LDS Perspectives Podcast: In Brigham Young’s Words

Gerrit Dirkmaat and LaJean Carruth  examine some discrepancies between George Watt’s shorthand records of sermons and the printed versions that are found in the Journal of Discourses. Listen on the LDS Perspectives Podcast website.

In their research, they examined hundreds of sermons, and sometimes the sermons and original transcriptions varied by hundreds of words. Dirkmaat points out that when one is talking about doctrine, words matter. While the essence of these speeches are similar in the shorthand and published versions, the words used vary greatly.

The Journal of Discourses have historical and religious value, but Dirkmaat urges members to be careful quoting specific passages and to realize that in most cases, there is no way to know the specific words used.

14th Annual Book of Mormon Conference

Attend the 14th Annual Book of Mormon Conference and be inspired and educated by faithful scholarly perspectives on the Book of Mormon.

What: The 14th annual Book of Mormon Conference.

When: Saturday, March 18, 2017, 9:00 am – 5:30 pm

Where: Utah Valley Convention Center ( 220 West Center Street, Provo, UT 84607)

Sponsored by: Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum and Book of Mormon Central

Cost: $20 (includes a box lunch)


More details, including speakers and topics:

The Father Lehi and Mother Sariah Awards will be presented to Jack and Jeannie Welch in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the discovery of Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon.

LDS Perspectives Podcast: The Book of Mormon as Literature

Listen as Grant Hardy discusses the Book of Mormon as Literature in an LDS Perspectives Podcast.

Grant Hardy became intrigued with world religions, especially those of the Near East, as a young missionary. He has researched and written widely on various topics, but his study of the Book of Mormon led him to publish two landmark books that share important insights.

In his brief overview to Understanding the Book of Mormon, Hardy gives us ten observations about the Book of Mormon:

  1. It is a long book.
  2. It is written in a somewhat awkward, repetitious form of English.
  3. It imitates the style of the King James Version.
  4. It claims to be history.
  5. It presents a complicated narrative.
  6. It is a religious text.
  7. It is basically a tragedy.
  8. It is very didactic.
  9. It is a human artifact.
  10. Its basic structure is derived from the three narrators.

It is this last observation that forms the thesis for the majority of his work. Hardy contends that “If you’re not seeing the narrators at every turn, you’re not really reading the Book of Mormon–because that’s how the book is constructed, regardless of who the author(s) may have been.”

The three main narrators (Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni) each had distinct approaches as they presented history and revelation in their writings.

Join Laura Harris Hales as she has an enjoyable back-and-forth with an outstanding Book of Mormon scholar.

LDS Perspectives Podcast: Nephi and Isaiah with Joseph Spencer

Listen to an interview with Joseph Spencer about his new book discussing Isaiah in the Book of Mormon.

Second Nephi has a reputation for being a bit dry. Missing is the drama of the Book of Mormon. Where the story line pauses, it is replaced with long passages containing interpolations of the words of Nephi into the Old Testament scripture of Isaiah.

Nephi tells readers this departure into deeper doctrine is the “more sacred” part of the small plates. However, modern readers often have difficulty connecting with its discourses pertaining to the gathering of the house of Israel.

Our guest, Joseph Spencer, has spent much of his academic career studying covenantal history, including within Book of Mormon contexts.

Some have coined Isaiah’s presence in the Book of Mormon as a problem; Joseph Spencer sees it more as an answer to questions that emerge within the narrative.

He maintains that making sense of Isaiah’s place in the Book of Mormon is the essential key to making sense of the Book of Mormon. He identifies three narrative hinges in the Book of Mormon that each begin with a quotation from Isaiah. Maybe, just maybe, you might be encouraged to give Isaiah in the Book of Mormon a second look.

Join Laura Harris Hales as she discusses with Joseph Spencer the daunting pursuit of studying Isaiah in the Book of Mormon.

“Sacred Space Sacred Thread” Conference & Margaret Barker Lectures


An international and interfaith conference on “Sacred Space, Sacred Thread” will be held on Thursday and Friday, November 3-4, at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Speakers and participants will include: Margaret Barker, Amir Hussain, John Thompson, Rory Scanlon, James Mchugh, David Judson, Roy Gane, Alonzo Gaskill, Gary Rendsburg, John Welch, Varun Soni, Patrick Mason, and Reverend Gaddis.

Click here to register and for the full program schedule. Watch on that web site for further information about how to view to this conference streamed live on line. This conference will also be shown free in the Eccles Conference Center at Utah State University, room 205/207, live, an hour earlier on Mountain time.

Conference sponsors are the John A. Widtsoe Foundation, the Academy for Temple Studies, the USC Office of Religious Life, Our Savior Parish USC Caruso Catholic Center, the California Missionary Baptist State Convention, the Los Angeles Greek Orthodox Community, and the Los Angeles Institute of Religion.

Also while here from England, Margaret Barker will deliver three other public speeches:

  • “Entering Sacred Space: Beholding the Wonders of Temple Theology,” at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors Center, 7:15 pm, Thursday, November 3.
  • “Theosis/Divinization,” in the Varsity Theatre, WSC, Brigham Young University, in Provo, 4:00 pm, Wednesday, November 9.
  • “Teaching Religion, Living Religion:  Religion in a Secular Age in the Academy.” Room 101, Merrill-Cazier Library, Utah State University, Logan, 10:30 am-1:00 pm, Thursday, November 10.