Benchmark Blog

EVENING WITH AN AUTHOR

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We are excited to announce a unique author event! Our longtime friend Devery S. Anderson has recently published a nationally-acclaimed biography: Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement (published by the University Press of Mississippi), with foreword by Julian Bond. Devery will be here on Wednesday, Sep 16th, to speak about the book. He will be here at 5:30 to sign and chat and will begin speaking at 6 PM and will then be available to sign again after that. We hope you can make it to this fascinating event but, if not, we can hold a signed copy for pick-up or mail it to you. To RSVP on Facebook, visit here.

Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement offers the first truly comprehensive account of the 1955 murder and its aftermath. It tells the story of Emmett Till, the fourteen-year-old African American boy from Chicago brutally lynched for a harmless flirtation at a country store in the Mississippi Delta. His death and the acquittal of his killers by an all-white jury set off a firestorm of protests that reverberated all over the world and spurred on the civil rights movement. Like no other event in modern history, the death of Emmett Till provoked people all over the United States to seek social change.

For six decades the Till story has continued to haunt the South as the lingering injustice of Till’s murder and the aftermath altered many lives. Fifty years after the murder, renewed interest in the case led the Justice Department to open an investigation into identifying and possibly prosecuting accomplices of the two men originally tried. Between 2004 and 2005, the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the first real probe into the killing and turned up important information that had been lost for decades.

This book will stand as the definitive work on Emmett Till for years to come. Incorporating much new information, the book demonstrates how the Emmett Till murder exemplifies the Jim Crow South at its nadir. The author accessed a wealth of new evidence. Anderson has made a dozen trips to Mississippi and Chicago to conduct research and interview witnesses and reporters who covered the trial. In Emmett Till Anderson corrects the historical record and presents this critical saga in its entirety.

“No one knows more about this brutal murder and its contested legacy than Devery Anderson. In his long-anticipated and meticulously researched study, he has delivered, as we all expected, the definitive account of this case. Anderson has read every source, tracked every lead, assessed every claim, and weighed every piece of evidence in his passionate quest to know the truth. This is the Emmett Till book that historians have been waiting for, and it is the book that Emmett Till’s legacy deserves.”

–Christopher Metress, associate provost for academics, Samford University; editor of The Lynching of Emmett Till: A Documentary Narrative

 

Devery S. Anderson is a graduate of the University of Utah and is an editor at Signature Books in Salt Lake City. He has authored or coauthored several books on Mormon history, two of which won the Steven F. Christensen Award for Best Documentary from the Mormon History Association.

 

Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement. The University Press of Mississippi, 2015. 552pp. Hardback. $45.00

 

Other books by Devery Anderson:

Joseph Smith’s Quorum of the Anointed, 1842-1843: A Documentary History (with Gary Bergera). Signature Books, 2005. Hardback. $39.95

Nauvoo Endowment Companies, 1845-1846: A Documentary History (with Gary Bergera). Signature Books, 2005. Hardback. $49.95

The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History. Signature Books, 2011. Hardback. $49.95

 

Shipping: $4.50 for the first book, $1 for each additional (USPS)–Priority/FedEx/UPS options available–inquire for details.

Utah residents–add 7.05% sales tax

Here are some of the latest and greatest releases. See if there is something that catches your eye!

