One More Note on Presidents-Brigham Young and Adoption

I forgot to mention in the last post, that we are expanding Brigham Young’s file with a new section, 1844-1850. The initial entry is quite interesting both for Young’s ideas about priesthood adoption and his own picture of ideal life. Oh yeah, he also mentions leading the church astray. It’s an interesting twist. Also, his advice on women is interesting.

Expansion of “Presidents” File at

So we have gradually added some more Hinckley addresses.  I think we are up through October 2000 now.  I was especially impressed with President Hinckley’s addresses for the Sunday morning and afternoon sessions of October 2000, which included his dedicatory prayer for the conference center and his instructions about the Hosanna Shout.  I thought his own expression about this in the afternoon was interesting and significant.


We’ll probably start slipping in some more “non conference” addresses when time allows.

The Length of a Papyrus Scroll

A while ago, someone asked me a question about determining the length of a papyrus scroll  (before you unroll it obviously). The question pertained specifically to, you guessed it, P. Joseph Smith (the document of breathing part). I thought about this for a few minutes and it’s really not a hard problem.

The inverse problem, deciding what a scroll looked like in its rolled state, if you encounter it unrolled may be of interest, but both problems are connected to basically the same set of measurements.

Some of you geeks might be interested in how it goes, if you haven’t already guessed it.  This of course is clearly connected to the name of this blog, if not to the charter, but, rules are made to be broken (again and again).  Have a little sleep-inducing fun: (Note, the presentation has been updated based on various email responses and misunderstandings, etc., etc.)


Joseph Smith and the Taxonomy of “Intelligence(s),” Part 2-Ground Rules.

Ok, this is part 2 of our discussion of Joseph Smith and certain words. Part 1 is here.

In this part, I mostly just want to map out a little of what I will exclude from the discussion.
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Joseph Smith and the Taxonomy of “Intelligence(s)” – Part 1.

The ontological/cosmological fundamentals of Mormonism have been batted about the orbiting literature for many decades. But the discussion has rarely been formal and in the context of textual studies (the closest attempt might be the 1978 BYU studies issue treating King Follett – our treatment is more- “formal”). Such studies might be useful in clearly defining the terms used by Joseph Smith in some respects. I believe this is necessarily a nuanced question, not one where it is overwhelmingly useful to appeal to, say, European philosophical constructs (see the last paragraph as well).
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Jonathan Edwards Summer Course

The staff of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University will present a week-long course examining “Jonathan Edwards’ Religious Affections.” Information at Registration at June 21-25, $425. Classroom work + you get to see manuscripts. And there is a day long tour of Edwards-related sites. Contact with questions. Register before April 23, you get to stay in dorms for $300. Yahoo.

The Church Historian’s Office c1972

In the early 1970s, the access point for the historical archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a small group of rooms in the northwest corner of the 3rd floor of what is known as the “Church Administration Building.” (47 East, South Temple St., Salt Lake City, Utah.) In the perimeter hallway were microfilm readers. The reading room had some 1940s era typewriters (yeah, not electric) and you needed to bring your own ribbon(!) and paper if you hoped to find them useful.

A card catalog file showed some of what was available for fetching. The research director, if he liked you, would approve those requests. 😀 The lighting was not great. But there was treasure to be seen, if you knew what to ask for.
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In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Mormons end virtually every public sermon, testimony, lesson, prayer, etc. with these words. Why? A number of scriptural justifications could be offered. But I’m more interested in the sermon angle. After sitting through the Saturday conference sessions, I wondered when this tradition started in Utah Mormonism. It doesn’t seem to be shared by other Joseph Smith-based faith traditions, at least that I can see with a cursory review. It was not used regularly as a sermon tag line in Nauvoo. And believe me, I’ve looked at that. (But see Joseph’s blessing ending on April 13, 1843 for example.)
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General Priesthood Session-April 2010

So we were sitting about 14 rows back, just to the left of dead center, a clear view of the pulpit in the conference center. I can’t recall a better priesthood session in recent memory. Elder Oaks, on healing with his usual careful exposition. Elder Rasband on missionary assignments, was informative and fun. Bro. Beck on new YM prog. Pres. Uchtdorf on patience. My all time favorite of his. Pres. Eyring on diligence. Also a great talk. Pres. Monson on, sort of the Strength of Youth talking points. A couple of trademark Monson stories. The music, it was just fantastic in my opinion. Really nice arrangements. Excellent voices. Fine directing. And then ice cream at Leatherby’s after.

Joseph would have approved, I think. Provided he was properly acclimated first. 😉

By the way, you watch it here.