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In June 2022, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship and the David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding hosted a conference based upon Patrick Mason’s and David Pulsipher’s new book Proclaim Peace: The Restoration’s Answer to an Age of Conflict. Participants–scholars and non-scholars alike–reflected together on the inter…
 
Today we are joined by Dr. Joseph Spencer, a philosopher, theologian and Assistant Professor of Ancient Scripture here at Brigham Young University. Dr. Spencer is the editor of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies and a leading scholar of the Book of Mormon. He is a prolific author, and among his recent works are The Vision of All: Twenty-five Lec…
 
Listen to Pastor Derwin Gray and Vicki Gray speak on Derwin’s new book, Healing Our Racial Divide: What the Bible Says, and the First Christians Knew, About Racial Reconciliation! Link to book: Amazon The post Maxwell Institute Podcast #149: Healing Our Racial Divide, with Derwin and Vicki Gray appeared first on Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU.…
 
Jesus promises in the Gospel of John that he will not leave us comfortless, but that He will come to us. He promises in Matthew that he will give us rest when we are weary and heavy-laden. In my experience, though, that isn’t at the first instance of pain, whether it’s physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional. God asks us to find answers, to knock…
 
Richard Bushman once told me that “panic precedes revelation.” Dr. Bushman was discussing the process by which Joseph Smith received the First Vision (recall the line from the Pearl of Great Price that “at that moment of great alarm” that the Father and Son appeared to the boy prophet). While reading, Isaiah, though, I think that the same can be sa…
 
Isaiah. Latter-day Saints have a special relationship to this Old Testament prophet. Not only do we recognize prophets across all dispensations, but his words were carried by Lehi’s family to the Americas. How do we think about Isaiah? What should we know about the construction of the book of Isaiah? We discuss this, and much more, on this episode …
 
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs can fall by the wayside when we study them in Sunday School. They don’t always fit into the narratives that we understand about dispensations of authority or give us sustained treatises in the way that a theologian might consider during personal scripture study. However, in preparing for this week, our …
 
Kate Holbrook, PhD (1972–2022) was a leading voice in the study of Latter-day Saint women and Latter-day Saint foodways. As managing historian of women’s history at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints history department, she wrote, studied, and interpreted history full-time. Her major research interests were religion, gender, and food. …
 
A book has many lives. It’s thought, it’s edited, it’s printed, it’s reprinted, it’s commentated on, and this repeats, if the book merits it, ad infinitum. This is certainly true for the Bible as a whole, but, I suggest, for the Psalms in particular. How do we think about Psalms as an ancient text conveyed for a modern people? The post Abide: Psalm…
 
In the decades before the Civil War, Americans appealed to the nation’s sacred religious and legal texts – the Bible and the Constitution – to address the slavery crisis. The ensuing political debates over slavery deepened interpreters’ emphasis on historical readings of the sacred texts, and in turn, these readings began to highlight the unbridgea…
 
One of the first things I tell my students, and that I repeat throughout a semester, is that texts do not interpret themselves. Every time a person reads scripture they see it with new eyes and with shifting perspectives. The words on the page may be the same, though, of course, with the Bible, those words may vary, but it is up to us to seek learn…
 
Psalms! There’s over 150 of them marked in the book by the same name in the Old Testament. How can we read them? Are they more useful as a narrative thread, or as a spice to season our spiritual diet? We’ll discuss that and much more on today’s episode of “Abide: A Maxwell Institute Podcast.” The post Abide: Psalms Part One appeared first on Neal A…
 
Job, as a literary and biblical figure, gives us a lot to think about. He goes from riches to rags to riches again. He loses his family but begins another. He’s at the center of a contest between god and a devilish character. He relies on his friends but those same friends accuse him of doing evil works. What can Latter-day Saints think about when …
 
In Original Grace, Adam S. Miller proposes an experiment in Restoration thinking: What if instead of implicitly affirming the traditional logic of original sin, we, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, emphasized the deeper reality of God’s original grace? What if we broke entirely with the belief that suffering can someti…
 
Can one be directed by God when one doesn’t know that one is being directed? The answer, of course, is yes. We learn about how God directed Esther in ways that may not have been recognizable to her, to ancient Israelites, and in ways that still surprise us today. We’ll discuss that, and more, in today’s episode of “Abide: A Maxwell Institute Podcas…
 
If an eighteenth-century cleric told you that the difference between “civilization and heathenism is sky-high and star-far,” the words would hardly come as a shock. But that statement was written by an American missionary in 1971. In a sweeping historical narrative, Kathryn Gin Lum shows how the idea of the heathen has been maintained from the colo…
 
