Journal 56:1 | BYU Studies

Journal 56:1

Issue 56:1
BYU Studies aims to help readers become "instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, and all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for [us] to understand" (D&C 88:78). Steven Olsen leads off with an expansive literary reading of the birth and calling of the prophet Samuel, showing how parallelism, key words, structure,...Read more

From the Editor

The year 2017 promises to be a very exciting year for readers of BYU Studies Quarterly. With many challenges as well as positive developments happening around the world, we expect that our readers are on the constant lookout for solid information and commendable perspectives. The carefully written and rigorously peer-reviewed pages of this journal continue to offer new insights into old problems... Read more

Birth and Calling of the Prophet Samuel: A Literary Reading of the Biblical Text

Samuel is rightly considered to be one of the preeminent personalities of the Hebrew Bible, and his remarkable ministry makes the brief narrative of his birth, childhood, and divine calling worthy of serious examination. Steven Olsen argues that the literary craftsmanship of the text is as expressive of its meaning as are its descriptive contents. He focuses on several recurrent literary... Read more

"The Little Head Stones Became Monuments": Death in the Early Samoan Mission and the Creation of the Fagali'i Cemetery

During the first two decades of the Samoan Mission (established in 1888), at least twelve Latter-day Saints passed away in the mission, which forced the mission leaders and other missionaries to determine how best to bury and honor their dead. This article first reviews the history of LDS cemeteries as sacred spaces and then looks specifically at memorials created for deceased missionaries and... Read more

Goddess looking up, sowing mercy

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The Lord is One

In this lecture delivered at BYU on November 9, 2016, Margaret Barker weaves together several ideas to show the connection between holiness, unity, the temple, and theosis. She begins by identifying Jesus Christ as the great high priest and showing that the divine presence was located in the holy of holies within the temple or tabernacle. But objects, as well as people, could be holy. Barker also... Read more

Margaret Barker's "The Lord Is One"—a Response

In his response to Margaret Barker's November 9, 2016, lecture at BYU, Andrew C. Skinner points to the association between Jesus's high priestly prayer in John 17 and the doctrine of theosis. Jesus's desire that his disciples be one is ultimately a desire for them to share in divine glory. This idea was prevalent among early Greek Church Fathers and theologians. Skinner also points to the idea... Read more

Response to Margaret Barker's "The Lord Is One"

In his response to Margaret Barker's November 9, 2016, lecture at BYU, David J. Larsen examines apocryphal and pseudepigraphal texts to find evidence of prophets ascending to heaven and becoming one with the Lord. A tradition found in several ancient Jewish texts expresses the notion that humans somehow have a heavenly double or a counterpart in heaven, and when they ascend to heaven, they find... Read more

An Improvisation on Margaret Barker's "The Lord Is One"

Stating that the temple is often regarded as a place of ascent, Daniel C. Peterson is reminded of a story from the Islamic tradition called, in Arabic, the mi'raj or isra' —the night vision or ascension of Muhammad. In this story, Muhammed is taken from some physical location by three angels, to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. There, he climbs or ascends through the seven heavens into the presence... Read more

Let there be light—

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"An Angel or Rather the Savior" at the Kirtland Temple Dedication: The Vision of Frederick G. Williams

At the Kirtland Temple dedication on March 27, 1836, President Frederick G. Williams testified that he saw a "holy angel" enter the temple during the opening prayer. Nine witnesses wrote about the event, and even though details in their records conflict, it is evident that the angel Williams had seen was the Savior. The vision fulfilled prophecy about the members of the First Presidency each... Read more

No Words

In this personal essay, Elizabeth Dodds confronts her fear of dying from a brain aneurysm. She traces the fear back to her college days when she had an ASL course with a student named Tracie and her husband, "T." During one class, they were playing spoons, and Tracie won, perhaps by bending the rules. Two days later, Dodds was glad she had won. Because Tracie and "T" missed a group meeting, Dodds... Read more

The Kingdom of God

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Envisioning Brigham Young University: Foreword to John S. Tanner's Learning in the Light

As BYU grew in numbers and in stature during the 1960s and 1970s, many gifted faculty were attracted to the university—some who brought the same secular standards and approach that they were trained in at other schools. Bruce C. Hafen describes how the BYU administration identified two major much-needed projects: (1) a faculty-generated and Board-approved policy statement that defined and... Read more

"What Is It About This Place?" Truman Madsen, Religious Education, and the Mission of BYU

Bruce C. Hafen praises the book The Truman G. Madsen Story, by Barnard N. Madsen. He describes the influence of Truman Madsen during Hafen's days in the BYU Honors Program, how Madsen profoundly influenced him and other students during the 1960s and 1970s, and how Madsen came to exemplify what BYU was striving to accomplish on behalf of its students, which was to help them, along with mastery of... Read more

The First Fifty Years of Relief Society

The First Fifty Years of Relief Society has the distinction of being the first published volume other than the Joseph Smith Papers to appear under the imprint of the Church Historian's Press. The stated purpose of the Church Historian's Press is to publish "accurate, transparent, and authoritative works of history about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," works that "meet the... Read more

Catholic and Mormon: A Theological Conversation

Catholic and Mormon: A Theological Conversation, by Stephen H. Webb and Alonzo L. Gaskill, initiates a long-overdue dialogue in doctrine and religious practice between the Roman Catholic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The book, which is as thoughtful and amicable as it is scholarly and stimulating, comes at an important moment in the rapport between the two faiths... Read more

The Mapmakers of New Zion: A Cartographic History of Mormonism

This book is the most comprehensive treatment of historical cartography of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to date. It is beautifully illustrated with over one hundred maps that have been created by, or at least used by, Mormons over the past two hundred years, and it further discusses many more, demonstrating that cartography has been an important, and underappreciated, part of... Read more

The Polygamous Wives Writing Club: From the Diaries of Mormon Pioneer Women

In 2014, Paula Harline released The Polygamous Wives Writing Club to wide acclaim. Considering the number of past publications on the history of Mormon polygamy, what has made Harline's publication and approach stand out, especially coming from someone who is not a professional historian? From the outset, the title of Polygamous Wives Writing Club is worthy of comment. Harline claims that the... Read more

Future Mormon: Essays in Mormon Theology

Adam Miller is a professor of philosophy and the director of the honors program at Collin College, McKinney, Texas. He is the author of at least five books in Mormon studies and three in philosophy, as well as serving as editor of a collection of Mormon studies essays. As one of several young Mormons not only doing theology but also asking how it ought to be done, Miller offers us a thoughtful... Read more