Church History

499: Brent Metcalfe and the Book of Abraham

September 19, 2014
By
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In Part 5 of our interview with Brent Metcalfe, one of the foremost Mormon scholars, we explore the history surrounding Joseph Smith and the Book of Abraham (one of the primary scriptural texts for the LDS Church). We also talk about the concept of translation, Joseph Smith’s views on his “translations,” the traditional apologetic responses concerning the Book of Abraham (Hugh Nibley, John Gee, and Kerry Muhlestein), as well as the LDS Church’s recent essay on the Book of Abraham. Stay tuned for the sixth and final episode of our series with Brent Metcalfe.  Coming soon!  In it, we’ll talk to…

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493-494: Brent Metcalfe – Early Years, Mark Hofmann, the Salamander Letter, and the Bombings

August 20, 2014
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493-494: Brent Metcalfe – Early Years, Mark Hofmann, the Salamander Letter, and the Bombings

Few people had more of a front-row seat than Brent Metcalfe to the goings-on surrounding Mark Hofmann, the “Salamander Letter,” and the tragic events of October 1985 — what would be dubbed as the “Mormon Murders.” As a personal friend and research assistant for both Steve Christensen and Mark Hofmann, Brent Metcalfe watched the whole episode unfold right before his eyes. In Part 1, Brent talks about his early days in the Church and his time working for Church security. He also talks about his early forays into Mormon studies. In Part 2, Brent describes working for and with Steve…

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487: An Outsider’s View of Joseph Smith — Alex Beam’s “American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church”

July 15, 2014
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In this episode we interview Alex Beam: author of “American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church.” Alex provides an extremely insightful and compelling “outsider’s view” of Joseph Smith’s final years in Nauvoo, along with his murder and legacy.

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480-482: Jeremy Runnells and his Letter to a CES Director

June 18, 2014
By
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In February 2012, Jeremy Runnels experienced a crisis of faith, which subsequently led to a faith transition in the summer of 2012. In the spring of 2013, Jeremy was approached and asked by a Church Education System (CES) Director to share his concerns and questions about the LDS Church’s origins, history, and current practices. In response, Jeremy wrote what later became publicly known as Letter to a CES Director. Letter to a CES Director very quickly went viral on the internet. The CES Director responded that he read the “very well written” letter and that he would provide Jeremy with…

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474: Sandra Tanner Pt. 3 — Treasure Digging, Polygamy, Thomas Ferguson, Eugene England

May 26, 2014
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In part 3 of a 4 part series, Sandra discusses several issues including Joseph Smith’s treasure digging, connections between the Masonic Lodge temple ceremony and the LDS Church temple ceremony, polygamy, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, blacks and the LDS priesthood, the Thomas Ferguson story, the Eugene England/Bruce R. McConkie letter exchange, the LDS church’s law suit against UTLM, and the Godmakers film.

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473: Sandra Tanner Pt. 2 — LDS Apostles, First Vision, Books of Mormon and Abraham, and Mark Hofmann

May 22, 2014
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In part 2 of our interview with Sandra Tanner, Sandra discusses challenges that she and her late husband had with Joseph Smith’s First Vision, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, along with her interactions with Joseph Fielding Smith, Legrand Richard, and famous Mormon forger and murderer Mark Hofmann.

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472: Sandra (and Jerald) Tanner Pt. 1 — The Early Years

May 19, 2014
By
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Sandra and the late Jerald Tanner were raised in the LDS faith, both with a strong Mormon family history. Jerald was the great-great-grandson of John Tanner, well known for his sizable financial contributions to Joseph Smith and the LDS church in 1835 when the church was deeply in debt. Sandra Tanner is a great-great-granddaughter of Brigham Young, the second president of the Mormon Church. As teenagers, before they met, Jerald and Sandra were challenged by different people and events to examine the origins of Mormonism. Soon after their introduction, they jointly began researching Mormonism and became engaged. Both accepted Christ…

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456-457: The LDS Indian Placement Program

March 3, 2014
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As stated Wikipedia, the Indian Placement Program was a program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1947 to 2000, in which LDS Native American students were placed in LDS foster homes during the school year, with the hopes that they would assimilate into American/LDS culture. Beginning in the 1970s, however, the Indian Placement Program came heavy under criticism. Supporters believed that exposure to white culture was beneficial to Native American children, and that it improved educational and economic opportunities, while critics believed the program undermined the children’s Native American identity.  In 2000 the last student graduated…

