Author: Chad Nielsen

Chad’s three great intellectual passions in life are science, history/religious studies, and music. He has pursued a career in biotechnology, but maintains an active interest in both of his other passions on the side. Chad is a four-time winning contestant in the Arrington Writing Award competition held at Utah State University for his essays on Mormon history and has presented at the Logan Institute of Religion scholar’s forum and the annual meeting of the Society of Mormon Philosophy and Theology. He is a faithful Latter-day Saint who has served in a variety of music, teaching, and clerical callings at his church as well as in the music ministry of a Presbyterian church. Currently he is serving as a music missionary as a member of the Bells on Temple Square.

Reconsidering the Curse of Ham

In a candid moment in January 1858, an early Church leader named Zerah Pulsipher told his family that: “Most of you are young therefore you have the advantage of me because [yo]u have less Gentile Traditions to over com[e].”[1]  This…

Thoughts on the Gold Plates

We round out the 10 questions interview series on Joseph Smith’s translation with a discussion between Richard L. Bushman and Kurt Manwaring about the gold plates.  We’ve had a good run of interviews with scholars who have worked hard to…

Hebrew Studies and the Book of Abraham

We’re continuing our discussion of Joseph Smith’s translations and the recently-released volume Producing Ancient Scripture today, turning to the Book of Abraham in an interview with Matthew Grey.  This is a co-post to Kurt Manwaring’s interview with Matthew Grey, where…

Translation and the Adam Clarke Commentary

Kurt Manwaring has continued his interviews focusing on Joseph Smith’s translations with a discussion with Thomas Wayment about the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.  In the interview last week, some of the editors of recently-published volume Producing Ancient Scripture…

Joseph Smith’s Studies and Translations

It has been a big year for volumes that discuss Joseph Smith’s translation projects, with contributions ranging from Terryl Givens and Brian Hauglid’s The Pearl of Great Price: Mormonism’s Most Controversial Scripture last October, to William L. Davis’s Visions in…

Reconsidering the Curse of Cain

Eugene England once shared an experience he had with the prominent Latter-day Saint Church leader, scriptorian, and doctrinaire Joseph Fielding Smith.  President Smith had written extensively on the subject of the priesthood and temple ban against individuals of black African…

The Metaphysics of Translation

Understanding the nature of Joseph Smith’s translation efforts is an important part of understanding his ministry and the religions that have emerged from the early Latter Day Saint movement.  Whether the Book of Mormon, the Joseph Smith Translation of the…

A Small and Simple Quote

As I’ve been studying the “Come, Follow Me” material lately and talking about it with family, I’ve had a quote from Michael Crichton’s book Jurassic Park come to mind a few times.  There are a few statements in this section…

First Vision Special Edition

Before I move on from discussing the First Vision, I wanted to share something that I find exciting.  Once in a while in Mormon studies journals, special volumes focus on the First Vision—such as the Spring 1969 issue of BYU Studies and a 1980…

Memory and the First Vision

How do we account for differences between the various accounts we have on record of the First Vision?  What role does memory play in how it was presented over time?  How have we viewed those accounts since they were first…

All Are Alike Unto God

I’ve been thinking about the issue of race in the Church (and the history of the temple and priesthood ban in particular) a lot lately.  As part of that thinking, I am working on a series of posts wrestling with…

Statues in the Balance

One of my favorite episodes of the science fiction TV series Firefly is the “Jaynestown” episode.  In it, a self-serving mercenary of questionable moral character ends up visiting a planet he has been to before.  In the past, he’d attempted…