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About Stephen O. Smoot

Stephen O. Smoot graduated cum laude from Brigham Young University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Ancient Near Eastern Studies and German Studies. His areas of academic interest include the Hebrew Bible, ancient Egyptian history and religion, Mormon studies, and German Romanticism. He blogs on Latter-day Saint and other topics at www.plonialmonimormon.com.

The “Fiery Darts of the Adversary” in 1 Nephi 15:24

After receiving a revelation (1 Nephi 11–14) that clarified the meaning of his father Lehi’s dream (1 Nephi 8), Nephi explained to his rebellious brothers the significance of the various symbols of that dream. Concerning the “rod of iron,” which led to the tree of life, Nephi recorded, Continue reading

Vanquishing the Mormon Menace

A review of Mason, Patrick Q. The Mormon Menace: Violence and Anti-Mormonism in the Postbellum South. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. pp. 252 + xi, including notes and index. $31.95.

Abstract: Patrick Mason has offered a fascinating look at the history of nineteenth century anti-Mormonism in the American South with his 2011 volume The Mormon Menace: Violence and Anti-Mormonism in the Postbellum South. Situating nineteenth century Southern anti-Mormonism in its historical context, Mason narrates a vivid account of how Mormons at times faced violent opposition that stemmed from deep cultural, religious, and political differences with mainstream American Protestants. Mason’s volume is an excellent resource for those interested in Mormon history. Continue reading

Book of Mormon Minimalists and the NHM Inscriptions: A Response to Dan Vogel

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. Continue reading

Help for the Troubled “Young Mormon”

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

Adam S. Miller has recently made a name for himself in Mormon intellectual circles by publishing a number of books in theology and philosophy.1 Miller, who holds a PhD in philosophy from Villanova University and is currently a professor of philosophy at Collin College in McKinney, Texas, adds to his list of publications with a new book published by the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. This new book, Letters to a Young Mormon,2 is a short volume of some 80 pages that includes Miller’s ruminations on the following topics: agency (9-12),3 work (13-16), sin (17-23), faith (25-29), scripture (31-35), prayer (37-41), history (43-49), science (51-56), hunger (57-60), sex (61-66), temples (67-71), and eternal life (73-78). Continue reading


  1. See Adam S. Miller, Badiou, Marion and St Paul: Immanent Grace (New York, NY: Continuum, 2008); Rube Goldberg Machines: Essays in Mormon Theology (Salt Lake City, Utah: Greg Kofford Books, 2012); Speculative Grace: Bruno Latour and Object-Oriented Theology (New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 2013). For a review of Miller’s work on Mormon theology, see Robert F. Smith, ”Adam Miller’s New Hermeneutic?” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 6 (2013): 1-7. 

  2. Adam S. Miller, Letters to a Young Mormon (Provo, Utah: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2014). 

  3. All of the in-text page citations are from Letters to a Young Mormon

Shaken Faith Syndrome and the Case for Faith

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). Continue reading