NEW BOOKS

  • JSP-RevTrans-V3-Part-1_CoverThe Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, Vol. 3, Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon (2 parts) ed. by Royal Skousen and Robin Jensen. The Church Historian’s Press, 2015. 539/437pp. Hardback $89.99/EACH PART (remember—as a subscriber to the series, you’ll save 10% on each book!). From early April to late June 1829, Joseph Smith dictated the majority of the text of the Book of Mormon. With the aid of “interpreters” he found buried with the plates and a seer stone already in his possession, Joseph Smith dictated the text to Oliver Cowdery and several other scribes. Four high-quality photographs of this seerstone are included—the first to ever be released. After the original manuscript was completed and Joseph Smith had secured the services of a printer, Smith directed that a second copy, now known as the printer’s manuscript, be created. This would allow the original manuscript to be kept safe while the second copy was taken to the print shop. The printer’s manuscript was consulted again by Joseph Smith and others when the second edition of the Book of Mormon was printed in 1837 in Kirtland, Ohio. The manuscript was eventually obtained by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now Community of Christ), headquartered in Independence, Missouri, and it is reproduced in color with their generous permission. The carefully preserved manuscript is virtually complete—only three lines of text are missing. *signed by the editors* If you haven’t seen the video from this interesting event, check out our Events tab above or click here.
  • TraditionsTraditions of the Fathers: The Book of Mormon as History by Brant A. Gardner. Greg Kofford Books, 2015. 476pp. Paperback. $34.95. The focus of the Book of Mormon is unquestionably on the things of God. Similar to the Bible, its sermons and explications of religious principles are presented against the framework of the story of a people. It is a story that covers a thousand years. In this book Brant Gardner looks around and behind the religious purposes of the book and teases out how those thousand years of Book of Mormon history correspond to those same years in the geographic and cultural context where they most plausibly took place. Gardner works through the Book of Mormon chronologically, examining how events in the Book of Mormon reflect the greater historical and cultural developments happening around them at the same time. Gardner asks and answers questions against particular historical backdrops. The answers are developed by looking at the Book of Mormon as history in the context of what has become known of Mesoamerican history. Along the way, Gardner also looks at the problem of anachronisms, DNA, and some popular “proofs” of the Book of Mormon that need to be abandoned.
  • VoicesVoices for Equality: Ordain Women and Resurgent Mormon Feminism ed. by Gordon Shepherd, Lavina Fielding Anderson and Gary Shepherd. Greg Kofford Books, 2015. 457pp. Paperback. $32.95. The inexorable movement toward gender equality in the modern world has taken root in the consciousness of many Latter-day Saints and has publicly emerged as a major concern for the LDS Church. Spearheaded by a new generation of internet-savvy feminists, equality issues in Mormonism attained high public visibility in 2013 through online profiles posted by the Ordain Women organization and its plea to Church authorities to pray about an expanded role for LDS women. The June 2014 excommunication of OW co-founder Kate Kelly generated increased international media attention. This volume is the first book to provide a comprehensive examination of these issues and is based on chapters written by both scholars and activists. Its twenty-five authors explore in detail theological debates about gender and priesthood authority, the historical and cultural context of these debates, and the current role played by lay activists seeking to stimulate change in the Church.
  • EmmettEmmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement by Devery S. Anderson. University of Mississippi Press, 2015. 552pp. Hardback. $45.00. Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement offers the first truly comprehensive account of the 1955 murder and its aftermath. It tells the story of Emmett Till, the fourteen-year-old African American boy from Chicago brutally lynched for a harmless flirtation at a country store in the Mississippi Delta. His death and the acquittal of his killers by an all-white jury set off a firestorm of protests that reverberated all over the world and spurred on the civil rights movement. Like no other event in modern history, the death of Emmett Till provoked people all over the United States to seek social change. For six decades the Till story has continued to haunt the South as the lingering injustice of Till’s murder and the aftermath altered many lives. Fifty years after the murder, renewed interest in the case led the Justice Department to open an investigation into identifying and possibly prosecuting accomplices of the two men originally tried. Between 2004 and 2005, the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the first real probe into the killing and turned up important information that had been lost for decades. This book will stand as the definitive work on Emmett Till for years to come. Incorporating much new information, the book demonstrates how the Emmett Till murder exemplifies the Jim Crow South at its nadir. ** we will have a signing with the author on Sep 19th—stay tuned for details.**
  • FreshFresh Courage Take: New Directions by Mormon Women ed. by Jamie Zvirzdin. Signature Books, 2015. 182pp. Hardback. $22.95. The twelve essays in this anthology provide a refreshing array of female perspectives, personalities, and circumstances. Along with an introduction by Jamie Zvirzdin, the essays invite readers to recognize and own their personal struggles, gifts, faults, and desires and to accept where they stand on the spectrum of humanity. Fresh Courage Take demonstrates that the road to heaven is not a conveyor belt powered by a checklist of religious obligations, cooked casseroles, and a collection of children. If anything, it is a complex network of interchanges and decisions … including long, often solitary paths. The authors span a wide range of views and situations in life: politically conservative to progressive, single to married with many children, highly educated to working-class, stay-at-home moms to the professionally successful, of European or African heritage, religiously orthodox to heterodox. In short, they define, from their diversity, what being a Mormon woman means and what type of path they feel they must take to be true to themselves and their beliefs. *LIMITED AMOUNT OF SIGNED COPIES LEFT*
  • ConfessionsConfessions of a Revisionist Historian: David L. Bigler on the Mormons and the West ed. by Will Bagley. University of Utah Tanner Trust Fund, 2015. 287pp. Hardback. $29.95. Number 16 in the Utah, the Mormons, and the West. With an appreciation by Polly Aird. For much of his career, David Bigler and his critics used the term “revisionist historian” as an epithet. But after decades wading through what Wallace Stegner called the “morass” of early Mormonism’s “enormous, repetitious, contradictory, and embattled’ history, he concluded, “If ever there was a revisionist historian, I’m it. And if ever a chapter of our nation’s history needed revising, it is this one.” Confessions of a Revisionist Historian covers the issues and events Bigler considers central to understanding Utah’s colorful history: Millennialism, the march of the Mormon Battalion, the California Gold Rush, the Mormon Kingdom of God, Brigham Young’s Indian policy and the Fort Limhi mission to Oregon Territory, the 1856 Reformation and the origins of the Utah War of 1857, and the conflict’s most controversial acts of violence, the Mountain Meadows Massacre and the Aiken party murders. His analysis incorporates sketches and close studies of overlooked but significant personalities such as Garland Hurt, Nephi Johnson, Benjamin Franklin Cummings, Lewis W. Shurtliff, Benjamin Franklin Ficklin, and John Hawley, plus celebrated and colorful “Danites” such as Bill Hickman and Porter Rockwell, and tributes to friends and colleagues Harold “Hal” Schindler and Jerald and Sandra Tanner.
  • Testimony of LukeThe Testimony of Luke by S. Kent Brown. BYU Studies, 2015. 1213pp. Hardback. $29.99. Inaugural print volume of the BYU New Testament Commentary series. The most distinguishing element of this line-by-line and word-by-word commentary is the introduction of distinctive Latter-day Saint scriptures to cast light on various passages in Luke’s Gospel—the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. It is not surprising, therefore, that the commentary features elements of Luke’s gospel that interest Latter-day Saints, although it focuses primarily on topics that arise in the text. For example, the gap in Luke’s record concerning the Savior’s activities in the world of departed spirits while his body lies in the tomb is of particular interest to Latter-day Saints because an important set of doctrines arises from his activity there. About the series: “A team of Latter-day Saint scholars has joined forces to produce a multi-volume commentary on the New Testament with a new rendition of the Greek texts of the New Testament books [in parallel columns with the KJV]. Planned to take several years to complete, this multi-volume series will combine the best of ancient linguistic and historical scholarship with Latter-day Saint doctrinal perspectives. The BYU New Testament Commentary will make extensive use of research in Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Coptic, and other languages, but the final product will be accessible to a general readership.”

