In BYU Studies volume 49, no. 1, Jeffrey Bradshaw describes how a mural found in an ancient Jewish synagogue portrays Ezekiel’s ascent into heaven and analyzes what the painting teaches about temple worship and resurrection; Cheryl B. Preston details case law in U.S. courts that empower citizens and lawmakers to restrict internet pornography; and Casey Griffiths relates the events of 1930, when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was in the process of transferring its colleges and academies to state governments and began supporting released-time seminary instead. At this time a legal crisis arose that could have dismantled Church education altogether. Joseph F. Merrill defended and helped preserve the seminary program. James T. Summerhays also looks at recent research into adult brain plasticity, or the ability of the adult brain to rewire itself through directed effort over time, and what that means to a Latter-day Saint quest for improvement and progression, and Susan E. Black writes about The Frontier Guardian, a short-lived but important official publication of the LDS Church in Missouri.
BYU Studies volume 49, no. 2, features the proceedings of “Inquiry, Scholarship, and Learning and Teaching in Religiously Affiliated Colleges and Universities,” a conference held at Brigham Young University in February 2009. Also featured in this issue are two important articles by Thomas E. Sherry on “Robert J. Matthews and the RLDS Church’s Inspired Version of the Bible” and David Keith Stott on “Legal Insights into the Organization of the Church in 1830.” Also in issue 49.2 are a lecture given at Harvard Law School, “Mere Mormonism,” by Thomas B. Griffith, a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; a personal essay, “A Local Faith,” by William & Mary Law School professor Nathan B. Oman; BYU Studies poetry editor Casualene Meyer’s essay “Would That All God’s Children Were Poets”; a tribute by Neal E. Lambert to BYU Studies founding editor Clinton F. Larson; and two book reviews.
In BYU Studies volume 49, number 3, Alexander Baugh and Richard Holzapfel present historical information about a document that appears to be an unpublished declaration of the Twelve in 1844 or 1845 about their meeting with Joseph Smith when he gave them his “last charge” to “bear off the Kingdom.” This issue also contains an article on “Theology and Ecology” by Gary Bryner, a professor of political science who passed away earlier this year; two essays on European novelists who had close ties to Mormonism. Fred Woods writes about Halldor Laxness, a Nobel Prize–winning Icelandic novelist who based his novel Paradisarheimt on Mormon Icelandic immigrants who settled in Utah; and Alan Keele remembers popular and prolific German novelist Walter Kempowski, who was a collector of first-hand accounts about Germany’s turbulent twentieth century and actually taught for a semester at BYU in 1986. Don Penrod examines the infamous “White Horse Prophecy,” Penrod concluding that the prophecy was actually a creation of Edwin Rushton and not Joseph Smith.
BYU Studies volume 49, no. 4, leads off with Jeffrey Chadwick’s article exploring the date of birth of Jesus Christ. He uses historical and scriptural evidence to propose that Christ was born in December 5 BC. This issue also includes an excerpt from a forthcoming book of the best speeches of Robert K. Thomas (1918–1998); an article by George Handley describing a poetics of the Restoration—a way of seeing the humanities as a key to furthering our understanding of truth and expanding our views of God and humankind; an examination by Casey Griffiths of the conflict between religious faith and religious scholarship through the experience of eleven LDS scholars who studied at the University of Chicago School of Divinity in the 1930s; a statistical analysis by Boyd Edwards and Farrell Edwards to counter claims that chiasmus appears without the intention of the author in many writings; and a never-before-published letter written by Robert McCorkle to Joseph Smith, presented by Hal Robert Boyd and Susan Easton Black. Black also writes about the St. Louis Luminary, an LDS newspaper printed in St. Louis, Missouri, from 1854 to 1855. An essay by David Milo Kirkham describes his interactions with animals and suggests that the human stewardship over animals should be more nuanced and thoughtful than always protecting animals or always dominating them.
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