Church History Symposium–Program

The jointly sponsored symposium at Brigham Young University, Approaching Antiquity: Joseph Smith’s Study of the Ancient World has now published the program for the event. The details are found here: http://rsc.byu.edu/symposia/churchhistory.  A number of speakers are well-known in Mormon Studies.  

Printing the Sermons of Joseph Smith

A comprehensive discussion of any text will often address imprints in various levels of detail. No exception here. Surprisingly, the technical details of the enterprise of printing Joseph Smith’s sermons seem to be better known for 19th century efforts than those of the 20th century. No 19th century LDS church texts focused entirely on JS’s sermons. His published Sermon-texts are scattered in various 19th century venues including magazines, newsprint, and a few books and some of these only gave Reader’s Digest versions. (In another post, I hope to address a related issue, reference to Smith’s sermons.)
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Short Review: The Joseph Smith Papers Revelations and Translations (first volume in the series)

Just a short review of the R&T volume. I’ve been so busy with school matters that if I don’t do it now, I’ll forget again. (I’ve altered some of the verbiage here to correspond with Constance Lewis’s comment below.)

This volume: 23x40cm, you’ll need to use the tall shelf. Weighing in at 7lbs 10oz, you won’t want to take it jogging or haul it in the brief case very far. There are 707 standard pages, with front matter numbered in Roman. Pages are of high quality matte finish acid free paper. Color and format of the dust jacket follows the initial volume of the Papers, volume 1 of the journals series. At $99.95 retail, a bargain.
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Jonathan Grimshaw and Honorable Doubts, Part 3.

For part 1 of this post see here. Part 2, here.

By 1855, Jonathan had been involved in all the activities of the LDS Church Historian’s Office. He spent considerable time copying Joseph Smith’s (JS) sermons from diaries or other records. The complete list of sermons with which he was involved in some way is unknown because the clerks failed to give those details in many instances. As far as our book (Funeral Sermons of JS) goes, Grimshaw was involved with the March 10, 1844 sermon, the April 7, 1844 sermon and perhaps others in the string of “Follett” sermons (April 8, May 12 and June 16, 1844) and possibly earlier ones. The methods of the clerks and historians were reasonable for the times but by modern standards suspect. Copy-texts, as we might call them, were often previous printings of versions of the sermons which in some cases were rather imperfect representations of the primary sources. Read more of this post

Ramblings about Stones, Expectations and Faith

We (sane?) humans have a well-known tendency to systematize our thought-environs. We desire to not only have reality match expectation, but many of us desire that our sincere beliefs not be paradoxical and furthermore have no gaping rational holes. Perhaps such tendencies, assuming they exist, arise from the paradigms of science or perhaps from an inherent desire to have things make sense—to have deductive logic connect the pieces. Do these tendencies motivate us to make and hold to seemingly rational conclusions about faith (theology?), even when empirical evidence “proves” they don’t match reality? When logician Kurt Godel was asked if (based on a cosmology which includes time-travel ) one could go back in time and kill their own great-grand parents, he replied that this would create a paradox, and so could not happen because “logic is powerful.” Read more of this post

The Parallel Joseph-A History?

Years ago, I can’t remember when we started to do it exactly, but we began to collect Joseph Smith’s sermon reports. Of course, Andrew Ehat and Lyndon Cook had published reports of Nauvoo sermons in the groundbreaking (1980) Words of Joseph Smith -WJS. This was an effort that could be classified as part of the New Mormon History in a way, although it was not analytical per se. It was reprinted 10 years later. It is a work that does not resonate with average Mormons, partly because it brings to the forefront some of the uncertainty that exists regarding what Joseph said. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith has been rather a standby since its 1938 publication and has basically remained fixed since then, except for Richard Galbraith’s Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1993. I think that was a big seller for Deseret Book. Just reading the title, one might think that it merely extracted those teachings of JS which were “scriptural” somehow, or that it sought to supply scriptures implicitly referenced by JS in his speeches or “writings.” But it was neither of those. It was an attempt to match LDS scripture passages with TPJS passages as the author saw links. I do not know if it is still in the D-Book arsenal. Meanwhile, there were some privately published “parallelized” versions of some of JS sermons, some possibly extracted from Ehat and Cook, I don’t know.
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Ontological Revelation

Paul Tillich drew a distinction between “ontological” reason and “technical” reason. Not being too picky here about what he meant, I’ve been wondering if one can make a distinction in revelation, particularly I’m thinking of Joseph Smith’s revelations and “near revelations.”[1]
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Free will and foreknowledge

Joseph Smith (JS) seemed comfortable postulating both that mankind generally, with exceptions, have free choice (at least internal moral choice) and that God has perfect foreknowledge. Although perhaps the latter can be (and has been) debated in some sense. Of course there are more complex shades of meaning here. Read more of this post

Jonathan Grimshaw and Honorable Doubts, Part I.

In tracking how JS’s sermon-texts have been treated over the last 170 odd years, more than one mysterious personality surfaces.  One of these was Jonathan Grimshaw.   Grimshaw was an English convert to Mormonism who had tried more than one religion prior to his contact with the Mormons. Read more of this post

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