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Church History
The Sacred Grove. Photo by Ken Lund via Flickr.
How many accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision in 1820 are there? Their sheer number can make things confusing. But the below article by Dean C. Jessee can be very helpful in answering this question. Reading the full texts of this whole collection of First Vision accounts was for me a powerful spiritual experience. The impact of these original writings is immeasurable. I recommend reading them...
Figure of Christ by Heinrich Hoffman and Portrait of Joseph Smith likely by William Warner Major. Images via Wikmedia Commons.
Twenty-five years ago, I was deeply struck, seeing up close many striking details present in the rise of Christianity two thousand years ago with parallels in the rise of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ two hundred years ago. At that time, I was teaching a course at BYU on Masada and the world of the New Testament. At the same, I was editing BYU Studies and Church history...
Detail of Courageous Daughters in Mosiah 18 by James Fullmer.
The second chapter of the book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon contains the only explicit teaching about polygamy in the Nephite record. Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me...
The cover of The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents Volume 9
A new volume of the Joseph Smith Papers Project has been published and is available for purchase from Deseret Book and other online retailers. Documents, Volume 9: December 1841–April 1842 , edited by Alex D. Smith, Christian K. Heimburger, and Christopher James Blythe, includes important documents and papers from the Prophet Joseph Smith that signify the many evolving roles the Prophet...
The First Vision by Del Parsn and The Conversion of St. Paul by Jean Daret, ca. 1647.
Joseph Smith claimed that in 1820 he beheld a vision of God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. This “First Vision” started Joseph Smith on a path that ultimately led to the Restoration of Jesus Christ’s church in the latter days. Four accounts of the First Vision were written or dictated by Joseph himself. Five other accounts come from what others remembered him saying about his vision...
Cover of the Joseph Smith Papers Documents volume 8
A new volume of the Joseph Smith Papers has been published by the Church Historian’s Press. The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 8: February–November 1841 is the latest volume in the documents series , which “present[s] in chronological order with historical introductions and annotation most of the extant (or surviving) documents owned, created, or authorized by [Joseph] Smith.”...
Reformed Egyptian compilation by BMC
The prophet Moroni indicated that he and his father Mormon wrote their abridgement of the Nephite records in a script called “reformed Egyptian” ( Mormon 9:32 ). Latter-day Saints are often fascinated (and sometimes perplexed) with figuring out what “reformed Egyptian” was or how it worked. Skeptics of the Book of Mormon, on the other hand, often dismiss “reformed Egyptian” as a fabrication by...
Image via Book of Mormon Central.
Researching a topic is infinitely more complicated today than it was before the advent of the internet. Back in the day, if we wanted to look into something, we had to go to libraries and bookstores and actively seek out the “best books”. There were librarians and professors to help know where to look and which sources to trust. Today, we can almost accidently fall into a “...
Photograph of Martin Harris via lds.org
The first major biography about one of the most important men of the early Church is hot off the press from BYU Studies. Many years in the making, Martin Harris: Uncompromising Witness of the Book of Mormon , by Susan Easton Black and Larry C. Porter, tells the life story of a man who was instrumental in getting the Book of Mormon translated, published, and distributed. Indeed, it is...
Joseph Smith Papers volume on the Book of Abraham
The Joseph Smith Papers Project, under the auspices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has published a new volume in the landmark series. The Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, Vol. 4: Book of Abraham and Related Manuscripts includes, for the first time, the extant Book of Abraham manuscripts, the first printed edition of the Book of Abraham, the...