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Interpreter:
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Full Volumes

The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 1 (2012).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 2 (2012).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 3 (2013).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 4 (2013).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 5 (2013).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 6 (2013).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 7 (2013).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 8 (2014).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 9 (2014).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 10 (2014).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 11 (2014).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 12 (2014).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 13 (2015).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 14 (2015).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 15 (2015).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 16 (2015).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 17 (2016).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 18 (2016).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 19 (2016).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 20 (2016).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 21 (2016).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 22 (2016).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 23 (2017).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 24 (2017).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 25 (2017).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 26 (2017).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 27 (2017).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 28 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Volume 29 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 30 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 31 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 32 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 33 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 34 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 35 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 36 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 37 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 38 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 39 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 40 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 41 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 42 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 43 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 44 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 45 (2018).
The Interpreter Foundation. Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Volume 46 (2018).

Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture
     Volume 1 (2012)

Peterson, Daniel C. “Charity in Defending the Kingdom.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 1 (2012): i-ix.

With one striking exception, leaders and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are, and always have been, flawed people. (No better quality of human is available.) “We have this treasure in earthen vessels,” the apostle Paul said, referring to the gospel and its mortal ministers, “that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Keywords: apologetics, charity
Bokovoy, David E. ““Thou Knowest That I Believe”: Invoking The Spirit of the Lord as Council Witness in 1 Nephi 11.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 1 (2012): 1-23.

Abstract: The Book of Mormon features an esoteric exchange between the prophet Nephi and the Spirit of the Lord on an exceedingly high mountain. The following essay explores some of the ways in which an Israelite familiar with ancient religious experiences and scribal techniques might have interpreted this event. The analysis shows that Nephi’s conversation, as well as other similar accounts in the Book of Mormon, echoes an ancient temple motif. As part of this paradigm, the essay explores the manner in which the text depicts the Spirit of the Lord in a role associated with members of the divine council in both biblical and general Near Eastern conceptions. .

Keywords: Book of Mormon, divine council, Nephi, temple
Wright, Mark Alan, and Brant A. Gardner. “The Cultural Context of Nephite Apostasy.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 1 (2012): 25-55.

Abstract: Nephite apostates turned away from true worship in consistent and predictable ways throughout the Book of Mormon. Their beliefs and practices may have been the result of influence from the larger socioreligious context in which the Nephites lived. A Mesoamerican setting provides a plausible cultural background that explains why Nephite apostasy took the particular form it did and may help us gain a deeper understanding of some specific references that Nephite prophets used when combating that apostasy. We propose that apostate Nephite religion resulted from the syncretization of certain beliefs and practices from normative Nephite religion with those attested in ancient Mesoamerica. We suggest that orthodox Nephite expectations of the “heavenly king” were supplanted by the more present and tangible “divine king.”.

Keywords: apostasy, Book of Mormon, culture
Mitton, George L. “Book Review: Temple Themes in the Book of Moses, by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 1 (2012): 57-59.
Keywords: Book of Moses, book review, commentary, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, temple
Hamblin, William J. ““I Have Revealed Your Name”: The Hidden Temple in John 17.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 1 (2012): 61-89.

Abstract: John 17 contains a richly symbolic Last Discourse by Jesus, in which the disciples are assured a place in the Father’s celestial house or temple. To fulfill this promise Christ reveals both the Father’s name and his glory to his disciples. Jesus’s discourse concludes with the promise of sanctification of the disciples, and their unification—or deification—with Christ and the Father. This paper explores how each of these ideas reflects the temple theology of the Bible and contemporary first-century Judaism.

Keywords: John 17, name, names, temple
Sorenson, John L. “An Open Letter to Dr. Michael Coe.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 1 (2012): 91-109.

Abstract: In August 2011 John Dehlin conducted a three-part interview with famed Mesoamericanist Michael Coe. Dehlin operates the podcast series Mormon Stories, which features interviews discussing the faith and culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This article examines a large number of dubious claims made in those interviews, providing clarifications, responses, and references to numerous sources dealing with those issues. Much more detail will be forthcoming in Dr. Sorenson’s new book, Mormon’s Codex.

Keywords: archaeology, Book of Mormon, John Sorenson, mesoamerica, Michael Coe
Midgley, Louis C. “Atheist Piety: A Religion of Dogmatic Dubiety.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 1 (2012): 111-143.

Abstract: The “Special Feature” of this mass-market secular humanist magazine consists of an introduction to “America’s Peculiar Piety” followed by a miscellany of brief, nonscholarly essays critical of The Church of Jesus Christ. The questions posed in the introduction to this flagship atheist magazine go unaddressed in the essays. Some of the essays are personal exit stories by former Latter-day Saints. One is an effort by Robert M. Price to explain away the Book of Mormon without confronting its contents. This is done by ignoring the details of Joseph Smith’s career in order to picture him as the equivalent of a bizarre, emotionally conflicted figure like Charles Manson or as the embodiment of one of a wide range of mythical trickster figures like Brer Rabbit, Felix the Cat, or Doctor Who. The assumed link between these mythical or legendary figures and Joseph Smith is said to be a Jungian archetype lodged in his presumably deranged psyche, leading him to fashion the Book of Mormon.

Another essay merely mentions the well-known criticisms of Joseph Smith by Abner Cole (a.k.a. Obadiah Dogberry), while others complain that the faith of the Saints tends to meet emotional needs or that their religious community has various ways of reinforcing their own moral demands. In no instance do these authors see their own deeply held ideology as serving similar personal and community-sustaining religious functions.

All of the essays reflect a fashionable, dogmatic, naive, and deeply religious enmity toward the faith of Latter-day Saints. The essays are also shown to be instances of a modern militant atheism, which is contrasted with earlier and much less bold and aggressive doubts about divine things. The ideological links between those responsible for Free Inquiry and some critics on the fringes of the LDS community are also clearly identified.

Review of Tom Flynn et al. “America’s Peculiar Piety: Why Did Mormonism Grow? Why Does It Endure?” Free Inquiry, October/November 2011, 21–41.So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles . . . were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God [atheos] in the world. (Ephesians 2:11–12 NRSV).

Keywords: atheism, book review
Midgley, Louis C. “Book Review: Latter-day Scripture: Studies in the Book of Mormon, by Robert M. Price.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 1 (2012): 145-150.

Robert M. Price. Latter-day Scripture: Studies in the Book of Mormon. Self-published e-book, 2011 (http://www.eBookIt.com). 78 pp., no index, no pagination. $10.95.

Keywords: Book of Mormon, book review, Robert M. Price
Nicholson, Roger. “Mormonism and Wikipedia: The Church History That “Anyone Can Edit”.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 1 (2012): 151-190.

Abstract: The ability to quickly and easily access literature critical of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been made significantly easier through the advent of the Internet. One of the primary sites that dominates search engine results is Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia that “anyone can edit.” Wikipedia contains a large number of articles related to Mormonism that are edited by believers, critics, and neutral parties. The reliability of information regarding the Church and its history is subject to the biases of the editors who choose to modify those articles. Even if a wiki article is thoroughly sourced, editors sometimes employ source material in a manner that supports their bias. This essay explores the dynamics behind the creation of Wikipedia articles about the Church, the role that believers and critics play in that process, and the reliability of the information produced in the resulting wiki articles.The fact that this [Wikipedia] article has been stable for months suggests that other Mormons have found the evidence unassailable. ((Comment posted by Wikipedia editor “John Foxe,” responding to an LDS editor on the “Three Witnesses” Wikipedia talk page, 27 January 2009.)).

Keywords: Church history, wikipedia
Hancock, Ralph C. “To Really Read the Book of Mormon.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 1 (2012): 191-195.

Review of Grant Hardy. Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. xix + 346 pp., with index. $29.95.

Keywords: Book of Mormon, book review, Grant Hardy

Volume 2 (2012)

Peterson, Daniel C. “The Role of Apologetics in Mormon Studies.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 2 (2012): i-xxxvi.

The following essay was presented on 3 August 2012 as “Of ‘Mormon Studies’ and Apologetics” at the conclusion of the annual conference of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR) in Sandy, Utah. It represents the first public announcement and appearance of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, which had been founded only slightly more than a week earlier, on 26 July. In my view, that rapid launch was the near-miraculous product of selfless collaboration and devotion to a cause on the part of several people—notable among them David E. Bokovoy, Alison V. P. Coutts, William J. Hamblin, Bryce M. Haymond, Louis C. Midgley, George L. Mitton, Stephen D. Ricks, and Mark Alan Wright—and I’m profoundly grateful to them. This essay, which may even have some slight historical value, is something of a personal charter statement regarding that cause. It is published here with no substantial alteration.

Keywords: apologetics, mormon studies
Hedelius, Cassandra S. “Attacking Rather Than Explaining.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 2 (2012): 1-16.

Abstract: In his book on Mormonism, the Reverend Andrew Jackson claims to explain “the teaching and practices of the LDS Church,” with an intended audience of non-Mormon Christians but also “interested Mormons.” He doesn’t succeed well. Although his presentation of Mormon history is mostly fair, his discussion of the faith of Latter-day Saints devolves into the usual anti-Mormon tropes, to which he adds a celebration of a simplified evangelical theology. What might have been a useful, straightforward account of The Church of Jesus Christ and its history ended up, instead, as a clumsy attack. Reverend Jackson eventually re-released his book under a different title as a warning against what he considers Mitt Romney’s reticence to publicly explain his faith to the Reverend’s specifications. The later iteration of Reverend Jackson’s opinions was not even revised beyond a new introduction, making plain his basic antagonistic agenda.

Review of Andrew Jackson, What Latter-day Saints Teach and Practice: Mormonism Explained, Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books [a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers], 2008. 208 pp., with four appendixes, name index, and scripture index. $29.64 (paperback).

Keywords: book review, Reverend Andrew Jackson
Harper, Steven C. “Evaluating Three Arguments Against Joseph Smith’s First Vision.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 2 (2012): 17-33.

Abstract: Historically there have been just three basic arguments against the authenticity of Joseph Smith’s first vision. They all begin with the a priori premise that such a vision simply could not have happened. The arguments originated with the Methodist minister to whom Joseph related his vision, author Fawn Brodie, and the Reverend Wesley Walters. The minister’s critique is explained by Methodism’s shift away from ecstatic religious experience. Fawn Brodie is shown to have made innovative yet flawed arguments within the narrow scope allowed by her conclusion that Joseph was a charlatan—a conclusion that did not allow for alternative interpretations of new evidence. Walters is shown to make fallacious arguments of irrelevant proof and negative proof in his understandably determined effort to undermine Joseph Smith’s credibility. Close-minded believers in Joseph’s vision are similarly likely to make unfounded assumptions unless they become open to the rich historical record Joseph created. Belief in the vision should correspond to Christian empathy for and civility toward critics.

