Robert J. Matthews. RIP

Robert Matthews, long time religion professor at BYU and JST scholar passed away today. Sympathies to his family and friends. Perhaps now he knows the answers to many of those deep questions.

Former dean of religious education at Brigham Young University, Robert Matthews played a significant role in many LDS Church projects. He worked to thaw relations between the (then) Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now Community of Christ) and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with his study of the manuscripts of Joseph Smith’s biblical revisions, held at the time in RLDS archives.

Among many Church assignments, Matthews served as president of the Mount Timpanogos Temple in American Fork, Utah.

Nathan Baldwin and Unknown Joseph Smith Sermons

Nathan Bennett Baldwin was born in Grenville, “Upper Canada” in 1812. He joined the Church of Christ (later The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) April 28, 1833. He journeyed with “Zions Camp.” Baldwin was selected as a member of the first quorum of Seventy (Feb. 25, 1835). He received the Nauvoo endowment Jan. 3, 1846. Nathan Baldwin came west as a pioneer and eventually settled in southern Utah.
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More yet – and Early Saints’ Journals, etc.

One of my favorite things on is the ever growing collection we call in house, “Early Saints.” It has a much longer, more descriptive title on If you scroll down the home page, you’ll see a link about diaries and journals, that’s it. This is a set of autobiographies, biographies, diaries, letters and reminiscences of people who had some contact with Joseph Smith.
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More Stuff on – Doctrine and Covenants Studies

This is late for the LDS Sunday school’s Doctrine and Covenants-church history study, but it may be helpful if you’re are interested in textual study of the D&C: how revelation text has evolved, the identity of persons mentioned in the revelations and some other historical issues involving the revelations (like evolution of priesthood concepts), publication info, and besides that, it is free. If you go to and scroll down the page a bit you will see an “annotated history of the church” link. clicking on that link will lead you a page of links to the first 25 or so chapters of volume one of the B. H. Roberts edited seven volume history of the LDS church. Admittedly, this isn’t very much of the text, but it took a considerable amount of work just to do this much.
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A Note on Some Additions at – Church President’s Sermons

Since I’m not doing anything on the book at present, I wanted to tell you all that there is now a collection of sermons from other LDS church presidents besides Joseph Smith at We have some from all but Thomas Monson up now. It’s certainly not a complete corpus, but there is a lot there. I think these are sermons of church presidents, while they held the office, not previous to that time. As I said, the collection is not complete by any stretch. You can find them by going to, the link is on the home page. You can Google search it or you can use your browser to text search individual presidents. The Hinckley collection is very small. Besides, we may end up removing the post-1971 stuff in any case.

If you have a request for something that is missing, I’ll try and get it added.


William, Rosanna and Ephraim Marks–Sources?

I’m away from home, and hence away from archive heaven, but not wanting to be completely idle, I’m asking for a favor–.

One of Joseph Smith’s funeral sermons that is extant to some reasonable degree is one delivered for 24 year old Ephraim Robinson Marks. Son of William and Rosanna Marks, the cause of death is obscure. In many ways the sermon was classically Protestant in flavor. But not all. William and Rosanna were prominent Nauvoo Mormons. Ephraim, like so many other people in Nauvoo, seems to be invisible.

I’ve not really burned any candles over Ephraim as yet (I mean in the sense of extensive study, not ritual!), but if you happen to know something about him, associates, reputation, his family, his parents, etc., how about sharing such sources. You can email me (see to the right) or comment here, as you please. I won’t respond unless you wish it. Yes, I want to poach your sources.
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Mormon Miscellaneous Radio Program – Van Hale

This is a bit off topic, but I wanted to let you all know something. Van Hale [1] has been operating a radio show in Salt Lake environs called “Mormon Miscellaneous.” The show has been running for nearly 30 years I believe, and is now on ktalk radio, KKTK AM 630 in the Salt Lake area and simultaneous internet feed at mms:// (there’s an mp3 stream too I think – check at It’s a live show, between 5 and 7PM (Mountain Time) on Sundays. Anyway I was a guest on the show last Sunday evening. It was a very interesting experience.

But the point is that Van has been ill for several weeks and the show is being hosted by a friend of his, Don Ormsby. The listener audience has probably shrunk some since Van has been out, but the show is such a unique resource that I thought I would put in a plug for it. I think you’ll get a kick out of a few of the callers. Hopefully, Van will be back in the saddle in a month or two.

[1] If you don’t know who Van is, you can’t be too deep into Mormon history. Van has done some really fine work. He’s also a bit of a polyglot, with wide interests in Mormonism in general. I think he’s spent 30% of his life in the LDS archives.

Is Reality Consistent with First Order Predicate Calculus?

The whole of science is based on answering yes to that question. But what about religion? At least from Augustine to Aquinas, people hoped the answer was yes. Of course, they wouldn’t have used the same terminology.
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