Lorenzo Snow, His Pre-Mormon Thoughts at Oberlin

So another review post. I’ve become fascinated by Lorenzo Snow. His thinking was deep, interesting and rather unique among Mormons. An intellectual among New England farmers, his success as a Mormon leader was due in part to remarkable inspiration and considerable hard-headedness.(grin) These two posts relate a letter from Lorenzo to his sister Eliza while Snow was studying at Oberlin College. His frankness and self-confidence show themselves, while ideas that would mark his later religious thought peak through. Moreover, it seems clear that he regards his sister as a worthy sounding board.

Part I

Part II

On a Recent Winter Night

While I was driving home one evening this past year, these lines came to mind. Since this month is the 21st anniversary of my son’s death, I share them with you.
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Joseph F. Smith, John Pack and the High Priesthood, Part 1.

Joseph F. Smith was the son of Hyrum Smith, brother to Joseph Smith the Prophet. JFS was an independent thinker. Growing up in Utah, he became more or less a street urchin following his mother’s death in 1852. At age 15 he was called on a mission to Hawaii to redirect his life. The contacts and experience he had there would color his future. Smith led an interesting and provocative life, divorcing his first wife but becoming a successful and prolific polygamist.
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Hugh! Happy 100th!!

Hugh, thanks for being an observer, and giving us some of the observations.

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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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

The B. H. Roberts Cabal…….

The 19th century produced some prominent thinkers in Mormonism. But the 20th century also had its share. One particular group (I use the term in a loose sense) was what I choose to call the “B. H. Roberts Cabal.” Roberts himself was not entirely self taught, but he trolled the waters of intellectualism in his day and in some respects sought to show Mormonism consistent with or even ahead of the science and philosophy of the times.

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Joseph Smith Papers, journals – vol. 1-Errata

If you got Journals vol. 1 for Christmas, you can find the errata here. It’s actually interesting reading (ok, for history dorks maybe). Print it, fold it up and stick it in your book! Have a good one.

“Learn How to Live and How to Die”

Much of Joseph Smith’s preaching about death was meant to compel his listeners to faith. Over the years of my own life I have seen death. Even if you don’t experience death as it was in the early 19th century, if you live long enough, you will see it impact your life.

I have buried a son, a brother, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and unrelated friends. Looking at death as inevitable has become a routine matter. But what is it for us survivors? It is first and foremost, loss. Whatever theology one subscribes to, or to no theology at all, this is the universal fact. The dead don’t come back. You don’t find him or her sleeping in their bed the next morning after the funeral.

They are gone.
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Alvin Lisonbee (1927-2009) Rest in Peace

I’m deviating slightly from the usual theme of this blog for a good reason: a friend of mine passed away recently and he deserves some mention here. The reasons are a little complicated but it’s mainly because in a sense, for me, he is fashioned in the image of many of those represented in Joseph Smith’s funeral sermons. Among the departed individuals Joseph remembered in his (all too few) reported funeral addresses we find the rank and file Mormon. Those who we do not as a rule discuss for their lives of faith. Though at the time of their deaths they may have had some minor notoriety.
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Alexander Neibaur – Nauvoo Journal

Hugh Nibley’s great grandfather, Alexander Neibaur, was a Mormon convert who emigrated to Nauvoo, Ill. in 1841. His short Nauvoo journal is available now at boap.org. It contains an interesting account of shipboard problems when Neibaur sailed from Liverpool to New Orleans. Neibaur tutored Joseph Smith in German, and Smith related several interesting incidents which Neibaur reports in his journal.

What did Joseph Smith’s Sermons Mean to Latter-day Saints?

What did Joseph Smith’s sermons mean to the Mormons? This is a large question, and one I will not answer in any comprehensive way in this post. Moreover the conclusions given here are just generalities. (The reality here is a spectrum, not a strict set of categories.) But a part of the answer lies in the idea of temporal distance. Read more of this post

Martin Luther, Matthew – and the Devil

Last night I was working away on the sermon book and I wanted to use Luther’s remark that even Matthew in writing the gospel named for him was influenced by Satan. But, then I could not for the life of me recall where I read that. I tried checking around in my books, did a google search, but I cannot seem to find it. So, I need some help. Anyone know a source for this? Or am I completely wrong and it was someone else who said this. But it does sound like something Luther might have said. I can almost picture the Latin version of the phrase but I can’t remember where it came from. Help!

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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