A new photograph of Joseph Smith seems to pop up every few years. However, all of the candidates have been ruled out—until now. While not the slam dunk some media outlets would have you believe, the Smith/Larsen daguerreotype makes a stronger case than we’ve seen before. In this interview, Lachlan Mackay walks through some of the historical details.
Brigham Young is one of the most well-known figures in the history of the American West. But there are scores of lesser-known facts from his life that range from coining the term “pony express” to getting a bad rap in the Journal of Discourses. Similarly, many popular stories about Brigham Young fall into the realm of myth. For example, you won’t find his hearse at Disneyland—and he didn’t miraculously leave room in the Salt Lake Temple for elevators.
The prophet Brigham Young spent two years studying the Book of Mormon before he accepted it as the word of God. He said that he “wished time sufficient to prove all things for myself.” Today, scholars seek historical confirmation of the scripture’s origins to complement their own divine witnesses. In this interview, Stephen D. Ricks discusses evidence that names in the Book of Mormon have ancient origins.
Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code introduced a new generation to the idea that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. A decade later, a forgery of “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” capitalized on the issue’s sensational nature. In this interview, historian Christopher Blythe expounds on his BYU Studies Quarterly article about open questions and says that Latter-day Saints have been comfortable with different answers to this quandary at different times.
Zion’s Camp—also known as the Camp of Israel—was a formative experience in the life of 28-year-old Joseph Smith. However, like the Law of Consecration, it’s a pioneer experience rife with misunderstanding. In this interview, historian Matt Godfrey separates fact from fiction and discusses the purpose of Zion’s Camp.
The nature of Joseph Smith’s revelatory experiences has become a subject of intense academic focus. Some scholars have looked at what the Prophet meant by translation, while others have mused about the purpose of the gold plates. In this interview, Jeffrey Bradshaw talks about the relationship between Freemasonry and the Latter-day Saint temple endowment.
The relationship between Joseph Smith’s ministry and Freemasonry and the temple endowment has long been a topic of interest. In this interview, Cheryl Bruno discusses some of the ways in which the Prophet may have been influenced by Freemasonry throughout his life, from Palmyra to Nauvoo.