Errata for Joseph Smith Papers Revelations and Translations: Manuscript Revelation Books

I thought I had put this up, but no. So here is the link to the errata for this landmark volume. I may have noted that the collector’s edition is available, if so, consider this a second notice for that. I’m sure there are copies left, if you want one ($225.00 if I recall). You can contact Esther Recksiek at the SLC Deseret Book store for info I think. They also have a coll. ed. of the Monson bio ($145), and McConkie’s Messiah series ($500) (150 sets $10 shipping).

I’m actually going to finish the series of posts on D&C 10. It’s just been a busy time.

Rehearing/Rereading Joseph Smith: Brigham and Brigham.

[I originally posted this over at By Common Consent. But I’ve now flattered myself into thinking that there are at least two people who read stuff here, that don’t go over there. Anyway since I like feedback on things that might make it into the sermon book in some form, I put it up again here.]

When Joseph Smith died, he left a many-pronged collection of doctrine and practice that had yet to be brought together and made coherent as message and marching order for the coming generation of Latter-day Saints. One small part of that thrust was Joseph’s teaching about the nature of man. Over the last near decade of Smith’s life he had developed ideas that led him several different directions with regard to the nature of human beings and their relationship to God.
Read more of this post

Joseph Smith’s Sermon of February 5, 1840

A recent broadcast from lds radio featured Ron Barney and Jeff Cannon of the Joseph Smith Papers Project, on Joseph Smith’s visit to Washington, D.C. in late 1839, early 1840.[1] While no diary was kept during the journey, there were letters sent from Washington by Joseph Smith and Elias Higbee, and an account of meeting(s) with President Martin Van Buren survive in the memoirs of Illinois democrat John Reynolds who introduced Smith and Higbee to Van Buren. Van Buren, the epitome of political savvy at the time, held a states rights view of US politics and excused himself from intervention in the Mormon question on that basis. As Reynolds put it, Joseph left Washington a “red hot Whig.” While Joseph was in the East, he did take the opportunity to deliver several sermons to both Latter-day Saint congregations and to other interested parties.
Read more of this post

Jonathan Edwards Center

The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale U., in the business of editing and publishing Edwards’ papers, is looking for some donations to help keep the project running and to keep online access to the papers free (that’s right, no cost). This is a project worthy of support, I believe. An open letter from general editor Henry Stout follows:
Read more of this post

John Johnson and Loss of Faith

John Johnson harbored Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon (Joseph in the house, Rigdon in a nearby cabin) for a time in Hiram, Ohio when the “translation” of the scriptures was in progress. A number of important old families in the region (as old as it got on the frontier) had also joined the Church, but then lost faith for various reasons. Johnson however, did not. Instead he stood by Smith and Rigdon, doing what he could to further the progress of the work, accepting Smith’s revelatory claims and providing for his needs on the strength of those beliefs. But Johnson became embroiled in the Kirtland financial boom/bust whose causes seem clear today, but were faith rending for many. David Boruchoff writes:

In religion, as in love, the burden of disillusion is most difficult to bear when it results, not from doubt as to the preeminence of one’s objectives and aspirations, but instead from the sense that one cannot achieve them. Hope is a terrible thing to lose, particularly when one still believes in the necessity of ideals left in abeyance, perhaps never to be realized.[1]

The watch I wear claims that it is water resistant to 200m. While I have done a little fish watching, I’ve certainly never gone to 600 feet. That is a cold dark world where sunlight never penetrates. The pressure is immense and highly specialized equipment would be needed to assist such a dive. Even then, it’s not safe. I’ve wondered about Johnson’s dive and why it came to that – reaching the limits of his faith. While some family members remained in or rejoined Mormonism, I wonder what John would have thought had he stayed the course.[2]

[1] “New Spain, New England, and the New Jerusalem.” Early American Literature. 43/1 (2008):5.

[2] For Kirtland see the last two chapters of Mark L. Staker’s Hearken, O Ye People. (Kofford, 2010).

The Power of Christ to Save

Today we had a remarkable testimony meeting in our ward. From first to last it touched me. The whole day reminded me of the power of Christ to save. Some of our discussions in church meetings centered around lost hopes, children who had turned from religion, unfulfilled blessings because of bad choices, the mistakes and missed opportunities of those we know so well in Mormonism’s past, that sort of thing. I believe in the infinite Christ. Salvation is not confined to a 72 year period in a broken imperfect body on this earth. For all our focus on preparing in this life, let’s not lose focus on eternal life behind and before us. I believe in the endless patience of Christ to ferret us out of our holes of illness, sin, error and crash and burn stupidity. There is always hope. That hope is in Christ. We can choose to have faith. That’s my testimony today.

Wilford Woodruff and the CHL

Today for most of the afternoon I was at the LDS Church History Library in Salt Lake City. My mission was to correct a little problem in chapter 6 of the funeral sermon book. A couple of years ago, when I was making typographical facsimiles[1] of source documents (which will be in the book) I was being very careful to triple check transcriptions. But for some reason, I failed in this when it came to the sermon in chapter 6 (the subject of chapter 6 is Joseph Smith’s sermon of March 10, 1844). I seem to have made just one pass at Wilford Woodruff’s journal account. Now I’ve been reading Woodruff’s journal off and on since the early 70s. (It’s worth repeating that read.) I have a sort of summary of his journal entries that focus on what you might call “the good stuff.”
Read more of this post