may lead to a sense of misunderstanding, if not suspicion, for some. For when some of these realities come out—as they invariably have done and will continue to do—some inevitably feel let down. In attempting to engage the many critical interpretations of the Prophet Joseph Smith in candid, professional, and even faith-supporting ways, several modern Latter-day Saint scholars have broached topics that the rank-and-file members know little about. What was best left unsaid by those wanting to project a modern image of our past has become for others an issue of honesty.

The point is, if we believe in literal history and the power of sacred place, excessive selectivity for corporate public image purposes may do a disservice in the long run. The reaction, for instance, to Richard L. Bushman’s Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by several Latter-day Saint readers has often been one of suspicion: why has so little of this been told? Is it possible that the image makers in Church art, film, and literature are doing a disservice to the faith-building power of our own history? If the Restoration is, like the New Testament, history, then what history are we remembering? One of Bushman’s contributions is to show how to take it, warts and all.

The second problem is somewhat the reverse: seeing what was never there. Some time ago, a colleague of mine approached me with a question. He had just read a chapter in one of my books dealing with the succession of Brigham Young to the presidency of the Church in the Kanesville (Iowa) Log Tabernacle in December 1847. “Why didn’t you tell about the earthquake?” he wondered. “What earthquake?” I asked. “The one some later said happened on that day in that place. Surely it was a sign of God’s benediction.” I could only respond that there may have been a retrospective account somewhere that spoke of such things, but from my research into scores of contemporary letters, diaries, and sermons, the Spirit of the Lord was in abundance without any earthquake occurring. “But it’s such a faith-building story,” he argued. “It had to have happened!”

I have reflected on our conversation many times since. Why is it, I wonder, that many Latter-day Saints “go beyond the mark” in wanting to believe in that which never happened, in seeking more than truth, in relying on myth when fact and faith are sufficient? Elder Bruce R. McConkie spoke of this tendency when discussing the miracle of the 1978 revelation, which opened the Mormon priesthood to all worthy men regardless of color:

Latter-day Saints have a complex: many of them desire to magnify and build upon what has occurred, and they think of miraculous things. And maybe some of them would like to believe that the Lord himself was there [at the temple], or that the Prophet Joseph Smith came to deliver the revelation, which was one of the possibilities. Well, these things did not happen. The stories that go around to the contrary are not factual or realistic or true, and you as teachers in the Church Educational System will be in a position to explain and to tell your students that this thing came by the power of the Holy Ghost, and that all the Brethren involved, the thirteen who were present, are independent personal witnesses of the truth and divinity of what occurred.[15]

None of us appreciates being purposely deceived. Bearing false witness is both a crime and a sin. There is only hurt, sorrow, and diminishment in lying and deception. Satan himself is “the father of lies” (2 Nephi 9:9). Why is it, then, that we hate lies but often love supposedly faith-promoting myths? I believe that in doing so, we not only twist the truth but also damage our faith for the simple reason that faith must be based in truth. As the Apostle Paul said, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The Book of Mormon prophet Alma added, “Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21). Truth, not embellished myth, is the bulwark of faith.

The dictionary defines myth as “a belief, opinion, or theory that is not based on fact or reality,” an “invented story,” or “made-up person or thing.”[16] Mormon history, or rather Mormon popular memory, is strewn with such misconceptions of fact. Spurious accounts of the appearance of the Three Nephites are everywhere. There are even published accounts of oversized Nephite warriors who protected temple doors during the antipolygamy raids of the late nineteenth century. And, as a child, I remember reading the book Fate of the Persecutors, which assigned the most cruel sufferings and ignominious deaths to those responsible for Joseph Smith’s martyrdom.[17] If they escaped justice, surely they deserved divine punishment! Never mind that Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Marvin S. Hill have debunked these accounts in their excellent history, Carthage Conspiracy.[18]

Yet these pitfalls and problems are a price we are willing to pay for remembering our history and traditions. Much better we have these problems than those of the more serious kind: the loss of the sense of our history and heritage altogether. We can afford and must encourage differing interpretations, but we cannot afford relegating the glad tidings of Cumorah to myth or the oblivion of forgetting.

In the end, one thing unites Latter-day Saints and believing Christians of all other faiths. And that is a mutual recognition of what Timothy George calls “a true bottomless pit,” what Machen described as “the abyss between belief and unbelief.”[19] As Christians, we all believe in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; we all share an “unflinching allegiance to the Holy Scriptures”; we all share in a mutual desire to live lives of personal purity and holiness in opposition to the secularizing influences rampant in modern society, in protecting the sanctity of human life, in opposing the destruction of family values, and in spreading the good word of the gospel of Jesus Christ.


This presentation was made to a combined audience of Latter-day Saint and evangelical Protestant scholars at a special interfaith dialogue conference held in Nauvoo, May 17, 2006.

[1] Personal diary of Richard E. Bennett, entries for July and August 1956.

[2] Delbert L. Stapley, “The Importance of Church History,” Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [April 15, 1969] (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1969), 2, 13–14.

[3] The term “new Mormon history” suggests a Renaissance-like return to original manuscripts with emphasis on revised interpretation, on seeing things as they really were, and on professional historical study.

[4] Richard J. Mouw, The Smell of the Sawdust: What Evangelicals Can Learn from Their Fundamentalist Heritage (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000), 8.

[5] Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible for Young and Old (Philadelphia: Universal Book and Bible House, 1952).

[6] J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1923), 25, 28–29, 53.

[7] Adolf Koberle, “Jesus Christ, the Center of History,” in Jesus of Nazareth: Saviour and Lord, ed. Carl F. H. Henry (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1966), 64–65, 70.

[8] Koberle, “Jesus Christ, the Center of History,” 68.

[9] Charles Colson, in Evangelical Affirmations, ed. Kenneth S. Kantzer and Carl F. H. Henry (Grand Rapids, MI: Academic Books, 1990), 48–49.

[10] J. Gresham Machen, What Is Christianity? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1951), 171.

[11] LeGrand Richards, “Faith in Action,” radio address delivered April 10, 1955 (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1955).

[12] Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997), 227.

[13] Leonard I. Sweet, “The 1960s: The Crisis of Liberal Christianity,” in Evangelicalism and Modern America, ed. George Marsden (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1984).

[14] Sweet, “The 1960s,” 42–43.

[15] Bruce R. McConkie, “‘All Are Alike unto God’” (CES religious educators symposium address, August 18, 1978), 4–5.

[16] The World Book Dictionary (Chicago: World Book, 2000), “myth.”

[17] N. B. Lundwall, comp., The Fate of the Persecutors of the Prophet Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1952).

[18] Dallin H. Oaks and Marvin S. Hill, Carthage Conspiracy: The Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1975).

[19] Timothy George, “Evangelicals and Others,” First Things, February 2006, 23.