Joseph Smith has been a fascinating figure since the day of his “First Vision” in 1820. Scholars and believers continue to ask questions about the Prophet’s character, his use of gold plates to translate the Book of Mormon, his relationship with Emma Smith—and much more. This article presents snapshots of academic and devotional insights about the life and teachings of Joseph Smith Jr.
The first volume of the Brigham Young Journals begins with the prophet’s baptism and ends with his marathon efforts to endow the Nauvoo saints before their westward exodus. As the first installment in a four-part series, the book offers readers an intimate portrayal of Brigham Young, featuring elements such as his phonetic spelling, missionary labors, and devotion to his family. In this interview, Ronald K. Esplin explains what he and historian Brent M. Rogers find most fascinating about the journals.
The Come, Follow Me 2023 lessons are drawn from the New Testament. The Sunday School curriculum complements the Book of Mormon as a witness of Jesus Christ, and the title is taken from the Savior’s invitation in Matthew and Luke: “Come, follow me.” This article contains scriptural insights from Latter-day Saints and notable secular scholars, along with the Come, Follow Me 2023 schedule.
Ken Cannon’s biography of George Q. Cannon is the latest in scholarly publishing about the early Latter-day Saint apostle. The work focuses on Cannon’s role as “politician, publisher, and apostle of polygamy.” It includes his role as a confidante to Brigham Young, counselor in four First Presidencies, and father to nearly forty children.
The King James Version (KJV) of the Bible has been used by English-speaking Latter-day Saints since the time of Joseph Smith. However, our commitment to the 400-year-old translation places us in a minority within the United States—and even differs from how the Church translates the Bible in other languages. In this interview, New Testament scholar Thomas Wayment explains why U.S. Latter-day Saints use the King James Version and what might be involved in publishing a new translation.
Latter-day Saints have been preaching the need for gratitude since the days of Joseph Smith. Whether it’s used as a measure of discipleship, a mark of holiness, or a fruit of forgiveness, the benefits of gratitude are legion. These inspiring Latter-day Saint quotes on gratitude from general conferences and BYU devotionals help make everyday a day of “thanksgiving.”
The Book of Abraham is a volume of holy scripture translated by Joseph Smith. The text is unique because we possess some of the Egyptian papyri the Prophet may have used during his translation. However, the text on extant fragments doesn’t align with what’s found in the book—and that’s led to many debates. Ultimately, the Church says that the book’s power lies in study, prayer, and personal revelation. This article walks you through some of the latest research findings, including exclusive From the Desk interviews.
The Book of Abraham includes an account of the foreordination of Abraham as one of God’s noble and great ones. Latter-day Saints often interpret these verses as a reference to rulers in God’s earthly church, but there are also other potential meanings. For instance, the verses may refer to divine members of God’s heavenly council. In this interview, Stephen Smoot discusses the history, theology, and ancient Egyptian context of Abraham’s foreordination.
The First Vision of Joseph Smith is an important part of the story of both The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ. The two communities, however, have had nearly 200 years of divergence of opinions on the subject. This interview with Dr. Keith J. Wilson discusses the Latter-day Saint and Community of Christ perspectives on the First Vision.
The Egyptian Language Documents (ELD) might not have been intended to aid Joseph Smith in translating the Book of Abraham. Instead, two BYU professors argue that the Egyptian Alphabet, Grammar and Alphabet, and Book of Abraham Manuscripts are associated with a “pure language project” initiated by the Prophet in 1832. In this interview, Michael MacKay and Daniel Belnap explain more and delve into the implications of their new article in the Journal of Mormon History titled “The Pure Language Project.”