How do we learn from failure? Especially the end of an organization as large as a kingdom? What if two kingdoms fall? Today, as we look at the end of both Kingdoms of Israel, I hope that we can explore what it means to understand a people’s historical failures and recognize that modern people are just as capable of failing, despite being God’s chos…
 
Elijah and Elisha are well-known to Latter-day Saints. The prophecy that Elijah would return was foretold in each of the four books of the Latter-day Saint canon. Indeed, Elijah visited the Prophet Joseph Smith and his counselor, Sidney Rigdon, in the Kirtland Temple, restoring the keys of the sealing power to the earth. Elisha may be less known, b…
 
Solomon’s reign was glorious, but what he gained in wealth, wives and infrastructure he lost in spiritual standing. He had not been faithful to the God of Israel. Instead, he adopted a cosmopolitanism that accommodated the religious preferences of his wives. However, God kept faith with David and Solomon, and the kingdom was split in two, with the …
 
Spiritual experiencesare famously transformative. They sometimes inspire dramatic effects ofconversion and healing, of vision and new life direction. But even in theirmore quotidian forms they expand our cognitive and emotional capacities, helpcultivate virtues, and intensify our feelings of closeness to God, others, andthings we deem ultimate. For…
 
In Mosiah 29, Mosiah says that “if it were possible that you could have bjust men to be your kings, who would establish the claws of God, and judge this people according to his commandments, yea, if ye could have men for your kings who would do even as my father dBenjamin did for this people—I say unto you, if this could always be the case then it …
 
The Old Testament names more women, and has more books named for women, than any of the other texts in the Latter-day Saint canon. They fulfill their roles as disciples, family members, and in following their personal integrity with living up to their commitment within community relationships. How do they fulfill those roles? And how can Latter-day…
 
There’s a difficulty in reading the scriptures. I’m not referring to words on the page. I’m also not referring to the habit of scripture reading, though that could certainly apply, too. No, I’m referring to making the scriptures, whose figures and narratives are familiar to many Latter-day Saints, new and refreshing and insightful. In today’s episo…
 
“This Church will stand, because it is upon a firm basis. …The Lord has shown it to us by the revealing principle of the Holy Spirit oflight.” Lorenzo Snow, April 1900 That quotes embodies much of what is going on in the thirdvolume of SAINTS, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ ongoinghistory being produced by the Church Historical De…
 
Scholars spend entire careers debating texts, their origins, their impact, and the most valuable contributions they make to broader understanding. At the Maxwell Institute, we participate in these debates, but recognize that a text’s value cannot be narrowed down to observable fact–the long-lasting test of scripture is how it shapes the readers’ or…
 
Deuteronomy is the final book in the Pentateuch, containing Moses’ last sermons, as well as poetry regarding Israel’s future. Moses pleads with Israel not to repeat their past mistakes, such as falling into idolatry. They must keep their covenants and keep the law given by Yahweh, or else they will lose the Promised Land. What does that mean for La…
 
Elder Neal A. Maxwell once preached, “Faith also includes trust in God’s timing, for He has said, “All things must come to pass in their time.” (D&C 64:32.) Ironically, some who acknowledge God are tried by His timing, globally and personally!” We certainly see that in the Book of Numbers. The Israelites were thirsty but had no water. God directed …
 
When someone brings up Leviticus, my mind turns almost automatically to the Law of Moses. Which, I admit, doesn’t always seem like the most applicable thing to my life. However, when reframing it to think about the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I can’t think of anything more important for Latter-day Saints to know about. We’ll discuss the …
 
Knowing how to transform conflict is critical in both our personal and professional lives. Yet, by and large, we are terrible at it. The reason, says longtime mediator Chad Ford, is fear. When conflict comes, our instincts are to run or fight. To transform conflict, Ford says we need to turn toward the people we are in conflict with, put down our p…
 
Often, when we speak about matters of religion, we discuss belief. “I know the Church is true. I have received a witness for myself that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I have had these experiences and share them in Sunday school and other venues. For me, though, faith also takes place in the fleshy here-and-now. My religion is taking the sacram…
 
President Spencer W. Kimball said in 1976 that “Few men have ever knowingly and deliberately chosen to reject God and his blessings. Rather, we learn from the scriptures that because the exercise of faith has always appeared to be more difficult than relying on things more immediately at hand, carnal man has tended to transfer his trust in God to m…
 
Easter. A time for Christians to consider the life, atoning sacrifice, and miraculous resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. How can we use our knowledge of the Old Testament to deepen our Easter experiences? And how can understanding how other religions approach Easter help us commit to being better Christians and Latter-day Saints. Th…
 
