Mark E. Petersen, Expertise, Interpretation, and McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine

Many people are aware that Elder Bruce R. McConkie’s book Mormon Doctrine was not universally received among Church leadership as a positive thing. That story has been told in a number of places, from a number of perspectives. This, however, was new to me, summarizing from this article and expanding from the McKay diaries, around Jan 14, 1960. Continue reading “Mark E. Petersen, Expertise, Interpretation, and McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine”

Come Follow Me:3 Nephi 11-15

Today we enter into a very interesting section of the Book of Mormon. Like the Isaiah chapters, it closely parallels a section of the Bible. Like the Isaiah chapters, there are some subtle differences. 3Ne 12-15 parallels the Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew 5-7. It’s been lined up so that if you want to compare verses (and you should!), take the Book of Mormon chapter number and subtract 7 to get the right verse in Matthew, e.g. 3 Nephi 12:48  ≈ Matthew 5:48.

Let’s compare those. Continue reading “Come Follow Me:3 Nephi 11-15”

Come Follow Me: 3 Nephi 1-7

First, it’s that time of year wherein I start thinking about January, which means D&C/Church History… but mostly D&C. I always get excited when we hit D&C, because it means we’re almost to the Old Testament again. In the meantime, I have to figure out how to handle D&C here. This is the book I have read and taught the least, and I have virtually no notes to build from. Yes, I’m a historian of American religious history, but D&C focuses almost entirely on the 1830-1845 period… but my specialization is elsewhere. As for today, I want to focus almost entirely on 3Ne 6:12 today. Continue reading “Come Follow Me: 3 Nephi 1-7”

Interpreting Science and Scripture: Joseph Fielding Smith, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Hermeneutics in LDS History

I was set to present a paper at the Mormon History Association this year (now pushed to next year), “Seventh-day Adventist Influence on LDS Creationism, from Joseph Fielding Smith to Ezra Taft Benson.”

Here’s an expanded teaser with some analysis of philosophical underpinnings.

Continue reading “Interpreting Science and Scripture: Joseph Fielding Smith, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Hermeneutics in LDS History”

A new Hugh Nibley story, from the Archives

I found this in a short autobiography by Glenn Pearson, a BYU professor.  Boyd Peterson, Hugh Nibley’s biographer and son-in-law, had not seen it before.

While running an Institute in California, Pearson completed PhD coursework in History of Education at UCLA, but went back to BYU before finishing. Here’s Pearson’s story. Continue reading “A new Hugh Nibley story, from the Archives”

Science, religion, and evolution… in the 12th century

Many deeply religious people have concerns about subordinating religion to science, the tail wagging the dog as it were. I see it a LOT in LDS history. There’s certainly some legitimacy to that fear, but also a lot of misunderstandings. Ideas of progressive or developmental creation are not necessarily a response to Darwin.

I’ve written before about how “science” and “religion” as commonly understood today are not well-defined categories, and can’t simply be retrojected into the past; Galileo wasn’t a “scientist” because such a thing didn’t exist yet, nor did he think he was doing “science.” Continue reading “Science, religion, and evolution… in the 12th century”