Categories
19th Century Joseph Smith Latter-day Saint History

What R. Eric Smith Wishes People Asked about the Council of Fifty Minutes

After receiving interview responses from R. Eric Smith and Matthew J. Grow for an interview, it occurred to me I may have forgotten an important question.

Experts are often asked the same questions over and over. Yet are there questions they wish someone would ask?

As it relates to the Council of Fifty minutes, I asked R. Eric Smith this very question in an addendum to the “10 questions” interview.

Categories
American History Revolutionary War

Russell Shorto Books: Interview the Author about the American Revolution

What would the American Revolution look like if you weaved together the stories of six people into a narrative? Author Russell Shorto explains. 

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Book Review – The Council of Fifty: What the Records Reveal about Mormon History

“The Council of Fifty: What the Records Reveal About Mormon History,” is a timely book published by BYU’s Religious Studies Center. While the minutes of the council were published in their totality via the Joseph Smith Papers in 2016, they still remain somewhat inaccessible to general readers. “The Council of Fifty” contains 15 essays by leading scholars about relevant topics of interest.

Categories
Scriptures

The Old Testament and New Testament: What Happened in Between?

There’s the Old Testament and the New Testament, but what happened between them? Join scholar S. Kent Brown as he discusses his book, The Lost 500 Years: What Happened Between the Old and New Testaments.

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The Council of Fifty Minutes on ‘Perfect Revelation’

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.

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Book Review: An Introduction to the Book of Abraham

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM,” by John Gee, BYU Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book, $19.99, 195 pages (nf) 

“An Introduction to the Book of Abraham,” the latest book by BYU professor John Gee, explores common questions and overarching themes of the Book of Abraham.

In 2000, Gee published “A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri,” intending to provide readers with the latest scholarly research and LDS commentary. However, so many new discoveries have come to light in the past 17 years Gee decided to write a completely new book instead of revising the old one.

Gee sets out to provide general readers with an understanding of the complex historical and academic issues associated with the Book of Abraham. He presents synopses of important issues ranging from how Joseph Smith obtained the papyri to what is known about the original Egyptian owners to the book’s central role in revealing the Latter-day Saint doctrine of premortal existence.

Readers interested in learning more will be delighted by chapter notes that provide bibliographic references with very short — and understandable — summaries. The book has a number of helpful charts and illustrations as well as frequent references to the latest research from the Joseph Smith Papers.

“An Introduction to the Book of Abraham” is an ideal resource for those studying the Old Testament and Pearl of Great Price.

Gee has a doctorate in Egyptology from Yale University and is the William “Bill” Gay Assistant Research Professor of Egyptology at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at BYU.

Further reading

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Justice A. H. Ellett and the origin of a Mormon joke

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.