“When we begin to see ourselves as the prodigal in that famed biblical parable, we are better able to minister to that prodigal daughter or that prodigal father. When we see them as in process and recognize the same in ourselves, we can forgive their wandering because we know we must.” The post Maxwell Institute Podcast #140: Prodigals All, with Sp…
 
In some ways, Israel has to be feeling pretty great in Exodus 14-17. They’re finally escaping enslavement and have been delivered by God through His prophet. On the other hand, they are also between Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea. Spoilers: they escape. But they didn’t know that until the moment of deliverance–they had to have faith that the Lord w…
 
God delivers us. That’s one of the central takeaways of Exodus’s story. But what do we do to ensure that we remember that takeaway? In this episode of Abide: A Maxwell Institute Podcast, we discuss what it means to hold on in the face of adversity, to remember the actions that ensure our temporal and spiritual salvation, and much more. The post Abi…
 
Exodus: a movement of the people. As we move into the second book of the Tanak, or Old Testament, we have more than a movement of people. We have a flurry of new people, ideas, and we see Jehovah’s miraculous work through ancient Israelite eyes. But how can we be moved? How can we learn to see God’s orchestrations and work to become a part of them?…
 
Throughout the Old Testament we learn much about the relationships of tribes, clans, and family groups. We began discussing Israel’s family in the last episode, focusing on Joseph, the favored son sold into Egypt whose meteoric rise in Egyptian politics through the spiritual gift of interpreting dreams ultimately provided a land inheritance that wo…
 
The version of Joseph in Egypt I got growing up was shaped heavily by Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Despite the delightful music and vivid color, there’s far more to the Joseph narrative than even Donny Osmond can share in 90 minutes. In today’s episode of Abide: A Maxwell Institute Podcast, we explore several key themes in the stor…
 
Volume 5 of the Revelations and Translations series from the Joseph Smith Papers Project presents all extant fragments of the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon. For the first time ever, researchers have access to a photograph and color-coded transcripts of each fragment of the manuscript, showing every change made and which scribe made it. …
 
Readers of the Tanak or Old Testament see that The Lord marks Israel as a chosen people. Modern Latter-day Saints identify with being a “peculiar people.” But what does it mean to be a chosen people? And how does one’s peculiarity mark boundaries of values, identity, and peoplehood? Chosenness does not mean a life without disappointment or despair,…
 
As Genesis marches on we are introduced to new people, whose lives are in some ways different than our own, but in many ways are similar. In this episode of “Abide: A Maxwell Institute Podcast,” we meet Isaac and Rebekah, who push us to think about what our responsibilities are in our families, and how we can understand people and their faith in al…
 
Today, Dr. Elisa Eastwood Pulido joins us to discuss her book, The Spiritual Evolution of Margarito Bautista: Mexican Mormon Evangelizer, Polygamist Dissident, and Utopian Founder, 1878-1961 (Oxford University Press, 2020). Dr. Pulido’s book is the first full-length biography of Margarito Bautista (1878-1961), a celebrated Latino Mormon leader in t…
 
The Lectures on Faith teaches that, “…a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” But how much can we be asked to sacrifice? For Abraham, he seemed to have been asked to sacrifice in a myriad of ways. First, he placed his faith on the altar by w…
 
Have you ever had anyone ask you “what is scripture?” For such a short question it has the possibility to open up into thousands of answers. For Latter-day Saints, it can be defined as “whatsoever [God’s representatives] shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost.” This definition is somewhat broader than many other Christian definitions of scri…
 
Introduction: The world of the Old Testament, like our own day, is swimming in violence. From the direct and intimate violence of person-to-person interaction to the structural violence that reinforce hunger, war, and inequality, each of us is affected by others’ use of force. Despite this reality, or perhaps because of it, the Lord commanded us to…
 
Moses 7 features Enoch, a figure that receives scant attention in Genesis, but has an overwhelming impact on the Pearl of Great Price. Importantly, Enoch’s experience with God also shapes how we view the Father, His relationship to us, and recognize his character and disposition. In today’s episode of Abide, we discuss Moses 7 and how it contribute…
 
The post Maxwell Institute Podcast #136: Documenting a Relationship: Early Latter-day Saints and the Book of Mormon, with Janiece Johnson appeared first on Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU.द्वारा Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU
 
A lot of time passes in Genesis 5. We see fathers and sons’ names and their ages when sons were sired. They lived a lot longer than we do now! In Moses 5 we receive far more detail about post-Eden life but without the connections to genealogy beyond Adam, Abel, Cain, and Lamech. What are we to understand from these genealogies? What happens when we…
 
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