The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had a presence in the islands of the Pacific Ocean since the time of Joseph Smith, but it was only during the decades following WWII that it experienced extensive growth in areas like Micronesia, the Philippeans, and eastern Asia. This includes the modern states of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and Palau, along with the U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands (all of which are referrenced as Micronesia and Guam in this interview). These countries have some of the highest per capita membership in the Church in the world. This interview with R. Devan Jensen discusses the history of the Church in Micronesia and Guam.
It might seem unlikely that we can know anything about the ancient owners of the Joseph Smith Papyri. However, the Book of Abraham scrolls included names and genealogies indicating that the owners were ancient Egyptian priests. In this interview, Kerry Muhlestein explains what we know about these ancient Egyptians—and how their circumstances may have made them uniquely aware of extra-biblical Abrahamic traditions.
The law of the gospel is one of five covenants made in Latter-day Saint temples. Interestingly, definitions used by church leaders have shifted since the days of Joseph Smith. For example, David O. McKay taught that it included scripture study, and Bruce R. McConkie referred to it as the “celestial law.” In this interview, independent scholar Samuel R. Weber explains the history of the law of the gospel, culminating in a definition included in the General Handbook.
The Community of Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints share the same roots, including Restoration scriptures like the Book of Mormon. Yet these faith communities have over 170 years of divergent history and evolution, including how they approach the scriptures. This interview with Kat Goheen and Joshua Sears discusses scripture in the Community of Christ and in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Joseph F. Smith became the sixth president of the Church in 1901. However, his succession to the presidency took an unusual route. For example, Brigham Young Jr. was ordained an apostle before Joseph F.—and George Q. Cannon missed out on becoming prophet by only six months. In this interview, Dennis B. Horne discusses the life and prophet succession of Joseph F. Smith.
Joseph Smith‘s death in Carthage, Illinois was traumatic for the Latter-day Saints. His assassination was the culmination in a series of events that had consequences for the community of Saints—particularly those living in Nauvoo. In this interview, historian Spencer W. McBride discusses the events surrounding the Prophet’s death as shared in Road to Carthage: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast.
Joseph F. Smith is known for many things. He was the son of Hyrum Smith and nephew of the Prophet Joseph. He served a legendary mission to Hawaii. And he received the vision of the redemption of the dead (D&C 138). The prophet’s life was also filled with lesser-known complexities that make him an especially fascinating figure. In this interview, Stephen C. Taysom elaborates on his new biography of Joseph F. Smith.
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.
Witnesses recorded seeing more Joseph Smith Papyri than we currently have—and a sizeable portion perished in the Great Chicago Fire. Nonetheless, we know a great deal about the surviving records—including their potential impact on the translation of the Book of Abraham and the origins of Latter-day Saint temple rites. In this interview, Kerry Muhlestein explains what we know and don’t know about the Prophet’s Egyptian Papyri.
The Salamander Letter (also called the “White Salamander Letter”) was a Mark Hofmann forgery that led to chaos and murder in 1980s Utah. Purportedly written by Martin Harris, it detailed Joseph Smith receiving the gold plates in New York from a white salamander rather than the Angel Moroni. Many historians believed in the document’s authenticity and tried to place it in the context of its times. The Salamander Letter was purchased by Steven Christensen (later killed by a Hofmann bomb), who ultimately donated it to the Church.