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My Initial Reactions to the Church’s History Essays

February 11, 2014
By

A reporter asked me to share with him my initial reactions to the church’s recent history essays (e.g., First Vision Accounts, Race and the Priesthood, Plural Marriage and Families in Utah, Book of Mormon Translation, Book of Mormon and DNA Studies)….and here’s what I wrote: A positive step forward, even if forced: I think that the essays are definitely a positive step forward in terms of candor/openness/honesty for the church.  Of course I cannot help but wish that the church would have taken these steps a few decades ago (instead of punishing the scholars who first brought these issues to light),…

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451: A Discussion of the New Race and the Priesthood Web Page (RadioWest)

December 11, 2013
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RacePriesthood

In this episode, Doug Fabrizio of RadioWest interviews Margaret Young, Marvin Perkins, Russell Stevenson, and John Dehlin about the LDS church’s new web page entitled “Race and the Priesthood.”

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439: Greg Prince on “Faith and Doubt as Partners in Mormon History”

September 20, 2013
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Note: USU has requested that I remove this audio from the website, and so I have.  Sorry for the inconvenience! Dr. Gregory A. Prince was selected to present the 19th annual Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture. The lecture is an annual event hosted by University Libraries and its Special Collections and Archives Division at Utah State University. The lecture is sponsored by University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives, the Leonard J. Arrington Lecture and Archives Foundation and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Utah State University.  Dr. Prince spoke on Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Logan LDS…

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436-437: Elijah Abel – Early Black Mormon Priesthood Holder

September 12, 2013
By
ElijahAbles

As an independent historian, Russell Stevenson has been studying Mormon history for nearly two decades. His first book, Black Mormon: The Story of Elijah Ables, tells the vexing story of race in nineteenth-century Mormonism through experiences of Elijah Ables, a biracial man ordained to the priesthood during Joseph Smith’s lifetime. Drawing on documents unused in other treatments, Black Mormon is the first effort to understand Elijah Ables in all of his identities: black, male, Mormon, and priesthood holder. The volume can be purchased at Benchmark and Eborn books, as a Kindle eBook, or directly from Russ.  

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430-434: Hans Mattsson — Former LDS Area Authority Seventy (Sweden)

July 22, 2013
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Hans H. Mattsson is a 3rd generation LDS church member from Sweden who served as a bishop and stake president in Sweden before serving in the LDS church 3rd Quorum of the Seventy from 2000-2005 in the Europe Central area under LDS Apostle L. Tom Perry. In this 5-part interview, and accompanied by his beautiful wife Birgitta, Hans discusses the following: Part 1: His early years in Sweden prior to becoming an Area Authority. Part 2: His years as an Area Authority Seventy. Part 3: His interactions with LDS Apostles and the 1st Presidency. Part 4: His struggles with faith/testimony, specifically…

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Mormon Stories #426-429: A Visual History of the Community of Christ (RLDS)

July 9, 2013
By
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In this 4 part series, John Hamer discusses the history of the Community of Christ (RLDS church). Part 1 — Restoration Origins to the 1844 Succession Crisis: In Part 1, John Hamer briefly discusses the diversity within Latter Day Saint or Restoration heritage churches. He then walks us through the early history of the Restoration to explain how the seeds that have ultimately flowered with the Community of Christ and the LDS Church were planted even before Joseph Smith’s martyrdom. John talks about the rapid evolution in Mormonism from its origins to 1844, its inherent tensions, and the direct causes…

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422-423: John Hamer on Returning to Mormonism Through the Community of Christ

June 14, 2013
By
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In today’s episode we interview John Hamer, who left Mormonism and religion/belief altogether with no intent to return (after graduating from BYU). We explore how John’s relationship with his partner, Mike, helped him to discover his love for Mormon history, the Mormon historians community, and the John Whitmer Historical Association. This path ultimately led John to become baptized in the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) on April 6, 2010 — the 150th anniversary of the Reorganization and the 180th anniversary of the organization of the church. How does an ex-Mormon who…

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406-407: James McConkie: Family, Faith, Bruce R. McConkie, and the Historical Christ

March 15, 2013
By
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Jay Griffith and Sarah Collett (of A Thoughtful Faith Podcast) sit with James W. McConkie to speak with him about his personal history and family. As a nephew of Bruce R. McConkie and Joseph B. Wirthlin, Jim has a unique perspective of the Church and the brethren and a valuable approach to the Gospel.  Speaking about his faith, parenting, and his views on the historical Christ, Jim explains his approach to doubt and difficult questions.

