Scripture Roundtable 47: D&C Gospel Doctrine Lesson 43, “Take upon You My Whole Armor”

(Originally published 12 October 2013.)

This is Scripture Roundtable 47 from The Interpreter Foundation, in which we discuss Doctrine & Covenants Gospel Doctrine Lesson #43, “Take upon You My Whole Armor,” bringing in various insights to help us better understand the scriptures and church history. These roundtables will generally follow the 2013 Gospel Doctrine schedule of scriptures, a few weeks ahead of time.

Panelists for this roundtable include Brant Gardner, Craig Foster, and Martin Tanner.

This roundtable is also available as an audio podcast, and will be included in the podcast feed. You can listen by pressing the play button or download the podcast below:

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On Doctrine and Covenants Language and the 1833 Plot of Zion

Abstract: Contrary to the generally accepted view, it seems likely that much of the wording of the Doctrine and Covenants was transmitted to Joseph Smith as part of the revelatory process. Apparent bad grammar and a limited reading of “after the manner of their language” (D&C 1:24) have led to the received view that “the language of the revelations was Joseph Smith’s.”1 This judgment, however, is probably inaccurate. Abundant cases of archaic forms and structures, sometimes overlapping with Book of Mormon usage, argue for a different interpretation of “after the manner of their language.” Scholars have chosen, for the most part, to disregard the implications of a large amount of complex, archaic, well-formed language found in both scriptural texts. As for the 1833 Plot of Zion, transmitted words in Doctrine and Covenants revelations, a key statement by Frederick G. Williams, and a small but significant amount of internal archaic usage mean that the layout, dimensions, and even some language of the city plat were specifically revealed as well. Continue reading

The Next Big Thing in LDS Apologetics: Strong Semitic and Egyptian Elements in Uto-Aztecan Languages

Review of Brian D. Stubbs, Changes in Languages from Nephi to Now (Blanding, UT: Four Corners Digital Design, 2016) and Exploring the Explanatory Power of Semitic and Egyptian in Uto-Aztecan (Provo, UT: Grover Publications, 2015).

Abstract: Following several articles and presentations over the past two decades on tantalizing finds linking Uto-Aztecan languages with Near Eastern languages, LDS linguist Brian Stubbs has recently published two significant works offering extensive details and documentation. The more comprehensive volume intended for scholars and serious students of language is Exploring the Explanatory Power of Semitic and Egyptian in Uto-Aztecan, a highly technical work providing 1,528 sets of cognates with intricate details linking Uto-Aztecan languages with two versions of Semitic and with Egyptian. This is followed by an analysis of puzzles in Uto Aztecan explained by Egyptian and Semitic ties as well as an exploration of grammatical and morphological parallels and many other details that further strengthen the case for an ancient connection to Near Eastern languages. Stubbs has made his work more accessible to general LDS readers with a less technical and highly readable work, Changes in Languages from Nephi to Now, that relates his findings to the Book of Mormon and what we can infer about the languages of Book of Mormon peoples. The changes in those languages, correspond remarkably well with the infusions of Near Eastern language that can be seen in abundance in Uto-Aztecan. Numerous questions remain that may require lifetimes of further research, but the meticulous foundation Stubbs has laid must not be treated like past amateurish and erroneous efforts over the centuries to find Hebrew in Native American languages. This is a serious, scholarly work that rises above the standards typically used to establish authentic language families. The evidence for, say, Hebrew in Uto-Aztecan is actually more impressive than the linguistic evidence for Hebrew influence in Yiddish. While implications for these finds on the Book of Mormon can be overstated, what Stubbs has uncovered may be among the most impressive scholarly finds related to the Book of Mormon.

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Videos Now Available of 2015 Exploring the Complexities in the English Language of the Book of Mormon Conference

The Interpreter Foundation and BYU Studies sponsored a conference, 2015 Exploring the Complexities in the English Language of the Book of Mormon, which took place on 14 March 2015 on BYU Campus in Provo, Utah. It was filmed, and videos of each of the presentations are now available for free viewing on The Interpreter Foundation’s YouTube channel, or on MormonInterpreter.com (conference videos). There is also a YouTube playlist available of the conference presentations to facilitate viewing all the presentations in the order they were presented.

Conference Videos

The Interpreter Foundation and BYU Studies sponsored a conference, 2015 Exploring the Complexities in the English Language of the Book of Mormon, which took place on 14 March, 2015 on BYU Campus in Provo, Utah. It was filmed. Videos of each of the presentations are now available for free viewing on The Interpreter Foundation’s YouTube channel, or here on MormonInterpreter.com embedded below. There is also a YouTube playlist available of the conference presentations.

Daniel C. Peterson’s Welcome and Introduction

Stanford Carmack: Exploding the Myth of Unruly Book of Mormon Grammar: A Look at the Excellent Match with Early Modern English

Jan J. Martin: Charity, Priest, and Church versus Love, Elder, and Congregation: The Book of Mormon’s connection to the debate between William Tyndale and Thomas More

Nick Frederick: “Full of grace, mercy, and truth”: Exploring the Complexities of the Presence of the New Testament within the Book of Mormon

Royal Skousen: “A theory! A theory! We have already got a theory, and there cannot be any more theories!”

John W. Welch: Concluding Remarks