Connecticut Readers: Talk on John Eliot’s Translation of the Bible

On Saturday, March 1, from 1-3 pm, the Mashantucket Museum, in Mashantucket, Connecticut, will host a talk and exhibit of “America’s Oldest Bible,” John Eliot’s translation into the Massachusetts language. The talk will feature Wampanoag language specialist Jesse Little Doe Baird and Linford Fisher of Brown University. For more information, go to the Yale Indian Papers Project’s facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/yaleindianpapersproject.

Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale: Summer Course.

Summer Course 2014, “Jonathan Edwards and Missions.”

The Jonathan Edwards Centre is please to announce the Summer Course 2014, “Jonathan Edwards and Missions.” Date: June 9-13, 2014 Location: Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT.

Teaching staff: Kenneth P. Minkema, Adriaan C. Neele.

Using primary and secondary readings, multimedia presentations, and student discussions, this course will focus on Jonathan Edwards as missionary, examining his work at the mission post of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, during the 1750s, where he ministered to Mohawks, Mahicans, and Tuscaroras.

Edwards composed sermons specifically for the natives, wrote copious correspondence to provincial and imperial officials on their behalf, and dealt with native spirituality and social life.

To help understand Edwards’ role and methods, we will place his work in the context of New World comparative missions by the Portuguese, Spanish, French, and British, with particular emphasis on the evolution of British missions in New England, the founding of the Stockbridge mission, and competition from other agencies such as those of the SPG and the Moravians.

Included in the readings will be selections from one of Edwards’ most important works, and a key text in the history of American and English missions, The Life of David Brainerd.

In addition, attention will be given to the reception of some of Edwards works in the history of missions, including but not limited to the Baptist Missionary Society, London Missionary Society, and the French Paris Evangelical Missionary Society.

Charles W. Penrose and Adam-God

Joseph F. Smith noted the following in his journal p. 81, 1912.

“Our Father Adam by C. W. Penrose– Impt. Era, vol. 5– pages: 873 to 880-” Important for what it doesn’t say as well as what it does. Even more important is JFS’s notation.

Nauvoo Council of Fifty Minutes to be Published

The Council of Fifty was Joseph Smith’s attempt to set up a kind of preparatory government for the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. Up until now, the minutes, taken by council clerk William Clayton for the most part, have been unavailable for study. The minutes will now appear in the Administrative Records Series of the Joseph Smith Papers Project. This is a boon to historians of Mormonism and Religious Studies scholars who encounter Mormonism of the Joseph Smith period. I for one anxiously await the privilege of pursuing the minutes. Here is a portion of the press release by Church Historian, Steven E. Snow:

Regarding other plans in the Joseph Smith Papers Project, Elder Snow said a few days prior to this recent announcement that the First Presidency “has approved the Church History Department staff to use the Council of Fifty minutes as reference and footnote material in upcoming Joseph Smith Papers books and to eventually publish the minutes in full as a separate volume.”

Elder Snow explained that Joseph Smith established the Council of Fifty in March 1844.

“The minutes of the council meetings, which have heretofore not been available for research, provide a new window into Joseph’s prophetic view on government and the kingdom of God,” he said.

“Following Joseph’s death, the council continued to meet under Brigham Young’s leadership and played a key role in the planning for the trek west. Our historians have been working to prepare these important records for publication for some time. We plan to publish the Nauvoo minutes of the Council of Fifty in the Administrative Records Series of the Joseph Smith Papers.”

For the entire press release, see here.

The New God: John Robinson

Anglican Bishop John Arthur Thomas Robinson (1919-1983) shocked the world of Christianity in 1963 with his book, Honest to God. Its assertions were so radical, that I’m not sure if Mormonism even brushed by it in the theological waters of the twentieth century.
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Succession Angst Circa 1849

The idea that leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would stay in the Joseph Smith Jr family was embedded in the minds of long time American Mormons. After all, they had lived this idea, from the Smith brothers involvement in all levels of leadership, to revelations that hinted at various sorts of primogeniture, ancient and modern. Royalty might have been a dirty word in early national America, but it’s a natural impulse attested in so many ways. Some early critics of the Nauvoo apostles tell a story of real confusion, worry, and wonder at how the royal family of Mormonism was to continue.
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An 1830 Healing

Late accounts of early Mormon events can be problematic, but sometimes compelling. Here is one passed along to the Church Historian in October 1857. You’ll notice the name of a tragic figure in the report, though she is not the central figure in the story:
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“I Very Much Doubt Whether Another Gentile Ever Joins the Church”

The 25th anniversary of the organization of the little “Church of Christ” in 1830 New York saw the apostles who succeeded Joseph Smith building a new territory out of the wilderness of the west. A general conference convened on April 6th 1855 with Brigham Young presiding. The small tabernacle was overcrowded leaving thousands outdoors and a new Bowery was under construction, anticipated to hold 12,000.

