Adam Clarke’s Influence on Joseph Smith with Thomas A. Wayment

Thomas A. Wayment

In this episode, Laura Harris Hales visits with Thomas Wayment, LDS Perspectives Podcast’s first guest, in part two of their special first anniversary double episode on the Joseph Smith Translation to discuss some impressive findings regarding Joseph Smith’s Bible translation process.

Dr. Wayment is currently a professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, as well as publications director of the BYU Religious Studies Center. He earned his BA in Classics from the University of California at Riverside then completed a PhD in New Testament studies at Claremont Graduate University.

Known primarily as a New Testament scholar, Dr. Wayment has also written extensively on the Joseph Smith Translation. He became fascinated with the document early in his biblical studies and that interest has never really fizzled. In the next year, he will have two book chapters published on new findings regarding Joseph’s Bible translation process.

In his recent studies, Wayment found an interesting connection between the JST and a biblical commentary well-known in the 19th-century, especially in Methodist circles.

Adam Clarke, a British theologian, took almost 40 years to complete his comprehensive tome, published as The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The text carefully printed from the most correct copies of the present Authorized Version. Including the marginal readings and parallel texts. With a Commentary and Critical Notes.  Clarke’s commentary became a primary theological resource for nearly two centuries.

New research by Michael Hubbard Mackay has uncovered a statement indicating that Joseph Smith had access to a copy of Clarke’s Bible commentary. When Wayment compared Joseph’s translation of the KJV Bible to Clarke’s commentary, he realized that Joseph used it in the translation process because of the marked similarities he found between entries in the commentary and changes in Joseph’s KJV Bible.

Listen in as Dr. Wayment shares what he believes this indicates about how Joseph viewed the translation process and what it could mean for how we approach the KJV Bible and the JST.

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This episode was re-posted with permission of LDS Perspectives Podcast.

The JST in the D&C with Kenneth Alford


Kenneth Alford

This week, Taunalyn Rutherford of LDS Perspectives, reviews the historical background of the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) and its presence in the Doctrine and Covenants with Dr. Kenneth (Ken) Alford. This episode is part one in a special first anniversary double episode on the Joseph Smith Translation.

In his days as an undergraduate at BYU, Ken Alford studied the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible in depth. After an action-packed career in the United States Army, including assignments as Strategic Leadership department chair at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., associate professor of computer science at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and serving on the Army Secretariat staff at the Pentagon, his academic pursuits have come full circle.

He currently combines rigorous research with a busy teaching schedule in the department of church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University.

The Prophet’s translation of the Bible had a great influence on the earliest years of Latter-day Saint Church history. The Inspired Version had a significant influence on numerous revelations included today in the Doctrine and Covenants. The interconnections Dr. Alford discusses are fascinating and may change how you view the Joseph Smith Translation.

Be sure to tune in next week to hear Laura Harris Hales interview Dr. Thomas Wayment about new research that sheds light on how Joseph went about translating the Bible.


This episode was re-posted with permission of LDS Perspectives Podcast.

Learning from the Ancient Tabernacle with Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith

As part of the Young Scholars Series, Laura Harris Hales interviews Bible-enthusiast Daniel Smith, creator of the YouTube channel “Messages of Christ.” Smith’s channel is equal parts fascinating and popular, evidenced by its view count of over 1 million.

On perusing Smith’s channel, it’s apparent that he has a particular interest that at first glance may seem a bit unusual: ancient tabernacles and its artifacts. That interest has led Smith not only to study them, but actually to build them in addition to creating unique, authentic tabernacle clothing.

During his interview, Smith recounts how and why he creates tabernacle clothing, (get this: it involves a hand-built Lego machine) what exactly happened in the tabernacle in Biblical times, and why it’s important for members of the church to understand it today.

Sometimes, as Smith explains, the best way to understand something is to experience it.

Tabernacle camps are popping up — typically in Youth Conferences — in stakes all over the United States. There’s even one coming to BYU in the coming months, which will be used to teach students about its ancient biblical context. Find out what happens there and why, as well as how it relates to our current temple experience, in this episode of LDS Perspectives Podcast: “Learning from the Ancient Tabernacles.”

