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The 1922 B.H. Robert's Meeting With General Authoriteis Re: Book of Mormon Problems and the Secret Meetings That Followed itBy Fair Dinkum
While I'll assume no one in this board is unfamiliar with this subject, I'll still offer a short synopsis just in case. Back Story: In 1985 the family of B.H. Roberts allowed a collection of his personal papers, still in the private hands of family members, to be published into book form. The collection was published as "Studies of The Book of Mormon"
In his papers were discovered notes of a special meeting that was held in early 1922 involving all member's of the First Presidency, The Quorum of the Twelve as well as the 7 Presidents of the Seventy, of which Robert's was a member. Robert's had been given the assignment by Heber J. Grant to answer questions that had been sent in a letter to the church from a member seeking answers.
The questions were quite straight forward:
when the Jews landed in the New World (600 B.C.) is not enough time to explain the diversity of native Indian languages. Horses were introduced to the Americas by the Spaniards, thus their appearance in the Book of Mormon is an anachronisms. The use of steel in the Book of Mormon is an anachronism. The use of scimitars (an arabian sword) in an anachronism. The use of silk was unknown to the Americas. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_of_the_Book_of_Mormon
Roberts concerns went unanswered by church authorities which caused him to try and resolve the difficulties himself. The book represents his attempt to resolve those questions, he was unsuccessful in doing so.
Now a new master thesis has been written exploring secret meetings that took place following Robert's failed attempt to find satisfaction from his fellow church authorities. Robert's formed this band of LDS intelligentsia in a further attempt to resolve his concerns and find answers to Book of Mormon problems. While I've only just started to read it, this thesis is a fascinating behind the scenes look into the pre-correlation church.
Despite his failures to resolve his concerns, we owe much to Roberts attempt, for it was from many of these questions that much of today's apologetic theories of a limited footprint, duel Cumorah's and acknowledgement of a pre-populated Asian immigrant America, to name just a few, have emerged. Since the emergence of the internet, modern day apologetics has completely re-framed how the Book of Mormon is viewed from how it was interpreted in 1922. The problem is that much of the church still views the book in much the same way as it was seen in 1922.
Mormon historians have debated whether the manuscript/book reflects Roberts's doubts or was a case of his playing a devils advocate. One interesting fact remains, per his instructions, his headstone has a Christian Cross on it, which was even unusual for that time and even more so for a former General Authority of the Church.
Since we are focusing on the restoration and in particular the experiences of Joseph Smith, has anyone considered young Joseph's leg operation as a type of Christ?
He was seven years old. Seven can signify the fulfillment of a prophecy, in this case a type of the fulfillment of Christ's Atonement.
His body had an infection that needed to be removed. Analogous to sin that needed to be cleansed.
He declared that he would do whatever was required to remove the infection...Christ was willing to do whatever was required to remove our sins.
The infection was removed by the shedding of a lot of blood. He endured pain that took him to his bodily and spiritual limits.
Before the final operation, painful incisions were made in his leg, analogous to a scourging of his body.
He was upheld through the experience by His Father.
He refused a drink that might have made the ordeal more bearable.
During his greatest agony, his concerned turned towards his Mother, by asking her to leave the awful scene.
The doctors wanted to amputate his leg, but in the end, not bones were broken.
He bore the marks, a limp, of his ordeal for the remainder of his life.
Perhaps there are other analogies, and maybe this is a stretch comparison, but Joseph Smith was one of the greatest prophets, if not the greatest prophet to live on the earth. He had unusual spiritual and physical strength to enable him to do the work. For the Lord to use him as a type of himself would not be unusual for a prophet of God.
Apparently BYU has been instituting these changes for the past couple of years, striving to move away from "activities checklists" and reliance on GPA and ACT scores (only).
The article discusses how BYU is looking to find people who better align with the school's/church's mission. That makes sense.
I find this interesting and a bit disappointing but I'm curious what your thoughts are. I've heard the question asked many times, "Does BYU require seminary graduation?" This new approach doesn't really answer that question but it does require a recommendation from a seminary teacher. I'm assuming it's in addition to a standard ecclesiastical endorsement and it seems like maybe it's a bit redundant, or maybe BYU isn't as trusting of the bishop's endorsement. I don't know. But basing college admissions on a student's engagement in seminary at one point in time during that student's senior year doesn't seem all that helpful.
Really impressed with Kate Holbrook's interview with Terryl Givens. She's thoughtful, candid, and inspiring as she speaks about her persistence to get a PhD and work full time for the church as a manger of church history. She's working on a project with Lisa Tate on the history of the young women's organization.
One thing I caught that I hadn't heard before was when Terryl asks her about whether she felt a sense of loss and a sense of jubilation when studying the history of the RS. Joseph envisioned a more collaborative relationship with the male priesthood, more autonomy, abundance of spiritual gifts, authority to administer ordinances including healing by the laying of hands. Kate responds that she understands the hyperfocus on this time period, but she feels there is a lost opportunity in recognizing the accomplishments of the women of the 20th century - she then backtracks a bit and says:
"I don't want to say that their isn't a difference, between - a time when a woman was able to say I have this terrific idea she's say the General RS president and she goes and talks to the president of the church about it. That is certainly different than now, when she goes and talks to someone in the presiding bishopric, and it has to go through several levels to even get to the president. There is a loss, and there is a difference."
I had no idea that the General RS president did not have direct access to the quorum of the 12, and first presidency? Why in 3 heavens does the general RS president still have such an auxiliary level of access to the presiding apostolic quorum, access to financial influence through Pres Bishopric perhaps, but no real budget to work with? No seat on the correlation committee?
Kate has a great story about how Ardeth Greene Kapp (General YW president 84-92') while receiving a downpour of revelation would use innovative, clever ways and technology to push the ideas upward through the hierarchy.