Monthly Archives: August 2008

Joseph the Geographer?

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The Book of Mormon is inextricably intertwined with Joseph Smith. We undeniably have the text because he translated it. Recently there has been much ado about what Joseph Smith thought about the book’s geography. Without trying to tie Joseph down to any particular idea at any particular time (and there is also evidence that he was flexible in his thinking on the subject, altering and refining some of his views with later information), the real question is what we should expect of Joseph as a geographer of the Book of Mormon. For those who might suggest that Joseph should be held as the definer of Book of Mormon geography, that suggest appears to be based on one or more assumptions about Joseph that neither the church nor he would accept as accurate. Any of the following might be the basis for assuming that Joseph knew the geography of the Book of Mormon, but none are correct.

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Reevaluating the Great Apostasy

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One week ago, I celebrated the twenty-eighth anniversary of my baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One reason for my baptism was the fact that I saw the various hallmarks of the ancient Church I gleaned from studying ancient Roman history that were absent from the other Churches I attended.

In my early days as a member of the Church, I had thought, like James Talmage in his book, The Great Apostasy, that the Roman Catholic Church had fallen away from the true Christian Church, and that other non-LDS Christian Churches were corruptions of a corruptions. I have found that my opinions have, …, um, …, evolved. Rather than being the Great Apostasy, I now regard the Roman Catholic and other non-LDS Christian Churches as pious humans’ valiant attempts to salvage true Christianity from the Great Apostasy; attempts that were, for the most part, successful–significantly more successful than I had previously thought.

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FAIR conference day 2 – open thread

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This is an open thread for participants and streaming listeners to comment on FAIR conference presentations on Friday, 8 August 2008.

Today’s speaker lineup:

  1. Ron Esplin (“The Joseph Smith Papers”)
  2. Matthew Brown (“The Israelite Temple and the Early Christians”)
  3. Newell Bringhurst and Craig Foster (“The White Horse Prophecy: Myth vs. Reality”)
  4. Scott Gordon (“Online Apologetics”)
  5. Brian Hauglid (“The Book of Abraham”)
  6. Brant Gardner (“Second Witness: The Book of Mormon”)
  7. Daniel Peterson (“Humble Apologetics”)

We look forward to your comments!

FAIR conference day 1 – open thread

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This is an open thread for participants and streaming listeners to comment on FAIR conference presentations on Thursday, 7 August 2008.

Today’s speaker lineup:

  1. Mike Ash (“Shaken Faith Syndrome”)
  2. Mark Wright (“The Book of Mormon and Mesoamerica”)
  3. Margaret Young and Darius Gray (“Nobody Knows, the Untold Story of Black Mormons”)
  4. Brian Birch, Blake Ostler, and James Faulconer (“Philosophy and Mormonism”)
  5. Jeffrey Bradshaw (“The Message of the Joseph Smith Translation: A Walk in the Garden”)
  6. Larry Poulsen (“Book of Mormon Geography”)
  7. Ugo Perego (“Joseph Smith’s DNA Revealed: New Clues from the Prophet’s Genes”)

We look forward to your comments!

Massacre at Mountain Meadows Pt. I

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My reader’s copy of this long awaited book arrived Monday (the 28th) and by Tuesday morning I finished it just in time to arrive at Bushman’s apologetic seminar 45 minutes late after pulling an all-nighter. I have been busy helping two different sets of relatives move, so I haven’t got this review completed as fast as I would like and now I am informed that Amazon is shipping the book. Nevertheless, I will still have to release my review in installments. Those who are just now getting their copies would be well served by checking out Kramer and Stapley’s review as well.
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FAIR and Sunstone

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Saturday’s article by Lynn Arave in the Deseret News highlights some of the presentations at this week’s FAIR Conference and Sunstone Symposium.

Some people have noticed that this year FAIR and Sunstone are running conferences on overlapping dates. We’ve received a few queries about that, asking if we did it on purpose. (Cue maniacally evil laugh: Buu-WAH-hah-hah-hah-hah!)

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