SALE BOOKS

  • american_crucifixionAmerican Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church by Alex Beam. Public Affairs, 2014. Hardback. Reg. $26.99, SALE $9.99. In American Crucifixion, Alex Beam tells how Smith went from charismatic leader to public enemy: How his most seismic revelation—the doctrine of polygamy—created a rift among his people; how that schism turned to violence; and how, ultimately, Smith could not escape the consequences of his ambition and pride.
  • elizaEliza: The Life and Faith of Eliza R. Snow by Karen Lynn Davidson and Jill Mulvay Derr. Deseret Book, 2013. Hardback. Reg. $27.99, SALE $9.99. This intimate look at Eliza seeks to reveal a more private side of this extraordinary woman who was a plural wife of two prophets and the sister of another. Interspersed with photographs, artifacts, and poetry, this inspiring biography gives us a unique glimpse into the fascinating life story of Eliza R. Snow.
  • mormon goldMormon Gold: Mormons in the California Gold Rush Contributing to the Development of California and the Monetary Solvency of Early Utah by J. Kenneth Davies and Lorin K. Hansen. Granite Mountain Publishing, 2011. Hardback. Reg. $49.95, SALE $29.99. In this new edition, scholar Dr. Lorin Hansen provides a masterful revision of Dr. J. Kenneth Davies’ classic study of the California gold rush and the major role Mormons played in it. New insights and fresh research, along with prolific illustrations and excellent maps, introduce the reader to Mormons living and working in Sutter’s Mill and Yerba Buena (San Francisco) in 1848. Mormon Gold masterfully recounts the ensuing gold rush experience from perspective of some of Mormonism’s earliest and most ardent adherents. The work also details the development of the Great Basin’s first monetary system and Brigham Young’s extraordinary stewardship of gold brought to Utah from California.

 

Shipping: $4.50 for the first book (more for heavier books such as the Joseph Smith Papers–inquire for specific rates), $1 for each additional (USPS)–Priority/FedEx/UPS options available–inquire for details.

Utah residents–add 7.05% sales tax

We’ve posted the videos from some recent author signings. To watch, click our Events tab above, or click the following:

Terryl & Fiona Givens (The Crucible of Doubt, The God Who Weeps)

Contributors from Fresh Courage Take, including editor Jamie Zvirzdin
Due to equipment malfunction, small segments at the beginning and end were cut.

John Dominic Crossan (How to Read the Bible and Still be a Christian)

Just a reminder that Royal Skousen and Robin Jensen will be here on Wednesday, August 19, to discuss the latest volume of the Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, Vol. 3: Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon (published—in two parts—by the Church Historian’s Press). They will be here from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.—speaking at 6:00—and will answer questions and sign books before and after that time. We hope you will be able to make that night but, if not, we can mail a signed copy or hold one here at the store for pick-up. To RSVP on Facebook, click here.

For some teaser videos about this volume produced by the JSP team, visit http://bit.ly/1IX5H8a

EVENING WITH THE EDITORS

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We are excited to announce that Royal Skousen and Robin Jensen will be here on Wednesday, August 19, to discuss the latest volume of the Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, Vol. 3: Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon (published—in two parts—by the Church Historian’s Press). They will be here from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.—speaking at 6:00—and will answer questions and sign books before and after that time. We hope you will be able to make that night but, if not, we can mail a signed copy or hold one here at the store for pick-up. To RSVP on Facebook, click here.

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The Book of Mormon is the centerpiece of Joseph Smith’s documentary record. It served to Smith’s followers as a witness of his divine mission and as a foundation of their newfound faith. This volume, the third in the Revelations and Translations series of The Joseph Smith Papers, gives readers unprecedented access to an early Book of Mormon manuscript through full-color photographs, a color-coded transcript, introductions, and reference material.

