Journal 49:4 | BYU Studies

Journal 49:4

Volume 49:4 (2010)
BYU Studies volume 49, no. 4, features six articles, leading off with Jeffrey Chadwick's article exploring the date of birth of Jesus Christ. He uses historical and scriptural evidence to propose that Christ was born in December 5 B.C. Next in the issue is an excerpt from a forthcoming book of the best speeches of Robert K. Thomas (1918-1998). This speech describes how we can successfully...Read more

Dating the Birth of Christ

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taken no official position on the exact date of Christ's birth. In his 1915 classic Jesus the Christ , Elder James E. Talmage maintained that Jesus Christ was born on April 6 in the year 1 BC. Talmage was apparently the first LDS writer to propose this particular date. Nearly a century has passed since his book appeared, and in that time it has... Read more

Strangers and Pilgrims: The Challenge of the Real

This article is a classic speech by Robert K. Thomas and is an excerpt of a forthcoming publication of Thomas's best speeches. Thomas (1918–1998) served the Brigham Young University community for thirty-two years as an English professor, founder and director of the Honors Program, and academic vice president. This speech describes how genuine faith can successfully confront the challenges we face... Read more

A Poetics of the Restoration

George B. Handley, professor of humanities at Brigham Young University, discusses whether the world's cultural traditions should be considered as treasures that should be embraced by Latter-day Saints, or fallen philosophy and vain deceit. He argues that while culture might be the obstacle that blinds us, it must also become the means or language by which we can come to understand God's will. We... Read more

The Hoarse Whisperer

In this personal essay, David Milo Kirkham recounts his interactions with the animal kingdom. From his early banter with his neighbor's sheep and his trapping and killing of nuisance skunks in his rural community to his later encounter in the Bavarian Alps with a beautiful red fox, Kirkham both entertains and provokes serious thought about our relationship with God's other creatures. "Who are the... Read more

A Question on My Mind: Robert McCorkle's 1844 Letter to Joseph Smith

Robert McCorkle (1807–1873) was one of many Americans curious about Mormonism. In 1844 he visited Nauvoo, Illinois, then headquarters of the Latter-day Saints. He hoped to obtain an audience with Joseph Smith but was able only to hear Smith speak at public meetings. When he returned to his home in Tennessee, he wrote to Smith, asking questions and describing his willingness to relocate to Nauvoo... Read more

The Chicago Experiment: Finding the Voice and Charting the Course of Religious Education in the Church

In many professions, Latter-day Saints often struggle to find harmony between their religion and their career. This has been especially true in academia, in most of its diverse disciplines. These challenges were particularly fierce when the Church began developing its own corps of professional religious educators to teach and lead in the newly founded seminary and institute programs of the early... Read more

When Are Chiasms Admissible as Evidence?

*This article is being offered free as a courtesy to as it was footnoted in an expanded Gospel Topic on their site. Since John Welch's discovery of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon in 1967, many critics have attempted to show how chiasmus appears in just about every type of literature, from Dr. Seuss to Strangite scripture. This article discusses the authors' statistical admissibility tests... Read more


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City Dog

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St. Louis Luminary: The Latter-day Saint Experience at the Mississippi River, 1854–1855

The St. Louis Luminary , a Latter-day Saint newspaper printed in St. Louis, was printed for only one year but chronicles the status of the LDS Church on the American frontier in 1854 and 1855. The 2010 book The Best of the St. Louis Luminary gives an in-depth history of the newspaper and its contents and includes a DVD of scans of the entire volume of the newspaper in a searchable format. This... Read more

Backyard Alchemy

Fatherhood is an immediate, fruitful theme in Lance Larsen's Backyard Alchemy , from the title with its combination of hominess and intellectual magic to the dedication page honoring his wife, Jacqui, and his recently deceased father, Veryl Larsen. Several poems in Larsen's book feature fathers, inviting readers to ponder the subject. Read more

The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures

"People of faith may not warm to the view that the mind's receptivity to religion has been shaped by evolution," writes Nicholas Wade, science writer for the New York Times, in his new book The Faith Instinct. If religion evolves with cultural circumstances, then it loses some of its immutable, supernatural qualities. On the other hand, atheists "may not embrace the idea that religious behavior... Read more

Excavating Nauvoo: The Mormons and the Rise of Historical Archaeology in America

During a recent coordination meeting, an archaeologist employed by the state of Utah tried to explain how the science of archaeology can help Native Americans to know their history. In response, one of the Native American participants exclaimed, "We already know our history!" This statement sheds light on tensions that arise when reconstructing the past. To those living in a postmodern world,... Read more