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.
Section 131 of the Doctrine and Covenants states 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 several potential problems with this interpretation—meaning that the current reading of D&C 131:1–4 may be an open question. In this interview, Bryan Buchanan expounds on Shannon Flynn’s research on the subject.
In a startling moment in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the First Presidency suggested that tithing should be suspended. This was in response to a decision that the Church’s tithing was a taxable income, resulting in an initial assessment of $59,338.51 that President Brigham Young was expected to pay. In this interview, Samuel Brunson discusses how the predicament came about, how Church leaders responded, and the surprising ending to the whole episode.
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.
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.