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About Nevo

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    Halting Between Two Opinions
  • Birthday 09/06/1973

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  1. Of the two, I think Compton is generally seen as more careful and judicious in his use of sources. His book won the Mormon History Association's Best Book Award and is cited, albeit only once, in the Church's essay on plural marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo. Van Wagoner is not antagonistic, but he uses more questionable sources than other writers. He knows they're problematic but tends to bury this information in the endnotes (see this critique for some examples). Both authors have a naturalistic outlook that colors their presentation. Latter-day Saints wanting to get a believing hist
  2. I took it in the context of the verse he cited from Alma 32 about experimenting upon the word and exercising a particle of faith, even if it's no more than a desire to believe. The rest of the passage in Alma talks about "let[ting] this desire work in you" and "giv[ing] place, that a seed [of faith] may be planted in your heart." To give it place means that we "do not cast it out by [our] unbelief." I think this language of yielding ("let...", "give place...") is important. A friend and someone I have long admired wrote an account on another board that illustrates what "choosing to believ
  3. I liked the talk. I was never a big fan of President Nelson's talks when he was a member of the Twelve. But, as president of the Church, he's consistently delivered powerful, memorable conference talks. Today's was no exception. As a doubter, I welcomed his suggestions for increasing my faith. I appreciated his emphasis once again on the need for spiritual "work" to gain personal revelation. And on the need for humility and patience, to "give place, that a seed may be planted in [our] heart," and allow the Lord to lead us. I am sure I have been falling short on that front. I didn't feel j
  4. I don't reject the supernatural altogether. I want to believe that Jesus rose from the dead, so I don't discount the possibility of resurrected beings per se. I'm just skeptical that there were Nephites. What do I think happened on September 21, 1823? Joseph said in his 1832 history that he was praying for forgiveness (having fallen into "transgressions and sinned in many things which brought a wound upon my soul") and the Lord "shewed unto me a heavenly vision." I suspect that's what it was: a nighttime vision or dream. Given the teenage Joseph's interest in buried treasure and lore abou
  5. I haven't read any of these, but I'll chime in anyway My dad read the one by Helen Castor and enjoyed it. I read a short one years ago by Mary Gordon, in the Penguin Lives series. I liked it but have nothing else to compare it to. From the reviews I've read, Castor's book is a straightforward work of history, well told (Castor is a medieval historian who specializes in telling women's stories), whereas Harrison's book is more interpretive and idiosyncratic (Harrison is a novelist and memoirist). I also highly recommend the movie that Rory mentioned, The Passion of Joan of Arc, by C
  6. I don't know if it is relevant. I just thought it was worth noting that these verses were inserted years later by Joseph Smith. They were not part of the original revelation.
  7. I think Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph are probably fictional. Elijah may be as well. Elias, an otherwise unattested prophetic contemporary of Abraham, appears to be an invention of Joseph Smith. The view that the patriarchal narratives contain "substantial historicity" was largely abandoned by biblical scholars and archaeologists over 40 years ago. It is now common for textbooks to discuss the late, legendary character of the stories and basically dismiss their historical reliability. Lester Grabbe, for example, notes that the patriarchal stories have "no direct external c
  8. At least half the people named in vv. 6–12 are likely fictional, so there's no problem with Moroni being included with them. Also, these verses were added later by Joseph Smith. None of those figures were mentioned in the original revelation in 1830.
  9. Some additional Brigham Young quotes on divorce:
  10. Yes, what would heaven be without inequality and caste systems? What a wretched vision of priesthood.
  11. No. To clarify, Hedges is talking about women marrying in their "mid-teens", not at 18 or 19. His source here is Spencer Fluhman: Fluhman cites Todd Compton, “Early Marriage in the New England and Northeastern States, and in Mormon Polygamy: What Was the Norm?,” in The Persistence of Polygamy: Joseph Smith and the Origins of Mormon Polygamy, ed. Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster (Independence, MO: John Whitmer Books, 2010). Compton writes: After reviewing all sorts of data, Compton finds that "very early marriage was rare" in nineteenth-century New England and north
  12. I agree that the article is androcentric and maybe a bit too apologetic in places, but overall I think it's a solid introduction to the topic. And there are some interesting departures from the Church's essay on Joseph Smith's polygamy. For example, while the Church's essay notes the "fragmentary" nature of the evidence for Joseph Smith's marriage to Fanny Alger, it nevertheless assumes that there was a marriage ("little is known about this marriage...", "after the marriage..."). Hedges will only call it a "possible marriage" and emphasizes that "the evidence is far from conclusive."
  13. The best brief overviews I know of are the Gospel Topics essays and Andrew Hedges, "Eternal Marriage and Plural Marriage," in Raising the Standard of Truth: Exploring the History and Teachings of the Early Restoration, ed. Scott C. Esplin (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 2020), 309–322. Brian Hales provides a deep dive into Joseph Smith's practice of polygamy, along with plenty of conjecture. Todd Compton's book is a group biography of Joseph Smith's plural wives. For briefer treatments of Joseph Smith's practice of polygamy, I recommend the relevant chapters in Richard Bushman's Jos
  14. Here are some that are important to me. --------------- "Skepticism should keep us from accepting inadequate answers and merely wishful hope—but also from accepting inadequate refutations and self-indulgent or cowardly despair. And if anything, as Pascal taught, the possibility that God exists, the mere chance that he guarantees human immortality and joyful eternal purposes, is so stupendous a possibility that we ought to risk all for it, gamble everything, certainly time and intellectual persistence and 'working out our salvation in fear and trembling' rather than getting lost in so
  15. How would you know? You've never even looked at his work. You're just making wild assertions. Here's something to get you started, from the book's preface:
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