Journal 56:4 | BYU Studies

Journal 56:4

Volume 56:4 Cover
This issue of the journal leads off with a superb arti­cle by Kent P. Jackson, who has spent the better part of a lifetime working on Old Testament materials, especially the book of Moses and the Joseph Smith Translation. This article tracks in detail the timing and scribal evidences of the Prophet's meticulous work on the book of Gen­esis in 1831 and its eventual preparation for publication. An...Read more

From the Editor

A nephew recently asked me, "Why do we care about the Old Testament? Is it even relevant today?" After catching my breath, I got wondering, how many others might share this feeling as the Church Sunday School curriculum returns in 2018 to the study of the Old Testament? And for those who feel that way, might some of the intriguing articles published in BYU Studies over the years on Old Testament... Read more

Joseph Smith Translating Genesis

Joseph Smith's revision of the Bible was one of his signature projects. Of the various sections of the Bible, Joseph Smith's Genesis revision has the most complex history as far as the documents are concerned. In this study, Kent Jackson focuses on that history and outlines the process by which the Mormon prophet produced his translation of Genesis from the earliest dictation of the text to its... Read more

"I Was Not Ready to Die Yet": William Stowell's Utah War Ordeal

In the fall of 1857, young wives Cynthia Jane Stowell and Sophronia Stowell bade fare­well to their husband, William R. R. Stowell, a lieutenant in the Utah militia working to hinder the US Army from entering Utah Territory. That winter they received word that William had been captured and was being held prisoner at Camp Scott, in present-day Wyoming. The Utah War arose from a complex web of... Read more

Joseph Smith's Dog, Old Major

During the march of Zion's Camp in 1834, Samuel Baker presented Joseph Smith with a dog named Major. This dog became very attached to and protective of Joseph. The dog was probably an English mastiff, a breed known for loyalty. Joseph reportedly told Aaron W. Harlan, an Iowa resident, that when Joseph had been a prisoner in Missouri (probably in Liberty Jail in 1838-1839), that this dog could not... Read more

Photographs of the Fourteen Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, September and October 1898

When President Wilford Woodruff died, the fourteen Apostles gathered for the funeral in Salt Lake. Charles R. Savage took a photograph of the service on September 8, 1898, creating the second-earliest photo of all of the Apostles together. The Apostles sat for a group portrait right after the funeral. After seeking guidance from the Lord, senior Apostle Lorenzo Snow decided to reorganize the... Read more


The first time it happened, I was seven. My grandma had mailed me a tiny ring for my birthday, an aquamarine set in silver. I clapped my hands and couldn't stop jumping when I saw it. It was the first piece of jewelry I had ever owned; like wearing a piece of the sky. I took it everywhere—presenting my hand to the world, palm down, as if I were queen. It was the most beautiful ring in the history... Read more

Ways of Thinking

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

"We Believe the Hand of the Lord Is in It": Memories of Divine Intervention in the Zion's Camp Expedition

Although the members of Zion's Camp returned to Ohio not having accomplished their goal of restoring the persecuted Mormons to their rightful land, participants generally did not regard the expedition as a failure. One of the main reasons they felt the effort was valuable was because they believed the hand of God and his intervention was prevalent throughout the journey. Some accounts of divine... Read more

Animals in the Book of Mormon: Challenges and Perspectives

When the Book of Mormon first appeared, skeptics said that references to horses, asses, elephants, and other animals (such as swine and cows) were out of place. The authors of this study use archaeological evidence to argue the animals mentioned in the Book of Mormon had once been present in North America, although dating to an earlier period than that covered in the Book of Mormon, and could... Read more

Masters of Light: Coming unto Christ through Inspired Devotional Art

Herman du Toit is the former head of audience education and research at the BYU Museum of Art (MOA). A gifted and talented art educator, curator, critic, and author, du Toit caps his long career of considering, thinking, teaching, and writing about the power of religious art with a beautifully written and illustrated volume, Masters of Light. As Richard Oman, a well-known LDS art historian,... Read more

American Universities and the Birth of Modern Mormonism, 1867–1940

Virtually all Mormon historians are familiar with Thomas G. Alexander's seminal work Mormonism in Transition (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986). In some important ways, Thomas Simpson's work continues Alexander's study by examining the role that university education played in the Americanization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1867 to 1940. If you are a fan of... Read more

The Mormon Missionary: Who IS That Knocking at My Door?

Robert L. Lively Jr. is dean emeritus at the University of Maine at Farmington. While not a member of the LDS Church, he has interviewed over 275 missionaries, mission presidents, various Church leaders (including President Hinckley), and other key figures involved in the missionary work of the LDS Church. He has visited the Provo Missionary Training Center and observed classroom instruction... Read more

The Field Is White: Harvest in the Three Counties of England

From the outset, authors Carol Wilkinson and Cynthia Doxey Green are clear regarding the purpose of this book: to respond to the request of a member of the Cheltenham stake presidency in Great Britain to find out " more about the missionary work of Wilford Woodruff in the early 1840s " and to " provide clarification of the number of baptisms that took place during this time period " in the Three... Read more

Postponing Heaven: The Three Nephites, the Bodhisattva, and the Mahdi

Jad Hatem teaches and publishes in philosophy, literature, and comparative religion at Saint Joseph University in Beirut, Lebanon. Jonathon Penny, a published poet, has translated Hatem’s book into English with helpful and unobtrusive footnotes. Postponing Heaven is a comparative look at human messianicity in Mormonism, Buddhism, and Twelver Shiism (a branch of Shia Islam) as seen in the Three... Read more