This issue covers LDS history, philosophy, media studies, eleven book reviews, one music review, one film review, three poems, and an essay.
Much has been written about the assassination of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, but little attention has been paid to the crime scene in Carthage Jail. In this issue of BYU Studies, authors Joseph Lyon and David Lyon examine eyewitness accounts of the assault, the layout of the crime scene, the physical evidence left in the jail, and the types of weapons used and the wounds they inflicted on the Smith brothers, John Taylor, and Willard Richards.
The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and the Prophet Joseph Smith both radically critiqued nineteenth-century Christian culture and called for drastic change in contemporary Christianity. David Paulsen examines the views of both men and shows them to be mutually reinforcing and illuminating.
Sherry Pack Baker explores the emerging discipline of Mormon media studies and introduces the Mormon Media History Timeline, available online here. Baker says that major societal changes take place not only with the power of the message, but with the medium through which that message is relayed.
Andrew Jenson (1850-1941), mission president and assistant LDS Church historian, kept a detailed record of his trip to Iceland in 1911. He traveled to Iceland as president of the Danish-Norwegian mission to give public lectures, visit the two LDS missionaries there, and do a little sightseeing. Along with his journal entries he included several interesting photographs of the trip. The journal entries and five photographs of that 1911 trip are presented here, introduced by Fred Woods.
Steven Harper examines original manuscripts of Doctrine and Covenants 104 to clarify the connection between D&C 104:18 and Luke 16:23. This scriptural detail was brought to light through research associated with the publication of the Joseph Smith Papers.
Among the many reviews in this issue, several landmark books are reviewed: Neal Kramer and Claudia Bushman each write a review of People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture by Terryl L. Givens. "Despite the recent boom in Mormon studies," writes Kramer, "there has continued to be a gap. . . . Relatively little work has been done in the humanistic disciplines. A refreshing and intelligent exception is the work of Professor Givens," who has written a major work in cultural history and criticism.
Jennifer Lane and Douglas Davies each review Mormonism in Dialogue with Contemporary Christianity. This work, edited by Donald W. Musser and David L. Paulsen, is the first book of its kind—a dense and academic dialogue of contemporary theology between Mormon and Christian scholars, published by a Christian university.