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The New Rendition of the epistle to the Ephesians provides a modern English translation of the letter’s Greek text. It is excerpted from the forthcoming volume on Ephesians by S. Kent Brown. This Rendition was created by Philip Abbott. The matchless, quiet Epistle to the Ephesians allows glimpses into the tides of Christian life in Asia Minor, modern western Turkey. More than this, from this letter we gain clear views of the premortal council that set events on this earth in motion, of the Savior’s descent into the spirit prison to release its captive souls, of the firm foundation of apostles and prophets that undergirds the church, and of the armor of God that protects a believer from the wiles of the devil. The New Rendition, sensitive to meanings that carry significance for Latter-day Saints, offers a fresh look at eternal truths draped in the letter’s worshipful dress. This Rendition is part of the BYU New Testament Commentary series. This scholarly project aims to create a faithful modern English translation together with a full, in-depth, carefully researched Latter-day Saint commentary for each book on the New Testament. More of the New Rendition and commentary volumes will be added in coming months and years. As of 2019, volumes have been published on Mark, Luke, First Corinthians, and Revelation.
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This book tells an amazing story about millions of people. Since 1894 the Genealogical Society of Utah (now known as the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has sought to collect genealogical information about people from every nation. Latter-day Saints see this work as a fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy that the hearts of the children would be turned to their fathers to unify all members of the human family and to prepare the world to meet God. In November 1994, the Church celebrated the Genealogical Society’s centennial. At one level, the Society’s story is the history of an organization. At another level, it is the intersection of numerous individual stories, such as the dedication of Susa Young Gates, the tireless determination of Joseph Fielding Smith, the enthusiasm of Archibald F. Bennett, and the daring of Paul Langheinrich. LDS genealogical research is known all over the world. Parts of its story are familiar to many people, but only a fraction of the whole history is widely known. This book tells that story. It is a history of astounding and sustained efforts that have changed the hearts of millions.
Life in Utah has never been easy. Thin soil and thick politics challenged everyone as Utah grew toward statehood in 1896. Native Americans, Mormon and gentile settlers, federal officials, LDS Church leaders-these Utah men and women all filled crucial roles. This book contains the best articles from BYU Studies on Utah history. Looking back on life in pioneer Utah, this centennial collection includes stories that are deeply rooted in the life of this state.
Joining the Church in 1838 catapulted William Clayton into new activities and associations, took him from England to the United States, and offered him soul-satisfying spiritual experiences. As Joseph Smith’s friend and scribe, Clayton kept extensive journals and was the one who recorded the revelation on plural marriage. He also wrote the first history of the Nauvoo Temple. As a pioneer, Clayton wrote the words to the hymn “Come, Come Ye Saints,” and compiled the Latter-day Saints’ Emigrants’ Guide. He was among Salt Lake City’s original settlers and worked in a variety of religious, economic, and civil activities. Clayton was faithful, but he had his share of human frailties. Even though his wives considered him a good husband—so far as plural marriage allowed—why did some divorce him? William Clayton’s life encompassed nearly all the joys and struggles that could come to a Church member of his day. Yet “no toil nor labor” did he fear. His story, in many respects, echoes the soul-stirring words of his immortal Mormon pioneer anthem.
Mormonism and the Temple: Examining an Ancient Religious Tradition contains the proceedings of the Academy for Temple Studies conference held under the same title on the campus of Utah State University on 29 October 2012, and includes the following presentations: • Restoring Solomon’s Temple by Margaret Barker • Chapel, Church, Temple, Cathedral: Lost Parallels in Mormon and Catholic Worship by Laurence Paul Hemming • Questions and Answers with Margaret Barker and Laurence Hemming • The Temple, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Gospel of Matthew by John W. Welch • A Divine Mother in the Book of Mormon? by Daniel C. Peterson • Temples—Bridges of Eternity by LeGrande Davies • The Temple, the Book of Revelation, and Joseph Smith by John L. Fowles
Specific plans to preach the restored gospel in the west matured during the second conference after Church organization, held late September, 1830. The missionary theme was prominent during the three-day duration of this conference. The official minutes summarize what was probably the first missionary farewell in LDS history: “Singing and prayer in behalf of Brother Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer, Jr., who were previously appointed to go to the Lamanites.” The Ohio labors of Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, and their companions doubled the membership of the Church and created a solid nucleus for rapid growth and a secure, if temporary, gathering location. One must assess the impact of these four men in four weeks with a certain awe.