One of the interesting developments of the meeting, aside from fascinating organizational matters, was the calling of new missionaries. But there was a difference: these newly called missionaries were headed out to seek the Jews around the world, not those pesky Gentiles. Fifty-three men were voted to take these new assignments to different parts of the world. One leader stated that the goal was to see the Jews return to the Holy Land and the House of Israel redeemed. As one might expect, Orson Hyde stood and related a portion of his own mission to the Holy Land and expressed his conviction that the Spirit of the Lord would rest down upon this mission to the House of Israel.
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“Neo — Anything That Has A Beginning Will Have An Ending” — Mr. Smith (Summer Review)

While browsing the Millennial Star I came across this thing from an amateur missionary-philosopher. This is 1882 and shows how far theological drift had come from Joseph Smith among the rank and file. I think you might have heard parts of this in a mid-20th century general conference address. It demonstrates a bit of “lived theology” if you will. Anyway, I liked it for that and some other reasons — see the title. Enjoy. And Think: The Matrix.

Man is a noble being; created in the image of his Maker, endowed with faculties divine, eternal. He is born to live for ever. Not limited with his present knowledge, not shackled by surrounding circumstances, not bound to earth by the laws that govern inanimate matter.

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The Gift of Tongues: The Propagation of Sermon Texts in Mormonism

Another blast from the past. It seemed appropriate.

In spite of all the talk about remembering what we feel in a sermon experience, not what we hear, as valid as that may be, it is the text that reigns supreme. Recreating a sermon is not possible. But recording the words spoken on the occasion may be valuable. From the very beginning of Joseph Smith’s career, it was the text that trumped all other things. The Book of Mormon saga places the text in the role of savior, preserver and founder of language and true religion. It was to be expected that Mormons would keep records, and by commandment.
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“Outlines of Mormon Philosophy” and the King Follett Discourse

Lycurgus Arnold Wilson was born in Salem, Utah in 1856.[1] Wilson did a stint as a school teacher in Utah valley and then decided on the Law as profession, eventually founding the firm, Booth and Wilson. In 1891, Wilson became tithing clerk for Presiding Bishop William B. Preston.[2]
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Publication Note: Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church Volume 3.

The BYU Religious Studies Center has published the third volume in Peter Crawley’s A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church.

This volume covers the period from 1853-1857 and is the final volume in the series. The book covers those materials printed with one or more pages that bear on some Church matter. Articles in newspapers, maps, prints, banknotes and ephemeral pieces are not included.

These volumes are the most important contributions to early LDS print culture and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

Available at

Amazon:

$54.84 (free shipping).
ISBN: 978-0-8425-2810-8

Construction, dust jacket and size match the previous two volumes. Essentially for anyone interested in early Mormon imprints or Mormon history from 1830-1857.

Faith Alone

Recently I saw this contribution to the book Bountiful Harvest: Essays in Honor of S. Kent Brown (Provo, 2012). Brown’s career is full of careful if understated scholarship on religion and the Ancient Near East. This book is well-deserved and a fine addition to any library. One particular contribution to the collection is by Kevin L. Barney, titled “‘Faith Alone’ in Romans 3:28 JST.” You can read this online here. I recommend a read for an illuminating excursion through some of the issues surrounding the post title.

Jonathan Edwards Center Announces New Sermon Initiative. You Become the Editor.

YALE DIVINITY SCHOOL News Release
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New Volume of Jonathan Edwards Sermons

The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale notes that Wipf and Stock has published a new volume of Edwards sermons:

Sermons by Jonathan Edwards on the Matthean Parables, Volume 1. Edited by Ken Minkema, Adriaan C. Neele and Bryan McCarthy.
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