When “Forever Families” Weren’t

I’ve heard about the Law of Adoption as an LDS theological point of the past, but never really understood it very well.  I enjoyed reading Brian Hales discussion of the concept in his book, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy:  Volume 3.  (This is a follow up post on the book; I previously discussed Hales position that there is no spirit birth.)  Hales discusses the idea in Chapter 11 of his book (page 170)

An immediate concern among Latter-day Saints as they contemplated their sealings to their “parents” was whether they should be sealed to their biological ancestors or to some unrelated person, such as a Church leader (either living or deceased).  Fears that their own deceased progenitors might not accept the gospel in the afterlife fueled worry that their chain might lead back a few generations and then stop due to disbelief of a dead forebear.  Fears existed that righteous individuals could possibly be eternally stranded outside the chain leading back to Adam and Eve. Continue Reading »


Joseph Freeman: In the Lord’s Due Time

A friend asked that a read a book about the first black man ordained to the LDS Priesthood after the 1978 revelation:  Joseph Freeman.  (I’ve documented about 6 black men who were ordained in the 1830s and 1840s, as well as a few others who avoided the restriction despite the ban.)   The book was a nice, short, entertaining read, written in a first person account by Joseph Freeman himself.  Published in 1979, In the Lord’s Due Time almost seemed to be a time capsule.  For example, I wasn’t expecting to Joseph to refer to himself as a “negro” so often.

Freeman was a descendant of slaves.   Continue Reading »


No Spirit Birth

It’s been a while since I read Joseph Smith’s Polygamy:  Volume 3 by Brian Hales.  I read volume 3 first because (1) it was the shortest (a mere 281 pages compared to the other volumes), and (2) Brian Hales recommended we read it first since it was the first time anyone had tried to tackle the theological reasons behind polygamy.  I intended to write my review sooner, but knew it would take some time, and put it off for far too long.  As I reviewed my notes, I realized that I could probably do a post on the topic of spirit babies.  Mormons have long believed that if we are sealed in the temple and live worthily, we are able to have unnumbered offspring forever.  This has led many to believe that some women will be eternally pregnant, and also why more women are needed for eternal gestation.  Some women have remarked that they don’t want to be pregnant forever.

It turns out that might be a folk doctrine that Brian Hales attacks in this book. Continue Reading »

Leave a comment

Book Review: Joseph’s Seer Stones

Book cover contains artist’s painting of Joseph’s white seer stone

I was pleased that Deseret Book sent me a copy of Joseph Smith’s Seer Stones to review.  I know a lot of people have complained church members have complained that we always reference the Urim and Thummim, but not seer stones.  There is also the complaint that the artwork is incorrect concerning Joseph translating the plates.  It appears Deseret Book is out to change that perception and give more information regarding this topic with this new book.  It is a welcome book that is easy to read, and uses footnotes to give the reader scholarly information on Joseph’s Seer stones (plural).  While the Church recently published a photo of the brown, chocolate colored stone, the cover of the book shows an artist’s rendition of a white seer stone Joseph used, and there was also talk of a green seer stone used by Joseph.  Apparently Joseph preferred the white one over the brown one (that he used to translate the Book of Mormon), and gave the brown one to Oliver Cowdery in 1830.  He kept the white one throughout his life, and some of the revelations from the D&C were received through this white seer stone!  A chart on page 128-9 indicates Joseph got the brown stone sometime between 1822 and 1830 (there are 4 theories that do not mesh well), got the “Nephite interpreters” between 1827-1829, and had possession of the white stone between 1822-1844.  There is talk of a green stone, but not sure when he had it. Continue Reading »


Lectures on Faith: Science of Theology

Lectures on Faith” is a set of seven lectures on the doctrine and theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, first published as the doctrine portion of the 1835 edition of the canonical Doctrine and Covenants, but later removed from that work by both major branches of the faith. The lectures were originally presented by Joseph Smith to a group of elders in a course known as the “School of the Prophets” in the early winter of 1834–35 in Kirtland, Ohio.

So says Wikipedia.  Wikipedia has some interesting info. Continue Reading »


Dunn and other Bad Business Deals (part 2)

I finished the book, Lying for the Lord by Lynn Packer.  (Click here for part 1.) It seems to me that most Mormons are upset by his telling stories that weren’t true.  To be honest, I ‘m not all that fond of piling on Dunn for that, though after reading the book, it wasn’t so much him exaggerating some war and baseball stories, he flat out made them up.  The bigger issue to me is his bad business deals.  I talked about the ponzi scheme in my previous post, and for that he was demoted from the Quorum of Seventy (Lynn Packer thinks Dunn should have been excommunicated) and the church leaders implemented a new policy banning GAs from serving on boards of directors.  However, they essentially left Dunn intact to continue the shady business deals, and he did.

The Osmonds were advised financially by Paul H. Dunn

Dunn was also a prominent financial adviser to the Osmonds and their newly created studio in Orem, Utah.  Not all of their financial troubles were due to Dunn, but he didn’t help matters.   Continue Reading »


Lying for the Lord (Paul Dunn)

I’m about halfway through Lynn Packer’s book, Lying for the Lord.  Packer is nephew for former apostle Boyd K. Packer.  I didn’t know that Paul Dunn and Boyd Packer had a little bit of a CES rivalry going on.  Both came up at the same time in the LDS Seminary program.  Paul got a theology degree from Chapman College in California and was trained in classic biblical criticism.  Boyd was a protege of J. Reuben Clark, who weeded out LDS Seminary teachers who didn’t teach faith promoting stories from the bible (and who taught evolution as real.)  I was a little familiar with this story, as I talked about the Chicago Experiment.  Paul believed that Boyd had sent his brother Lynn to search out his unflattering reports on Paul’s untrue war and baseball stories.  However, Lynn says that is completely untrue. Continue Reading »