Keywords: First Vision, Joseph Smith
Midgley, Louis C. “Christian Faith in Contemporary China.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 2 (2012): 35-39.

Review of Lian Xi. Redeemed by Fire: The Rise of Popular Christianity in Modern China. New Haven: Yale University, 2010. 352 pp., with glossary, bibliography and index. $45.00 (hardcover).

Keywords: book review, China, Christianity
Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., Jacob A. Rennaker and David J. Larsen. “Revisiting the Forgotten Voices of Weeping in Moses 7: A Comparison with Ancient Texts.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 2 (2012): 41-71.

Abstract: The LDS Book of Moses is remarkable in its depiction of the suffering of the wicked at the time of the Flood. According to this text, there are three parties directly involved in the weeping: God (Moses 7:28; cf. v. 29), the heavens (Moses 7:28, 37), and Enoch (Moses 7:41, 49). In addition, a fourth party, the earth, mourns—though does not weep—for her children (Moses 7:48–49). The passages that speak of the weeping God and the mourning earth have received the greatest share of attention by scholars. The purpose of this article is to round out the previous discussion so as to include new insights and ancient parallels to the two voices of weeping that have been largely forgotten—that of Enoch and that of the heavens. ((An expanded and revised version of material contained in this study will appear as part of Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and David J. Larsen, Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel (Salt Lake City, UT: Eborn Publishing, forthcoming, 2014). All translations from non-English sources are by the first author unless otherwise specifically noted.)) .

Keywords: Enoch, Moses, weeping
Tvedtnes, John A. “Variants in the Stories of the First Vision of Joseph Smith and the Apostle Paul.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 2 (2012): 73-86.

Abstract: Some critics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have noted that the different accounts of Joseph Smith’s first vision, though written by the prophet himself, vary in some details. They see this as evidence that the event did not take place and was merely invented to establish divine authority for his work. They fail to realize that the versions of Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus, in which the risen Christ appeared to him, also differ from one another. Indeed, they vary more than Joseph Smith’s accounts of his experience. This article examines those variants.

Keywords: First Vision, Joseph Smith, Paul
Reynolds, Noel B. “Rethinking the Apostle Peter’s Role in the Early Church.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 2 (2012): 87-91.

Review of Martin Hengel, Saint Peter: The Underestimated Apostle. English translation by Thomas H. Trapp. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2010. 161 pp., with indices. $18.00.

Keywords: book review, Martin Hengel, Peter
Skousen, Royal. “Why was one sixth of the 1830 Book of Mormon set from the original manuscript?” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 2 (2012): 93-103.

Abstract: Evidence from the manuscripts of the Book of Mormon (as well as internal evidence within the Book of Mormon itself) shows that for one sixth of the text, from Helaman 13:17 to the end of Mormon, the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon was set from the original (dictated) manuscript rather than from the printer’s manuscript. For five-sixths of the text, the 1830 edition was set from the printer’s manuscript, the copy prepared specifically for the 1830 typesetter to use as his copytext. In 1990, when the use of the original manuscript as copytext was first discovered, it was assumed that the scribes for the printer’s manuscript had fallen behind in their copywork, which had then forced them to take in the original manuscript to the 1830 typesetter. Historical evidence now argues, to the contrary, that the reason for the switch was the need to take the printer’s manuscript to Canada in February 1830 in order to secure the copyright of the Book of Mormon within the British realm. During the month or so that Oliver Cowdery and others were on their trip to nearby Canada with the printer’s manuscript, the 1830 typesetter used the original manuscript to set the type, although he himself was unaware that there had been a temporary switch in the manuscripts.

Keywords: Book of Mormon, Royal Skousen
Smoot, Stephen O. “Shaken Faith Syndrome and the Case for Faith.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 2 (2012): 105-126.

Abstract: Michael R. Ash is a Mormon apologist who has written two thoughtful books and a number of insightful articles exploring a wide range of controversial issues within Mormonism. His recent book Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt is an outstanding apologetic resource for individuals searching for faith-promoting answers that directly confront anti-Mormon allegations and criticisms. Ash does an excellent job in both succinctly explaining many of the criticisms leveled against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and articulating compelling answers to these criticisms.

Review of Michael R. Ash. Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt. Redding, CA: Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, 2008. x + 301 pp., with index. $19.95 (paperback).

“Wherefore Didst Thou Doubt?”

(Matthew 14:31).

Keywords: anti-Mormonism, apologetics, book review, evidences, FairMormon, Michael Ash, Shaken Faith Syndrome
Midgley, Louis C. “Defending the King and His Kingdom.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 2 (2012): 127-144.

Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?

1 Corinthians 14:8 NIV

Abstract: Some vocal cultural Mormons, busy asking themselves “why stay,” claim that it is not at all probable that there is a God, or that there even was a Jesus of Nazareth. They also ridicule the Atonement. In the language of our scriptures they are antichrists—that is, they deny that there was or is a Christ. Being thus against the King and His Kingdom, their trumpet does not give a clear sound; they are clearly against the one whom they made a solemn covenant to defend and sustain. Instead of seeking diligently to become genuine Holy Ones or Saints, they worship an idol—they have turned from the Way by fashioning an idol. They preach and practice a petty idolatry. Genuine Saints, including disciple-scholars, have a duty to defend the King and His Kingdom.

Keywords: apologetics
Gee, John. “The Apocryphal Acts of Jesus.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 2 (2012): 145-187.

Abstract: Numerous noncanonical accounts of Jesus’s deeds exist. While some Latter-day Saints would like to find plain and precious things in the apocryphal accounts, few are to be found. Three types of accounts deal with Jesus as a child, his mortal ministry, or after his resurrection. The Jesus of the infancy gospels does not act like the Jesus of the real gospels. The apocryphal accounts of Jesus’s ministry usually push a particular theological agenda. The accounts of Jesus’s post-resurrection teaching often contain intriguing but bizarre information. On the whole, apocryphal accounts of Jesus’s ministry probably contain less useful information for Latter-day Saints than they might expect.

Keywords: Apocrypha, authenticity, Forty-Day ministry, gospel, infancy gospels, Jesus Christ, pseudepigrapha, resurrection

Volume 3 (2013)

Peterson, Daniel C. “Reflecting on Gospel Scholarship with Abū al-Walīd and Abū Ḥāmid.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 3 (2013): v-xxxii.

The theologian, jurist, philosopher, and mystic Abu ?amid Mu?ammad b. Mu?ammad al-Ghazali (d. AD 1111 in his Persian hometown of Tus, after spending much of his career in Baghdad) has sometimes been characterized as the single most influential Muslim besides the Prophet Mu?ammad himself. The Andalusian philosopher and jurist Abu al-Walid Mu?ammad b. A?mad b. Rushd (d. AD 1198 in Marrakesh, modern-day Morocco, but ultimately buried in his family tomb in Córdoba, Spain) is generally considered to be the greatest medieval commentator—whether Jewish, Christian, or Muslim—on the works of Aristotle. Often known as Averroës, a corruption of his Arabic name, Ibn Rushd was respected even by medieval Christians. For example, Dante Alighieri, in his immortal Inferno, placed him only on the rim of Hell—in the relatively benign Limbo of unbaptized infants—and not among the torturous punishments of Hell’s lower levels.

Keywords: scholarship
Hedelius, Cassandra S. “Book Review: Comparing and Evaluating the Scriptures: A Timely Challenge for Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Mormons.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 3 (2013): 1-5.

Review of Paul F. Fink. Comparing and Evaluating the Scriptures: A Timely Challenge for Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Mormons. Lompoc, CA: Summerland Publishing, 2008. 166 pp. $16.95 (paperback and e-book format).

Keywords: book review, Paul F. Fink, scripture
Tvedtnes, John A. “Biblical and Non-Biblical Quotes in the Sermons and Epistles of Paul.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 3 (2013): 7-61.

Abstract: In 2010, BYU’s Neal A. Maxwell Institute published an article in which I demonstrated that the charge of plagiarism, frequently leveled against Joseph Smith by critics, is untrue. ((John A. Tvedtnes, “Was Joseph Smith Guilty of Plagiarism?” FARMS Review 22/1 (2010): 261–75.)) I noted, among other things, that the authors of books of the Bible sometimes quoted their predecessors. One of those authors was the apostle Paul, who drew upon a wide range of earlier texts in his epistles. This article discusses and demonstrates his sources.

Keywords: Paul, plagiarism
Midgley, Louis C. “Evangelical Controversy: A Deeply Fragmented Movement.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 3 (2013): 63-84.

Review of Kevin T. Bauder, R. Albert Mohler Jr., John G. Stackhouse Jr., Roger E. Olson. Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism. Edited by Stanley N. Gundry, Andrew David Naselli, and Collin Hansen. Introduction by Collin Hansen. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. 222 pp., with scripture index and general index. $16.99 (paperback).

Abstract: Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism should be helpful to Latter-day Saints (and others) seeking to understand some of the theological controversies lurking behind contemporary fundamentalist/evangelical religiosity. Four theologians spread along a spectrum speak for different competing factions of conservative Protestants: Kevin Bauder  ((Bauder is a research professor at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota.)) for what turns out to be his own somewhat moderate version of Protestant fundamentalism; Al Mohler ((In 1993 Mohler became the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.))  for conservative/confessional ((The labels used to identify the brand of fundamentalism/evangelicalism for which each author speaks are somewhat problematic. For example, to me it seems that Al Mohler speaks for the Calvinist/Reformed version of evangelicalism which is currently in ascendance within the Southern Baptist Convention.))  evangelicalism; John Stackhouse ((Stackhouse is professor of theology and culture at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada.))  for generic evangelicalism; and Roger Olson ((Olson is professor of theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University.)) for postconservative evangelicalism. Each author introduces his own position and then is critiqued in turn by the others, after which there is a rejoinder. In addition, as I point out in detail, each of these authors has something negative to say about the faith of Latter-day Saints.

Keywords: book review, Evangelicalism, John G. Stackhouse Jr., Kevin T. Bauder, R. Albert Mohler Jr., Roger E. Olson
Larsen, Val. “In His Footsteps: Ammon₁ and Ammon₂.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 3 (2013): 85-113.

Abstract: Mormon is a historian with a literary sensibility and considerable literary skill. Though his core message is readily apparent to any competent reader, his history nevertheless rewards close reading. Its great scope means that much that is said must be said by implication. And its witness of Christ is sometimes expressed through subtle narrative parallels or through historical allegory. This article focuses on parallel narratives that feature Ammon1 and Ammon2, with special attention to the allegorical account of Ammon2 at the waters of Sebus. To fully comprehend the power of the testimony of Christ that Mormon communicates in his Ammon narratives, readers must glean from textual details an understanding of the social and political context in which the narratives unfold. ((Peter Eubanks, Brant Gardner, Grant Hardy, and two reviewers at Interpreter read and helpfully commented on an a previous draft of this article.)).

