Journal 55:2 | BYU Studies

Journal 55:2

Volume 55:2 (2016)
BYU Studies Quarterly is dedicated to the conviction that the spiritual and the intellectual can be complementary and fundamentally harmonious avenues of knowledge. The articles in this issue address various topics: the legal cases preceding Joseph Smith's martyrdom, Karl Maeser's biography, Alma's clash with the Nehors, a Mormon theology of work, and the art of Jorge Cocco Santangelo. With these...Read more

From the Editor

True to the long-standing character of BYU Studies, this issue contains something exciting and enriching for just about everyone. Looking over this latest issue, I am grateful for the academic quality and faithful integrity of its contents and for the authors who have worked hard to bring this information to you. Twenty-five years ago, as BYU Studies looked toward the 1990s, the three previous... Read more

Road to Martyrdom: Joseph Smith's Last Legal Cases

While the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor in June 1844 played a role in the martyrdom of Joseph Smith in Carthage, Illinois, on June 27, 1844, there were other factors. These included fear of the Nauvoo Legion's power and the concentration of power in Joseph Smith himself, economic competition with some of the leading Mormon opponents, and political unrest due to the rapidly increasing Mormon... Read more

Why and How Did Karl G. Maeser Leave Saxony? New Documents Offer New Insights

Although a handful of useful biographies of LDS educator Karl G. Maeser exist, certain details of his life and career have remained uncertain. Through painstaking research in primary documents, particularly those housed in archives in Dresden, Germany, Roger Minert and Ralf Bartsch have uncovered new evidence that helps us understand Karl G. Maeser's life in Germany and his reason for leaving... Read more

By Simple Yet Propitious Means: The Art of Jorge Cocco Santangelo

The modern paradigm in the art world today is increasingly centered around self-expression, with the emphasis on the self. In contrast, devotional art strives for essential meaning beyond the individual, striving to communicate across the widest range of cultural boundaries about. This kind of art has always resisted the vanities of idiosyncratic self-expression, subordinating the artist’s... Read more

Visualizing Apostolic Succession

The authors of this article describe the traditionally static nature of the LDS Church's illustrations that have been used to communicate the Church's message. They then contrast this with the current field of information visualization, or infovis , which is a platform that allows users to interact with data to enhance their ability to acquire and use information. As a practical application of... Read more

Answering for His Order: Alma's Clash with the Nehors

From the beginning, Lehite culture was richly oral and often divided over the question of authority (see Alma 1–2, 8–14, 30). On one side of the conflict stood the prophets , and on the other side stood "popular" opportunistic figures, wise in their own eyes, who resemble in a general way classical sophists (Alma 1:3; see 2 Ne. 9:28). In this article, Matthew Scott Stenson examines one of the... Read more

Almost a Psalm, about Inheritance

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To Live

In this first-place essay in the 2016 Richard H. Cracroft Personal Essay Contest, Wendy M Payne explores the meaning of life through the lens of three friends and her mother, who all experience life very differently. The first is Terri, who lives only on a biological level because of a brain aneurism. The second is Randy, who lives at all levels except physical. He is a quadriplegic who runs an... Read more

On waking, He makes His bed

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"To Dress It and to Keep It": Toward a Mormon Theology of Work

This article takes an interdisciplinary approach toward a Mormon theology of work. Walker Wright argues that Adam's earliest calling in "the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it" (Gen 2:15 KJV) implies that work is part of man's original purpose. He then examines a diverse amount of ancient prophecies and their use of Edenic imagery to describe the world to come, thus echoing and expanding... Read more

Building Zion: The Material World of Mormon Settlement

I have waited my whole career to review for publication a book as good as Building Zion: The Material World of Mormon Settlement . At the same time, Tom Carter, an emeritus professor of architectural history the University of Utah's College of Architecture and Planning, took his whole career to write a book this good. would that all academic careers had such a worthy capstone! Building Zion... Read more

Wandering Realities: The Mormonish Short Fiction of Steven L. Peck

I can't think of any good reasons to be coy, so I'll just draw my conclusion from the start and let the reasons come after: Steven L. Peck may be the most important Mormon fiction writer producing today, and this collection of selected short stories vividly demonstrates why. Peck's name is showing up with increasing consistency in a wide variety of publications, from scientific journals like... Read more

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: A Biography

Michael Hicks has written what is surely the most complete history and discussion of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Hicks is a professor of music at Brigham Young University and the author of a notable earlier book that provided a general history of music in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The first study may be seen as an informative backdrop to this one. It included a concise and... Read more

From Darkness unto Light: Joseph Smith's Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon

As Richard L. Bushman points out in the foreword to From Darkness unto Light , “This volume is the first of what could be many potential histories coming out of the Joseph Smith Papers Project” (v), which has been a central goal of JSP leadership from the beginning of this vital scholarly initiative. I wish success to the JSP project and the resulting scholarship to help fulfill the inspired... Read more

Salt; Genius Loci

Our story begins with Adam and Eve and an insatiate snake—or with a variation on the theme. The man's name is Bob. The woman remains nameless. Eve (I'll call her) wrestles with the snake, "Lucy, / short for Lucifer," the couple's "pet python," whom they allow to "slither about [their] bedroom." This isn't the smartest idea, something Eve realizes the night she wakes because Lucy has "wrapped... Read more

Talking Doctrine: Mormons and Evangelicals in Conversation

In recent years, Mormons and contemporary Christians have come together in order to better understand one another. Unexpected strides have been made in discovering the commonalities and differences that exist between both groups. A significant attempt was made in 1997 with the publishing of How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation by Stephen Robinson and Craig Blomberg... Read more

Last Laborer: Thoughts and Reflections of a Black Mormon

Somewhere between memoir and testimonial lies a category of work where an accomplished person attempts to explore the particulars of their own experience in a way that is both useful and interesting to others. Keith N. Hamilton’s Last Laborer: Thoughts and Reflections of a Black Mormon explores his personal history in the context of being a black convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-... Read more

Conversations with Mormon Historians

“For a boy growing up on a small farm in northern Utah, it would be quite amazing if I am remembered at all. I’ve had an exciting life. In lots of ways, it’s a life I did not fully dream of when I was thinning sugar beets—better than I could have hoped, I think,” (274) writes Kenneth W. Godfrey in Conversations with Mormon Historians about his experience being a career historian. For the... Read more

The Oxford Handbook of Mormonism

The Oxford Handbook series publishes academic essays in particular fields within the humanities and social sciences. This volume focuses on a growing subgenre of religious studies—Mormonism. Terryl Givens and Philip Barlow have brought their considerable experience and expertise to the task of assembling and editing this collection of essays on topics about Mormon history, theology, and lived... Read more

Meine Suche nach dem lebendigen Gott: Gedanken aus dem Leben von F. Enzio Busche

In 2004, Deseret Book published Yearning for the Living God: Reflections from the Life of F. Enzio Busche . Eleven years later, this book was translated and published in German by Leipziger Universitätsverlag (Leipzig University Press), a noteworthy and perhaps unique publishing event in Latter-day Saint history. That a prestigious German university press would publish the biography of an LDS... Read more