The biographer of Joseph Smith’s early life will know his subject when he relies on sources that know their subject. This truism is more obvious in statement than application, for non-Mormon biography has not faced the severe limitations of the uniformly hostile affidavits taken by a sworn enemy of the Mormon Prophet. The image thus obtained is sharply discordant from the Joseph Smith documented in the 1830’s: a leader of physical prowess and vigorous manhood, a profound idealist with spontaneous humor and warmth, who displayed personal courage under tremendous odds. A similar youth in the 1820’s is discovered, not by editing out non-Mormon sources, but finding those non-Mormon sources that reflect definite contact with Joseph Smith. Such a study shows that collecting informed statements about the Prophet will produce a substantial favorable judgment. Although initial collection of statements against Joseph Smith is an oft-told story, its outline is a necessary background for the affidavits to be analyzed. D. P. Hurlbut, excommunicated twice by LDS tribunals for immorality; became so personally vindictive that he was put under a court order restraining him from doing harm to the person or property of Joseph Smith. He was next “employed” by an anti-Mormon public committee to gather evidence to “completely divest Joseph Smith of all claims to the character of an honest man. . . .” To achieve this goal he traveled to New York and procured statements at Palmyra Village, the largest business center adjacent to the Smith farm and also at Manchester, the rural district that included “Stafford Street.” Cornelius Stafford, then twenty, later remembered that Hurlbut arrived at “our school house and took statements about the bad character of the Mormon Smith family, and saw them swear to them.” The Painesville, Ohio, editor, E. D. Howe, replaced Hurlbut as a respectable author, and published the affidavits in Mormonism Unvailed (1834), laying the cornerstone of anti-Mormon historiography. Howe lived to see the solidity of the edifice, observing forty-four years afterward in his memoirs that the book “has been the basis of all the histories which have appeared from time to time since that period touching that people.” More accurately, Howe’s writing was insignificant, but the Palmyra-Manchester affidavits published by him have introduced Joseph Smith in every major non-Mormon study from 1834 to the present. Yet even supposedly definitive studies display no investigation of the individuals behind the Hurlbut statements, nor much insight into their community.
The past year intensified the study of the Prophet’s early life because of the release of two “treasure letters” seeming to illuminate the pre-Book of Mormon period. The questionable letter of Joseph Smith to Josiah Stowell in 1825 has a “clever spirit” guarding a treasure hoard. The questionable 1830 letter from Martin Harris to William W. Phelps claims that Joseph spoke of a salamander and “old spirit” at the hill in 1827, though Joseph’s real experience could be obscured by such a singular secondhand report. Publicity on these documents has stimulated research and reevaluation, some of it asserting a lifelong interest of the Prophet in paranormal discovery of riches. This paper examines the basis of such claims after 1827 and finds them wanting. Editor’s Note: The online version of this article was revised after it became public knowledge that the 1830 Martin Harris letter referred to in the article was a Mark Hofmann forgery.
One of the spectacular events of Latter-day Saint history unfolded as Oliver Cowdery walked into a conference session in progress at Council Bluffs in 1848 and was personally escorted to the stand by his friend Orson Hyde. No one in the group seems to have been more impressed than Reuben Miller, who at the same meeting had made his own public reconciliation with the Church. While Cowdery’s return itself is abundantly attested, no historical source but the Miller account adequately reveals Oliver Cowdery’s public testimony upon his return to the Church.
As a witness of significant events in the rise of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oliver Cowdery’s importance is superseded only by that of the Prophet Joseph Smith. With the exception of Joseph’s First Vision and the appearances of Moroni, Cowdery participated with the Prophet in the key events of the Restoration. The scope of his experiences include the translation of the Book of Mormon, the restoration of the Priesthood, the organization of the Church, the first extensive missionary work of the Church, and divine manifestations in the Kirtland Temple. The youngest of eight children, Oliver Cowdery was born 3 October 1806 in Wells, Rutland County, Vermont. In 1825 he moved to New York, where he worked successively as a clerk in a general store, as a blacksmith, and as a farmer. In 1828 he entered the teaching profession in Manchester, New York, where he first became acquainted with the religious claims of Joseph Smith. His entry into the mainstream of Mormon history occurred in April 1829 when he traveled to Harmony, Pennsylvania, to meet Joseph Smith, who was engaged in the translation of the Book of Mormon. Cowdery assisted Joseph as a scribe during the translation of the major part of that work, and his name appears in the Book of Mormon as one of the witnesses to the reliability of the claims of Joseph Smith regarding its origin and method of translation.
One of the strangest and most extensive archaeological hoaxes in American history was perpetrated around the turn of the twentieth century in Michigan. Hundreds of objects known as the Michigan Relics were made to appear as the remains of a lost civilization. The artifacts were produced, buried, “discovered,” and marketed by James O. Scotford and Daniel E. Soper. For three decades these artifacts were secretly planted in earthen mounds, publicly removed, and lauded as wonderful discoveries. Because the Michigan Relics allegedly evidence a Near Eastern presence in ancient America, they have drawn interest from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This article traces the intriguing history of this elaborate affair and Mormonism’s encounter with it. At the center of this history lies the investigation of the artifacts by Latter-day Saint intellectual and scientist James E. Talmage.
“Now for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.” So lamented Moses in utter humility after seeing in vision the complexities of the planet Earth and her countless inhabitants. Shortly thereafter Moses was to see once again the earth and her. Imagine, however, his profound astonishment when, in answer to his plea for an explanation, the Lord revealed himself to Moses and told him of even more wondrous creations. “And worlds without number have I created. . . . For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power.” Other heavens and earths had already expired. New heavens, star systems with inhabitable planets, would be born in the distant future. Moses would surely have felt even more insignificant had not the Lord reassured him with his presence and the counsel that “all things are numbered unto me.”
A common method to scripture study among Latter-day Saints is to search a broad range of verses by topic. While certainly useful, such a fragmented approach does not illuminate thematic elements and patterns that emerge only when surveying entire sections of scripture. To illustrate, the author of this article analyzes the first two books in the Book of Mormon, 1 and 2 Nephi. He suggests that Nephi was following an outline, and he identifies two dominant themes: Nephi’s emphasis on record keeping and his constant association between events of his own time and events recorded in ancient scriptures. The author concludes that a more holistic approach to scripture study presents challenges to the reader but has great merit.