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Called to the Japan Mission at age eighteen, Alma O. Taylor and his parents would have been shocked had they known his mission would last nearly nine years. Alma, the eighteen-year-old lad, would return a twenty-seven-year-old man, having served one of the longest continuous missions in Church history. For eight and a half years (August 1901–January 1910), Alma worked with intense fervor, keeping a detailed journal of his experiences and impressions. Alma’s journal recaptures early Mormonism in Japan through the eyes of a young missionary. The body of this book is devoted to making his writings available for the first time to all those interested in the foundational events of the Church in Japan. Alma’s many accomplishments included learning both the spoken and written Japanese word; assisting in the translation of missionary tracts, Church hymns, and the Book of Mormon; serving as president of the Japan Mission from his early to late twenties; opening new proselyting areas throughout Japan; and finding, teaching, converting, and strengthening many of the early Japanese Saints. Shortly before Alma left his mission, he recorded his feelings about his final year in Japan: “During the year I have had many experiences some the most pleasant in life and some the most bitter that humans are called upon to experience. . . . Great is the debt of gratitude I owe to the Lord for His many blessings.”
The first Latter-day Saint missionaries to Japan encountered formidable language, religious, and cultural barriers. After considerable efforts, Church officials closed the mission in 1924. Later, the gospel was reintroduced in mid-century, when it took root. Since that time, Mormon missionaries have baptized many believers, several missions have opened, auxiliary organizations such as the Relief Society have been instituted, and two temples have been constructed. This volume celebrates the Church’s first hundred years among the Japanese. The articles explore such issues as the Japanese presses’ portrayal of Mormonism and answer questions such as what the historical and cultural challenges are to successful missionary work in Japan; why the Book of Mormon needed to be translated three times in one century; and whether Latter-day Saint converts hail from specific areas based on the region’s religious traditions. The essays in the book let readers witness the expansion and growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints among the Japanese.
Reprinted in Studies of the Books of Moses and Abraham: Articles from BYU Studies. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.
A review of a piece by Wallace Turner arguing against the authenticity of the Joesph Smith Papyri and the Book of Abraham, and a defense of the papyri and book themselves.
A talk originally given on 26 October 1973 to the Pi Sigma Alpha society in the Political Science Department at BYU.
An argument that political action is desirable, even in an imperfect world, under the condition that it be the pursuit of the common good by reasonable discussion. But such conditions are not often found in the politics of man, which turn out to be instances of force and fraud fueled by money and the desire for power and gain.
Reprinted in Mormonism and Early Christianity, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley vol. 4, 45–99. Also reprinted in LDS Views on Early Christianity and Apocrypha: Articles from BYU Studies, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.
Draws upon a host of sources and shows certain parallels between an early Christian form of prayer and that of the Latter-day Saint prayer circle.
Reprinted as “Educating the Saints” in Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless, 1978, and in Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints, Collected Works of Hugh Nibley vol. 13.
The compelling mystique of those franchise businesses that in our day have built up enormous institutional clout by selling nothing but the right to a name was anticipated in our great schools of Education, which monopolized the magic name of Education and sold the right to use it at a time when the idea of a “School of Education” made about as much sense as a class in Erudition or a year’s course in Total Perfection. The whole business of education can become an operation in managerial manipulation. In “Higher Education,” the traffic in titles and forms is already long established: The Office, with its hoarded files of score sheets, punched cards, and tapes, can declare exactly how educated any individual is, even to the third decimal. That is the highly structured busywork which we call education today. But it was not Brigham Young’s idea of education. He had thoughts which we have repeated from time to time with very mixed reception on the BYU campus. Still, we do not feel in the least inclined to apologize for propagating them on the premises of a university whose main distinction is that it bears his name.
Reprinted in Temple and Cosmos: Beyond This Ignorant Present, Collected Works of Hugh Nibley vol. 12, and Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless, 2nd ed.
When dealing with apocryphal texts, scholars can discount doctrines and themes that appear once or twice. However, themes that run consistently through many or most of the texts should be seriously considered. One such theme is that of a council in heaven in which a plan was presented and the opposition toward that plan. This article details the presence of these themes in ancient texts among various cultures.
Reprinted in Studies of the Books of Moses and Abraham, articles from BYU Studies. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.
Some thoughts on a fragment of parchment kept in the Church Historian’s Office.
A contribution to the continuing debate over the Joseph Smith Papyri and the historical authenticity of the Book of Abraham.
