This volume is a collection of fifteen papers presented at the forty-fifth annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium, held in October 2016. The title and subject matter of the symposium were drawn from the LDS Institute course titled “Foundations of the Restoration,” which explores the events surrounding the founding of the Church and early Mormonism. The editors, Craig James Ostler, Michael Hubbard MacKay, and Barbara Morgan Gardner, are all members of BYU’s Church History and Doctrine Department.
The volume covers a variety of topics, including the Sabbath day, eternal marriage, conceptions of Zion, consecration, Hyrum Smith’s Liberty Jail letters, William W. Phelps’s contributions to understanding Church history, the First Vision, the Articles of Faith, Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible, the evaluation of doctrine, the development of LDS temples and temple ordinances, and the sustaining of Church leaders as seers, revelators, and prophets.
A helpful contribution found in the volume is an essay by Alexander L. Baugh, an expert on the Mormon experience in Missouri, that explores the Adam-ondi-Ahman revelation, found in Doctrine and Covenants 116 (157–88). World religion professor Andrew C. Reed examines early Mormon interests in Judaism in another essay (225–44), and Anthony R. Sweat, Michael Hubbard MacKay, and Gerrit J. Dirkmaat—assistant professors of Church history and doctrine at BYU—provide a helpful model for evaluating and classifying LDS doctrine (23–44). The symposium’s keynote address, by LDS scholar Robert L. Millet, is the first selection featured in the volume and is a clear, beautiful, and inspiring discussion of Joseph Smith’s role in the Restoration of the gospel (1–22).
Created with Church curriculum in mind, this volume is directly for “teachers and students as they study and teach key events and doctrines of the Restoration” (vii). However, any who wish to deepen their study and understanding of the Restoration will find this collection valuable.