Paul Fife. RIP.

Paul Fife, mentor to so many mathematicians (LDS and otherwise), and excellent example of an honorable and brilliant Latter-day Saint has passed away. Safe voyages, Paul, and God bless.

From the Archives: Purity of Thought

This is an old post from BCC. But it still holds some lingering questions for me.

Russian Mathematician Grisha Perelman was awarded the Fields Medal in 2006 for completing Richard Hamilton’s program (Ricci flow-Poincaré Conjecture) in 2002-2003. Poincare posed his conjecture in 1904.[1] Science named it the breakthrough of the year, but that was a sort of miraculous understatement, even though it was the first time a mathematical proof received that title. For the Poincaré proof, Perelman was also awarded the first Clay Millennium Prize (one million dollars) in March 2010. Perelman did not publish his results in the usual sense. He posted the proofs online.[2]
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Brigham Young’s St. George Sermon, May 1876

Mormon cosmology is an interest of mine, and a sermon of President Young’s in St. George, Utah shows us something of his ideas about the cosmos, the relation of science to religion, sex in heaven, and even a little about Adam:
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A Merry Christmas to All

Have a great holiday season everyone, and best wishes for a great new year.

The Errorists

When the Mormons embarked on the business of publishing God’s new revelation to the world, the Book of Mormon, they joined an already teeming effort by American Protestants of various stripes to convert the New World to Christian belief (and practice). The largest efforts involved the American Bible Society (ABS) and the related but different American Tract Society (ATS). By the time the Mormons came on the scene, their combined efforts resulted in billions of pages each year. Read more of this post

Release of Joseph Smith Papers Documents Volume 2 –Liveblog

In about 15 minutes, the JSPP crew will be introducing volume 2 of the Documents Series of the Joseph Smith Papers. Volume 1 was released to the public a few weeks ago. I’ve read some of it, and it appears on its face to be of the same high quality as the previous volumes in other series. Eventually, I’ll put up reviews of these two volumes.

Much of the content of these volumes, at least in volume one, consists of extractions from early collations of history and revelation items. For example, when early revelations from 1828-1831 were collected and copied into manuscript books (multiple entry documents), the autographical documents were discarded, perhaps reused, but eventually lost apparently. It remains to be seen of course if such documents might resurface in private hands, family collections or unexplored archival stores.
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Matt Bowman: Antirevivalism and Its Discontents

Matthew Bowman, “Antirevivalism and Its Discontents: Liberal Evangelicalism, the American City, and the Sunday School, 1900-1929,” Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation, 23/2 (2013): 262-290.

The struggles of Evangelicalism in the early 20th century. Great reading and it’s just possible that you may find parallels in Mormonism. Whatever the case, Great work, Matt.

We Broke Bread

Recently, Aaron R. at By Common Consent wrote a series of posts on the sacrament. Several of his points have stayed with me, and while reading some diaries recently I came across a number of references to the sacrament among the early Mormons that reminded me again of Aaron thoughts. Here is one of those references, dating from the mid 1830s:
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Association for Documentary Editing Website

The Association for Documentary Editing has a new website,

The website posts news in the field of documentary editing, including conferences in the area of Documentary Editing and new publications, such as the Joseph Smith Papers Project’s, Documents volume, just recently announced.

Collector’s Edition: Beginning of Better Days

Deseret Book is offering a red leather, blind-stamped covers, gilded version of Beginning of Better Days: Divine Instruction to Women from the Prophet Joseph Smith. Price is $114.99. Roughly 80 copies available.

Those Old Chestnuts

Thinking on Dotterer.

If the world is conceived in a pluralistic fashion, the case for theological finitism is complete. If we think of God as a Person who stands in moral relation with other persons, then even if we assume those other persons are God’s creatures, it is impossible to hold that he is omnipotent and at the same time perfectly good. The notion of omnipotence is in itself logically unobjectionable. But if he is omnipotent, he is either malevolent or non-moral.
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Association for Documentary Editing–35th Annual Meetings


If you are attending the 35th Annual Meeting of the Association for Documentary Editing in Ann Arbor and have not yet made your hotel reservation, you are encouraged to do so TODAY, in order to receive special conference rates, which start at $119.00. The Sheraton prefers online reservations ( ), but you may also reserve by calling 1-888-627-7098 (if you call, be sure to mention that you are attending the Annual Meeting of the Association for Documentary Editing).
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Mormon History Association Conference June 7-8.

I’ll be at MHA next week. You should come too. I promise to wear “WVS” on my name tag. For the program and sundries, click here.

Redivivus: Joseph Smith’s Dispensational Transition: Elias, Elijah, Messiah.

This is from a while back, but I think it apropos of current events. Enjoy.

[A prerequisite to understanding this post is a solid reading of its base text here.]

In Joseph Smith’s “first” King Follett discourse (March 10, 1844) he codifies a bit of Mormonism that had been fluttering around its edges from the beginning: the transition from beginning the movement to fleshing it out. There are many ways this plays out between 1820 and 1844. As Pete Crawley astutely observed: Read more of this post

Compatibilist Free Will

Sure. God sees the future, and you are able to choose.  Sure.

Sure. God sees the future, and you are able to choose. Sure.

Hint: It’s an illusion.


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