John W. Welch quotes a German saying, “A good question is half an answer.” He shows that the articles published in this issue of BYU Studies Quarterly are the result of good questions: questions that do not assume a conclusion, questions that matter to our understanding of scripture, questions that add to our knowledge.
Richard E. Turley Jr. and Jeffrey G. Cannon reexamine the history of the first black Soweto investigators of the LDS Church. They desired to be baptized but were denied for more than a decade. This article questions long-standing assumptions for the reasons for the delay and explains the concerns of the mission president in historical context.
T. Benjamin Spackman tells the Old Testament context of the words atonement, salvation, and redemption and explains that this history had been blurred in modern English usage. Modern usage is highly theological, eschatological, and heavenly, whereas their conceptual Israelite linguistic origins are often grounded in the concrete, this-worldly, and practical.
Eric A. Eliason encourages readers to broaden their understanding of folk practices in early America and around the world, specifically regarding Joseph Smith’s use of a seer stone. He suggests that there is no reason to regard magic-seeming practices as counterevidence to Joseph Smith’s prophetic claims.
Reid L. Neilson displays the story of Edward Stevenson as an example of nineteenth-century missionary work. As one of many missionaries who were sent out from Utah after the Church publicly announced polygamy in 1852, Stevenson suffered persecution but also experienced some success, including miracles.
Lindon J. Robison and David R. Just question the assumption of economists that people are generally selfish and report their own research evaluating people’s motives. They conclude that motives vary among groups of persons, but changes in one’s opportunity to exchange alter the relative importance of motives.
Robert L. Lively Jr. researched the experiences of Mormon missionaries for decades and published The Mormon Missionary: Who Is That Knocking at My Door? in 2015. Excerpts included here concern missionaries working without purse or scrip, respect from people in other lands that missionaries would care to learn their language, perceptions of sister missionaries, and the variety of missions for senior couples.
This issue includes a personal essay, five book reviews on theology, race, and biography, as well as five book notices.