Author: Julie M. Smith

I live in Austin, Texas, with my husband, Derrick, an electrical engineer. We have three boys: Simon ('98), Nathan ('01), and Truman ('04). We are a homeschooling family and I also teach at the LDS Institute here in Austin. I have a BA in English from UT Austin and an MA in Biblical Studies (Theology) from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, where I specialized in the study of women in the New Testament. I wrote my thesis on Mark 14:3-9, which I explored from literary and feminist perspectives to determine how the story teaches the audience about Jesus's identity. I wrote a book, Search, Ponder, and Pray: A Guide to the Gospels. It contains 4,000 questions (no answers) designed to get the LDS reader to really think about the scriptures and to introduce the major findings of biblical studies to the general reader. I like to read, buy books, and go out for ethnic food.


I love the many ways the church has recently bucked anti-refugee sentiment and worked to help refugees. See here, here, here, here, here, and now here.

BYU NT Commentary Summer Seminar

We are accepting application for the second annual BYU New Testament Commentary Series Summer Seminar, to be held for the four weeks of July 5 to July 29, 2016, on BYU Campus, Provo, Utah. The deadline for applications is March 31, 2016. The seminar is open to graduate students and recent PhDs who have research interests in Latter-day Saint readings of the New Testament.

A Rhetoric of Indirection

I remember watching the Olympics when I was in high school and concluding that the swimmers had the best-looking bodies of all of the athletes. Not scarily gaunt like the runners, not comically and grotesquely bulging like the weight lifters, not the stunted look of the gymnasts.

Consequences, Intended or Otherwise, in Light of the Update

 A few days ago, after the new policies were leaked but before the First Presidency clarified them, I posted a list of possible consequences of the policies here. This post reproduces my list, crossing out those scenarios no longer possible in light of the First Presidency letter. I also made some updates (in bold print). Then I add some general thoughts at the end.

Consequences, Intended or Otherwise

UPDATE: this post was written before the First Presidency clarified the new policies. Please see this post, which repeats everything in this post but updates it and provides some concluding thoughts. — I’m thinking about the implications–doctrinal and practical and cultural–of the recent policy changes.

Truth and Access

This month, I’ll be presenting a paper on the JST at a conference. I’m going to outline the use of the JST in Mark and then suggest that the moves that the JST makes could and should be adopted by LDS biblical scholars. One section of the paper argues that the JST–indeed, all revelation–is not inerrant. Joseph’s use (and nonuse) of the JST later in his ministry suggest that he did not take the JST as a perfected form of scripture.

“Another Important Step Forward in the Restoration of the Gospel”

Yesterday, President Oscarson announced on her Facebook page that she was now assigned to be a member of the Missionary Executive Council. President Burton is now a member of the Priesthood Executive Council (which has been renamed the Priesthood and Family Executive Council) and President Wixom is now on the Temple and Family History Executive Council. In an article in the Deseret News, former General RS Presidency member Sheri Dew said that “This is yet another important step forward in the restoration of the gospel.”