From early April to late June 1829, Joseph Smith dictated the majority of the text of the Book of Mormon. He and other believers explained that Smith translated the Book of Mormon from writings on ancient metal plates to which he had been led by a heavenly messenger. Smith’s translation of the plates was not the conventional process of converting text from one language to another through expert knowledge of both languages—instead, he recounted that he dictated the text “by the gift and power of God.” With the aid of “interpreters” he found buried with the plates and a seer stone already in his possession, Joseph Smith dictated the text to Oliver Cowdery and several other scribes. Four high-quality photographs of this seerstone are included—the first to ever be released.

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After the original manuscript was completed and Joseph Smith had secured the services of a printer, Smith directed that a second copy, now known as the printer’s manuscript, be created. This would allow the original manuscript to be kept safe while the second copy was taken to the print shop. Oliver Cowdery, Hyrum Smith, and a third, unknown scribe created the printer’s manuscript from roughly August 1829 to January 1830, and pages of it were taken in batches to E. B. Grandin’s print shop in Palmyra, New York, as printing proceeded. The printer’s manuscript was consulted again by Joseph Smith and others when the second edition of the Book of Mormon was printed in 1837 in Kirtland, Ohio. The manuscript was eventually obtained by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now Community of Christ), headquartered in Independence, Missouri, and it is reproduced here with their generous permission. The carefully preserved manuscript is virtually complete—only three lines of text are missing.

Royal Skousen, professor of linguistics and English language at Brigham Young University, has been the editor of the Book of Mormon Critical Text Project since 1988. In 2009, Skousen published with Yale University Press the culmination of his critical text work, The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text. Skousen received his PhD in linguistics from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1972. He has also taught at the University of Illinois, the University of Texas, the University of California at San Diego, and, as a Fulbright lecturer, at the University of Tampere in Finland. In 2001, he was a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute in the Netherlands.

Robin Scott Jensen is the associate managing historian and project archivist for the Joseph Smith Papers. He specializes in document and transcription analysis. In 2005 he earned an MA degree in American history from Brigham Young University, and in 2009 he earned a second MA in library and information science with an archival concentration from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He is now pursuing a PhD in history at the University of Utah. He completed training at the Institute for the Editing of Historical Documents in 2007.

 

Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations and Translations, Volume 3: Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon. Church Historian’s Press, 2015. Hardback. 539pp/437pp. Reg. $89.99/ea–SALE $80.99/ea. (save 10%–also, save 10% on future volumes in the JSP by becoming a subscriber–ask us for details!)

 

Also by Royal Skousen:

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part 1. FARMS, 2004. Hardback. $49.95

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part 2. FARMS, 2005. Hardback. $49.95

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part 3. FARMS, 2006. Hardback. $49.95

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part 4. FARMS, 2006. Hardback. $49.95

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part 4. FARMS, 2006. Hardback. $49.95

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part 5. FARMS, 2008. Hardback. $49.95

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part 6. FARMS, 2009. Hardback. $49.95

The Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon. FARMS, 2001. Hardback. $49.95

The Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon, 2 vols. FARMS, 2001. Hardback, $99.95

The Book of Mormon – The Earliest Text. Yale University Press, 2009. $35.00

Also by Robin Jensen (as co-editor):

Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations & Translations, Manuscript Revelation Books: Facsimile Edition. Church Historian’s Press, 2009. Hardback. Reg. $99.99, SALE $59.99 **SIGNED BY ALL THREE VOLUME EDITORS**

Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations & Translations, Manuscript Revelation Books: Facsimile Edition. Church Historian’s Press, 2009. Hardback. Reg. $99.99, SALE $79.99. **SIGNED BY ALL THREE VOLUME EDITORS AS WELL AS THE THREE GENERAL EDITORS.  AS FAR AS WE KNOW, THESE FEW COPIES SIGNED BY ALL SIX EDITORS ARE AVAILABLE NOWHERE ELSE, WHICH MAKES THESE ALL THE MORE RARE AND VALUABLE!**

Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations & Translations, Vol. 1. Church Historian’s Press, 2011. Hardback. $79.95. This “library edition” includes all of the color-coded transcriptions of the facsimile edition with limited full-color images of important manuscript pages (rather than all pages as in the Facsimile Edition) such as the “Sample of Pure Language” as well as pages showing editorial marks.

Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations & Translations, Volume 2: Published Revelations. Church Historian’s Press, 2011. Hardback. Reg. $69.95, SALE $19.99

Other Joseph Smith Papers volumes available (all hardback, published by the Church Historian’s Press):

Journals, Vol. 1 (1832-1839). 2008. $49.95

Journals, Vol. 2 (1841-1843). 2011. Reg. $54.95, SALE $17.99

Histories, Vol. 1: Joseph Smith Histories (1832-1844). 2012. $54.95

Histories, Vol. 2: Assigned Histories (1831-1847). 2102. $54.95

Documents, vol. 1: July 1828 – June 1831. 2013. $54.95

Documents, vol. 2: July 1831 – January 1833. 2013. $54.95

Documents, vol. 3: February 1833-March 1834. 2014. $54.95

 

Shipping–Media Mail: due to the weight, $7.50 for one volume, $10 for both (inquire for rates for additional books). Priority/UPS/FedEx options available–inquire for details.

