Top Current Stories
Joseph the Seer? - youtube video - 8/18/15
With all the publicity by the LDS Church surrounding the recent publication of photos of the actual seer stone Joseph Smith used, here is a refreshing, interesting and informative discussion with independent Mormon historians, including Dan Vogel, examining the recent disclosure of pictures of seer-stone used by Joseph Smith in translating the Book of Mormon.
Joseph the Seer?
Salt Lake Tribune - Mormon reaction to Joseph Smith’s seer stone: the stuff of revelation or a rock to mock - 8/6/15
Latter-day Saints are reacting to Tuesday's first-time-ever release of photos of Mormon founder Joseph Smith's chocolate-colored "seer stone," as a Facebook commenter puts it, with "humor, cynicism, denial, avoidance and panic."
Critics already point to the egg-size rock's existence as another reason to see Smith as a conniving fraud and the entire faith as bogus.
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Associated Press - Mormons publish photos of 'seer stone' used by founder - 8/5/15
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Mormon church's push toward transparency about its roots and beliefs took another step forward Tuesday with the first published pictures of a small sacred stone it believes founder Joseph Smith used to help translate a story that became the basis of the religion.
The pictures of the smooth, brown, egg-sized rock are part of a new book that also contains photos of the first printer's manuscript of the Book of Mormon. Officials with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unveiled the photos at a news conference in Salt Lake City.
The religion's drive in recent years to open its vaults and clarify sensitive beliefs is aimed at filling a void on the Internet for accurate information as curiosity and scrutiny increased as church membership tripled over the last three decades, Mormon scholars said.
Church historian Steven E. Snow acknowledged that dynamic, saying: "The Internet brings both challenge and opportunities. We're grateful for the opportunity to share much of collection through the use of the Internet."
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Joseph the Seer - October Ensign article - 8/4/15
More "coming clean" by the LDS Church. This one is about Joseph's use of the seer/peep stone. Look for this article to appear in the October 2015 Ensign.
Editor Comment: This is a fairly revealing article and actually mentions Joseph putting a seer stone in his hat to translate th Book of Mormon. Three questions we have:
1) The article shows several images of the 'incorrect' methods shown in the past where Joseph was depicted translating the BofM without using a stone and a hat. They mention the 'stone in the hat' method in the article but why are they still not showing a correct image of Joseph using the stone in the hat? Why do they only go halfway in their disclosure?
2) The article has several paragraphs discussing what happened to the original seer stone. They conclude with "Since that time (Brigham Young's time), subsequent Church leaders have acknowledged the Church’s ownership of the seer stone." However, why don't they simply say the Church has it now and how it is used or not used by the leaders of the Church instead of quoting from Brigham Young's time?
3) There is no discussion as to how this ordinary stone (found on Willard Chase's property when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were digging a well for Mr. Chase) had some sort of supernatural seering ability? This stone was not one of the original special stones preserved in the Stone Box by the Nephites for 2,000 years, so why would it work to translate ancient records from one language to another? Does it still work today? Members of the church might want to know this. The information presented in the article is new to many members, as it was not commonly or officially ever taught to the church membership before now, and does create some problematic challenges to the foundational claims of the church that we were all taught in Sunday School. The church should discuss this in more depth.
We think that members would be very interested in hearing more about where this stone is today and actually seeing this important artifact in a LDS museum. Without showing images of Joseph translating using the seer stone in a hat, discussing how it came to be and why it had seering abilities, nor discussing it's current status & potential use by the current leaders and also by not publicly displaying it in a visitor's center or other church BLDG, we must conclude that the church is still somewhat embarrassed by it.
There are many other issues that become problematic when the actual BofM translation method is known such as why were the gold plates even necessary when they were never actually used in the translation process, etc.
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Read more about the Book of Mormon Translation
Salt Lake Tribune: Mormon church to release more documents from founder - 8/4/15
Salt Lake City: The Mormon church is taking another step in its push to be more transparent, and is releasing more historical documents that shed light on how Joseph Smith formed the religion.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says the volume being released at a news conference Tuesday in Salt Lake City is a printer's manuscript of the Book of Mormon.
Mormons believe that 185 years ago, God helped Smith translate a story that was written in ancient Egyptian and engraved on gold plates. It became known as the Book of Mormon.
The religion counts 15 million followers worldwide after experiencing a tripling of membership in the past three decades. Some outsiders have criticized it as being secretive about its practices and beliefs.
This is the church's latest step toward making available documents or clarifying some of the more sensitive parts of its doctrine or history.
Link to article
Mormon Spectrum - 7/30/15
This is a new website loaded with resources to help LDS believing members, questioning members and any member find the proper resources and community matched to their level of belief and interest. Many LDS resources are provided as well as questioning member sites designed with the purpose of helping members no matter where they are in their journey.
LDS historian Richard Bushman: 9 ProTips from Richard Bushman
Interesting and candid comments from faithful, LDS historian Richard Bushman for those who are concerned about church history and how to deal with sticky issues. Wheat & Tares article
Salt Lake Tribune: On 37th anniversary of priesthood ban’s end, black Mormons say race issues still need attention - 6/9/15
Thirty-seven years ago Monday, the LDS Church announced a momentous decision: Its priesthood would henceforth be open "to all worthy male members," ending a century long ban on black men and boys in its ranks.
