David Grandy leads off BYU Studies Quarterly 53, no. 4, finding spiritual meaning in the physical properties of light. Next, he teams with Barry Bickmore on an article about what "science" really means and how seeing science as telling "stories" is useful in explaining what we observe in the natural world. Joseph Spencer analyzes Ralph Hancock's book The Responsibility of Reason, regarding the problems with our modern Western worldview and the implications for Mormon understanding of goodness and truth.
Two articles tackle difficult aspects of the Mormon pioneer trail experience: David Clark writes about incidents and rates of violence on the challenging trail. A team of BYU statisticians used numbers compiled by the LDS Church History Department to determine mortality rates of various demographic groups of pioneers.
Matthew Godfrey of the Joseph Smith Papers team provides an update on what the Papers tell about Zion's Camp, the expedition Joseph Smith led to Missouri in 1834. Chad Richardson and Shon Hopkin report their study of the intertwined destiny of the children of Lehi and Sephardic Jews.
Two writers share their experiences via personal essays: Martha Parker writes about the revised edition of her life after a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and ensuing complications. Robbie Taggart writes about an answered prayer regarding his son.
This issue also contains reviews of books—The Mormons: An Illustrated History; The Myth of Religious Violence; and "A Peculiar People": Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in the Nineteenth-Century America—as well as two film reviews—Ender's Game and Mitt. Two poems, "Jade Cabbage" and "Psalm of the Expectant Mother," round out this issue.