Utah residents–add 7.05% sales tax.

We were very pleased to attend an invitation-only press conference on Tuesday, Aug 4th, announcing the publication of the latest volume of the Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations and Translations, Volume 3: Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon (in two parts). The short event was well-publicized and included a very significant announcement.

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Richard Turley being interviewed after the press conference.

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Church Historian Steven Snow being interviewed after the press conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We heard first from church historian Elder Steven Snow. The blockbuster announcement he made was that images of the seerstone used by Joseph Smith to translate the Book of Mormon would be published for the first time (see pp. xx-xxi of part 1). He added that images would be displayed at the new historic site at Harmony, PA, to be dedicated on Sep 19th by Elder Russell M. Nelson. These images will also be included in a display at the remodeled Museum of Church History and Art reopening later this fall. He also announced that an article looking at Joseph Smith as seer—written by Richard Turley, Robin Jensen and Mark Ashurst-McGee—would appear in the October issue of the Ensign (to read the article early, visit www.lds.org/ensign/2015/10/joseph-the-seer).

Elder Snow cited the publication of this volume as one of the best, most recent examples of cooperation between the LDS Church and the Community of Christ and noted the “common restoration paths.” He recognized the groundwork laid by earlier generations of historians and archivists that has gone on for many decades back to the 1970s. Acknowledging a debt to these pioneers, he also recognized the efforts of current Community of Christ historians such as Ron Romig, Lachlan Mackay and Mark Scherer, referring to them as “colleagues and friends.” Snow thanked them for being “careful stewards of the manuscripts” and noted that LDS employees have helped with “some conservation” along the way. In closing, he noted that both the Community of Christ and the LDS Church are trying to be more open in sharing their collections and acknowledged that the “Internet brings both challenges and opportunities.”

Next we heard from President Robin Linkhart, Community of Christ President of Seventy and Missionary Coordinator for the western US. On behalf of the Community of Christ, she expressed “deep appreciation for your acknowledgment of our role in the Joseph Smith Papers Project.” Referring to the forthcoming online publication of images of the printer’s manuscript, she noted that this will “graciously afford for study without barrier to anyone.” She then gave a brief overview of LDS-Community of Christ historian relationships beginning with the pioneering work of Richard Howard and Earl Olson. Crucially, in 1968, Robert Matthews was granted access to Joseph Smith Bible revision manuscripts in the RLDS archives in Independence. In the 1970s, Leonard Arrington and Richard Howard gradually strengthened this relationship, leading to a formal agreement to exchange microfilms of documents in 1974. In 1988, Richard Howard received permission from RLDS leaders to allow Royal Skousen access to the printer’s manuscript and for Nevin Skousen (Royal’s brother) to photograph the manuscript in color. In closing, she noted the Community of Christ commitment to solid history that assists in their “identity formation.”

Following the conference, we chatted with several JSP staff members. Matthew Grow (a general editor) agreed that photos of the seerstone—in addition to being important in their own right—were significant as a symbol of the Church History Department’s goal to be transparent and further the production of candid, scholarly history. Robin Jensen (co-editor of this volume) discussed the slightly different goals of the current edition of the printer’s manuscript and Royal Skousen’s critical text project, noting that Skousen’s edition was focused on producing a text while the JSP treatment is in the vein of documentary editing. As such, the latter is a bit more conservative and will represent more characters with a diamond shape indicating the editors are unsure what letter was intended. Robin also commented on the provenance of the seerstone from Joseph Smith until it was reacquired by the church from Zina Young Card. She purchased it from Brigham Young’s estate, feeling that it did not belong in private hands. She then donated it to the church in 1896, wishing it to remain in the archives of the church from that point forward. We talked about 19th Century attitudes toward artifacts/books, etc.—because they were so close to the events, people often did not realize the significance of things in their possession. Finally, we talked to Riley Lorimer who was the lead editor for this volume. She talked about the painstaking care required to typeset this volume. She and Robin Jensen spent numerous hours reading the manuscript aloud to one another to ensure accuracy.

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The printer’s manuscript is beautifully presented in this volume (published in two parts). As a “facsimile edition,” a high-resolution scan of the original is presented on the left side with the transcription (color-coded to show the different scribes) on the right. Brief annotation in the margin tracks changes in the text in editions of the Book of Mormon published during Joseph Smith’s life as well as explaining typesetting marks. The manuscript is readable throughout (thanks to the state of preservation of the pages as well as the large-size reproduction) and fascinating to peruse. The obvious care involved in identifying scribal handwriting is also quite intriguing—particularly that of “Scribe 2.” Despite comparing handwriting with multiple possibilities, this particular hand remains a mystery.