Reprinted in The Ancient State: The Rulers and the Ruled, Collected Works of Hugh Nibley vol. 10.
Nibley traces some interesting parallels in educational matters and especially in campus unrest in the decade after 1960 with the medieval world. — Midgley
Reprinted in Studies of the Books of Moses and Abraham: Articles from BYU Studies, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.
Looks at several of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers and rumors surrounding them that may or may not be true based on the lack of evidence surrounding them.
Reprinted from Church History 30, no. 2 (1961): 131–54; and included in Mormonism and Early Christianity, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 4. 168–208. William A. Clebsch, in his “History and Salvation: An Essay in Distinctions,” published in a collection of essays entitled The Study of Religion in Colleges and Universities, edited by Paul Ramsey and John F. Wilson (Princeton University Press, 1970): 40–72, commented on Nibley’s arguments for the apostasy in “The Passing of the Church” as follows: “During the early 1960’s there arose in the pages of Church History a brief but in retrospect fascinating argument, which I will trace briefly. The argument not only revolved around the question of the continuity of the Christian church but also involved a more fundamental question about the very survival of the church through its early history. On the basis of his study of patristic writings, Hugh Nibley scored all church historians since Eusebius for describing rather than questioning the survival of the church through the early centuries. That Nibley took a Mormon’s viewpoint on the nascent Christian movement does not make any easier the defense of its identity and continuity against his attack.”
Nibley presents forty arguments for the apostasy in an examination of the expectation of early Christian writers of the fading of the Church. Professor Hans J. Hillerbrand wrote a letter protesting Nibley’s thesis because, among other reasons, of the possibility that, if widely accepted, it would logically preclude his continuing to teach what he understood to be “Church history.” See Hillerbrand, “The Passing of the Church: Two Comments on a Strange Theme,” Church History 30, no. 3 (December 1961):481–2; and a response to Hillerbrand by Robert M. Grant, “The Passing of the Church: Comments on Two Comments on a Strange Theme,” Church History 30, no. 3 (December 1961):482–3.
Includes pictures of the Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri and letter of sale given to the Church by the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art on 27 November 1967.
Written on 27 November 1967. Reprinted in Studies of the Books of Moses and Abraham, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.
Some 10 pages of this item consist of questions and answers.
Reprinted as “Bar-Kochba and Book of Mormon Backgrounds,” in The Prophetic Book of Mormon.
Points out that Yadin’s discoveries seem to show, among other things, that the presumably feminine name Alma was also used by Jews as a masculine name, just as it was in the Book of Mormon. Draws a number of parallels between the Bar Kochba artifacts and the Lehi colony. Compares materials in the Book of Mormon about Lehi, Captain Moroni, and the name Alma with Palestinian warfare and practices from the first century A.D.
Reprinted in The Prophetic Book of Mormon, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 8. 470–97. Reprinted in Social and Political Studies about the Book of Mormon: Articles from BYU Studies. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.
Hugh Nibley provides insights from Latter-day Saint scripture about the last days. In the Little Apocalypse of Matthew 24 and Joseph Smith—Matthew, Jesus prophesies of the events that will precede the end of the world and emphasizes that his Second Coming will be a complete surprise. People are not supposed to prepare for that day; rather, they should live every day as if the Lord were coming on that day. The only preparation is to avoid taking advantage of others, oppressing the poor, and living in luxury. The difference between the righteous and the wicked is that the righteous are the ones who are repenting. Strictly speaking, there are no “good guys”; everyone needs to repent. Numerous stories in the Book of Mormon illustrate distinctions between righteous and wicked behavior. These scripture stories were intended for our day so that we may learn how to properly prepare for the last days.
Reprinted in Studies of the Books of Moses and Abraham: Articles from BYU Studies. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.
A history of “The Book of Breathings” as well as a description of what it is.
What does the Book of Enoch say or not say about the temple, and to which Book of Enoch do I refer? Is it the text called 1 Enoch, or the one known as 2 Enoch, or the so-called 3 Enoch? And all of them discuss or, better, visualize the temple. I restrict myself here to 1 Enoch.
Gary Novak explains the problems caused by looking at religious history through naturalistic assumptions. He uses the naturalistic writings of Dale Morgan and Fawn Brodie to show that such assumptions exclude God from the writing of history, transforming the meaning of faith and eroding collective religious memory.He looks at biases created when Marvin Hill and Leonard Arrington adopt naturalistic assumptions into their writing.