James E. Talmage, B. H. Roberts, Joseph Smith and the Phase and Group Velocities of Mormon Thought

Ok, if I could have placed a really big smiley in the title, I would have.
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A Systematic Theology – B.H. Roberts’ Dream

In 1912, Brigham Henry Roberts had finished his editorial adventure in LDS church history with the closing of his introductory essay to volume 6 of the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His final paragraph reads:
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Urim, Joseph Smith, Book of Abraham, King Follett, part 4.

Howard Coray’s letter to his daughter is in part one of consolation, trying, as fathers do, to help her come to grips with the trials of her faith. Read more of this post

Ten Thousand – A Milestone?

So our tiny blog here passed the 10K visitor mark a while back. I’ve only learned enough of blogging software to get by, but I did notice the total visits. So, thanks to you all for stopping here. I’m terribly busy right now so there is nothing new in this post, just wanted to note this. We’re not too important, and we have a pretty narrow focus, so 10,000 is not too bad for the 7 month anniversary, right?

P.S. I should add a thank you to Emily Jensen, Geoff J., J. Stapley, Angela Clayton, and some of the folks at JI for noticing us and spreading the word occasionally and the same to any others I’ve missed – thank you. Very kind of you.

The Golden Age of Joseph Smith’s Presence in Mormonism?

It is clearly the case that (for a multitude of reasons) the majority of Latter-day Saints share little interest in the tiny details of Joseph Smith’s life, or his ideas that extend beyond what may appear in the current correlated materials. Herding the minutia of Joseph’s sermons is what we do here and that’s an activity which raises little interest in that quarter. But an unintentional side effect of the natural loyalty many Saints have to the “correlated” materials generally leaves some fraction of them open to the shocks the various critics of Mormonism love to deliver. That, more than the history geeks, keeps alive some interest in the side lights of early Mormonism and the unofficial Joseph Smith.*
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Urim, Joseph Smith, Book of Abraham, King Follett, part 3. Joseph Smith and Seer Stones.

Howard Coray’s letter demonstrates a fallacy that has many supporters in popular Mormonism. The fallacy is this: When Joseph Smith finished the translation of the Book of Mormon, he gave up using his revelatory instruments. The basis for this belief is a statement by Orson Pratt to the effect that he once observed Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon producing a portion of the “New Translation” of the Bible. Pratt asked why the seer stone was not being employed in the work. According to Pratt, Joseph responded that since being ordained in the Melchizedek Priesthood he was able to obtain revelation without the use of such items.
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