Truman Madsen is perhaps best known for his Joseph Smith lectures. The BYU professor thought of the Prophet as a window through which he could see Jesus Christ. But his contributions extend far beyond lectures given at Brigham Young University. Those who knew him best, like his wife, Ann Madsen, say there was much more to Truman G. Madsen than meets the eye.
Faith and science are often seen as conflicting approaches in the search for truth—including within the Latter-day Saint community. For example, Joseph Fielding Smith and B. H. Roberts disagreed about whether science or scripture should take priority in the debate over evolution (see the story in Saints 3). In this interview. Dr. Jamie L. Jensen explains that faith and science are symbiotic pathways to truth.
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that faith is the first principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And yet many people struggle to understand their own beliefs. Furthermore, the importance of belief seems to be on the decline, as evidenced by the rise of those leaving organized religion. In this interview, Terryl Givens, and his son, Nathaniel, explain that admitting “belief is hard” could be a step toward accessing the power of faith.
The relationship between Latter-day Saint women and the priesthood is complex. Joseph Smith famously “turned the key” during a Nauvoo Relief Society Meeting, but it’s unclear precisely what he meant. Church leaders have since taught different things about priesthood keys, authority, and power. Despite a surge of new prophetic teachings, the role of women and the priesthood remains an open question. In this interview, Lisa Olsen Tait explains the history of women and priesthood in the church.
Joseph Smith states in Section 131 of the Doctrine and Covenants that “in the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees.” Modern Latter-day Saints often view “celestial glory” as synonymous with “Celestial Kingdom.” However, the historical record suggests that the phrase likely meant something different to Joseph. In this interview, Bryan Buchanan expounds on Shannon Flynn’s research about the Prophet’s use of “celestial glory” in D&C 131.
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 and says that Latter-day Saints have been comfortable with different answers to this quandary at different times.
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.