Keywords: Ammon, Book of Mormon
Boylan, Robert S. “Book Review: Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics, by Bart D. Ehrman.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 3 (2013): 115-118.

Review of Bart D. Ehrman. Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). x + 628 pp, including bibliography and index. $39.95. Hardback.

Keywords: Bart D. Ehrman, book review, pseudepigrapha
Gardner, Brant A. “From the East to the West: The Problem of Directions in the Book of Mormon.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 3 (2013): 119-153.

Abstract: The 1985 publication of John L. Sorenson’s An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon presented the best argument for a New World location for the Book of Mormon. For all of its strengths, however, one aspect of the model has remained perplexing. It appeared that in order to accept that correlation one must accept that the Nephites rotated north to what we typically understand as northwest. The internal connections between text and geography were tighter than any previous correlation, and the connections between that particular geography and the history of the peoples who lived in that place during Book of Mormon times was also impressive. There was just that little problem of north not being north. This paper reexamines the Book of Mormon directional terms and interprets them against the cultural system that was prevalent in the area defined by Sorenson’s geographical correlation. The result is a way to understand Book of Mormon directions without requiring any skewing of magnetic north.

Keywords: Book of Mormon, directions
Thompson, A. Keith. “Nephite insights into Israelite Worship Practices before the Babylonian Captivity.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 3 (2013): 155-195.

Abstract: General historical consensus holds that synagogues originated before the destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70, and therefore probably originated during the Babylonian captivity. The suggestion in Philo and Josephus that synagogues may have originated during the exodus was discredited by some historians in the 17th century, yet the Book of Mormon speaks of synagogues, sanctuaries, and places of worship in a manner which suggests that Lehi and his party brought some form of synagogal worship with them when they left Jerusalem around 600 BC. This essay revisits the most up to date scholarship regarding the origin of the synagogue and suggests that the Book of Mormon record provides ample reason to look for the origins of the synagogue much earlier that has become the academic custom.

Keywords: Book of Mormon, Lehi, sanctuary, synagogue
Foster, Craig L. “New Light and Old Shadows: John G. Turner’s Attempt to Understand Brigham Young.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 3 (2013): 197-222.

Review of John G. Turner, Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012), viii, 500, map, photos, notes, index.

Keywords: biography, book review, Brigham Young, John G. Turner
Johnson, Hollis R. “One Day to a Cubit.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 3 (2013): 223-230.

Abstract: An investigation of ancient astronomy shows that a cubit was used not only as the metric of length (elbow to fingertip) but also as a metric of angle in the sky. That suggested a new interpretation that fits naturally: the brightest celestial object—the sun—moves eastward around the sky, relative to the stars, during the course of a year, by one cubit per day!.

Keywords: astronomy, Book of Abraham, cubit

Volume 4 (2013)

Peterson, Daniel C. “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 4 (2013): vii-xiii.
Keywords: The Interpreter Foundation
Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. “Ancient Affinities within the LDS Book of Enoch Part One.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 4 (2013): 1-27.

Abstract: In this article, we will examine affinities between ancient extracanonical sources and a collection of modern revelations that Joseph Smith termed “extracts from the Prophecy of Enoch.” We build on the work of previous scholars, revisiting their findings with the benefit of subsequent scholarship. Following a perspective on the LDS canon and an introduction to the LDS Enoch revelations, we will focus on relevant passages in pseudepigrapha and LDS scripture within three episodes in the Mormon Enoch narrative: Enoch’s prophetic commission, Enoch’s encounters with the “gibborim,” and the weeping and exaltation of Enoch and his people.

Keywords: Enoch
Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. “Ancient Affinities within the LDS Book of Enoch Part Two.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 4 (2013): 29-74.

Abstract: In this article, we will examine affinities between ancient extracanonical sources and a collection of modern revelations that Joseph Smith termed “extracts from the Prophecy of Enoch.” We build on the work of previous scholars, revisiting their findings with the benefit of subsequent scholarship. Following a perspective on the LDS canon and an introduction to the LDS Enoch revelations, we will focus on relevant passages in pseudepigrapha and LDS scripture within three episodes in the Mormon Enoch narrative: Enoch’s prophetic commission, Enoch’s encounters with the “gibborim,” and the weeping and exaltation of Enoch and his people.

Keywords: Enoch
Rappleye, Neal. “Trusting Joseph.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 4 (2013): 75-83.

Abstract: The “first steps” of Mormon history are vital to the faith claims of the Latter-day Saints. The new volume Exploring the First Vision, edited by Samuel Alonzo Dodge and Steven C. Harper, compiles research into the historical veracity of Joseph Smith’s First Vision narrative which shows the Prophet to have been a reliable and trustworthy witness. Ultimately, historical investigation can neither prove nor disprove that Joseph had a theophany in the woods in 1820. Individuals must therefore reach their conclusions by some other means.

Review of Samuel Alonzo Dodge and Steven C. Harper, eds. Exploring the First Vision. Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 2012. 338 pp. with index. $25.99If the beginning of the promenade of Mormon history, the First Vision and the Book of Mormon, can survive the crisis, then the rest of the promenade follows and nothing that happens in it can really detract from the miracle of the whole. If the first steps do not survive, there can be only antiquarian, not fateful or faith-full interest in the rest of the story.

Martin E. Marty ((Martin E. Marty, “Two Integrities: An Address to the Crisis in Mormon Historiography,” Journal of Mormon History 10 (1983): 9, capitalization altered.)).

Keywords: book review, Church history, First Vision, Joseph Smith
Midgley, Louis C. “Confronting Five-Point Calvinism.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 4 (2013): 85-92.

Review of Roger E. Olson. Against Calvinism. Foreword by Michael Horton, author of For Calvinism. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. 207 pp., no index. $16.99 (paperback).

Keywords: book review, Calvinism, Roger E. Olson
Gee, John. “Whither Mormon Studies?” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 4 (2013): 93-130.

Abstract: The proliferation of Mormon Studies is surprising, considering that many of the basic questions about the field have never been answered. This paper looks at a number of basic questions about Mormon Studies that are of either academic concern or concern for members of the Church of Jesus Christ. They include such questions as whether Mormon Studies is a discipline, whether those who do Mormon Studies necessarily know what is going on in the Church, or if they interpret their findings correctly, whether there is any core knowledge that those who do Mormon Studies can or should have, what sort of topics Mormon Studies covers or should cover and whether those topics really have anything to do with what Mormons actually do or think about, whether Mormon Studies has ulterior political or religious motives, and whether it helps or hurts the Kingdom. Is Mormon Studies a waste of students’ time and donors’ money? Though the paper does not come up with definitive answers to any of those questions, it sketches ways of looking at them from a perspective within the restored Gospel and suggests that these issues ought to be more carefully considered before Latter-day Saints dive headlong into Mormon Studies in general.

Keywords: mormon studies
Givens, Terryl L. “Letter to a Doubter.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 4 (2013): 131-146.

I understand that some doubts have arisen in your mind. I don’t know for sure what they are, but I imagine I have heard them before. Probably I have entertained some of them in my own mind. And perhaps I still harbor some of them myself. I am not going to respond to them in the ways that you may have anticipated. Oh, I will say a few things about why many doubts felt by the previously faithful and faith-filled are ill-founded and misplaced: the result of poor teaching, naïve assumptions, cultural pressures, and outright false doctrines. But my main purpose in writing this letter is not to resolve the uncertainties and perplexities in your mind. I want, rather, to endow them with the dignity and seriousness they deserve. And even to celebrate them. That may sound perverse, but I hope to show you it is not.

Keywords: doubt, faith
Hamblin, William J. “The Sôd of YHWH and the Endowment.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 4 (2013): 147-154.

Abstract: In the Hebrew Bible, the Sôd of God was a council of celestial beings who consulted with God, learned His sôd/secret plan, and then fulfilled that plan. This paper argues that the LDS endowment is, in part, a ritual reenactment of the sôd, where the participants observe the sôd/council of God, learn the sôd/secret plan of God, and covenant to fulfill that plan.

Keywords: council of God, covenant, endowment, sôd, temple
Ricks, Stephen D. “Some Notes on Book of Mormon Names.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 4 (2013): 155-160.

Abstract: This study considers the Book of Mormon personal names Josh, Nahom, and Alma as test cases for the Book of Mormon as an historically authentic ancient document.

Keywords: Alma, authenticity, Book of Mormon, historicity, Josh, Nahom, names
McGuire, Benjamin L. “Josiah’s Reform: An Introduction.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 4 (2013): 161-163.

In 1951 in The Improvement Era, Sidney B. Sperry published a short article titled “Some Problems of Interest Relating to the Brass Plates.” In this article he outlines several problems including issues related to the Pentateuch, Jeremiah’s prophecies, The Book of the Law, and the Brass Plates themselves. In many ways, Sperry laid down a gauntlet that has been taken up many times by LDS scholars looking for answers that help to explain these issues in the Book of Mormon within the context of the best current biblical scholarship.

Keywords: Josiah’s reform, King Josiah, Margaret Barker
Hamblin, William J. “Vindicating Josiah.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 4 (2013): 165-176.

For an introduction, see Benjamin L. McGuire, “Josiah’s Reform: An Introduction.”

For a counterpoint, see Kevin Christensen, “Prophets and Kings in Lehi’s Jerusalem and Margaret Barker’s Temple Theology”

Abstract: Margaret Barker has written a number of fascinating books on ancient Israelite and Christian temple theology. One of her main arguments is that the temple reforms of Josiah corrupted the pristine original Israelite temple theology. Josiah’s reforms were therefore, in some sense, an apostasy. According to Barker, early Christianity is based on the pristine, original pre-Josiah form of temple theology. This paper argues that Josiah’s reforms were a necessary correction to contemporary corruption of the Israelite temple rituals and theologies, and that the type of temple apostasy Barker describes is more likely associated with the Hasmoneans.

Keywords: Josiah’s reform, King Josiah, Margaret Barker
Christensen, Kevin. “Prophets and Kings in Lehi’s Jerusalem and Margaret Barker’s Temple Theology.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 4 (2013): 177-193.

For an introduction, see Benjamin L. McGuire, “Josiah’s Reform: An Introduction.”

For a counterpoint, see William J. Hamblin, “Vindicating Josiah.”

Abstract: King Josiah’s reign has come under increasing focus for its importance to the formation of the Hebrew Bible, and for its proximity to the ministry of important prophets such as Jeremiah and Lehi. Whereas the canonical accounts and conventional scholarship have seen Josiah portrayed as the ideal king, Margaret Barker argues Josiah’s reform was hostile to the temple. This essay offers a counterpoint to Professor Hamblin’s “Vindicating Josiah” essay, offering arguments that the Book of Mormon and Barker’s views and sources support one another.

