Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Dialogue: Vol 16 No 4
Responsible Apologetics: Book of Mormon Authorship: New Light on Ancient Origins by Noel B. Reynolds, ed.
140 Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought from Grant Affleck, now famous for the financial downfall of his company, AFCO Enterprises. Hundreds and possibly thousands of individuals and companies have lost millions just because they tried to squeeze too much juice out of an orange. As a bishop in Centerville I saw many families hurt financially when they became involved in a pyramid scheme using over-valued diamonds. As a financial planner and consultant, I see dozens of shaky investments fly through the valley with the hope of convincing gullible Mormons and others to invest. All of this is to say that I am afraid of books which foster an inappropriate entrepreneurial spirit. I grew up with a father who is an entrepreneur, but it meant eighty-to-ninety-hour work weeks and plenty of hard work every day. While it is interesting to read of the lives of some of the individuals mentioned in the book, I believe Nelson may possibly have had among his motives as an author the goal of trying to cash in on the Mormon market by writing a book aimed at our fellow brothers and sisters who enjoy chasing rainbows in their pastime. I question whether God really gave us the power to become wealthy as though it were some type of destiny for us to fulfill. It would be interesting to return in five years and see if all eleven individuals mentioned still have their fortunes. Responsible Apologetics Book of Mormon Authorship: New Light on Ancient Origins, Noel B. Reynolds, ed., BYU Religious Studies Monograph Series (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft/ BYU Religious Studies Center, 1982), 244 pp., $9.95. Reviewed by Blake T. Ostler, graduate student in law and philosophy at the University of Utah. As the title indicates, Book of Mormon Authorship addresses the heart of LDS faith claims — the historicity of the Book of Mormon. Noel Reynolds has assembled studies ranging from computer wordprint analysis to source criticism of ancient documents, all concluding that the Book of Mormon is a verifiable, religious revelation. Book of Mormon Authorship is intended as evidence for the faithful, as a challenge to the skeptic, and as a thorn in the side of the detractor. Though the book achieves this purpose, it fails to deal adequately with the very issues it raises in a critical, objective manner. Book of Mormon Authorship is comprised of essays which confront divergent theories that have emerged to explain the origin of the Book of Mormon. Richard L. Anderson tacitly addresses the theory popular among detractors that Joseph Smith knowingly produced a pious fraud (pp. 213-37). Anderson provides evidence and insightful analysis demonstrating that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery sincerely believed the Book of Mormon was genuine. Indeed, the dominant impression gleaned from Joseph Smith's earliest holographs and now from Lucy Mack Smith's 1829 letter is that he was religiously committed to what he perceived as a divine calling. Fawn Brodie's theory that Joseph assumed his prophetic role only after the translation of the Book of Mormon thus appears to be erroneous. However, Joseph's sincerity may not be the whole story. The possibility that Joseph was unknowingly self-deceived has received support from records surrounding an 1826 trial showing that Joseph had a sincere belief in his powers of divination through "stone gazing" and later of translation of the Book of Mormon by the same means. (See Marvin Hill, "Joseph Smith and the 1826 Trial: New Evidence and New Difficulties" BYU Studies (Winter 1972): 222-32; Richard Van Wagoner and Steve Walker, "Joseph Smith: The Gift of See-