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Steadfast in Defense of Faith
Essays in Honor of Daniel C. Peterson

Steadfast in Defense of Faith

Essays in Honor of Daniel C. Peterson

Edited by Shirley Ricks, Stephen D. Ricks, and Louis Midgley

Published by The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books


This volume of scholarly essays in honor of renowned Latter-day Saint scholar and apologist, Daniel C. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Islamic Studies and Arabic at Brigham Young University—was edited by former mission companion Stephen D. Ricks as well as friends and associates Shirley Ricks and Louis Midgley. It includes essays by such well-known scholars and friends of Professor Peterson as John Gee, Ralph C. Hancock, Noel B. Reynolds, Royal Skousen, Thomas G. Alexander, Donald W. Parry, S. Kent Brown, John W. Welch, Richard L. Bushman, and many others.

Throughout his career, Dr. Peterson has devoted his time, knowledge, and passion to promoting faith, addressing challenging issues, and providing much-needed context to the beliefs and history of the Church. Through his writings, lectures, and leadership Daniel C. Peterson has played a vital role in fostering understanding and unity among Latter-day Saints, as well as others interested in learning about the faith. His commitment to scholarship and faithfulness are truly exemplary, and his remarkable ability to blend intellectual rigor with good humor and compassion have touched the lives of many.

As a distinguished professor emeritus of Islamic Studies and Arabic at Brigham Young University, he founded the University’s Middle Eastern Texts Initiative. Dr. Peterson has highlighted the importance of religious studies, helping bridge the gap between faith traditions and cultivating an atmosphere of respect and understanding. He is the author, among other things, of a biography entitled Muhammad: Prophet of God (Eerdmans, 2007).

He is also the founder and president of the Interpreter Foundation, which provides resources and scholarship for Latter-day Saints seeking answers to questions about the Church and its doctrine. He was formerly the chairman of the board of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) and an officer, editor, and author for its successor organization, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship.

In recognition of his invaluable contributions, we invite all members and friends of the Church to join us as we celebrate Daniel C. Peterson’s legacy and honor his unwavering commitment to the gospel. As we reflect on his work, we are reminded of the blessings we receive when we seek to understand our faith, ask challenging questions, and remain grounded in our love for the Savior, Jesus Christ. Together, let us express our deepest gratitude and admiration for Dr. Daniel C. Peterson and his continued testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Introduction – Jeffrey M. Bradshaw

Expressions of Appreciation from Friends and Colleagues

Stephen D. Ricks
S. Kent Brown
James A. Toronto


1 The Covenant to Defend the Kingdom of God – John Gee

2 Reflections on the Genesis and Evolution of the FARMS Review under the Editorship of Daniel C. Peterson (1989–2011) – Shirley S. Ricks

3 Proving That the Church Is True – Steven T. Densley

4 The Restored Gospel and the New Liberalism: The Inescapability of Political Apologetics – Ralph C. Hancock

5 David Hume: On Human and Divine Things – Louis Midgley


6 An Everlasting Witness: Ancient Writings on Metal – Noel B. Reynolds

7 On the Importance of the Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon – Royal Skousen

8 Archaeology and the Book of Mormon: Thomas Stuart Ferguson’s Ambivalent Testimony – John E. Clark

9 The Apparent Genetic Discrepancy between Mormon’s Narrative and the Origin of Native Americans – Michael R. Ash and Ugo A. Perego

10 “All Bleeding Stops . . . Eventually”: Helaman’s Warriors and Modern Principles of Trauma Revisited – Gregory L. Smith


11 Joseph Smith and the Magical Contest – George L. Mitton

12 Material Plates, Spiritual Vision: Martin Harris, Divine Materiality, and Seeing with “Spiritual Eyes” – Neal Rappleye

13 God, Humankind, and Eternal Progression: Brigham Young and Church Doctrine – Thomas G. Alexander


14 Israel’s Alternate Altars: Israelite-Jewish Temples, Sanctuaries, and Shrines beyond Jerusalem – Stephen D. Ricks

15 Unlocking Isaiah’s Closed Book: Figures of Speech, Literary Devices, and Writing Techniques – Donald W. Parry

16 Sitting, Walking, Standing, and the Tantalizing Links to Sacred Ceremonies in the Epistle to the Ephesians – S. Kent Brown

17 The Seven Seals in the Apocalypse of John: Possible Cultural, Legal, and Imperial Contexts – John W. Welch


18 The Book of Commandments as Literature – Richard Lyman Bushman

19 Foundations of a Sacred Latter-day Saint Worldview: A Literary Reading of Doctrine and Covenants – Steven L. Olsen

Select Bibliography of Works by Daniel C. Peterson (1979–2022) – Jared K. Riddick

About the Editors

Shirley S. Ricks

Shirley Smith Ricks (PhD, family studies, BYU) has worked since 1989 as an editor at the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, and retired from the Religious Studies Center at BYU in 2021. She has helped produce numerous books and periodicals, including several volumes of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley. Shirley has published a number of articles and reviews. In 2019 she was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award in Editing and Design presented by the Latter-day Saint Publishing and Media Association. Shirley served a mission in the Germany South Mission. She and her husband, Stephen D. Ricks, have attended all the temples in the United States and Canada and enjoy traveling, especially to visit their six children and spouses and their twenty grandchildren.



Stephen D. Ricks

Stephen D. Ricks, a native of Berkeley, California, received his bachelor’s degree in ancient Greek and his master’s degree in Classics from Brigham Young University, and his PhD in ancient Near Eastern religions from the University of California, Berkeley, and Graduate Theological Union. He is currently Professor of Hebrew and Cognate Learning at Brigham Young University, where he has been teaching for nearly forty years.



Louis Midgley

Louis Midgley (Ph.D. Brown University) is an emeritus professor of political science at Brigham Young University, where he taught the history of political philosophy, which includes efforts of Christian churchmen and theologians to identify, explain, understand and cope with the evils in this world. Dr. Midgley has therefore had an abiding interest in both dogmatic and systematic theology, and the alternatives to both. His doctoral dissertation was on the religious socialist political ideology of Paul Tillich, a once famous German American Protestant theologian, most famous for his systematic theology which is a radical elaboration of classical theism. Dr. Midgley’s encounter with the writings of Leo Strauss, an influential Jewish philosopher/intellectual historian drew his attention to the radical challenge posed by what is often called modernity to both the wisdom of Jerusalem, which is grounded on divine revelation, and also the contrasting, competing wisdom of Athens, which was fashioned by unaided human reason. Dr. Midgley has an interest in the ways in which communities of faith have responded to the challenges posed by modernity to faith in God grounded on divine special revelation.

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