Certainly the most audible reaction to the publication of this volume has involved the seerstone photos. The four high-quality photos of the stone (and bag—thought to be Emma’s handiwork) represent a willingness to discuss the role of seerstones generally and specifically in the translation of the Book of Mormon. Despite scattered “official” mentions of the use of a seerstone in translating, it is safe to say that the average Mormon is not aware of this aspect of history. Drawing on Mark Ashurst-McGee’s research, the editors conclude that “for much of the translation, though, Joseph Smith used a different instrument: a seer stone.” They acknowledge that “Joseph Smith owned more than one seer stone, though evidence generally points to the brown seer stone as the one used in translation.” As has been the case throughout the project, the conclusions of the editors are candid, concise and well-documented. The books themselves are of the same high caliber—well-bound and beautifully designed, they are a fitting presentation of groundbreaking and officially approved research.

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Photographs of the seerstone from part 1.

Check out John Dominic Crossan’s interview with the Salt Lake Tribune‘s Peggy Fletcher Stack. We hope you’re planning on coming to hear him Wednesday afternoon at 12:30!

For more info on the event, visit http://bit.ly/1LqV6FO
To RSVP for the event on Facebook, visit http://on.fb.me/1LqVrIL

AFTERNOON WITH AN AUTHOR

JOHN DOMINIC CROSSAN

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We are very excited to announce that John Dominic Crossan will be here for a rare afternoon signing. Crossan is a world-renowned New Testament scholar—and author of several dozen books—with particular expertise on the historical Jesus. Thanks to fortuitous circumstances (he will be speaking at the Sunstone Symposium), we were able to schedule an event during his busy time here—we consider it a privilege to host such a respected historian and author such as Crossan. He will be here on Wednesday, July 29 to discuss and sign his latest book How to Read the Bible & Still Be a Christian: Struggling with Divine Violence from Genesis Through Revelation (published by Harper One). He will speak at 12:30 PM and then take questions from the audience. We hope you will be able to make it but, if not, we can hold a signed copy for pick-up or mail it to you. To RSVP on Facebook, click here.

The acclaimed Bible scholar and author of The Historical Jesus and God & Empire—“the greatest New Testament scholar of our generation” (John Shelby Spong)—grapples with Scripture’s two conflicting visions of Jesus and God, one of a loving God, and one of a vengeful God, and explains how Christians can better understand these passages in a way that enriches their faith.

Many portions of the New Testament, introduce a compassionate Jesus who turns the other cheek, loves his enemies, and shows grace to all. But the Jesus we find in Revelation and some portions of the Gospels leads an army of angels bent on earthly destruction. Which is the true revelation of the Messiah—and how can both be in the same Bible?

How to Read the Bible and Still be a Christian explores this question and offers guidance for the faithful conflicted over which version of the Lord to worship. John Dominic Crossan reconciles these contrasting views, revealing how different writers of the books of the Bible not only possessed different visions of God but also different purposes for writing. Often these books are explicitly competing against another, opposing vision of God from the Bible itself.

Crossan explains how to navigate this debate and offers what he believes is the best central thread to what the Bible is all about. He challenges Christians to fully participate in this dialogue, thereby shaping their faith by reading deeply, reflectively, and in community with others who share their uncertainty. Only then, he advises, will Christians be able to read and understand the Bible without losing their faith.

John Dominic Crossan received a Doctorate of Divinity from Maynooth College, Ireland, in 1959, and did post-doctoral research at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome from 1959 to 1961 and at the École Biblique in Jerusalem from 1965 to 1967. He was a member of a thirteenth-century Roman Catholic religious order, the Servites (Ordo Servorum Mariae), from 1950 to 1969 and an ordained priest from 1957 to 1969. He joined DePaul University, Chicago, in 1969 and remained there until 1995. He is now a Professor Emeritus in its Department of Religious Studies. He was Co-Chair of the Jesus Seminar from 1985 to 1996 as it met in twice-annual meetings to debate the historicity of the life of Jesus in the gospels. He has written twenty-seven books on the historical Jesus, the apostle Paul, and earliest Christianity, and five of those books have been national religious bestsellers for a combined total of twenty-four months.

Praise for John Dominic Crossan:

“The works of John Dominic Crossan—learned, original, and often controversial—have stimulated some of the most intense discussion among New Testament scholars today.”

–Elaine Pagels.

“Flashes of genius . . . he writes with deep understanding and compassion.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“Crossan is one of the most admired as well as one of the most controversial scholars of the New Testament in general and the life of Jesus in particular.”

Library Journal

 

How to Read the Bible & Still Be a Christian: Struggling with Divine Violence from Genesis Through Revelation. HarperOne, 2015. 272pp. Hardback. $26.99

Also by John Dominic Crossan:

The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus. Harper One, 1999. Paperback. $21.99

The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church’s Conservative Icon (w/ Marcus Borg). HarperOne, 2009. Hardback–$24.99/paperback–$14.99

God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now. HarperOne, 2008. Paperback. $13.99

The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord’s Prayer. Hardback. Reg. $24.99, SALE $12.99. Paperback. Reg. $13.99, SALE $9.99.

