Journal 51:2 | BYU Studies

Journal 51:2

Volume 51:2 (2012)
This issue presents articles on the Book of Mormon and other topics, beginning with a scholarly review of baptism by Noel B. Reynolds. He shows that in the Book of Mormon, baptism is taught primarily as an act of covenant making. David Grandy also presents an article on the Book of Mormon, showing that Mormon's words that "the earth moveth and not the sun" need not be understood to mean that...Read more

Understanding Christian Baptism through the Book of Mormon

Early Christianity saw a wide proliferation of theories and practices concerning baptism, and now many Christians, including Mormons, commonly understand it as a means to repent and wash away one's sins. But the Book of Mormon prophets taught that baptism is a covenant and a witnessing to God that one has already repented and commits to follow Jesus Christ, and that sins are remitted by the Holy... Read more


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Textual Similarities in the Words of Abinadi and Alma's Counsel to Corianton

John Hilton examines textual similarities between two texts found in the Book of Mormon: the words of Abinadi in Mosiah 12–17 and the words of Alma the Younger in Alma 39–42. Hilton used both human-based and computer-based techniques to search for textual matches. Read more

Rediscovering Provo's First Tabernacle with Ground-Penetrating Radar

During the early morning hours of December 17, 2010, fire broke out in the Provo (Utah) Tabernacle, virtually gutting the historic building and leaving only the exterior walls standing in stable condition. On October 1, 2011, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that the ruined tabernacle will be restored as a temple, the Provo City Center Temple, giving a second life to the... Read more

A History of NaHoM

Around 700 BC, a wealthy man in southern Arabia donated three limestone altars to a temple dedicated to Ilmaqah, the moon god. Inscribed on each altar was a text identifying him as the grandson of Naw'um of the Nihm tribe. The three altars were unearthed in 1988 by German archaeologists amid the ruins of the Bar'an temple near Marib, in modern Yemen. They provide the earliest known reference to... Read more

Why Things Move: A New Look at Helaman 12:15

A verse from the Book of Mormon says, "And thus, according to his word the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun" (Helaman 12:15). The verse has been commonly understood to mean that its author, Mormon, had a heliocentric view of the cosmos. David Grandy explores why that may not... Read more

Tempering: Of Tree Houses and Tragedies

This personal essay recounts a mother's worst nightmare: her seven-year-old son's 22-foot fall from a tree house onto a railroad tie, resulting in multiple skull fractures and serious brain trauma. The essay, however, is more than a recitation of the ride in the ambulance, the short stay in the emergency room, and the helicopter trip from Provo to Salt Lake City. The author delves into her own... Read more

The Right Place

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Surviving by Faith: German Latter-day Saints and World War II

There were more than ten thousand Latter-day Saints in Germany before World War II. Lynn M. Hansen and Faith D. Hansen were sent in 2008 as missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to gather oral histories of Mormons who had lived through World War II. Read more

Rabbi, Where Dwellest Thou?

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Joseph Smith Papers. Manuscript Revelation Books, facsimile edition

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our most precious founding documents are the handwritten manuscripts of the revelations that constitute the scriptures. However, like so many old manuscripts, those that are still extant are not available for public scrutiny, as constant handling could damage and perhaps even destroy them. The next best thing would be a near-perfect, full-size,... Read more

Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism and Parley P. Pratt and the Making of Mormonism

Parley Parker Pratt (1807–1857) was among the most talented and influential figures in the formative period of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Apostle, missionary, theologian, poet, polemicist, pris¬oner, explorer, polygamist, and finally, in the view of many, martyr. Pratt was born in central New York State to Jared Pratt—a weaver thrown out of employment in his trade by the... Read more

Who Chose the Gospels? Probing the Great Gospel Conspiracy

In Who Chose the Gospels? Probing the Great Gospel Conspiracy, C. E. Hill, professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, challenges the seemingly pervasive view in scholarship that it was not until the fourth century, when Christian "orthodoxy" began to be firmly entrenched, that the four canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were selected by the church and... Read more

The Mormon Menace: Violence and Anti-Mormonism in the Postbellum South

Relatively few stories in late nineteenth-century Mormon history are more riveting than those from missionaries serving in the American South. A handful of legendary Mormon personalities served there, such as J. Golden Kimball, B. H. Roberts, and John Morgan. There are countless inflammatory threats of violence, hundreds of instances of physical assault, and even a few murders. Although tragic on... Read more

Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible

Karel van der Toorn, president of the University of Amsterdam and author of numerous books dealing with aspects of the Bible and ancient Israel, claims to have been writing an introduction to the Bible when he discovered that he was writing an altogether different book—an exploration of scribal culture in the Near East as a means to better understand the making of the Hebrew Bible. The... Read more

The Lonely Polygamist

Brady Udall's The Lonely Polygamist, published in 2010, arrived amid a wave of pop-culture interest in the polygamist lifestyle: HBO's Big Love was gearing up for its finale; TLC's reality show Sister Wives had just hit the airwaves; and real-life stories of Warren Jeffs, child brides, and FLDS compounds were common tabloid fare. Although Udall had been at work on his novel for many years before... Read more

World Trade and Biological Exchanges before 1492

This book by John L. Sorenson (emeritus professor of anthropology at Brigham Young University) and Carl L. Johannessen (emeritus professor of geography at the University of Oregon) presents a comprehensive, well-referenced, and intriguing overview of historical and archeological evidence for pre-Columbian exchange of plants, microfauna, and animals between the Old and New Worlds. Its style is... Read more

To the Peripheries of Mormondom: The Apostolic Around-the-World Journey of David O. McKay, 1920–1921

An around-the-world journey made by an Apostle may not be something extraordinary today, but in 1920 it was monumental. Hugh J. Cannon's To the Peripheries of Mormondom details the historic trip of Elder David O. McKay—the first Apostle to make a journey of this magnitude and to visit most of the places he did. He and Hugh J. Cannon were called on a one-year fact-finding mission to visit the... Read more