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405: Brian Hales Pt. 4 – Reconciling Belief with Polygamy

March 14, 2013
By

In part 4 of a series on Joseph Smith’s polygamy, Brian Hales explains the foundations of his LDS beliefs, and how he maintains belief in the face of detailed knowledge regarding Joseph Smith’s polygamy.

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403: Brian Hales Pt. 2 – 12 Myths Regarding Joseph Smith’s Polygamy

February 21, 2013
By
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In this episode Dr. Brian C. Hales discusses 12 myths regarding Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy. Joseph Smith had a reputation as a womanizer. The Joseph Smith – Fanny Alger relationship was not a plural marriage. Joseph Smith’s polygamy was all about sex, in other words, “multiply and replenish the earth.” Joseph Smith had no children by his plural wives. Joseph Smith had sexual relations with 14 year olds. John C. Bennett was a polygamy insider in Nauvoo. None of Joseph Smith’s plural marriages were non-sexual “eternity-only” sealings. Joseph Smith’s teachings allow sexual polyandry. Some of Joseph Smith’s marriages included…

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402: Brian Hales Pt. 1 – A Refutation of Grant Palmer’s Treatment of Sexual Allegations Against Joseph Smith

February 21, 2013
By
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In this episode Dr. Brian C. Hales refutes Grant Palmer’s podcast and article on sexual allegations against Joseph Smith. Click here to obtain the PowerPoint presentation for this podcast. Click here to listen to Grant Palmer’s podcast outlining his interpretation of sexual allegations against Joseph Smith. Click here to read Grant Palmer’s discussion of these allegations. Click here to purchase Brian’s new books entitled “Joseph Smith’s Polygamy Vols. 1-3″ Click here to check out Brian’s website called “MormonFundamentalism.com” Click here to check out Brian’s website called “JosephSmithsPolygamy.com” Also, Brian C.Hales will be speaking about his research and signing copies at Benchmark Books (3269 S Main…

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384: Falling in Love with Joseph Smith and Jane Barnes

November 14, 2012
By
Falling In Love With Joseph Smith

As the 3rd feature of our Mormon Stories Book Club series (organized by Heather Olson Beal), we feature Jane Barnes and her new book Falling in Love with Joseph Smith,accompanied by the following readers:  Rob Lauer, Erin Hill, Cheryl Bruno, John Dehlin, and Dayna Patterson.  Please click on the link to purchase your book through Amazon.  A small amount of the proceeds go to help support Mormon Stories. ============== Title: Falling in Love with Joseph Smith Author: Jane Barnes Publisher: Tarcher Genre: Non-fiction Year: 2012 Pages: 304 Binding: Hardcover ISBN-13: 1585429252 Price: $16.85 Support Mormon Stories by purchasing Falling in Love…

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379: 2012 New York City Conference Featuring Richard Bushman, Andrew Kimball and the Sabre Rattlers

October 21, 2012
By
SabreRattlersNYC

Richard Bushman and Andrew Kimball speak, and the Sabre Rattlers perform at the 2012 New York Mormon Stories conference.

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377-378: Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet with John G. Turner

October 10, 2012
By
BY

As the 2nd feature of our Mormon Stories Book Club series (organized by the brilliant Heather Olsen Beal), we feature John G. Turner and his new book “Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, accompanied by Dialogue Foundation chair elect Morris Thurston.  Please click on the image to the right to purchase your book through Amazon.  A small amount of the proceed go to help support Mormon Stories. ============== Title: Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet Author: John G. Turner Publisher: Harvard University Press Genre: Biography Year: 2012 Pages: 352 Binding: Hardcover ISBN-13: 0674049675 Price: $26.00 Support Mormon Stories by purchasing Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet through…

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376: Margaret Young – Race and Gender Dynamics in Modern Mormonism

