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Printed JournalWelcome to Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, a nonprofit, independent, peer-reviewed educational journal focused on the scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its publications are available free of charge, with our goal to increase understanding of scripture. Our latest papers can be found below.

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Three Streams of Gratitude for Jesus

Note from the editors: In remembrance of the Easter celebration of Jesus’ victory over death, we are pleased to offer this specially written contribution from Mitt Romney.

Three streams of gratitude for Jesus have arisen during my lifetime. The first crested when as a child, fearing polio or tornadoes or intruders, I learned that “Jesus loves me.” Not only did “the Bible tell me so,” but also my mother and my Bishop. I felt Jesus looking down on me, protecting me, caring for me, answering my prayers. As life progressed, I came to learn that Jesus would not always intervene to shield me from the trials and travails of life, but I knew that He loved me and cared.

As a young man, it was the felicity of His gospel that grew in my heart. I was poised to make choices that would determine my mortal happiness. He had taught that love, family, friends, and service were the real currency of joy. With faith in that gospel, I married, raised children, nourished friendships, and endeavored to serve. And so the wealth in my heart grew beyond my imagining.

Now, approaching my autumn years, it is His victory over death that most captivates me. For sixty or so years of Easter Sundays, I have sung “He is Risen,” but for most of those years, I somehow felt that there was no real end in sight to my earth-bound life. Now, however, His condescension to live in mortality, to carry my sins, and then to rise to immortality is no longer just a chapter of doctrine, it is a gift of such magnitude that I cannot find sufficient words to express my gratitude. From the dark of never-ending nothingness, of eternal blindness, and of infinite absence from my family, He opens my eyes, my mind, and my heart. That He rose from the dead is His greatest gift of all.

Sustaining the Brethren

Abstract: Believing Latter-day Saints hold different views about what it means to sustain the presiding Brethren of the Church. In this article, I outline some considerations that might be kept in mind as members of the Church evaluate their views on this vital topic and the Lord’s admonition to sustain the Brethren by their faith, prayers, and actions. Continue reading

Place of Crushing: The Literary Function of Heshlon in Ether 13:25-31

Abstract: The name Heshlon, attested once (in Ether 13:28), as a toponym in the Book of Mormon most plausibly denotes “place of crushing.” The meaning of Heshlon thus becomes very significant in the context of Ether 13:25–31, which describes the crushing or enfeebling of Coriantumr’s armies and royal power. This meaning is also significant in the wider context of Moroni’s narrative of the Jaredites’ destruction. Fittingly, the name Heshlon itself serves as a literary turning point in a chiastic structure which describes the fateful reversal of Coriantumr’s individual fortunes and the worsening of the Jaredites’ collective fortunes. Perhaps Moroni, who witnessed the gradual crushing and destruction of the Nephites, mentioned this name in his abridgement of the Book of Ether on account of the high irony of its meaning in view of the Jaredite war of attrition which served as precursor to the destruction of the Nephites. Continue reading

Lehi the Smelter: New Light on Lehi’s Profession

A strong case has been made by John A. Tvedtnes and Jeffrey R. Chadwick that Lehi was a metalworker by profession.1 Although the text gives several indications of Nephi’s (and by implications, Lehi’s) familiarity with the craft of working metals, prominent Book of Mormon scholar John L. Sorenson nonetheless disagreed with this assessment on the grounds that, “it would be highly unlikely that a man who had inherited land and was considered very wealthy (1 Nephi 3:25) would have been a metalworker, for the men in that role tended to be of lower social status and were usually landless.”2 More recent findings, however, are changing the picture. Continue reading

John L. Sorenson’s Complete Legacy: Reviewing Mormon’s Codex

Mormon’s Codex: An Ancient American Book is unquestionably a monument to an impressive career defending, defining, and explaining the Book of Mormon. John L. Sorenson has been for the New World setting of the Book of Mormon what Hugh Nibley was for the Old World setting. From his earliest 1952 publications using anthropology and geography to defend the Book of Mormon to the 2013 publication of Mormon’s Codex, Sorenson has been the dominant force in shaping scholarly discussions about the Book of Mormon in its New World setting.1 With an impressive 714 pages of text with footnotes, Mormon’s Codex is physically an appropriate capstone to his long publishing career. Continue reading