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This podcast is re-posted with permission of LDS Perspectives.

Learning from an Impatient Biblical Job with Michael Austin

Michael Austin

Award-winning author Michael Austin, a self-proclaimed writer of an “incoherent assortment of different topics,” is anything but incoherent in his expansion on the true message found in the Old Testament’s Book of Job.

The story of Job is one that will be familiar to most listeners — Job is righteous, but God tests his faith by essentially wreaking havoc on his life. Most notably, Job loses his family and his livelihood — yet he is ever-patient, never losing his temper with God.

Austin, however, is here to turn what we know about Job completely upside down: Job didn’t constantly praise God in the midst of his trials, and he certainly wasn’t always patient. And that’s okay. Yet our limited understanding of Job as a person or character isn’t the only thing Austin revolutionizes. The satan mentioned in the story? That’s not the Satan. It’s not Lucifer — the Prince of the Morning, the Father of All Lies. No, it’s someone else entirely.

Get ready to rethink what you know and the evils of being impatient in the midst of trials.

The details Austin shares in this episode of LDS Perspectives provide a more complete understanding of the book of Job. Typically when Job is referenced, we hear about the first two or last few chapters of his book — but what about the rest? A biblical book with 42 chapters undoubtedly contains wisdom that is not strictly limited to only a few short sections. Job, Austin explains, is so much more than the often one-dimensional figure we make him out to be. And in learning that, we learn so many gospel truths that we otherwise miss.

Listen as Sarah Hatch of LDS Perspectives Podcast interviews Michael Austin about wisdom literature, the true nature of Job and his relationship with God, and what we can learn from what very well may be the greatest ancient poem ever written.

If you’re as fascinated by this episode as we are and find yourself hungering to learn more about Job, check out Michael Austin’s acclaimed book, Re-reading Job: Understanding the Ancient World’s Greatest Poem.

Access resources about Job mentioned in this podcast at LDS Perspectives.

Re-posted with permission from LDS Perspectives.

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Sephardic Hebrew in the Book of Abraham with Matthew Grey

Matthew Grey

In the winter of 1836, the Kirtland temple was nearing completion, the Saints were experiencing a period of peace after persecution, and 100 church members enrolled in a seven-week, intensive Hebrew language course. Besides being one of the most ambitious CES endeavors ever, the study of a difficult foreign language seems a bit random considering some of the students lacked even a basic pioneer education.

Matthew Grey has studied this period of history extensively and believes that the Hebrew study was anything but random or casual. Rather it was an outgrowth of the larger translation project that Joseph had begun in the summer of 1835.

A review of church history shows that Joseph purchased scrolls and mummies from Michael Chandler in July 1835. Shortly thereafter, he translated what became known as Abraham 1 and Abraham 2 through the use of a seer stone. He then began working on a “Grammer and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language” (GAEL). In the fall, he started looking for a teacher of Hebrew for the Kirtland School. By January, the school committee had hired Joshua Seixas as a Hebrew teacher.

Joshua Seixas had published his own textbook and worksheets that were specifically designed for beginners. In his primer, he used his native Sephardic Hebrew in his transliterations, which varied substantially from the more common Ashkenazi Hebrew spellings. Because of the distinctive Hebrew transliterations in Seixas’s texts, we can trace Joseph’s use of his Hebrew training in succeeding years.

What Grey found in his research is that Joseph used his training at key moments. Traces of Sephardic Hebrew can be found in revelations found in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Book of Abraham, and recorded Nauvoo speeches. For Joseph, there seemed to be no dichotomy between intellectual and spiritual pursuits. Translations were neither purely static nor pure revelation, but a mixture of both. He used his intellectual training to unpack theological possibilities by creatively reworking traditional translations.  Some of the most distinct Mormon teachings revealed in Nauvoo such as the nature of God, expansions on the plan of salvation, and even verbiage in the temple ritual can be traced to Joseph’s Hebrew studies.

Join Laura Harris Hales as she discusses with Matthew Grey the influence of Joseph’s Hebrew study on his subsequent teachings and the vital piece of the Book of Abraham translation puzzle this new research provides. Check out the resources mentioned in this podcast at LDS Perspectives.

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Re-posted with permission from LDS Perspectives.