The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant. HarperOne, 1993. Paperback. $19.99

In Parables: The Challenge of the Historical Jesus. Polebridge Press, 1992. Paperback. $14.95

In Search of Paul: How Jesus’ Apostle Opposed Rome’s Empire with God’s Kingdom (w/ Jonathan Reed). HarperOne,2005. Paperback. $19.99

Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. HarperOne, 2009. Paperback. $14.99

The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem (w/ Marcus Borg). HarperOne, 2007.   Paperback. $13.99

The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus. Harper One, 2012. 272pp. Hardback. Reg. $25.99, SALE $9.99

The Resurrection of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan and N. T. Wright in Dialogue. Fortress, 2005. Paperback. $19.00

The Message of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan and Ben Witherington III in Dialogue. Fortress, 2013. Paperback. $25.00

Who Killed Jesus?: Exposing the Roots of Anti-Semitism in the Gospel Story of the Death of Jesus. HarperOne, 1996. Paperback. $15.99

Shipping: $4.50 for the first book, $1 for each additional (USPS)–Priority/FedEx/UPS options available–inquire for details.

Utah residents–add 7.05% sales tax

DON’T MISS WHAT PROMISES TO BE AN EXCEPTIONAL

EVENING WITH THE AUTHORS

TERRYL AND FIONA GIVENS

Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune Fiona Givens and Terryl Givens pose for a portrait at Deseret Book Corporate Headquarters Thursday October 18, 2012. They wrote "The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life."

We are very excited to announce that Terryl and Fiona Givens, authors of numerous books on Mormon history and thought, will be here this Wednesday, July 22nd. They will discuss their two most recent books: The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith (published by Deseret Book) and Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity (published by Oxford University Press). They will be here from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., speaking at 6:00, and will answer questions and sign books before and after that time. We hope you will be able to make that night but, if not, we can mail signed books or hold them here at the store for pick-up. To RSVP on Facebook, click here.

The Crucible of DoubtCrucible

Faith is the first principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So what happens when a person has doubts? Questioning is not the problem, according to authors Terryl and Fiona Givens. “After all,” they write, “the Restoration unfolded because a young man asked questions.” The difficulty arises when questions are based on flawed assumptions or incorrect perceptions, which can “point us in the wrong direction, misdirect our attention, or constrain the answers we are capable of hearing.”

This insightful book offers a careful, intelligent look at doubt—at some of its common sources, the challenges it presents, and the opportunities it may open up in a person’s quest for faith. Whether you struggle with your own doubts or mostly want to understand loved ones who question, you will appreciate this candid discussion.

“If anyone can talk down someone who is having a faith crisis—or provide the kind of theological foundation that might prevent one in the first place—it is Terryl and Fiona Givens. But this book is not just for doubters. Others who appreciate a thoughtful approach to Mormonism, molded in shared measure by prophets and poets, will benefit from this lovely book. There are no theological Twinkies here.” –Julie M. Smith, author of Search, Ponder and Pray: A Guide to the Gospels

“This book (and the many firesides and events related to it) is opening new avenues in how Mormons speak about doubt. The fact that it was released by the Church’s official publishing house is a good sign of greater frankness.” –Jana Riess, author of Flunking Sainthood

Wrestling the Angel

wrestling

In this first volume of his magisterial study of the foundations of Mormon thought and practice, Terryl L. Givens offers a sweeping account of Mormon belief from its founding to the present day. Situating the relatively new movement in the context of the Christian tradition, he reveals that Mormonism continues to change and grow.

Givens shows that despite Mormonism’s origins in a biblical culture strongly influenced by nineteenth-century Restorationist thought, which advocated a return to the Christianity of the early Church, the new movement diverges radically from the Christianity of the creeds. Mormonism proposes its own cosmology and metaphysics, in which human identity is rooted in a premortal world as eternal as God. Mormons view mortal life as an enlightening ascent rather than a catastrophic fall, and reject traditional Christian concepts of human depravity and destiny. Popular fascination with Mormonism’s social innovations, such as polygamy and communalism, and its supernatural and esoteric elements—angels, gold plates, seer stones, a New World Garden of Eden, and sacred undergarments—have long overshadowed the fact that it is the most enduring and even thriving product of the nineteenth century’s religious upheavals and innovations.

Wrestling the Angel traces the essential contours of Mormon thought from the time of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young to the contemporary LDS church, illuminating both the seminal influence of the founding generation of Mormon thinkers and the significant developments in the church over almost 200 years.

“Givens has provided the most thorough and expert accounting of Mormonism’s place in the Christian thought-world. The book raises the bar for those who would challenge Mormonism’s status as a Christian faith. For the rest of us, who simply want to understand Mormonism, it is a welcome gift of fine scholarship.” –Kathleen Flake, Richard Lyman Bushman Professor in Mormon Studies, University of Virginia

“Givens, possibly the most significant voice in the field of Mormon studies, has previously explained Mormonism by way of scripture, history, and philosophy. Here, he turns his attention to theology, a more difficult proposition than it sounds, since Mormons tend to emphasize practical living rather than theological speculation and believe in continuing revelation…What emerges is a complex, nuanced picture of a dynamic faith.” –Publishers Weekly

TERRYL GIVENS holds the James A. Bostwick chair of English and is Professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond. He is the author of many titles exploring Mormon history, thought and culture—his Parley Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism (co-written with Matthew Grow) was the winner of the 2012 Best Book Award from the Mormon History Association.

