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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The Benefits of Partisanship: Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism by Richard L. Bushman
Reviews 187 especially verses 91-96 regarding the ordination of Hyrum Smith to the office and the linking of the patriarchal calling to the power Christ gave his apostles to bind and loose (Matt. 16:19; 18:18), the authority of a prophet, seer, and revelator (Eph. 4:11-16 and 1 Cor. 12:28-30), and the concept of the restoration of all things support Charles's argument. Moreover, Joseph Smith defined patriarch to mean "Evangelist," a term usually associated with the New Testament. (History of the Church 3:381) In my view, an interpretation that perceives the early Latter-day Saints as dividing the Old and New Testaments into two traditions is untenable. My second quibble has to do with the interpretation of what replaced the entire community or the church as the responsible institution for boundary maintenance during and after the early twentieth century transition. Shipps believes responsibility was transferred to the individual. It is my view that priesthood authority became the institution for boundary definition. It is not at all surprising that the priesthood reform movement occurred during the period, that the various auxiliaries got priesthood advisors for the first time, that welfare came under priesthood jurisdiction, or that the role of individual prophesying and speaking in tongues was diminished. Moreover, the various measures of activity such as the Word of Wisdom, statistics of attendance, and temple attendance were all priesthood-administered. These comments should not, however, be taken as anything more than disagreements over interpretation. I do not question the substance, importance, or brilliance of Shipps's contribution. Her work will remain for some time as the standard against which scholars measure interpretations of the Mormon past. The Benefits of Partisanship Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism by Richard L. Bushman (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1984), 262 pp. Reviewed by Dean C. Jessee, research historian, Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History, Brigham Young University. During the 1970s a comprehensive history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in sixteen volumes was contemplated as one of the projects of the Historical Department of the Church, with Leonard J. Arrington, then Church Historian, as general editor, and Deseret Book Company as publisher. Although the format for editing and publishing this monumental work has changed, volumes once intended for the series have begun to appear. Milton Backman's The Heavens Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio was the first; now comes Richard L. Bush- man's Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism. A noted scholar of American history and a skilled interpreter of early New England life, Bushman brings impressive credentials to the task of writing on Joseph Smith and the beginnings of Mormonism. This book, one of several works on Mormonism recently produced by the University of Illinois press, covers the period of Mormon beginnings up to 1831. It is an attractively designed work printed on quality, acid-free paper. It contains two informative maps and one additional illustration: William Whiaker's painting of Joseph Smith. Extensive notes giving considerable insight to the text are placed at the back of the book but are easily located with numbered page headings. Bushman acknowledges his pro-Mormon bias but suggests that "partisanship has its benefits too," the most important being "the industry and thoroughness of research-