Scripture Roundtable 46: D&C Gospel Doctrine Lesson 42, Continuing Revelation to Latter-day Prophets

(Originally published 12 October 2013.)

This is Scripture Roundtable 46 from The Interpreter Foundation, in which we discuss Doctrine & Covenants Gospel Doctrine Lesson #42, Continuing Revelation to Latter-day Prophets, focusing on scriptures in D&C 1, 68, 84, 107, and 132, 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 Andrew Smith, Martin Tanner, and Shon Hopkin.

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

A Lengthening Shadow: Is Quality of Thought Deteriorating in LDS Scholarly Discourse Regarding Prophets and Revelation? Part Three

Abstract: Many mistakes that occur in scholarly endeavors are understandable. The truth is often difficult to discover, and this makes errors inevitable and expected. And, of course, some mistakes are so insignificant that to complain of them would be mere pedantry. But this is not true of all errors. Some are both obvious and of such significance to their topics that they are egregious. With respect to the gospel, there is reason to be concerned that this is occurring to some degree on the topic of prophets and the Lord’s revelations to them. Erroneous claims and arguments are not difficult to find, including some published under the auspices of reputable and mainstream entities. Is it possible that such errors are becoming common, and commonly accepted, in Latter-day Saint scholarly discourse? Part One considered multiple examples, primarily from Terryl Givens and Patrick Mason, that begin to suggest a positive answer to this question, and Part Two did the same with regard to examples from Grant Hardy. This Part considers several additional instances that can be treated more briefly and then provides a general conclusion to the two-part question that has guided this exploration. Continue reading

Scripture Roundtable 41: D&C Gospel Doctrine Lesson 37, “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet”

(Originally published on 25 August 2013.)

This is Scripture Roundtable 41 from The Interpreter Foundation, in which we discuss Doctrine & Covenants Gospel Doctrine Lesson #37, “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet,” 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 Ben McGuire, Daniel Peterson, Mike Parker, and Robert B. White.

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:

Play

A Lengthening Shadow: Is Quality of Thought Deteriorating in LDS Scholarly Discourse Regarding Prophets and Revelation? Part Two

Abstract­: Many mistakes that occur in scholarly endeavors are understandable. The truth is often difficult to discover, and this makes errors inevitable and expected. And of course, some mistakes are so insignificant that to complain of them would be mere pedantry. But this is not true of all errors. Some are both obvious and of such significance to their topics that they are egregious. There is reason to be concerned that this is occurring to some degree on the topic of prophets and the Lord’s revelations to them. Erroneous claims and arguments are not difficult to find, including some published under the auspices of reputable and mainstream entities. Is it possible that such errors are becoming common, and commonly accepted, in LDS scholarly discourse? Part One considered multiple examples, primarily from Terryl Givens and Patrick Mason, that begin to suggest a positive answer to this question. This installment, Part Two, considers examples from Grant Hardy that also suggest an affirmative answer. Continue reading