FIONA GIVENS is a retired modern language teacher with undergraduate degrees in French and German and a graduate degree in European History. She is now an independent scholar who has published in several journals and reviews in Mormon studies, including Journal of Mormon History, Exponent II, and LDS Living

 

The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith by Terryl and Fiona Givens. Deseret Book, 2014. 168pp. Hardback. $19.99.

Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity by Terryl Givens.  Oxford University Press, 2014. 424pp. Hardback. $34.95

 

Also by Terryl and Fiona Givens

The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life. Deseret Book, 2012. 148pp. Hardback. $19.99

Also by Terryl Givens

By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion. Oxford University Press, 2003. 320pp. Paperback.

Joseph Smith Jr.: Reappraisals after Two Centuries. Oxford University Press, 2008. 284pp. Paperback. Reg. $26.95, SALE $6.99

The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2009. 140pp. Paperback. $11.95

Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism (with Matthew Grow). Oxford University Press, 2011. 499pp. Hardback. Reg. $34.95, SALE $24.99

When Souls Had Wings: Pre-Mortal Existence in Western Thought. Oxford University Press, 2009. 388pp. Paperback. $26.95

The Viper on the Hearth: Mormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy (updated ed.). Oxford University Press, 2013. 228pp. Paperback. $26.95

The Columbia Sourcebook of Mormons in the United States (with Reid Neilson). Columbia University Press, 2014. 455pp. Hardback. $80.00

The Latter-day Saint Experience in America. Greenwood Press, 2004. 347pp. Hardback. $67.00

 

Shipping: $4.50 for the first book, $1 for each additional. Priority/FedEx/UPS options available–inquire for details.

Utah residents–add 7.05% sales tax.

 

EVENING WITH THE AUTHORS

Plus Complimentary Sliders from the Chow Truck

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We are pleased to announce that Jamie Zvirzdin (editor) and several contributors will be here on Tuesday, July 28, to speak about their new book Fresh Courage Take: New Directions by Mormon Women (published by Signature Books).  This event will be a little different—the publisher has graciously provided for the acclaimed Chow Truck to offer complimentary gourmet sliders beginning at 5 PM (east parking lot). We will then head upstairs to the store where the contributors will speak beginning at 6 PM. We hope you will be able to make it to this interesting event but, if not, we can hold a signed copy for pick-up or mail it to you. To RSVP on Facebook, click here.

The twelve essays in this anthology provide a refreshing array of female perspectives, personalities, and circumstances. Along with an introduction by Jamie Zvirzdin, the essays invite readers to recognize and own their personal struggles, gifts, faults, and desires and to accept where they stand on the spectrum of humanity. Fresh Courage Take demonstrates that the road to heaven is not a conveyor belt powered by a checklist of religious obligations, cooked casseroles, and a collection of children. If anything, it is a complex network of interchanges and decisions … including long, often solitary paths.

The authors span a wide range of views and situations in life: politically conservative to progressive, single to married with many children, highly educated to working-class, stay-at-home moms to the professionally successful, of European or African heritage, religiously orthodox to heterodox. In short, they define, from their diversity, what being a Mormon woman means and what type of path they feel they must take to be true to themselves and their beliefs.

Authors include Carli Anderson, Rachael Decker Bailey, Erika Ball, Rachel Brown, Karen Critchfield, Ashley Mae Hoiland, Sylvia Lankford, Marcee Monroe, Brooke Stoneman, Camille Strate Fairbanks, Colleen Whitley, and Jamie Zvirzdin.

Foreword by Joanna Brooks, professor of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University and author of The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith.

 “Fresh Courage Take serves up a nourishing dish from the hands of skilled Mormon women—a stew with good conservative meat, liberal spices, and a rich variety of experiences, choices, and insights from across the garden of this great sisterhood. Comfort food. With occasional bite. Thanks, Sisters!”

Carol Lynn Pearson, author of Beginnings and Beyond; Goodbye, I Love You; Mother Wove the Morning; and other bestsellers

 “It’s critical for women to be able to share their stories and find empowerment, within their own lives and the lives of others, by relating personal experiences. There is a power and strength in being able to connect with the lives of others, and that’s why this book is so important. It is the work of lifting up other women through the amplification of one’s own experiences.”
Lindsay Hansen Park, assistant director, Sunstone Education Foundation; host, Feminist Mormon Housewives podcast

Jamie Zvirzdin is a science editor and freelance writer. She received an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and Literature from Bennington College. She grew up in Sandy, Utah. Find her on Twitter @jamiezvirzdin.

 

Fresh Courage Take: New Directions by Mormon Women ed. by Jamie Zvirzdin. Signature Books, 2015. 200pp. Dutch binding (flexible cover). $22.95.

 

Shipping: $4.50 for the first book, $1 for each additional (USPS)–Priority/FedEx/UPS options available–inquire for details.

Utah residents–add 7.05% sales tax

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