Presiding Bishopric, I.

A few years ago I did a series of posts at BCC on the Presiding Bishopric of the LDS Church. This is a bit of a rehash of that series, slightly updated. And I rather enjoy the topic anyway.

The priesthood office of “bishop” in Mormonism derives from two early revelations. The first was dictated in New York, January 2, 1831.

And now, I give unto the church in these parts a commandment, that certain men among them shall be appointed, and they shall be appointed by the voice of the church;
And they shall look to the poor and the needy, and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer; and send them forth to the place which I have commanded them;
And this shall be their work, to govern the affairs of the property of this church.[D&C 38:34-36]

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The New General Relief Society President: God Can Make Your Ordinariness into Something More

General Relief Society President, Jean Bingham:

“Growing up, although I enjoyed learning, I was not the top student in any class. I cannot boast of any expert skills. … I was never asked to the prom, I wasn’t the president of anything, I was never one of the popular group.
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Come and See: Steve Peck Discusses His New Book at Writ & Vision

http://us10.campaign-archive2.com/?u=fd469ebd5d28624a9a6247618&id=96248469ac&e=854d51ec4d

Steven Peck – Author Signing and Panel

Please join us Thursday, April 13th, at 7 pm as we welcome acclaimed novelist, scientist, and poet Steven Peck to discuss is new book SCIENCE THE KEY TO THEOLOGY.

Professor Peck will be joined by Zina Petersen and Steve Evans for a panel discussion on the book, as well as on science and religion and other boring subjects.

SCIENCE THE KEY TO THEOLOGY is the inaugural title from the newly announced BCC Press, a non-profit Mormon publisher.

Read more about BCC Press here:

Announcing BCC Press

Come join us for this exciting discussion and to get signed copies of this groundbreaking new book.

The event is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be served.

Writ & Vision
274 Center St.
Provo, Utah 84601

A New Mormon Oriented Press: BCC Press

Steve Evans and the crew at the By Common Consent blog began discussing the idea of a new outlet for Mormon literature some time ago. Plans fell into place as the bloggers realized that the group housed people with the tools to make such an enterprise work. It’s a volunteer army over there and a nonprofit effort. Proceeds go to maintain press expenses (someone has to buy the paper) and to authors. How the model works over time is to be determined but the enthusiasm and the talent pool is there. See the web page.

Where does BCC Press live within the somewhat limited Mormon publishing industry? I think that remains to be seen. Will it found a new journal? Publish scientific research? Unlikely. But what about promising fiction authors? Or innovative theological work? That seems to be fair game. The press wants to help shape Mormon thought and that means engaging fine authors with important projects. Certain kinds of devotional literature seem in play. Considering what BCC Press is not may be helpful in defining its place. It is not an academic press, though literature of academic quality may be in view. It is not Deseret Book, though books on personal faith journeys seem part of the charter. In essence, the field is open as wide as the expertise of its volunteer workforce. For more information, see here.

Newsroom: Is the World Getting Worse?

From the LDS Public Relations arm, led by former Assistant Church Historian and Recorder, Richard E. Turley:

Hope is realistic about the bad, but it chooses to deposit its money in the bank of the good. Pope Francis touched on this in his January 2017 address to communicators around the world, where he encouraged journalists to lift their sights higher than the smog of constant bad news.

“We have to break the vicious circle of anxiety and stem the spiral of fear resulting from a constant focus on ‘bad news,’” he said. “I ask everyone to offer the people of our time storylines that are at heart ‘good news.’”[1]

The Newsroom notes work toward this end:

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Joseph Smith Papers New Online Content

Click the link for some interesting new items from the JSPP.

Happy Birthday Relief Society!

The Nauvoo Female Relief Society had its founding meeting 175 years ago today. This necessary-to-complete-restoration organization has had a marked effect on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A comprehensive history of Relief Society still waits to be written but a number of important volumes are recently in the wind from the Church Historian’s Press and Alfred A. Knopf. Not in any order of importance, see

1. Jill Mulvay Derr, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Kate Holbrook, and Matthew J. Grow, eds., The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History (Salt Lake City: The Church Historian’s Press, 2016).

2. Jennifer Reeder and Kate Holbrook, eds., At the Pulpit: 185 years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women (Salt Lake City: The Church Historian’s Press, 2017).

3. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women’s Rights in Early Mormonism, 1835-1870 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017).

May I also recommend you pursue the Relief Society meeting minutes of April 28, 1842 here. You’ll see two documents in parallel, the original minutes, and an edited version by church historian George A. Smith, put together 16 years later. The contrast is remarkably revealing if somewhat disappointing. The sisters did not give up however. They read and reread Joseph Smith’s commission from the original in the succeeding decades. It became a powerful totem for women in their spiritual service and leadership.

Yay Relief Society. Can’t wait for 200.