Keywords: Deuteronomy, Josiah’s reform, King Josiah, Margaret Barker

Volume 5 (2013)

Peterson, Daniel C. “Introduction, Volume 5.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 5 (2013): vi-xiv.

Abstract:  This introduction to Volume 5 considers the modern notion of a cessation of Bible-like divine manifestations and revelations, a belief which Joseph Smith encountered when he told others of the First Vision. This perception of an end to miracles and visions had become common by Joseph’s time, as evidenced by various writers, and continues to the present day. The Latter-day Saints, however, continue to believe in modern-day revelation, which we believe gives us a unique vantage point for the study of the Bible and other scripture, as illustrated in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture.

Keywords: revelation, vision
McGuire, Benjamin L. “Finding Parallels: Some Cautions and Criticisms, Part One.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 5 (2013): 1-59.

Review of Rick Grunder. Mormon Parallels: A Bibliographic Source. Layfayette, New York: Rick Grunder—Books, 2008. 2,088 pp. On CD-ROM. $200.00.

Abstract: Discovering parallels is inherently an act of comparison. Through comparison, parallels have been introduced frequently as proof (or evidence) of different issues within Mormon studies. Despite this frequency, very few investigations provide a theoretical or methodological framework by which the parallels themselves can be evaluated. This problem is not new to the field of Mormon studies but has in the past plagued literary studies more generally. In Part One, this review essay discusses present and past approaches dealing with the ways in which parallels have been used and valued in acts of literary comparison, uncovering the various difficulties associated with unsorted parallels as well as discussing the underlying motivations for these comparisons. In Part Two, a methodological framework is introduced and applied to examples from Grunder’s collection in Mormon Parallels. In using a consistent methodology to value these parallels, this essay suggests a way to address the historical concerns associated with using parallels to explain both texts and Mormonism as an historical religious movement.

.

Keywords: book review, parallels, Rick Grunder
McGuire, Benjamin L. “Finding Parallels: Some Cautions and Criticisms, Part Two.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 5 (2013): 61-104.

Review of Rick Grunder. Mormon Parallels: A Bibliographic Source. Layfayette, New York: Rick Grunder—Books, 2008. 2,088 pp. On CD-ROM. $200.00.

Abstract: Discovering parallels is inherently an act of comparison. Through comparison, parallels have been introduced frequently as proof (or evidence) of different issues within Mormon studies. Despite this frequency, very few investigations provide a theoretical or methodological framework by which the parallels themselves can be evaluated. This problem is not new to the field of Mormon studies but has in the past plagued literary studies more generally. In Part One, this review essay discusses present and past approaches dealing with the ways in which parallels have been used and valued in acts of literary comparison, uncovering the various difficulties associated with unsorted parallels as well as discussing the underlying motivations for these comparisons. In Part Two, a methodological framework is introduced and applied to examples from Grunder’s collection in Mormon Parallels. In using a consistent methodology to value these parallels, this essay suggests a way to address the historical concerns associated with using parallels to explain both texts and Mormonism as an historical religious movement.

.

Keywords: book review, parallels, Rick Grunder
Gardner, Brant A. “When Hypotheses Collide: Responding to Lyon and Minson’s “When Pages Collide”.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 5 (2013): 105-119.

Abstract: At the end of 2012, Jack M. Lyon and Kent R. Minson published “When Pages Collide: Dissecting the Words of Mormon.” They suggest that there is textual evidence that supports the idea that Words of Mormon 12-18 is the translation of the end of the previous chapter of Mosiah. The rest of the chapter was lost with the 116 pages, but this text remained because it was physically on the next page, which Joseph had kept with him.

In this paper, the textual information is examined to determine if it supports that hypothesis. The conclusion is that while the hypothesis is possible, the evidence is not conclusive. The question remains open and may ultimately depend upon one’s understanding of the translation process much more than the evidence from the manuscripts.

Keywords: Book of Mormon, Jack M. Lyon, Kent R. Minson, translation
Nicholson, Roger. “The Spectacles, the Stone, the Hat, and the Book: A Twenty-first Century Believer’s View of the Book of Mormon Translation.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 5 (2013): 121-190.

Abstract: This essay seeks to examine the Book of Mormon translation method from the perspective of a regular, nonscholarly, believing member in the twenty-first century, by taking into account both what is learned in Church and what can be learned from historical records that are now easily available. What do we know? What should we know? How can a believing Latter-day Saint reconcile apparently conflicting accounts of the translation process? An examination of the historical sources is used to provide us with a fuller and more complete understanding of the complexity that exists in the early events of the Restoration. These accounts come from both believing and nonbelieving sources, and some skepticism ought to be employed in choosing to accept some of the interpretations offered by some of these sources as fact. However, an examination of these sources provides a larger picture, and the answers to these questions provide an enlightening look into Church history and the evolution of the translation story. This essay focuses primarily on the methods and instruments used in the translation process and how a faithful Latter-day Saint might view these as further evidence of truthfulness of the restored Gospel. .

Keywords: Book of Mormon, Church history, translation
Christensen, Kevin. “Book Review: Temple Mysticism: An Introduction, by Margaret Barker.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 5 (2013): 191-199.

Review of Margaret Barker, Temple Mysticism: An Introduction (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2011), 181 pp. $18.94.

Keywords: book review, Margaret Barker, mysticism, temple
Bowen, Matthew L. ““In the Mount of the Lord It Shall Be Seen” and “Provided”: Theophany and Sacrifice as the Etiological Foundation of the Temple in Israelite and Latter-day Saint Tradition.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 5 (2013): 201-223.

Abstract: For ancient Israelites, the temple was a place where sacrifice and theophany (i.e., seeing God or other heavenly beings) converged. The account of Abraham’s “arrested” sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22) and the account of the arrested slaughter of Jerusalem following David’s unauthorized census of Israel (2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21) served as etiological narratives—explanations of “cause” or “origin”—for the location of the Jerusalem temple and its sacrifices. Wordplay on the verb rāʾâ (to “see”) in these narratives creates an etiological link between the place-names “Jehovah-jireh,” “Moriah” and the threshing floor of Araunah/Ornan, pointing to the future location of the Jerusalem temple as the place of theophany and sacrifice par excellence. Isaac’s arrested sacrifice and the vicarious animal sacrifices of the temple anticipated Jesus’s later “un-arrested” sacrifice since, as Jesus himself stated, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day” (John 8:56). Sacrifice itself was a kind of theophany in which one’s own redemption could be “seen” and the scriptures of the Restoration confirm that Abraham and many others, even “a great many thousand years before” the coming of Christ, “saw” Jesus’s sacrifice and “rejoiced.” Additionally, theophany and sacrifice converge in the canonized revelations regarding the building of the latter-day temple. These temple revelations begin with a promise of theophany, and mandate sacrifice from the Latter-day Saints. In essence, the temple itself was, and is, Christ’s atonement having its intended effect on humanity. .

Keywords: sacrifice, temple, theophany, wordplay

Volume 6 (2013)

Peterson, Daniel C. “Introduction, Volume 6The Modest But Important End of Apologetics.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 6 (2013): vii-xxv.

I first became involved in apologetics because I wanted to defend the truth of beliefs that are important to me and to defend the character of leaders for whom I have great respect, even veneration, against attack. I’m offended by falsehoods, prejudice, and injustice. I wanted to help faltering members who were sometimes besieged by intellectual challenges for which they had no adequate response. I also desired to assist interested observers to see sufficient plausibility in the Gospel’s claims that they would be able to make its truth a matter of sincere and receptive prayer. My hope was to clear away obstacles that might obscure their recognition of truth. These continue to be my motivations, and I expect that others who are engaged in apologetics feel much the same way.

Keywords: apologetics, Myron Penner, The End of Apologetics
Smith, Robert F. “Adam Miller’s New Hermeneutic?” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 6 (2013): 1-7.

Review of Adam S. Miller (Collin College, McKinney, TX). Rube Goldberg Machines: Essays in Mormon Theology. Foreword by Richard Lyman Bushman. Draper, UT: Greg Kofford Books, 2012. 162 pp., with bibliography and indexes. $18.95. Paperback and e-book formats.

Keywords: Adam S. Miller, book review, hermeneutics
Ricks, Stephen D. “A Note on Family Structure in Mosiah 2:5.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 6 (2013): 9-10.

Mosiah 2:5 provides the reader of the Book of Mormon with new insights about Israelite-Nephite family structure. In a passage set during what John A. Tvedtnes has persuasively argued is the Feast of Tabernacles, we read: “And it came to pass that when they came up to the temple, they pitched their tents round about, every man according to his family, consisting of his wife, and his sons, and his daughters, and their sons and their daughters, from the eldest down to the youngest.”

Keywords: family, Mosiah
Midgley, Louis C. “Multiple Reformations and a Deeply Divided House.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 6 (2013): 11-15.

Review of Diarmaid MacCulloch. The Reformation. New York: Viking Penguin, 2004. xxvii + 832 pp. with appendix of texts and index. $35.95 (hardcover). $22.00 (paperback).

Keywords: book review, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Reformation
Midgley, Louis C. “Protestant Ecclesiastical Anarchy and Dogmatic Diversity.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 6 (2013): 17-21.

Review of Mark A. Noll. Protestantism: A Very Short Introduction, New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. xvi + 161 pp., with bibliography of further reading, glossary, index. $11.95 (paperback).

Keywords: book review, Mark A. Noll, Protestant
Olsen, Steven L. “Peter’s Tears.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 6 (2013): 23-30.

Abstract: Peter’s denial of Christ is one of only about two dozen events reported in all four gospels. Three of the accounts conclude by Peter’s weeping. This paper examines the antecedents, possible motivations, and long-term consequences of this crisis in Peter’s life as recorded in the scriptural text and considers its application for all disciples of the Savior.

Keywords: Peter, weeping
Gillum, Gary P. “Written to the Lamanites: Understanding the Book of Mormon through Native Culture and Religion.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 6 (2013): 31-48.

Abstract: Latter-day Saints have always been encouraged to seek the truth wherever it can be found. With the Book of Mormon being written especially to the Lamanites, we can assume that the more we know about Lamanite and Native American culture, the more we can understand, appreciate and gain insights as we read that inspired scripture. In this article the writer has compared examples from Native American culture and history to what we read in the Book of Mormon and experience as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most importantly, as we read through the eyes of a Native American, we can appreciate the divinity and authenticity of the Book of Mormon, since Joseph Smith could not have known Native American culture and history in the way it is described herein.

