Author: Frank McIntyre

Royal Skousen’s 12 questions — The Critical Text Version

Last month we posted Royal Skousen’s discussion of his work on recovering the earliest version of the Book of Mormon, along with some updates.  Unfortunately, that post garnered some annoying formatting problems — mostly due to the new format T&S adopted this year.  We’re happy to now present to you mark III of Royal Skousen’s 12 questions interview.  Royal Skousen’s book, The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text, was published last month by Yale University Press and yes, you can order  it at Amazon.

12 Questions and a Book by Royal Skousen

5 years ago we published one of my favorite “12 Questions” posts, in which Royal Skousen discussed in some depth what he has learned from his extensive work on the earliest editions of the Book of Mormon.  His book, The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text, is being published in September by Yale University Press (and yes, you can order  it at Amazon right now).  To mark this milestone, Royal was kind enough to update his “12 questions” discussion, which we have posted below, for the benefit of those who did not catch it the first time.   Enjoy!

Morality Polling

Suppose you take a “wisdom of the crowds” approach to morality (not that you should). Well then what could be more informative than a poll telling you what actions are morally wrong and what aren’t? Enter Gallup’s recent poll… Tip: Adultery is still wrong. Polygamy also out.

Pew Facts

The Pew study has this awesome little database for comparing religious groups. Check it out.   Did you know 7% of Mormons are Hispanic and 22% are Democrat or lean Democrat?  And only 44% of Mormon adults are men?  We need affirmative action!!


You will all be delighted to know that youtube appears to be up and running on BYU campus again. Perhaps in part thanks to this. UPDATE:  It’s blocked again.

DNA Delight

A recent DNA study has gotten some attention, both on our sidebar and in a post by J. Nelson-Seawright at By Common Consent. The Mormon question that inevitably comes up from such a study is does it cast any light on the question of whether Lehi really landed in the Americas long ago? J. Nelson-Seawright discusses some possible ramifications if the study (or ones like it) do matter. Let me make clear that, for those who think Lehi landed in an already populated America, this study is basically irrelevant.

Optimal Tithing

Suppose that we had a base 8 system instead of base 10, perhaps because, in this hypothetical world, we had 8 fingers rather than 10. Would we pay 1/8 our increase, or do you think it would still be one tenth? Or, to reverse causality, what are the chances we have ten fingers so that we’d develop a base 10 system that would make it easier to count out our tithing?

General Conference redux

Perhaps the Thursday following General Conference should be declared some sort of Mormon holiday, as that is when written transcripts of the sessions are due out.  Here’s the link where they should show up sometime today.  Check it out if you are looking to catch that talk you didn’t quite stay awake for (or your kids were jumping on your head during).   Elder Oaks’ talk was a particular hit with me, but I think there were some things in Elder Bednar’s talk that I’d like to take another look at.  

BYU Church History Symposium, Feb 27th

Church Historian Marlin K. Jensen and Asst. Church Historian Richard E. Turley Jr. will be among the many speakers at this year’s BYU Church History Symposium.  The event is free, open to the public, and requires no registration.   More information can be found at the symposium web page.   Full announcement below.

Brand New Day

Thanks for all the comments on site design. We’re still making use of that feedback. Here is a two sidebar option that gives a great deal of info up top, but then quickly drops off to just let you read in peace as you get farther down the page. Take it for a spin.

Sunday School Lesson Links

Owing to the fact that I am a moron, Jim F.’s excellent Doctrine and Covenants Sunday School lessons are inordinately hard to retrieve. Here are links to a few of them, and we’ll have the rest of them easy to get to by next week. Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 2 Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 3 Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 4 Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 5 Jim no longer posts at T&S, but he still reads here on occasion, so if you have nice things to say or helpful comments about any of these lessons, please feel free to post them below.