Journal 54:4 | BYU Studies

Journal 54:4

Volume 54:4 (2016)
A lifetime of scholarship is reflected in Dr. David B. Magleby's presentation on the role of political parties in the organization of government. Compromise between the parties has been and will remain vital to sustaining the United States' two-hundred-year-long experiment with self-government. Looking back at speeches of LDS Church leaders in early Utah, LaJean Purcell Carruth has recently...Read more

From the Editor

This issue of BYU Studies Quarterly proudly leads off with the 2015 Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecture by political science professor David Magleby. I am confident that all current readers will enjoy and benefit from the timely insights that this speech offers regard-ing the persistent pressures on political parties to justify their existence and to seek opportunities for mutually... Read more

The Necessity of Political Parties and the Importance of Compromise

Political parties are essential to modern democracy, contrary to some popular opinion. Parties organize democracy and prevent voters from having to choose from among scores of candidates. Parties in a broad sense stand for a particular view of the role of government. Party identification is the best predictor of how people vote. Compromise between the parties has been and will remain vital to... Read more

The Prophets Have Spoken, but What Did They Say? Examining the Differences between George D. Watt's Original Shorthand Notes and the Sermons Published in the Journal of Discourses

From 1851 to 1868, George D. Watt took shorthand of hundreds of speeches given by LDS leaders. A few of his shorthand notes were preserved but were inaccessible to researchers because no one could read the Pitman shorthand. Some notes have now been transcribed. These notes reveal that extensive rewriting and polishing was done between the taking of the notes and the publication of these speeches... Read more

Grace in the Book of Mormon

Teachings about grace in the Book of Mormon are more at home in the worlds of the Bible and the ancient Mediterranean than in the modern understanding that grace is a free, unearned gift. The Book of Mormon teaches that grace is part of a covenant that places requirements on the receiver. Grace manifests God’s goodness to humankind and is closely aligned with mercy and Christ’s Atonement to meet... Read more

Dating the Death of Jesus Christ

In December 2010, BYU Studies published a study by Jeffrey R. Chadwick entitled “Dating the Birth of Jesus Christ.” It presented historical and scriptural evidence showing that Jesus was not born in April of 1 BC, as popular Latter-day Saint thought supposed, but most likely in December of 5 BC. A significant component in “Dating the Birth of Jesus Christ” was the proposition that Jesus died at... Read more

Desert Sonnet

Access the PDF Download to view the full content of this poem. Read more


This essay recounts a traumatic experience the author had in the eighth grade. The author tries to save a classmate from drowning during a physical education class, but the panicked classmate pulls her under the water, and both girls almost drown. Fortunately, they are rescued, but the experience causes her to reflect on the decision she had made to not take a lifeguard class the previous month... Read more

American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church by Alex Beam

Alex Beam is a columnist for the Boston Globe and the International Herald Tribune and the author of Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America’s Premier Mental Hospital (2001) and A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books (2008). He has now taken a substantial turn and ventured into the realm of mid-nineteenth century Mormon history with his book... Read more

Helen Andelin and the Fascinating Womanhood Movement by Julie Debra Neuffer

In writing Helen Andelin and the Fascinating Womanhood Movement, it was Julie Debra Neuffer’s hope that her study would “provide a scholarly and evenhanded look at the philosophy and motivations of . . . Helen Andelin and the movement she founded, within the larger historical context of women’s reform efforts”. Neuffer reached this goal, for, having finished the book, I am still unsure if Neuffer... Read more

Standing Apart: Mormon Historical Consciousness and the Concept of Apostasy

While there have been dozens of important devotional books about Mormonism and its doctrinal concept of the Great Apostasy, little has been published from a scholarly perspective. Ten years ago, BYU Press published a collection of new studies about the Apostasy in Early Christians in Disarray: Contemporary LDS Perspectives on the Christian Apostasy (2005; reviewed in BYU Studies 44:3), and there... Read more

Textual and Comparative Explorations in 1 and 2 Enoch

Samuel Zinner (PhD, University of Nebraska–Lincoln), an independent researcher and Holocaust scholar, publishes his extensive studies on 1 and 2 Enoch in a new book from The Interpreter Foundation. Zinner performs a valuable service in this series of nine-teen essays by taking on some of the most difficult questions in the field of Enoch studies. He provides new and refreshing perspectives on a... Read more