Polygamy 101

I don’t really have anything new here, just pointing out my series of posts on D&C 132, starting here. Links to successor posts are in the headers. Have fun.

Joseph Smith Papers: Documents Vol. 1 Launched.

The Joseph Smith Papers team has announced the publication of the first volume in the Documents series. This series will tread fascinating trails in uncovering/publicizing much of the material the heretofore has only grazed the desks of some historians. The editors of this volume, and those editorial groups yet to appear in the series have their work cut out for them. If this first volume is any indication of what is to come, it looks like a revolution in the way we will treat Joseph Smith in our devotional as well as historical literature. Go JSP!

The first volume in Documents is available for order now. Go over to josephsmithpapers.org and scroll down to the bottom right side of the page. And then, order one!

New Article on the Vision: D&C 76 in Context

See Matthew McBride’s article on section 76 here

Web-reading at its best.

Muggles, Mormons and Theology

“Mainstream” Protestantism during Joseph Smith’s lifetime was locked in important controversies over things like the nature and extent of freewill, grace, perfectionism, slavery and the like.

But drop groups like the Mormons or Shakers into the discussion and those other disagreements paled.
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The Pearl of Great Price – A History

[Reposted from 2010.]

In our priesthood meeting a few weeks back a part of the lesson involved inviting class members to offer brief accounts of “how we got them and what’s in ‘em” in regard to the Mormon scriptures. Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants went about as short and sweet as you might imagine, but no one volunteered anything about the Pearl of Great Price beyond the usual bit about its contents. (I don’t usually comment – unless someone points at me and asks. Its been a good policy)
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Toward a Theology of the Material

[Cross-posted at BCC. But it seems oddly Abrahamic, so here it is again.]

[I was just sitting here - thinking about where the fun speculations of 19th century Mormonism might lead, and this is what came out. Excuse its ragged form.]

Mormonism has a uniquely materialist bent. It posits that the material is necessary for complete happiness.[1] That while the world is biphasic, physical and spiritual, both are material.[2] Modern physics divides much of its attention between the very large (cosmology) and the very small (quantum phenomena). In the large, physics tells us of a universe whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere and yet expanding. That expansion is apparently going on forever, never to stop.
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Joseph Smith and the Priesthood Mythos

Joseph Smith was very much in the mould of the Old Testament prophets, and cast Mormonism as a unification of Old and New Testament ideas and even ritual. The kind of dispensationalism that saw the Old Testament period as backward – the dwelling of a hidden God and only partially revealed truth was not for him. He saw that mould as formed by a priesthood mythos, only parts of which were evident in Scripture. Many of his statements and some revelations make this evident. For example, our old friend D&C 107. Verse 29:

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Scripture Poll #1: Doctrine and Covenants

Scripture Poll #1. To fulfill my curiosity I offer this poll. Explain your answers in the comments.

D&C 107. Part 13. Succession and Discipline.

One of the interesting issues raised by the history of Doctrine and Covenants section 107 is the question of a transgressing President of the Church. The November 11 revelation (second half of D&C 107) introduced a church court system (see parts 2 and 3 in the series). The two leading offices in the early church were the bishop and the president of the high priesthood. The revelation defined a way for each officer to be disciplined, should the need arise. This was to work by using each of the court systems attached to these officers to judge the other.
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More Yet. D&C 107. Part 11. Ordination Practices.

[Part 10 is here.]
For the first 90 years or so of LDS church organization, priesthood ordination gradually developed into more or less the following pattern:

By authority of the Holy Priesthood and by the laying on of hands, I ordain you an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and confer upon you all the rights, powers keys and authority pertaining to this office and calling in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Summertime and Recycling #10: D&C 107. Part 8

Continues Part 7
Joseph Smith founded two new priesthood offices early in 1835, the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy. While the apostleship had been presaged before the formal organization of the church (D&C 18) the first formal ordinations took place in February 1835. The apostles felt the need for some more detailed direction regarding their standing and duty in the church and asked Joseph Smith for such direction. Heber C. Kimball noted the experience in his journal as follows:
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Summertime and Recycling #8: D&C 107. Part 6. Interregnum.

Here’s what’s happening so far: D&C 107 is a compilation of revelations. There are two major parts in the compilation, one from November 1831 and another from April 1835. In D&C 107 these are arranged in reverse chronological order. So, we’ve spent some time looking at the last part of D&C 107 (which came first!). Later we will look at the April 1835 segment which is of a rather different character than the 1831 segment. As these two revelations were combined in the 1835 D&C, still other revelations and regulations were interleaved in these texts to form what we now know as D&C 107. But for now we consider what happened in between these two major components. You really should read the previous parts to understand (and believe) what I’m going to say here.

Between the ca 1831 texts of the November 11 revelation and the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants text (section 3 of that first edition, 107 of the present edition) there were several developments. One was the important revelation of September 22, 23, 1832. (LDS D&C 84) In this revelation we see the beginnings of a taxonomy of priesthood, more nuanced than previous classifications but not yet mature.
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Summertime and Recycling #7. D&C 107. Part 5.

Continuing part 4.
Here we give the “second” revelation of November 11, 1831 in comparison with the KRB text. The KRB text is in the hand of Frederick G. Williams and it suggests more strongly that indeed the November 11 revelation is two revelations. Observe that the text never uses the word “quorum.” My use of the word in reference to these texts is only to provide context. The word would not appear in Joseph’s revelations until the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. Moreover, during his lifetime, it would be used in a much looser way than LDS use it now.
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Summertime and Recycling #5. D&C 107. Part 3: More Background.

We continue our discussion of the November 11, 1831 revelation (see part 1 and part 2) with the second portion, in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery.
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Summertime and Recycling #4. D&C 107. Part 2: Beginning of the Nov. 11 Revelation.

We continue from part 1 with what is essentially that portion of the text of the (second) revelation of November 11, 1831 in the hand of John Whitmer.[1]
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