In January 2018, I had the privilege to interview two historians associated with the Joseph Smith Papers Project: Matthew J. Grow and R. Eric Smith. Both scholars served as editors for the 2017 publication, “The Council of Fifty: What the Records Reveal about Mormon History.”
The Council of Fifty was a secret organization founded by the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1844. The previously inaccessible records — or minutes — kept by the group remained a source of much speculation until they were made public in 2016. A new book titled “The Council of Fifty: What the Records Reveal about Mormon History” contains 15 essays about various topics of interest from the minutes of the council.
Among the many insights shared in the book are five fascinating facts about the Council of Fifty minutes. Continue reading “Five fascinating facts about the Council of Fifty”
John Gee is perhaps the leading Mormon commentator on the Book of Abraham – a portion of Mormon scripture that is simultaneously vital to the Mormon belief of premortal existence and heavily debated inside of academic circles. As a believing Mormon with a Ph.D. in Egyptology from Yale University, Gee brings a wonderful mix of perspectives to the discussion.
“An Introduction to the Book of Abraham” is precisely that – an introduction of the issues most important to both believers and scholars. The book is quite matter-of-fact in its tone, although there is the sense of subtle chastisement for both believers and scholars who approach the book with bias and extremism. As a result, the reader never feels compelled to come down on either side of any issue. Instead, the book serves quite nicely as an informative introduction regardless of any preconceived opinions.
Perhaps my favorite feature of the book is Continue reading “Book Review: An Introduction to the Book of Abraham”