Journal 51:4 | BYU Studies

Journal 51:4

Volume 51:4 (2012)
Three articles on Mormon polygamy, two articles on the Book of Mormon, and much more are featured in this issue of BYU Studies Quarterly . The three articles on polygamy focus on the Mormon settlement of St. George, Utah, from 1861 to 1880. The first, by Davis Bitton and Val Lambson, explains the limit of how many people in a given group can participate in polygyny, given that roughly equal...Read more

Probing the High Prevalence of Polygyny in St. George, 1861–1880: An Introduction

This is the introduction to a trilogy of articles that interpret and map the unusually high incidence of polygamy (or polygyny, the proper term) that characterized St. George, Utah, from its founding in 1861 through the federal census of 1880. Polygamy was practiced by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the 1840s to 1890. The first, and most theoretical, of the three... Read more

Demographic Limits of Nineteenth-Century Mormon Polygyny

*This article is being offered free as a courtesy to lds.org as it was footnoted in an expanded Gospel Topic on their site. What percentage of nineteenth-century Mormons practiced polygyny? Estimates of the answer have evolved as have the methods of posing the question. The authors use a simple demographic model to derive mathematical limits on polygyny prevalence. These limits provide benchmarks... Read more

Mapping the Extent of Plural Marriage in St. George, 1861–1880

*This article is being offered free as a courtesy to lds.org as it was footnoted in an expanded Gospel Topic on their site. This article is one of a set on the practice of polygamy in St. George, Utah, from 1861 to 1880. It asks why polygamy rates in that Mormon settlement exceed the demographic limits produced by Bitton and Lambson in their article "Demographic Limits of Nineteenth-Century... Read more

Striving to Live the Principle in Utah's First Temple City: A Snapshot of Polygamy in St. George, Utah, in June 1880

*This article is being offered free as a courtesy to lds.org as it was footnoted in an expanded Gospel Topic on their site. This article is one of a set on the practice of polygamy in the Mormon settlement of St. George, Utah, from 1861 to 1880. For years researchers have known that St. George had an unusually high percentage of its population living in polygamous households and have been... Read more

Plural Marriage in St. George: A Summary and an Invitation

This is a short summary of three papers in this issue of BYU Studies Quarterly offering new insights into the importance of polygyny, or polygamy, in nineteenth-century Mormondom. The Bitton-Lambson article derives theoretical limits on the sustainability of polygyny, suggesting that, given the parameters observed in nineteenth-century Utah, a prevalence exceeding 15 to 20 percent of males and 25... Read more

Teinoscope

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Some Textual Changes for a Scholarly Study of the Book of Mormon

Royal Skousen has been working on the critical text project of the Book of Mormon since 1988. He has concluded that there are three important findings resulting from the critical text project of the Book of Mormon. The first is that Joseph Smith received an English-language text word for word, which he read off to his scribe. The second is that the original English-language text itself was very... Read more

This Beginning of Miracles

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When Pages Collide: Dissecting the Words of Mormon

Careful readers of the Book of Mormon have probably found verses 12–18 of the Words of Mormon to be a bit of a puzzle. For stylistic and other reasons, they do not really fit with verses 1–11, so commentators have tried to explain their presence as a sort of "bridge" or "transition" that Mormon wrote to connect the record of the small plates with his abridgment from the large plates. This paper... Read more

Trailing Clouds of Zombies

This personal essay draws parallels between zombie apocalypse movies and parenting. The author's deliberate decision to have a large family reminds him of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, in which the terror comes from the characters' deliberate decisions about how to survive the sheer number of pervasive and persistent undead. His children are equally "pervasive and persistent, and they... Read more

On Mormon Laughter

Shawn Tucker, an associate professor of fine arts, offers an interpretation on the scriptural injunctions against excessive and loud laughter found in Latter-day Saint scripture. Having grown up in a home with lots of joyous, good-natured laughter, the author recalls his confusion at such commands. His research explores the teachings of leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,... Read more

Lehi's Dream and Nephi's Vision: Apocalyptic Revelations in Narrative Context

In Lehi's Dream and Nephi's Vision: Apocalyptic Revelation in Narrative Context, Matthew Scott Stenson explores the qualities of apocalyptic literature found in the first two books of Nephi. Stenson shows how new insights can be gained by reading Nephi's record from the perspective of this ancient literary genre. Isaiah 49:23–26 expresses the following dramatic prophecy portraying the Lord as a... Read more

Hell on the Range: A Story of Honor, Conscience, and the American West

In the introduction to Hell on the Range, Daniel Justin Herman informs readers that his account of Arizona's Rim Country War of the 1880s is more than revisionist critique; it is self-critique. Herman, an associate professor of history at Central Washington University, is an Arizonan who, like many growing up in the western United States, was "raised on its romance," and in his youth he viewed "... Read more

17 Miracles, directed by T. C. Christensen

The film 17 Miracles is a recent cinematic depiction of the faith and trials of the Martin and Willie handcart companies. Mormon culture's hallowed treatment of the trek has appeared in oral histories, pageant depictions, and trek reenactments, and writer and director T. C. Christensen's treatment of the subject material is an excellent addition to a robust tradition that remembers a significant... Read more

The Persistence of Polygamy, Scattering of the Saints, and Modern Polygamy in the United States

NEWELL G. BRINGHURST, CRAIG L. FOSTER, editors. The Persistence of Polygamy: Joseph Smith and the Origins of Mormon Polygamy. Independence, Missouri: John Whitmer Books, 2010. NEWELL G. BRINGHURST, JOHN C. HAMER. Scattering of the Saints: Schism within Mormonism. Independence, Missouri: John Whitmer Books, 2007. CARDELL K. JACOBSON, LARA BURTON. Modern Polygamy in the United States: Historical,... Read more

Tony

In 2012, artist Elizabeth Thayer entered her painting Tony in the BP Portrait Award contest. The Portrait Award is in its thirty-third year at the National Portrait Gallery in London. In 2012, there were 2,187 entries from artists in 74 different countries. This painting was one of 55 paintings chosen to be exhibited this year. Thayer first learned about the competition when she moved to England... Read more