In this episode, Zach, Sarah, and Jennifer go through an overview of the most common criticisms of Joseph Smith’s Seer Stones from all sides. They introduce direct claims from faithful members who dispute the use of Seer Stones as well as critics who attempt to use the seer stones to explain away the Book of Mormon. In this 6 part series, Me, My Shelf, & I will tackle and refute these claims head-on using facts from the historical narrative. [Read more…] about Me, My Shelf, & I – Episode 1- Seer Stones: Questions & Criticisms
I know I literally just said I was going to be better at making these posts a weekly feature again and then missed a few weeks, so I apologize for that. My dad was back in the hospital for a bit and there was holiday business. I also filmed an episode of the Come Back podcast, which should be out this coming weekend. And I was actually doing a lot of work a few weeks ago on another project for FAIR that I am very excited about. I am starting a new, investigative podcast series with two other FAIR faces you may be familiar with, Jennifer Roach and Zachary Wright. It’s going to be a podcast composed of multiple miniseries on different controversial topics in Church history and culture.
I admire and adore both of my co-hosts, and we’re already having such a great time working together. We met up before Christmas and laughed and planned and ate and filmed a few trailers, which should be out soon. We’re doing a bunch of filming this weekend, in fact. Our first miniseries should launch in early-to-mid February, and will consist of six episodes. I’ll have more to say on this soon, but we’re all very excited. The entire crew working on this project is amazing, and I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with.
Okay, guys, the topic this week is on failed prophecies from the latter-day prophets, but only one of these four quotes he gives is actually a prophecy, and it didn’t fail.
The author, Thomas Faulk, also uses an incorrect word as the title, so I corrected it. I won’t correct his usage going forward in the portions I quote from him, but I will be using the correct word myself. So, just to clear up any confusion this flipping between spellings may cause for those who don’t know the difference, “prophecy” and “prophesy” are two completely different words. A “prophecy” is a prediction from an oracle of God that has already been given, such as those given by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. To “prophesy” is to give that prediction in the present tense. It’s an action, something somebody is currently doing. There’s only one letter’s difference between them, but they have different meanings and different pronunciations. I’m not trying to beat up on him for the error, because Heaven knows I’ve made my fair share of typos in this series. But in this case, I think the distinction is important. Also, I really don’t want to confuse anybody by constantly flipping back and forth between the two words.
The following is from LaJean Purcell Carruth’s presentation at BYU Education Week 2022 as part of the series presented on what can be learned from the Wilford Woodruff Papers.
She also gave a presentation at the 2023 FAIR Conference, which is available to watch on our YouTube channel.
When she was eleven years old, LaJean Purcell Carruth found an old Improvement Era in her parents’ basement open to an article on the Deseret Alphabet.1 She was instantly, completely fascinated. She taught herself to read and write the Deseret Alphabet and decided that she would be a Deseret transcriber when she grew up. Little did she know where that early passion would lead. [Read more…] about How One Woman’s Scholarship Helps Us Better Understand Church History
Hey, guys. Long time, no see! This week should hopefully mark the return of weekly segments of this blog series. My life has been insane this summer, and I apologize for being so absent. My dad was dying of pulmonary fibrosis, and then miraculously, got a new set of lungs a few weeks ago that saved his life. He just came home from the hospital a week ago, and is still very weak. During that same time period, I also had to move, and there were two FAIR conferences, work and family obligations, and boy drama to wade through. Some of you have asked why I’m still single—it’s because I’m a magnet for Crazy. Things do appear to finally be settling back down, though, thankfully.
Speaking of the two FAIR conferences, the digital one on the Book of Mormon was a lot of fun. The talks from that one will be put into a book which should be coming out soon. The videos are being released on the FAIR YouTube channel every other Wednesday, alternating with the talks from the main conference this past August.
We’ve already begun planning next year’s main conference, and it’s shaping up to be a great conference. We’re talking about changing things up a bit with some interesting new ideas, and I will be presenting for the first time. I think I’ll be speaking on ways to navigate a faith crisis, or helping loved ones work through theirs. This will probably include subtopics like responding to anti-LDS material, studying with the Spirit, evaluating sources, and reputable resources you can turn to help you find answers to your questions. It’s a topic I’m passionate about, and unfortunately, it needs to be addressed often. It’s still very much up-in-the-air, though, as I’m still praying about what to say. I hope all of you can either come to the conference in person or catch it online afterward, because there are always some excellent talks at those conferences.
While traveling to western Missouri in the fall of 1830, Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer Jr., and Ziba Peterson made a stop in Kirtland, Ohio to preach the gospel to some of Parley’s friends and former religious associates. While there, they taught and baptized more than a hundred individuals! They then ordained some of the men as Elders and placed them in charge of the affairs of the Church in that area. The missionaries then continued on to their assigned mission in Missouri.
Left to their limited understanding of the restored gospel, which included a renewal of the gift of the Holy Ghost and spiritual gifts, a few of these newly ordained Elders and members began experiencing unusual spiritual phenomena during their worship services. These included ecstatically jumping up and down, swinging from ceiling joists, falling into trances and unconsciousness, seeing visions of parchments with written messages from heaven, crawling around like snakes on the floor, preaching in tongues to invisible congregations of Lamanites, wielding invisible swords of Laban, and so forth.
Of course, these practices drew the ridicule of outsiders in the community, including in the local press, and gave plenty of fodder for the first anti-Mormon book, Mormonism Unvailed.
by Zachary Wright
Imagine for yourself for a moment that you’re face-to-face with a critic of the church who states “The church is lying to you about its history” or “the church is trying to cover up its past.” When you ask them what they mean, they explain how the church has suppressed the details behind how a seer stone was used throughout the translation of the Book of Mormon. They continue “It’s only until the advent of the internet where the church has been forced to be honest.” What this critic does not know is that this claim is, for the most part, misinformation. The unfortunate reality is that misinformation can be spread as simply as the example above, and it can have some devastating consequences. [Read more…] about By Study and Faith – Episode 8: Misinformation and Propaganda
by Matthew C. Godfrey
One of the seminal events of Wilford Woodruff’s life was his participation in the Camp of Israel (later known as Zion’s Camp) expedition in 1834. Wilford was recruited to participate in the camp after he had been a member of the Church for only a few weeks. The camp was the first time he got to meet individuals such as Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and Heber C. Kimball, and it taught him several lessons. Wilford transmitted these lessons to the Saints throughout his life, and they are teachings that can benefit Church members today as well.
Zion’s Camp Overview [Read more…] about Sacrifice and Obedience: Lessons from Zion’s Camp
This post will be the last in the section about race and the Priesthood restriction. I apologize for not getting this up sooner. My offline life has been a little crazy this summer, and I just didn’t have the time to do this post justice until today. It’s an important topic, and I wanted to make sure I was able to treat it with the respect it deserves.
The bulk of the conversation this week is about the idea that the prophets can never lead the Church astray:
by Zachary Wright
In my life, I’ve found that everyone has a specific philosophy that they live by, whether they realize it or not. Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to the philosophical branch of epistemology. Epistemology, while sounding complicated and boring to some, is just the fancy way of saying “the study of knowledge.” Consider the following: [Read more…] about By Study and Faith – Episode 5: Epistemology