THE BOOK OF MORMON

AN ACCOUNT WRITTEN BY

THE HAND OF MORMON

UPON PLATES

TAKEN FROM THE PLATES OF NEPHI

Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites—Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile—.

Keywords: culture, history, Lamanites, Native Americans
Welch, John W. “Toward a Mormon Jurisprudence.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 6 (2013): 49-84.

Preface: The following article was published in the Regent University Law Review in the first number of its 2008-2009 volume, pages 79-103. The article is reprinted here by permission without any substantive modifications. Because law reviews are not easily available on the Web or elsewhere to most readers, I am pleased to give wider exposure to this first foray into the idea of a Mormon jurisprudence. Regent University is an Evangelical Christian institution.

This article grew mainly out of a talk that was delivered on February 14, 2004, to the first national meeting of the student chapters of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, held at Harvard Law School. Four years later, on February 13, 2008, Scott Adams, a third-year member of the law review at Regent University Law School contacted me and said that he was hoping to “put something together on Mormonism and the law,” to see if the law review might publish it. Scott rightly indicated that, according to his research, “no one has ever attempted to tackle the ambitious project of considering Mormonism, in general, and analyzing its potential implications on law (for example, how might an LDS judge see the law, as opposed to a Catholic).” Scott was thinking about writing a paper himself on natural law from an LDS perspective. I responded by suggesting that he contact Cole Durham, Francis Beckwith, and Nate Oman; and I offered to send him a copy of my Harvard speech, expressing interest in publishing that paper as a companion piece with his.

As it would soon turn out, the editor-in-chief and board of the Regent law review were very eager to publish my piece, especially if it could appear with another article presenting an “opposing viewpoint.” They suggested a member of their faculty, and after brief deliberations, all was agreed. In the end, however, no opposing or additional articles were forthcoming, and so this article was published on its own. I thank Scott and his fellow students for their help in checking and enriching the footnotes. They also had hopes that this publication would build good relationships between Evangelicals and future LDS students, which I too hope has occurred.

This essay tries to identify what a “Mormon” jurisprudence would, and would not, look like. Beyond its immediate relevance to legal thought, this article might have broader applications in helping LDS scholars in other disciplines to think about, for example, what a Mormon theory of literary criticism might look like, or what would be distinctive about a Mormon approach to political theory or to any other discipline. I believe that any such Mormon academic approach (1) would be solidly rooted in all LDS scripture, (2) would be inclusivistic, privileging fullness and openness over closure and completeness, and (3) would be fundamentally pluralistic and not reductionistic.

Obviously, this piece is just a beginning. There is much more to be done here. I have continued to work along these lines for the past decade and have published other things growing out of this paper, for example, a talk about rights and duties given at Stanford Law School, published in the Clark Memorandum (Fall, 2010), 26, http://www.jrcls.org/publications/clark_memo/issues/cmF10.pdf, and my Maeser lecture at Brigham Young University, available at http://byustudies.byu.edu/PDFLibrary/50.3WelchThy-08f4ba7e-d3a2-444f-bc8c-0ce842c12fc4.pdf.

I would hope next to articulate the specific implications of these ideas with respect to legal attitudes toward statutory construction, judicial activism, the spirit and letter of the law, justice and mercy, equality and freedom, pacifism and justifiable use of force, corrections and forms of punishment, degrees of fiduciary duties, types of contracts, the foundations of family law, the principles of constitutional law, and many other topics. This development would utilize historical, scriptural, logical, ethical, and other analyses.

Naturally, this article is neither complete nor comprehensive in scope. How could it truly exemplify my theory if it were otherwise? This was all I could cover in a brief presentation even to a group of bright law students gathered on a Valentine’s Day at Harvard. And I probably already had included enough here to bewilder most Baptist readers of the Regent University Law Review who were just then hearing for the first time about Mitt Romney and wondered how a Mormon might approach the law as the president of the United States.

That question, of course, is still up for grabs; and Latter-day Saints are more interested in political and legal issues than ever before. So I hope that readers may find this article still to be stimulating and, as reader Sid Unrau has commented, “well worth reading, contemplating, and building upon, … a valuable start for those who wish to further the subject.”.

Keywords: jurisprudence, law
Foster, Craig L. “Misunderstanding Mormonism in The Mormonizing of America.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 6 (2013): 85-104.

Abstract: The Mormonizing of America by Stephen Mansfield has been touted as a solid, impartial look at Mormon history and doctrine. Unfortunately, on closer examination, the book is seriously lacking both in substance and impartiality. This article discusses the book’s numerous problems.

Review of Stephen Mansfield. The Mormonizing of America: How the Mormon Religion Became a Dominant Force in Politics, Entertainment, and Pop Culture. Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing, 2012. 264 pp. $22.99.

Keywords: book review, Church history, doctrine, Stephen Mansfield, The Mormonizing of America
Smith, Gregory L. ““Endless Forms Most Beautiful”: The uses and abuses of evolutionary biology in six works.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 6 (2013): 105-163.

Review of: Michael Dowd. Thank God for Evolution. New York: W. W. Norton, 2004. 336 pp., with index. $13.95. Karl W. Giberson. Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution. New York: HarperCollins, 2008. 239 pp., with index. $9.98. Daniel J. Fairbanks. Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2007. 281 pp., with index. $15.86. Howard C. Stutz. “Let the Earth Bring Forth”, Evolution and Scripture. Draper, UT: Greg Kofford Books, 2010. 130 pp., with index. $15.95 David C. Stove. Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity, and Other Fables of Evolution. New York: Encounter Books, 1995. 345 pp., with index. $18.95 William A. Dembski. The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2009. 229 pp., with index. $22.99 The position of the Church on the origin of man was published by the First Presidency in 1909 and stated again by a different First Presidency in 1925:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, declares man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity…. Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes…

The scriptures tell why man was created, but they do not tell how, though the Lord has promised that he will tell that when he comes again (D&C 101:32–33). In 1931, when there was intense discussion on the issue of organic evolution, the First Presidency of the Church, then consisting of Presidents Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, and Charles W. Nibley, addressed all of the General Authorities of the Church on the matter and concluded,Upon the fundamental doctrines of the Church we are all agreed. Our mission is to bear the message of the restored gospel to the world. Leave geology, biology, archaeology, and anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of the souls of mankind, to scientific research, while we magnify our calling in the realm of the Church.… Upon one thing we should all be able to agree, namely, that Presidents Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund were right when they said: “Adam is the primal parent of our race.”

First Presidency Minutes, April 7, 1931 ((Cited in William E. Evenson, “Evolution,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, (Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992), 478.)).

Keywords: biology, book review, Darwin, evolution
Hales, Brian C. “Stretching to Find the Negative: Gary Bergera’s Review of Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: History and Theology.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 6 (2013): 165-190.

Abstract: At an author-meets-critic Sunstone Symposium on August 2, 2013, Gary Bergera devoted over 90% of his fifteen-minute review to criticize my 1500+ page, three-volume, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: History and Theology. This article responds to several of the disagreements outlined by Bergera that on closer inspection appear as straw men. Also addressed are the tired arguments buoyed by carefully selected documentation he advanced supporting that (1) John C. Bennett learned of polygamy from Joseph Smith, (2) the Fanny Alger-Joseph Smith relationship was adultery, and (3) the Prophet practiced sexual polyandry. This article attempts to provide greater balance by including new evidences published for the first time in the three volumes but ignored by Bergera. These new documents and observations empower readers to expand their understanding beyond the timeworn reconstructions referenced in Bergera’s critical review.

Keywords: Gary Bergera, Joseph Smith, polygamy, review

Volume 7 (2013)

Peterson, Daniel C. “Elder Neal A. Maxwell on Consecration, Scholarship, and the Defense of the Kingdom.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 7 (2013): vii-xix.
Keywords: apologetics, consecration, FARMS, Neal A. Maxwell, scholarship
Sorensen, Alma Don. “An Essay on the One True Morality and the Principle of Freedom.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 7 (2013): 1-47.

Abstract: The author introduces the subject of the essay based on scripture by observing that one true morality governs the heavens and exists to govern mortality, which contains all possible ways to live in time and eternity and orders them into a hierarchy of rational preferability. In order to live their endless lives with enduring purpose and fullness, humankind must undertake two stages of probationary preparation, one as premortals and one that begins with mortality and concludes in the post-mortal world with the final judgment, in which they come to know for themselves the one morality and accept its ordering of the many never-ending ways of life and hence the ways they have proven themselves willing to receive. With that introduction in mind, in the next two sections of the essay the author explores what some latter-day scripture reveals about the moral facts that make possible knowledge of the one morality, about how humankind determines good from bad ways to live as they undertake the second stage of probationary preparation, about how they can come to a knowledge of the best way of life contained in that morality, and how in the end they have a perfect knowledge of it.

In the final section of the essay, the author investigates how it was that in the premortal world the hosts of heaven, knowing and accepting as they did the one true morality, nevertheless became deeply divided over two incompatible plans of salvation as they prepared for moral life and went to war over them. A major theme of the essay is that the one morality, and every way to live it contains, center on persons becoming and living as agents unto themselves. The upshot is that the principle of freedom, which prescribes the full collective and personal realization of human agency and which belongs to all humankind at every stage of their endless existence, is the fundamental principle of that eternal morality.

Keywords: agency, freedom, morality, premortality
Gardner, Brant A. “I Do Not Think That WORD Means What You Think It Means.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 7 (2013): 49-55.

Review of E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien, Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2012), 240 pp. $16.00.

Keywords: book review, culture, exegesis, history, language, Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes, translation, words
Skousen, Royal. “The Original Text of the Book of Mormon and its Publication by Yale University Press.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 7 (2013): 57-96.

An earlier version of the following paper was presented 5 August 2010 at a conference sponsored by FAIR, the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (now FairMormon). The text of this paper is copyrighted by Royal Skousen. The photographs that appear in this paper are also protected by copyright. Photographs of the original manuscript are provided courtesy of David Hawkinson and Robert Espinosa and are reproduced here by permission of the Wilford Wood Foundation. Photographs of the printer’s manuscript are provided courtesy of Nevin Skousen and are reproduced here by permission of the Community of Christ. The text of the Yale edition of The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text (2009) is copyrighted by Royal Skousen; Yale University Press holds the rights to reproduce this text.

Keywords: Book of Mormon, Book of Mormon Critical Text Project, linguistics, Royal Skousen
Petersen, Zina. “Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 7 (2013): 97-112.

Review of The Mother of the Lord, volume 1: The Lady in the Temple by Margaret Barker, 2012, London: Bloomsbury.

Keywords: book review, feminine, Margaret Barker, The Mother of the Lord, Wisdom
Christensen, Kevin. “Sophic Box and Mantic Vista: A Review of Deconstructing Mormonism.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 7 (2013): 113-179.

