In January 2018, I had the privilege to interview Dr. Gabriele Boccaccini, director of the Enoch Seminar.
Even in the midst of a personal tragedy, Boccaccini was kind enough to give thoughtful consideration to a number of questions about his work and motives.
Continue reading “10 questions with Gabriele Boccaccini”
In January 2018, I had the privilege to interview Russell Shorto for “10 questions.” Shorto is the author of Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom.
Shorto is noted for his work in narrative history. He is the author of six books, a contributor to the New Yorker, and is currently contemplating a historical work – about the present.
Continue reading “10 questions with Russell Shorto”
In December 2017 / January 2018, I had the privilege to interview S. Kent Brown, an emeritus professor of ancient studies at BYU.
My contact with Brown stemmed from an interview with Philip Jenkins wherein he mentioned scholars at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship who were studying the same time period as he covered in his book, Crucible of Faith. After contacting the Maxwell Institute I was eventually put in touch with Brown, who has done some work on the period of 250 BCE to 50 CE, including the publication of The Lost 500 Years: What Happened Between the Old and New Testaments.
Continue reading “10 questions with S. Kent Brown”
The Council of Fifty minutes include a fascinating quote on “perfect revelation,” or whether a revelation requires perfect wording to be the word of God.
The Council of Fifty was an exclusive organization founded by Joseph Smith in 1844. The minutes of the council were published by the Church Historians Press in 2016 as part of the Joseph Smith Papers Project. The minutes include a wide variety of topics ranging from spiritual teachings to discussions about Indians to desires to form a new government.
The context for the quote is a series of discussions within the Council of Fifty about drafting a new constitution. The committee was somewhat paralyzed by fear of making a mistake and thus had difficulty getting started. One of the viewpoints shared was that of Brigham Young, who commented on Joseph Smith’s prophetic authority.
Included in his commentary is a fascinating quote about the word-for-word perfection of revelation. Continue reading “The Council of Fifty minutes on perfect revelation”
Truman Madsen (1926 – 2009) told the story of a Latter-day Saint religious service in a prison I have occasionally seen pop up as a joke in Mormon culture. In the story, someone is offering a prayer and uses an absent-minded phrase that echoes an expression you can often hear in benedictions at Mormon congregations: ‘Please bless that those who are not here today will be here next time.’
Various forms of the joke use slightly different wording but the general substance is always the same. While you may pray that someone who is not at church today can be in attendance the next time, you probably do not want to pray that the location for their particular church services will be a prison.
I always thought this was just a joke, but I recently stumbled across a story that suggests it is based on an actual incident. Continue reading “Justice A. H. Ellett and the origin of a Mormon joke”
In December 2017, I was privileged to interview Philip Jenkins in association with the publication of his latest book, Crucible of Faith: The Ancient Revolution That Made Our Modern Religious World.
My brief interactions with Jenkins were impressive. He came across as professional, prompt, and witty – a rare trifecta of interview subject attributes.
Continue reading “10 questions with Philip Jenkins”