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About Jeffrey M. Bradshaw

Jeffrey M. Bradshaw (Ph.D., Cognitive Science, University of Washington) is a senior research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Pensacola, Florida (www.ihmc.us/groups/jbradshaw). His professional writings have explored a wide range of topics in human and machine intelligence.

Jeff has written a detailed commentary on the first five chapters of the book of Moses (Creation, Fall, and the Story of Adam and Eve, In God’s Image and Likeness 1, Eborn, 2010 (updated edition 2014)), and, with David J. Larsen, has published a second volume continuing the commentary through JST Genesis 11 (Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel, In God’s Image and Likeness 2, Eborn, 2014). He has also authored Temple Themes in the Book of Moses, Temple Themes in the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood, Temple Themes in the Symbols of the Priesthood (forthcoming 2015), and articles on temple studies and the ancient Near East for Studies in the Bible and Antiquity, Element: A Journal of Mormon Philosophy and TheologyInterpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, and BYU Studies. See www.TempleThemes.net for links, pdfs, and videos.

Jeff serves as a Vice President of The Interpreter Foundation and as a member of the Academy for Temple Studies Advisory Board. He has lectured for FairMormon in the US, Germany, and France, and is an organizer of the Interpreter Science and Mormonism Symposium Series. Jeff was a missionary in the Belgium-Brussels Mission and has since served in a variety of Church capacities, including early-morning seminary teacher, bishop, high councilor, and temple ordinance worker. He currently serves in as a counselor in the Pensacola Florida Stake Presidency. Jeff and his wife, Kathleen are the parents of four children and the grandparents of nine.

Freemasonry and the Origins of Modern Temple Ordinances

Abstract: Joseph Smith taught that the origins of modern temple ordinances go back beyond the foundation of the world.1 Even for believers, the claim that rites known anciently have been restored through revelation raises complex questions because we know that revelation almost never occurs in a vacuum. Rather, it comes most often through reflection on the impressions of immediate experience, confirmed and elaborated through subsequent study and prayer.2 Because Joseph Smith became a Mason not long before he began to introduce others to the Nauvoo endowment, some suppose that Masonry must have been the starting point for his inspiration on temple matters. The real story, however, is not so simple. Though the introduction of Freemasonry in Nauvoo helped prepare the Saints for the endowment — both familiarizing them with elements they would later encounter in the Nauvoo temple and providing a blessing to them in its own right — an analysis of the historical record provides evidence that significant components of priesthood and temple doctrines, authority, and ordinances were revealed to the Prophet during the course of his early ministry, long before he got to Nauvoo. Further, many aspects of Latter-day Saint temple worship are well attested in the Bible and elsewhere in antiquity. In the minds of early Mormons, what seems to have distinguished authentic temple worship from the many scattered remnants that could be found elsewhere was the divine authority of the priesthood through which these ordinances had been restored and could now be administered in their fulness. Coupled with the restoration of the ordinances themselves is the rich flow of modern revelation that clothes them with glorious meanings. Of course, temple ordinances — like all divine communication — must be adapted to different times, cultures, and practical circumstances. Happily, since the time of Joseph Smith, necessary alterations of the ordinances have been directed by the same authority that first restored them in our day. Continue reading

Sorting Out the Sources in Scripture

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. Continue reading

Schedule, Abstracts, Bios Posted for Science & Mormonism Symposium

Dear friends and colleagues —

This message is to let you know that the schedule of events for the 2013 Interpreter symposium on “Science and Mormonism: Cosmos, Earth, and Man” is now posted on the Interpreter website. Presenter abstracts, bios, and photos have also now been posted, as well as location information (parking, hotel, dining).  Simply click on the links above, or from the Events menu on the website. Continue reading

Ancient Affinities within the LDS Book of Enoch Part Two

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. Continue reading

Ancient Affinities within the LDS Book of Enoch Part One

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. Continue reading