A review of Deconstructing Mormonism: An Analysis and Assessment of the Mormon Faith (Cranford, N.J, American Atheist Press: 2011) by Thomas Riskas and of Myths, Models and Paradigms: A Comparative Study of Science and Religion (New York, Harper & Row: 1974) by Ian J. Barbour.

Abstract: Riskas’s Desconstructing Mormonism claims that believers are trapped in a box for which the instructions for how to get out are written on the outside of the box. He challenges believers to submit to an outsider test for faith. But how well does Riskas describe the insider test? And is his outsider test, which turns out to be positivism, just a different box with the instructions for how to get out written on its outside? Ian Barbour’s Myths Models and Paradigms provides instructions on how to get out of the positivistic box that Riskas offers, and at the same time provides an alternate outsider test that Mormon readers can use to assess what Alma refers to as “cause to believe.” The important thing, however, is that we are dealing here not with the old donnybrook between science and religion but with the ancient confrontation of Sophic and Mantic. The Sophic is simply the art of solving problems without the aid of any superhuman agency, which the Mantic, on the other hand, is willing to solicit or accept. ((Hugh Nibley, “Paths that Stray: Some Notes on the Sophic and Mantic” in Stephen Ricks, ed., The Ancient State, Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, vol. 10 (Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1991), 380-–381.)).

Keywords: book review, Deconstructing Mormonism, Ian J. Barbour, Myths Models and Paradigms, Thomas Riskas
Smith, Gregory L. “Passing Up The Heavenly Gift (Part One of Two).” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 7 (2013): 181-243.

Review of Denver C. Snuffer, Jr., Passing the Heavenly Gift, Salt Lake City: Mill Creek Press, 2011. 510 pp., no index. $25.97.

Keywords: book review, Church history, Denver C. Snuffer, Passing the Heavenly Gift
Smith, Gregory L. “Passing Up The Heavenly Gift (Part Two of Two).” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 7 (2013): 245-321.

Review of Denver C. Snuffer, Jr., Passing the Heavenly Gift, Salt Lake City: Mill Creek Press, 2011. 510 pp., no index. $25.97.

Keywords: book review, Church history, Denver C. Snuffer, Passing the Heavenly Gift
McGuire, Benjamin L. “The Late War Against the Book of Mormon.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 7 (2013): 323-355.

Recently, the Exmormon Foundation held their annual conference in Salt Lake City. A presentation by Chris and Duane Johnson proposed a new statistical model for discussing authorship of the Book of Mormon. The study attempts to connect the Book of Mormon to a text published in 1816: The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain. The latter is a history of the war of 1812 deliberately written in a scriptural style. A traditional (non-statistical) comparison between this text and the Book of Mormon was apparently introduced by Rick Grunder in his 2008 bibliography Mormon Parallels. I will discuss only the statistical model presented by the Johnsons here.

Keywords: Book of Mormon, Chris and Duane Johnson, Mormon Parallels, Rick Grunder, textual criticism, The Late War

Volume 8 (2014)

Midgley, Louis C. “A Plea for Narrative Theology: Living In and By Stories.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): vii-xxi.

Abstract: The following are reflections on some of the complicated history, including the abuses, of what is commonly known as theology. The Saints do not “do theology.” Even when we are tempted, we do not reduce the contents or grounds of faith to something conforming to traditional theology. Instead, we tell stories of how and why we came to faith, which are then linked to a network of other stories found in our scriptures, and to a master narrative. We live in and by stories and not by either dogmatic or philosophically grounded systematic theology. Instead, we tend to engage in several strikingly different kinds of endeavors, especially including historical studies, which take the place of (and also clash with) what has traditionally been done under the name theology in its various varieties, confessional or otherwise.

Keywords: narratives, stories, theology
Spendlove, Loren Blake. “Limhi’s Discourse: Proximity and Distance in Teaching.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 1-6.

Abstract: The author introduces a syntactic technique known as “enallage”—an intentional substitution of one grammatical form for another. This technique can be used to create distance or proximity between the speaker, the audience, and the message. The author demonstrates how king Limhi skillfully used this technique to teach his people the consequences of sin and the power of deliverance through repentance.

Keywords: David, distance, enallage, Limhi, Nathan, proximity, teaching
Gee, John. “Of Tolerance and Intolerance.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 7-9.

Review of D. A. Carson. The Intolerance of Tolerance. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 2012. 186 pp. with indices of names, subjects and scriptures. $24.00 (hardback), $16.00 (paperback).

Keywords: book review, D. A. Carson, intolerance, The Intolerance of Tolerance, tolerance
Stutz, James. “Can a Man See God? 1 Timothy 6:16 in Light of Ancient and Modern Revelation.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 11-26.

Abstract: Joseph Smith’s First Vision is a favorite target of critics of the LDS Church. Evangelical critics in particular, such as Matt Slick of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, seek to discredit the First Vision on biblical grounds. This article explores biblical theophanies and argues that Joseph’s vision fits squarely with the experience of ancient prophets, especially those who are given the rare blessing of piercing the veil of light and glory, the Hebrew kabod, that God dwells within.

“I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun…” –Joseph Smith Jr. ((Joseph Smith—History 1:16.)).

Keywords: evangelical, First Vision, Joseph Smith, kabod, Matt Slick, prophets, theophany
Nicholson, Roger. “The Cowdery Conundrum: Oliver’s Aborted Attempt to Describe Joseph Smith’s First Vision in 1834 and 1835.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 27-44.

Abstract: In 1834, Oliver Cowdery began publishing a history of the Church in installments in the pages of the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. The first installment talks of the religious excitement and events that ultimately led to Joseph Smith’s First Vision at age 14. However, in the subsequent installment published two months later, Oliver claims that he made a mistake, correcting Joseph’s age from 14 to 17 and failing to make any direct mention of the First Vision. Oliver instead tells the story of Moroni’s visit, thus making it appear that the religious excitement led to Moroni’s visit.

This curious account has been misunderstood by some to be evidence that the “first” vision that Joseph claimed was actually that of the angel Moroni and that Joseph invented the story of the First Vision of the Father and Son at a later time. However, Joseph wrote an account of his First Vision in 1832 in which he stated that he saw the Lord, and there is substantial evidence that Oliver had this document in his possession at the time that he wrote his history of the Church. This essay demonstrates the correlations between Joseph Smith’s 1832 First Vision account, Oliver’s 1834/1835 account, and Joseph’s 1835 journal entry on the same subject. It is clear that not only did Oliver have Joseph’s history in his possession but that he used Joseph’s 1832 account as a basis for his own account. This essay also shows that Oliver knew of the First Vision and attempted to obliquely refer to the event several times in his second installment before continuing with his narrative of Moroni’s visit.

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Keywords: Church history, First Vision, Messenger and Advocate, Oliver Cowdery
Midgley, Louis C. “Māori Latter-day Saint Faith: Some Preliminary Remarks.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 45-65.

Review of Marjorie Newton, Tiki and Temple: The Mormon Mission in New Zealand, 1854–1958 (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2012), xv + 328 pp. (including a glossary of Māori words, three appendices, bibliography, two maps, twenty-nine illustrations and a photography register, and index). $29.95 (paperback).

Abstract: Marjorie Newton’s widely acclaimed Tiki and Temple ((Marjorie Newton has received several awards for her book, and it has also been reviewed favorably.)) is a history of the first century of Latter-day Saint missionary endeavors in Aotearoa/New Zealand. She tells the remarkable story of what, beginning in 1881, rapidly became essentially a Māori version of the faith of Latter-day Saints. Her fine work sets the stage for a much closer look at the deeper reasons some Māori became faithful Latter-day Saints. It turns out that Māori seers (and hence their own prophetic tradition) was, for them, commensurate with the divine special revelations brought to them by LDS missionaries. Among other things, the arcane lore taught in special schools to an elite group among the Māori is now receiving close attention by Latter-day Saint scholars.

Keywords: book review, Māori, Marjorie Newton, New Zealand, Tiki and Temple
Nibley, Hugh. “The Christmas Quest.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 67-70.

Introduction: The following article from Hugh Nibley, written more than half a century ago, is a timely reminder of the contrast between empty holiday exuberance and the prospect of authentic Christmas cheer that can be provided only by the good news of “a real Savior who has really spoken with men.”

This article originally appeared in Millennial Star 112/1 (January 1950), 4-5. It was reprinted in Eloquent Witness: Nibley on Himself, Others, and the Temple, edited by Stephen D. Ricks. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 17 (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2008), 121-124. Footnotes below have been added by Interpreter.

Keywords: Christmas, Hugh Nibley, Nibley, Year Rite
Lewis, John S. “The Scale of Creation in Space and Time.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 71-80.

Abstract: The accounts of creation in Genesis, Moses, and Abraham as well as in higher endowments of knowledge given to the faithful are based on visions in which the seer lacked the vocabulary to describe and the knowledge to interpret what he saw and hence was obliged to record his experiences in the imprecise language available to him. Modern attempts to explain accounts of these visions frequently make use of concepts and terminology that are completely at odds with the understanding of ancient peoples: they project anachronistic concepts that the original seer would not have recognized. This article reviews several aspects of the creation stories in scripture for the purpose of distinguishing anachronistic modern reinterpretations from the content of the original vision.

This essay derives from a presentation made at the 2013 Interpreter Symposium on Science and Religion: Cosmos, Earth, and Man on November 9, 2013. Details on the event, including links to videos, are available at journal.interpreterfoundation.org. An expanded version of the symposium proceedings will be published in hardcopy and digital formats.

Keywords: Abraham, age of the earth, cosmos, creation, Genesis, Moses, science, universe
Buchanan, Bryan. “Enoch and Noah on Steroids.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 81-85.

Review of Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and David J. Larsen, In God’s Image and Likeness 2: Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel (Salt Lake City, Utah: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014), 590 pp. (full color interior includes footnotes; endnotes; three excursus sections; annotated bibliography on Enoch and the Flood; comprehensive reference list; thumbnail index of one hundred and eleven illustrations and photographs; and indexes of scriptures referenced, modern prophets quoted, and topics discussed). $49.99 (hardcover).

Reprinted with the kind permission of the Association for Mormon Letters.

Keywords: book review, David J. Larsen, Enoch, In God’s Image and Likeness, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Noah
Smith, Andrew C. “Hagar in LDS Scripture and Thought.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 87-137.

Abstract: LDS discourse vis-à-vis Hagar has changed through the years since the foundation of the Church. Her story has been considered and utilized in a number of ways, the most prominent being as a defense of plural marriage. This paper traces the LDS usages of Hagar’s story as well as proposing a new allegorical interpretation of her place within the Abrahamic drama through literary connections in the Hebrew Bible combined with Restoration scripture.