October 8, 2012
By
MargaretYoung

A Thoughtful Faith’s Kylan Rice presents an interview with LDS author, filmmaker, and playwright Margaret Young. In this interview Margaret shares her story of how she became enthralled with Mormon Race Dynamics, and how she has spent her life as an advocate for Black Mormon issues in LDS culture. Margaret also discusses how gender dynamics present challenges to her and other LDS women, and how she reconciles these issues with her faith in the Gospel. Guest host Kylan Rice is a producer for BYU Radio, a poet, and a student of English literature. He also contributes, as a guest writer,…

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370-371: Philip Barlow and A Thoughtful Faith

September 9, 2012
By
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Philip Barlow is editor of the book “A Thoughtful Faith,” which was pivotal in my faith transition as a BYU student and beyond.  He currently sits in the Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture, at Utah State University. He earned a B. A. from Weber State College and an M.T.S. and Ph.D. (1988, with an emphasis on Religion and American Culture and on the History of Christianity) from Harvard University. He spent two years as a Mellon Fellow at the University of Rochester after which he became professor of Theological Studies at Hanover College in Indiana. In addition to…

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346-347: Boston 2012 Conference with Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, John Dehlin, Joanna Brooks and Open-Mic Story Sharing

May 9, 2012
By
LaurelThatcherUlrich

Speakers at the 2012 Boston Regional Mormon Stories conference were asked to address the topic of: Using personal narratives to create spaces where Mormons of all levels of orthodoxy can interact authentically. Part 1: Dr. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich discusses the importance and of history and personal narrative within religious traditions and John Dehlin discusses the evolution of Mormon Stories and the role it plays in the lives of listeners and community members. Part 2: Joanna Brooks talks about changes in spiritual narrative scripts over time and how telling personal stories affects community development. Conference attendees share their personal stories in an open-mic…

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337: Utah Democratic Party Chair Jim Dabakis

April 23, 2012
By
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The grandson of Greek immigrants, Jim Dabakis moved to Utah when he was 17 to attend school at Brigham Young University. After college, Jim worked for 13 years as a Radio and TV talk-show host. He became known as the “Voice of Utah Democrats” as he defended the Party’s values against the continual onslaught of the Ronald Reagan-era Republicans. Jim also began his own company in the art dealership world, and has worked primarily with Russia for the past 20 years. During that time he also founded the Jim Dabakis Educational Foundation which has helped bright students from all over…

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Grant Palmer on Sexual Allegations Against Joseph Smith, William and Jane Law, and His Resignation

February 26, 2012
By
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In this episode Grant Palmer, author of “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins,” returns to Mormon Stories to discuss: Sexual allegations made against Joseph Smith during his early years The story of William and Jane Law, and An update on Grant’s resignation from the LDS church Warning: The material on this podcast is very sensitive and will likely be considered offensive by traditional LDS church believers.  Please do not listen if your faith is tender, or if you are seeking to avoid any critical discussion of Joseph Smith or the LDS church. Finally, to listen to our original interview with…

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321-322: Denver Snuffer – A Progressive, Fundamentalist, Non-Polygamist Mormon Lawyer Who Claims to Have Seen Christ

February 12, 2012
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In this episode John Dehlin interviews Denver Snuffer: a progressive, fundamentalist, non-polygamist Mormon lawyer who claims to have seen Christ. Denver is the author of several books including The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil and Passing the Heavenly Gift.

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320: Changing Demographics in the Worldwide LDS Church with Matt Martinich of the Cumorah Foundation

February 3, 2012
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In this episode Scott H. interviews Matt Martinich of the Cumorah Foundation. Matt takes us on a tour of the triumphs and challenges of Mormonism throughout the world. Matt’s blog can be found at: LDS Church Growth.

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319: Changing Mormon Demographics in the U.S. with Dr. Ryan Cragun

January 29, 2012
By
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In this episode Scott H. and I interview sociologist Dr. Ryan Cragun about his newly published report called, “Mormons in the United States 1990-2008: Socio-demographic Trends and Regional Differences.” Some of the findings of the report include: Mormons were 1.4% of the U.S. adult population in 2008, a proportion unchanged since 1990. The Mormons of Utah are the only religious group in the U.S. today that comprises a numerical majority of a state‘s population (57% of Utah). Mormons remain the most geographically isolated and uniquely distributed American religious group (only 19% are found east of the Mississippi River). The Mormon population increase…

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