In this issue of BYU Studies, you'll find a variety of topics and events related to Latter-day Saint history and culture addressed.
First, Jeff Walker thoroughly examines newfound information about certain events of the Mormon conflict in Missouri in 1838. Due to U.S. preemption rights and land surveying practices, many Mormons settled on unsurveyed land in northern Missouri because impoverished Saints did not have to pay for that land until the surveys were completed. After surveying was finished, these preemption rights were an impetus for Missouri land speculators to force Mormons from the state. Whether this was the primary motive from the outset is unclear, it is undisputable that key Missourians involved in the Mormon expulsion immediately seized a financial reward in Daviess County and gained clear title to Mormon lands. This article offers another perspective to the multifaceted causes that ended with the Mormons' forced expulsion.
Most Latter-day Saints know about Orson Hyde's dedication of the Holy Land in 1841. Few, however, are aware that there have been ten subsequent apostolic dedications of the Holy Land. Blair G. Van Dyke and LaMar C. Berrett look at these rededications in their article "In the Footsteps of Orson Hyde."
What kinds of hymns did the Latter-day Saints sing in the 1830s? And how did they sing them? The answers to these questions may surprise you. To read more about this aspect of early Mormon worship, see "What Hymns Early Mormons Sang and How They Sang Them," by Michael Hicks.
A little-known document from 1842, written by the Twelve Apostles, tells the Saints in Europe how to gather their resources and emigrate. Josh Probert tells us that this epistle is significant not only for its message, but for what it says about the role of Twelve in 1842.
In the review essay "Selling the Soul of Science for a Pot of Message: Evangelizing Atheism in The God Delusion," Steven C. Walker writes of the growing number of books that look at scientific evidence as a justification for atheism. Primarily reviewing Richard Dawkins's new book The God Delusion, Walker shows the fallacies inherent in trying to impose materialist and reductive paradigms into the realms of faith, imagination, and religion.
Two new media reviews give researchers a way to narrow down their research to include the most reputable repositories and databases online. Richard Hacken gives an up-to-date review of the online document research world in "The Current State of Primary Historical Sources Online," and Howard C. Bybee gives a thorough overview of resources for family history researchers in "Online Genealogical Research Resources."