The June 8, 1978, change was celebrated throughout The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, leading many Mormons to believe past racial issues were now over.
The change, however, did not explain any reasons for the prohibition in the first place, nor put an end to some of the theological folklore that long had been used to defend the ban, which also kept black Mormon women out of the faith's temples.
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Read MormonThink: Response to the Race and the Priesthood - Response to LDS.org
Salt Lake Tribune: This Mormon Sunday school teacher was dismissed for using church's own race essay in lesson - 5/5/15
It all started with a question.
The Mormon youth simply asked his white Sunday school teacher why the man's Nigerian wife and her family would join a church that had barred blacks from being ordained to its all-male priesthood until 1978. Why, the student wanted to know, was the ban instituted in the first place?
To answer the teen's inquiry, Brian Dawson turned to the Utah-based faith's own materials, including its groundbreaking 2013 essay, "Race and the Priesthood." His research prompted an engaging discussion with his class of 12- to 14-year-olds.
But it didn't please his local lay leaders, who removed him from his teaching assignment — even though the essay has been approved by top Mormon leaders and appears on the church's official website lds.org
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MormonThink's response to essay on Race and the Priesthood
Grant Palmer TV Interview - 4/28/15
On 4/22/15 noted Mormon author Grant Palmer did a TV interview with Jason Wallace on the subject "Why William Law opposed Joseph Smith in Nauvoo" during the last two years of Smith's life. Watch this interesting interview on youtube.
Mormonism Unvailed: Eber D. Howe, with critical comments by Dan Vogel - 3/23/15
Howe's infamous book has often been labeled as 'anti-Mormon' by LDS defenders like Hugh Nibley. However, it is referenced many times in books written by faithful LDS historians like Richard Bushman. The average member doesn't know exactly what to think of the book as many of the things in Howe's book have now been confirmed from faithful sources. We are very much looking forward to reading a critical analysis of this landmark book by award-winning, Mormon historian Dan Vogel when it comes out on April 20, 2015.
Summary: Any Latter-day Saint who has ever defended his or her beliefs has likely addressed issues first raised by Eber D. Howe in 1834. Howe’s famous exposé was the first of its kind, with information woven together from previous news articles and some thirty affidavits he and others collected. He lived and worked in Painesville, Ohio, where, in 1829, he had published about Joseph Smith’s discovery of a “golden bible.” Smith’s decision to relocate in nearby Kirtland sparked Howe’s attention. Of even more concern was that Howe’s wife and other family members had joined the Mormon faith. Howe immediately began investigating the new Church and formed a coalition of like-minded reporters and detractors. By 1834, Howe had collected a large body of investigative material, including affidavits from Smith’s former neighbors in New York and from Smith’s father-inlaw in Pennsylvania. Howe learned about Smith’s early interest in pirate gold and use of a seer stone in treasure seeking and heard theories from Smith’s friends, followers, and family members about the Book of Mormon’s origin. Indulging in literary criticism, Howe joked that Smith, “evidently a man of learning,” was a student of “barrenness of style and expression.” Despite its critical tone, Howe’s exposé is valued by historians for its primary source material and account of the growth of Mormonism in northeastern Ohio.
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Ancient Ruins and the Book of Mormon - Dan Vogel - 3/2/15
Award-winning author Dan Vogel has released his latest video on Mormonism which we have added to our section on the Book of Mormon Issues.
The purpose of this video is to explore what was known about the ruins and antiquities of the New World before Joseph Smith dictated the Book of Mormon in 1829, and how that information compares with what is claimed in the Book of Mormon. In other words, does the Book of Mormon’s content demand an extensive knowledge of New World antiquities beyond what was known by Joseph Smith’s contemporaries?
Ancient Ruins and the Book of Mormon - Dan Vogel
Moroni and the Swastika: Mormons in Nazi Germany - 2/20/15
This is a fascinating new book for anyone interested in how the LDS Church dealt with Nazi Germany.
Moroni and the Swastika: Mormons in Nazi Germany by David Conley Nelson Ph.D
Summary: While Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist government was persecuting Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses and driving forty-two small German religious sects underground, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continued to practice unhindered. How some fourteen thousand Mormons not only survived but thrived in Nazi Germany is a story little known, rarely told, and occasionally rewritten within the confines of the Church’s history—for good reason, as we see in David Conley Nelson’s Moroni and the Swastika. A page-turning historical narrative, this book is the first full account of how Mormons avoided Nazi persecution through skilled collaboration with Hitler’s regime, and then eschewed postwar shame by constructing an alternative history of wartime suffering and resistance.
Read more here
Video on the Church essays - 1/29/15
Brother Jake made an entertaining and informative 4-minute video on the Church's essays. Of particular note is he makes mention of how the Polygamy in Kirtland and Nauvoo essay is not listed with the other essays on the Church's website: Brother Jake Presents: A Gospel Topics Commercial
MormonThink's response to Church Essay on Joseph Smith's Polygamy - 1/8/15
An editor at MormonThink has compiled a well-received response to the LDS essay entitled 'Plural Marriage in Kirtland & Nauvoo' which was published on the LDS.org website in Oct 2014. Please read Plural Marriage in Kirtland & Nauvoo - Response to LDS.org
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