Keywords: Abraham, covenant, Hagar, historiography, Sarah, Yom Kippur
Smoot, Stephen O. “Help for the Troubled “Young Mormon”.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 139-146.

Review of Adam S. Miller, Letters to a Young Mormon. Provo, Utah: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2014. 78 pp. $9.95.

Keywords: Adam S. Miller, book review, Letters to a Young Mormon
Rappleye, Neal. ““Until the Heart Betrays”: Life, Letters, and the Stories We Tell.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 147-155.

Review of Adam S. Miller. Letters to a Young Mormon. Provo, Utah: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2014. 78 pp. $9.95.

Keywords: Adam S. Miller, book review, Letters to a Young Mormon
Rappleye, Neal, and Stephen O. Smoot. “Book of Mormon Minimalists and the NHM Inscriptions: A Response to Dan Vogel.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 157-185.

Abstract: Biblical “minimalists” have sought to undermine or de-emphasize the significance of the Tel Dan inscription attesting to the existence of the “house of David.” Similarly, those who might be called Book of Mormon “minimalists” such as Dan Vogel have marshaled evidence to try to make the nhm inscriptions from south Arabia, corresponding to the Book of Mormon Nahom, seem as irrelevant as possible. We show why the nhm inscriptions still stand as impressive evidence for the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

Keywords: altars, Arabian Bountiful, archaeology, Dan Vogel, evidences, Frankincense Trail, Nahom, NHM
Smith, Julie M. “A Note on Chiasmus in Abraham 3:22-23.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 187-190.

Chiasmus, or inverted parallelism, is well-known to most students of Mormon studies; this note explores one instance of it in Abraham 3:22-23.

Keywords: Abraham, chiasmus, literary analysis, Matthew, Pearl of Great Price
Ricks, Stephen D. “A Nickname and a Slam Dunk: Notes on the Book of Mormon Names Zeezrom and Jershon.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 191-194.

Even in the Bible, nicknames and dysphemisms—expressions whose connotations may be offensive to the hearer—are not rare and were equally so in other parts of the ancient and early medieval world. In 1 Samuel the ungenerous husband of Abigail rudely refused hospitality to the men of David, greatly angering them. David and his men were so incensed at his offense against the laws of hospitality that they intended to punish him for his boorish behavior before they were dissuaded from their plan by Abigail (1 Samuel 25:1-35). Shortly thereafter the husband died suddenly and mysteriously (1 Samuel 25:36-37). To all subsequent history his name was given as “Nabal,” which means either “churl” or “fool,” a rather harsh nickname that might also shade off to a dysphemism.

Keywords: Jershon, names, Zeezrom
Smith, Robert F. ““If There Be Faults, They Be Faults of a Man”.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 195-203.

Review of John S. Dinger, ed., Significant Textual Changes in the Book of Mormon: The First Printed Edition Compared to the Manuscripts and to the Subsequent Major LDS English Printed Editions (Salt Lake City: Smith-Pettit Foundation/Signature Books, 2013); with foreword by Stan Larson; 418pp+ xxxvi; hardbound edition limited to 501 copies; ISBN 978-1-56085-233-9.

Keywords: Book of Mormon Critical Text Project, book review, FARMS, John S. Dinger, Royal Skousen, Stanley R. Larson, textual criticism
Thompson, A. Keith. “Fashion or Proof? A Challenge for Pacific Anthropology.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 205-232.

Abstract: This article is a call to Pacific anthropologists to write the story of the origin of mankind in the Pacific a bit larger and perhaps to look scientifically for additional explanations. Is it possible that the early diffusionists may have gotten some things right, albeit for the wrong reasons?.

Keywords: anthropology, colonization, origins, polynesia
Skousen, Royal. “A Brief History of Critical Text Work on the Book of Mormon.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 8 (2014): 233-248.

I begin this brief historical account of alternative work on the critical text of the Book of Mormon by including material that I wrote in an original, longer review of John S. Dinger’s Significant Textual Changes in the Book of Mormon (Smith-Pettit Foundation: Salt Lake City, Utah, 2013). The final, shorter review appears in BYU Studies 53:1 (2014). The Interpreter recently published Robert F. Smith’s review of Dinger. In these additional comments, I especially concentrate on work done in the 1970s by Stan Larson on the text of the Book of Mormon. In the latter part of this account, I discuss the more recent work of Shirley Heater in producing The Book of Mormon: Restored Covenant Edition.

Keywords: Book of Mormon, Book of Mormon Critical Text Project, book review, history

Volume 9 (2014)

Peterson, Daniel C. “Reflections on the Mission of The Interpreter Foundation.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 9 (2014): vii-xx.

Abstract: Among the covenant obligations taken upon themselves by faithful Latter-day Saints is the consecration of their talents, gifts, and abilities to the building of the Kingdom of God on the earth. Those who established and lead The Interpreter Foundation see their mission in terms of this covenant. The Foundation’s goal is to foster honest and accessible scholarship in service to the Church and Kingdom of God, scholarship that will be of use and benefit to our fellow Latter-day Saints.

Keywords: consecration, scholarship, The Interpreter Foundation
Bowen, Matthew L. “Founded Upon a Rock: Doctrinal and Temple Implications of Peter’s Surnaming.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 9 (2014): 1-28.

Abstract: The famous Petros/petra wordplay in Matthew 16:18 does not constitute Jesus’s identification of Peter as the “rock” upon which his church would be built. This wordplay does however identify him with that “rock” or “bedrock” inasmuch as Peter, a small “seer-stone,” had the potential to become like the Savior himself, “the Rock of ages.” One aspect of that “rock” is the revelation that comes through faith that Jesus is the Christ. Other aspects of that same rock are the other principles and ordinances of the gospel, including temple ordinances. The temple, a symbol of the Savior and his body, is a symbol of the eternal family—the “sure house” built upon a rock. As such, the temple is the perfect embodiment of Peter’s labor in the priesthood, against which hell will not prevail.

Keywords: doctrine, house, Jesus Christ, name, Peter, priesthood, rock, temple
Gardner, Brant A. “Literacy and Orality in the Book of Mormon.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 9 (2014): 29-85.

Abstract: The Book of Mormon is a literate product of a literate culture. It references written texts. Nevertheless, behind the obvious literacy, there are clues to a primary orality in Nephite culture. The instances of text creation and most instances of reading texts suggest that documents were written by and for an elite class who were able to read and write. Even among the elite, reading and writing are best seen as a secondary method of communication to be called upon to archive information, to communicate with future readers (who would have been assumed to be elite and therefore able to read), and to communicate when direct oral communication was not possible (letters and the case of Korihor). As we approach the text, we may gain new insights into the art with which it was constructed by examining it as the literate result of a primarily oral culture.

Keywords: Book of Mormon, literacy, literary analysis, literature, orality
Spencer, Joseph M. “The Time of Sin.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 9 (2014): 87-110.

Abstract: This essay provides a close theological reading of Helaman 13, the first part of the sermon of Samuel the Lamanite. Beginning from the insight that the chapter focuses intensely on time, it develops a theological case for how sin has its own temporality. Sin opens up a disastrous future, deliberately misremembers the past, and complicates the constitution of the present as the past of the future.

Keywords: Book of Mormon, remembrance, repentance, Samuel the Lamanite, sin, temporality, theology
Goff, Alan. “The Inevitability of Epistemology in Historiography: Theory, History, and Zombie Mormon History.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 9 (2014): 111-207.

Abstract: Fundamental changes have occurred in the historical profession over the past thirty years. The central revolutionary change is that workers in the historical profession can no longer ignore theory and philosophy of history. A built-in resistance to theory causes historians to abjure philosophical analysis of their discipline at a time when such analysis is recognized to be indispensable. If one doesn’t have an explicit theory, one will appropriate one uncritically, without the felt need to articulate and defend the theory. The dominant theory in history over the past century has been positivism, a conception of disciplinary work that ruled history and the social sciences during the twentieth century but has been stripped of rhetorical and persuasive power over the past three decades. Although positivism has been overwhelmingly rejected by theoretically informed historians, it continues to dominate among the vast majority of historians, who fear adulterating history with philosophical examination. The most common version of positivism among historians is the assertion that the only evidence from the past that is valid is testimony based on empirical observation. This essay focuses on recent comments by Dan Vogel and Christopher Smith, who deny this dominance of positivism in the historical profession, and in Mormon history in particular, by misunderstanding positivism without even consulting the large scholarly literature on the topic that rebuts their assertions. They make no attempt to engage the sophisticated literature on the transformation in historiography and philosophy of history that has made most of history written to standards of the 1970s obsolete and revealed it as ideologically inspired; while at the same time these historical researchers assert their own objectivity by appealing to a conventional wisdom that is now antiquated. This version of positivism is especially hostile to religious belief in general, and in particular to that embodied in the LDS tradition.

Keywords: Church history, epistemology, history
Townsend, Colby J. “The Case for the Documentary Hypothesis, Historical Criticism, and the Latter-day Saints.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 9 (2014): 209-214.

Review of David Bokovoy. Authoring the Old Testament: Genesis–Deuteronomy. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2014). Foreword by John W. Welch. 272pp. Paperback and hardcover. ((I am reviewing an advanced reading copy. Some of the material I review may be updated in the final printed form, with some of my quotations and page numbers of Bokovoy’s book possibly being updated by then.))

Abstract: Bokovoy’s new volume substantiates the claim that faithful Latter-day Saint students of Holy Scripture can apply the knowledge and methods gained through academic studies to the Bible.

Keywords: book review, criticism, David Bokovoy, Documentary Hypothesis, scholarship, scripture, sources
Bradshaw, Jeffrey M. “Sorting Out the Sources in Scripture.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 9 (2014): 215-272.

Review of David E. Bokovoy, Authoring the Old Testament: Genesis-Deuteronomy. Contemporary Studies in Scripture. Salt Lake City, UT: Greg Kofford Books, 2014. 272 pp. $26.95 (paperback); $70.00 (hardcover).

Abstract: To date, LDS scholars have largely ignored the important but rather complex questions about how primary sources may have been authored and combined to form the Bible as we have it today. David Bokovoy’s book, one of a projected series of volumes on the authorship of the Old Testament, is intended to rectify this deficiency, bringing the results of scholarship in Higher Criticism into greater visibility within the LDS community. Though readers may not agree in every respect with the book’s analysis and results, particularly with its characterization of the Books of Moses and Abraham as “inspired pseudepigrapha,” Bokovoy has rendered an important service by applying his considerable expertise in a sincere quest to understand how those who accept Joseph Smith as a prophet of God can derive valuable interpretive lessons from modern scholarship.

