Categories
Doctrine and Covenants Theology

Did Joseph Smith Write D&C 76 in Poetic Form?

The poetic version of D&C 76 has been lauded since it was first published under Joseph Smith’s name in 1843. However, the latest scholarship suggests that it was ghostwritten by William W. Phelps. While some also think it may have resulted from coordination between the Prophet and Eliza R. Snow or Parley P. Pratt, most scholars agree that Joseph Smith wasn’t the sole author of “The Vision” in poetic form.

Categories
Intellectualism Theology

Can Faith and Science Coexist in the Search for Truth?

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.

Categories
Intellectualism Theology

Nathaniel and Terryl Givens: Why Is Belief Hard?

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—and balancing faith and intellect.

Categories
Latter-day Saint History Theology

What’s the Relationship Between Women and the Priesthood?

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.

Categories
Latter-day Saint History Scriptures Theology

Are There 3 Degrees of Glory Within the Celestial Kingdom?

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.

Categories
Theology

Was Jesus Married? The Answer Isn’t As Simple As You Think.

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.

Categories
Joseph Smith Latter-day Saint History Theology

What Is the Relationship Between Freemasonry and the Temple Endowment?

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.

Categories
Joseph Smith Latter-day Saint History Theology

How Did Freemasonry Influence Joseph Smith?

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 Freembookasonry throughout his life, from Palmyra to Nauvoo.

Categories
Theology

Grace vs. Works: Has the Pendulum Swung Too Far?

Few questions divide Christianity as much as whether we’re saved by grace or works. In this interview, Terryl Givens notes that a recent flood of talks and books by Latter-day Saints have swung the pendulum in the direction of grace. He says that while it’s an open question whether the rhetorical shift represents an overcorrection, Latter-day Saints should beware of forsaking doctrines unique to the Restoration—or embracing a false dichotomy.

Categories
Joseph Smith Theology

Joseph Smith’s King Follett Discourse: Is it Central to Latter-day Saint Doctrine?

The King Follett Discourse is one of Joseph Smith’s most well-known sermons. Many consider it the pinnacle of the Prophet’s teachings, although Joseph had previously taught most of the ideas. Interestingly, the King Follett Sermon rarely makes an appearance in general conference or other official sources. In this interview, James Faulconer says that the sermon’s role in Latter-day Saint theology is an open question.

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