Category: Church History

The Olive Tree Restoration

There have been some common underlying themes to several Times and Seasons posts these past few months.  The three themes or questions that I have in mind at the moment are: “What is the nature of the Great Apostasy?”, “What…

Embracing Jacob’s Sermon

One of the more awkward moments of my time in graduate school came when I was reading a book about Mormon polygamy while taking a break in the lab.  A visiting scientist from Pakistan who was doing research in the…

The First Vision-A Close Reading

This year has been marked out as a bicentennial celebration of the year Joseph Smith experienced the First Vision.  President Russell M. Nelson invited us to “immerse yourself in the glorious light of the Restoration,” offering the suggestion to “begin…

Saints, Volume 2: A Review

The second volume of the Church’s official history, Saints: No Unhallowed Hand, 1846-1893 was released this Wednesday.  I just finished blitzing through the book and wanted to share my thoughts on the volume.  These official histories walk a tightrope, balancing…

A New First Vision Podcast

We are now in the year 2020, which is 200 years after the date that Joseph Smith said that he was first visited by God the Father and Jesus the Christ.  At the most recent general conference, President Russell M.…

Documents and Dialogic Revelations

Joseph Smith began his ministry with a wealth of visions and revelations. Many among these were what have been called dialogic revelations–answers given by God to Joseph Smith in response to questions or specific situations. Written documents phrased as God…

First Vision Resources

We were left with a bit of a cliff hanger at the end of general conference this year—the promise of a unique general conference next April celebrating the 200th anniversary of the year Joseph Smith said he experienced the First…

Hot Drinks and Cold Soda

One aspect of the Word of Wisdom that has long been debated is whether or not all caffeinated drinks should be included under its umbrella. The original revelation specified that hot drinks should not be consumed, which was interpreted to…

Handcarts and History

In many ways, handcarts have come to symbolize the Mormon pioneer experience. There are a few reasons for this. With the tragic experiences of the Willie and Martin handcart companies of 1856, the handcart companies are among the easiest group…

The Expanded Canon: A Review

Several months ago, my wife Lissette gave a talk in sacrament meeting on the topic of modern prophets and continuing revelation. She wanted to provide something different, something the congregation could really chew on (no “theological Twinkies“). She ended up…

Saints, Volume 1: A Review

About a week ago, the first volume of the new official history of the Church was published. I finished reading through it this weekend, and I have to say that it is fantastic. The style of prose reads like a…