Keywords: book review, criticism, David Bokovoy, Documentary Hypothesis, scholarship, scripture, sources

Volume 10 (2014)

Peterson, Daniel C. “Some Notes on Faith and Reason.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 10 (2014): vii-xix.

Philosophers and theologians, believers and unbelievers, friends to faith and enemies, scientists, historians — these and many others have devoted a very great deal of time and attention for centuries to the relationship between faith and reason.

There is little if any general consensus on the matter, and I have no intention, in just a few pages here, of trying to settle things. I’m inclined, though, to share a few thoughts on the topic from my Latter-day Saint perspective.

Keywords: faith, reason
Tvedtnes, John A. “When Was Christ Born?” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 10 (2014): 1-33.

Abstract: Many people still believe that Jesus Christ was born on 25 December, either in 1 bc or ad 1. The December date is certainly incorrect and the year is unlikely.Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given. (3 Nephi 1:13–14).

Keywords: birth, chronology, Jesus Christ
Skousen, Royal. “Another Account of Mary Whitmer’s Viewing of the Golden Plates.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 10 (2014): 35-44.

Carl T. Cox has graciously provided me with a new account of Moroni showing the Book of Mormon plates to Mary Whitmer (1778-1856), wife of Peter Whitmer Senior. Mary was the mother of five sons who were witnesses to the golden plates: David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses; and Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, John Whitmer, and Peter Whitmer Junior, four of the eight witnesses.

For a long time we have known that Mary Whitmer was also shown the plates. These accounts are familiar and derive from David Whitmer and John C. Whitmer (the son of John Whitmer). For comparison’s sake, I provide here two versions of their accounts (in each case, I have added some paragraphing).

Keywords: Book of Mormon, golden plates, Mary Whitmer, witnesses
Foster, Craig L. “Separated but not Divorced: The LDS Church’s Uncomfortable Relationship with its Polygamous Past.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 10 (2014): 45-76.

Abstract: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’s uncomfortable relationship with its polygamous history is somewhat like an awkward marriage separation. This is, in part, because of the fitful, painful cessation of plural marriage and the ever present reminders of its complicated past. This essay looks at examples of members’ expression of discomfort over a polygamous heritage and concludes with suggestions of possible pathways to a more comfortable reconciliation.

Keywords: Church, Church history, plural marriage, polygamy
Hales, Brian C. “Dissenters: Portraying the Church as Wrong So They can be Right Without It.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 10 (2014): 77-121.

Abstract: This essay addresses the reasons many persons have left The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In particular, there are those who publicly assert the Church is not led by inspired leaders so they can feel at peace about their decision to leave it. One common argument used to justify their estrangement is the “Samuel Principle,” which ostensibly would require God to allow his followers on earth to go astray if they chose any level of unrighteousness. Problems with this interpretation are presented including examples from religious history that show that God’s primary pattern has been to call his errant followers to repentance by raising up righteous leaders to guide them. Also explored are the common historical events that dissenters often allege have caused the Church to apostatize. The notion that the Church and the “Priesthood” could be separate entities is examined as well. The observation that Church leaders continue to receive divine communication in order to fulfill numerous prophecies and that a significant number of completely devout Latter-day Saints have always existed within the Church, obviating the need for any dissenting movement, is discussed. In addition, several common scriptural proof-texts employed by some dissenters and their ultimate condition of apostasy are analyzed.

Keywords: apostasy
Rappleye, Neal. “A Scientist Looks at Book of Mormon Anachronisms.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 10 (2014): 123-131.

Review of Wade E. Miller, Science and the Book of Mormon: Cureloms, Cumoms, Horses & More (Laguna Niguel, California: KCT & Associates, 2010). 106 pages + viii, including two appendices and references cited, no index.

Abstract: Anachronisms, or out of place items, have long been a subject of controversy with the Book of Mormon. Several Latter-day Saints over the years have attempted to examine them. Dr. Wade E. Miller, as a paleontologist and geologist, offers a some new insights on this old question, especially regarding animals mentioned in the Book of Mormon, including a report on some preliminary research which might completely change the pre-Columbian picture for horses in America. Overall, this is an indispensable resource on Book of Mormon anachronisms.

Keywords: anachronisms, book review, science, Wade E. Miller
Birch, A. Jane. “Questioning the Comma in Verse 13 of the Word of Wisdom.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 10 (2014): 133-149.

Abstract: The 1921 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants included an additional comma, which was inserted after the word “used” in D&C 89:13: “And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.” Later authors have speculated that the addition of the comma was a mistake that fundamentally changed the meaning of the verse. This article examines this “errant comma theory” and demonstrates why this particular interpretation of D&C 89:13 is without merit.

Keywords: meat, Word of Wisdom
Bowen, Matthew L. ““And There Wrestled a Man with Him” (Genesis 32:24): Enos’s Adaptations of the Onomastic Wordplay of Genesis.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 10 (2014): 151-160.

Abstract: In this brief note, I will suggest several instances in which the Book of Mormon prophet Enos utilizes wordplay on his own name, the name of his father “Jacob,” the place name “Peniel,” and Jacob’s new name “Israel” in order to connect his experiences to those of his ancestor Jacob in Genesis 32-33, thus infusing them with greater meaning. Familiarity with Jacob and Esau’s conciliatory “embrace” in Genesis 33 is essential to understanding how Enos views the atonement of Christ and the ultimate realization of its blessings in his life.

Keywords: atonement, embrace, Enos, Israel, Jacob, names, Peniel, wordplay
Anderson, Rick. “Mormonism and Intellectual Freedom.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 10 (2014): 161-173.

Abstract: To many outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (and to some of its members), the Church’s teachings and practices appear not only socially and experientially constraining, but intellectually restrictive as well, given its centralized system of doctrinal boundary maintenance and its history of sometimes sanctioning members who publicly dissent from its teachings. Do these practices amount to a constraint of intellectual freedom? This essay argues that they do not, and offers several possible explanations for the commonly-asserted position that they do.

Keywords: apostasy, correlation, intellectual freedom, orthodoxy
Christensen, Kevin. “Eye of the Beholder, Law of the Harvest: Observations on the Inevitable Consequences of the Different Investigative Approaches of Jeremy Runnells and Jeff Lindsay.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 10 (2014): 175-238.

Review of “Letter to a CES Director: Why I Lost My Testimony,” Jeremy Runnells, April 2013, Updated February 23, 2014. 83 pages. http://cesletter.com/Letter-to-a-CES-Director.pdf.

Abstract: In his Letter to a CES Director, Jeremy Runnells explains how a year of obsessive investigation brought about the loss of his testimony. In an LDS FAQ, LDS blogger Jeff Lindsay deals with all of the same questions, and has done so at least twenty years and has not only an intact testimony, but boundless enthusiasm. What makes the difference? In the parable of the Sower, Jesus explained that the same seeds (words) can generate completely different harvests, ranging from nothing to a hundred-fold increase, all depending on the different soil and nurture. This essay looks at how different expectations and inquiries for translation, prophets, key scriptural passages on representative issues can lead to very different outcomes for investigators.

Keywords: book review, Jeff Lindsay, Jeremy Runnells, Letter to a CES Director, Sower, testimony
Larsen, Val. “Restoration: A Theological Poem in the Book of Mormon.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 10 (2014): 239-256.

Abstract: The distinctive Mormon conception of God makes possible a logically coherent reconciliation of the facially incompatible laws of justice and mercy. The Book of Mormon prophet Alma clearly explains how these two great laws may be reconciled through the atonement and repentance that the atonement makes possible. Alma artfully illustrates the relationship between justice and mercy in a carefully crafted theological poem.

Keywords: Alma, atonement, justice, mercy, poem
Halverson, Taylor. “Reading the Scriptures Geographically: Some Tools and Insights.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 10 (2014): 257-258.

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to provide several examples of how meaning, understanding, and interpretation of scriptures may be enhanced when scriptures are read in their geographical context.  Many scholarly articles seek exclusively to break new ground in meaning and meaning-making, to essentially produce new knowledge.  This article hopes to break new ground both in terms of new knowledge (insights) as well as in the pragmatics of giving readers additional tools and opportunities for exploring the scriptures in fresh ways.  In particular, this article will also highlight several free geographical tools that can improve one’s learning with the scriptures, with particular focus on Google Earth and the BYU scriptures.byu.edu/mapscrip tool (hereafter referred to as Google Earth Bible or GEB).  The hope is that this article will, through the tools discussed, create opportunities for others to create new knowledge for themselves through scripture study.

Keywords: geography, Google Earth, Google Earth Bible

Volume 11 (2014)

Peterson, Daniel C. “The Sibling Scandals of the Resurrection.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 11 (2014): vii-xxix.

I’ve recently picked Stephen T. Davis’s Risen Indeed: Making Sense of the Resurrection up again. It’s an impressive book that had a pivotal effect on my thinking when it first appeared. Davis, the Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College in California, argues that “Christians are within their intellectual rights in believing that Jesus was raised from the dead.” “The thesis of the book,” he explains, “is that the two central Christian resurrection claims — namely, that Jesus was bodily raised from the dead and that we will all be raised from the dead — are defensible claims.”

Keywords: resurrection, Stephen T. Davis
Birch, A. Jane. “Getting into the Meat of the Word of Wisdom.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 11 (2014): 1-36.

Abstract: In verse 13 of the Word of Wisdom, the Lord tells us, “it is pleasing unto me that they [flesh of beasts and fowls of the air] should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine” (D&C 89:13). Judging from the variety of interpretations this single verse has inspired, it would appear to be deeply enigmatic. Interestingly, most interpretations have been put forward with little supporting evidence. This article is the first comprehensive analysis of the diverse explanations for D&C 89:13 that have been suggested since 1833. In this article, I attempt to analyze these various interpretations in light of the available evidence.

Keywords: diet, meat, Word of Wisdom
Rappleye, Neal. ““War of Words and Tumult of Opinions”: The Battle for Joseph Smith’s Words in Book of Mormon Geography.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 11 (2014): 37-95.

Review of John L. Lund. Joseph Smith and the Geography of the Book of Mormon. The Communications Company, 2012. 209 pp. + xviii, including index.In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?

–Joseph Smith Jr.

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Keywords: Book of Mormon, book review, geography, Joseph Smith
Spendlove, Loren Blake. “Understanding Nephi with the Help of Noah Webster.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 11 (2014): 97-159.

Abstract: Dictionaries, especially Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, can be useful and informative resources to help us better understand the language of the Book of Mormon. This article compares definitions of words and phrases found in the book of 1 Nephi, using Webster’s 1828 dictionary and the New Oxford American Dictionary as references. By comparing these two dictionaries, we can see how word usage and meanings have changed since the original publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830. We can also gain a greater appreciation of the text of the Book of Mormon in a way that its first readers probably understood it.