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The Anatomy of Book of Mormon Theology divides into two volumes exploring and thinking about these pertinent questions. Each concerns a different part of the defense of the claim that theology is and ought to be particularly important for Book of Mormon studies. In this first volume, Spencer gathers early essays in which he gestures toward theological interpretation without knowing how to defend it; essays about why theology is important to Book of Mormon scholarship and how to ensure that it does not overstep its boundaries; and essays that do theological work on the Book of Mormon in relatively obvious ways or with relatively traditional topics. The last category of essays divides into two subcategories: essays specifically on the central theological question of Jesus Christ’s atonement, as the Book of Mormon understands it; and essays on a variety of traditional theological topics, again as the Book of Mormon understands them.

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Q&A with Joseph M. Spencer

Q: How does The Anatomy of Book of Mormon Theology enter into the scholarly conversation?

Well, in a lot of ways, Anatomy is meant to plant the flag of the theological approach squarely in the sand. I and a handful of others have been doing theology with the Book of Mormon for years, but it's only in the last couple of years that the stakes of what we've been doing have become clear---even to us! In some sense, then, Anatomy is meant to be a kind of announcement that something has been happening. It's meant to give a name to an event that's been unfolding for some time. And it's meant to gather an archive that can illustrate just how the various sequences of that larger event have followed one another. I might mention that each essay in Anatomy opens with a couple of paragraphs in which, looking back, I comment on what triggered that particular contribution, thus telling the story of Book of Mormon theology's emergence in bits and pieces. This is, I think, profoundly needed.

Of course, someone might naturally object to what I've just said by pointing out that a far more visible flag of this sort was planted last year, when the Neal A. Maxwell Institute published its twelve-volume Brief Theological Introductions series. I wouldn't at all disagree with that. (And I should probably note between parentheses that I was heavily involved in that series---not only authoring a volume in it but serving as one of the series editors.) I think the Brief Theological Introductions very much announce that something has been stirring. What they don't do, however, is sort through the process of Book of Mormon theology's emergence. They put on display some of the fruits that the theological tree now bears. Anatomy goes back to look at the planting of the seed, at the work of caring for the sapling, and at the labor involved in picking the fruit that has eventually come. 

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Available through Greg Kofford Books and Amazon

Search, Ponder, and Pray by Julie Smith: your essential guide to revisiting the gospels

By David Evans @ Times and Seasons

While questions form the heart of the book, Smith offers much more. A trained scholar in biblical studies, she intersperses her queries with insights from biblical scholarship. She’ll pose multiple explanations from multiple scholars and ask which the reader finds most likely. Or she’ll provide an insight from a scholar and ask “Do you agree?” Smith invites us not to consume scholarship but rather to engage it. 

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Available through Greg Kofford BooksAmazon, and Deseret Book

Automatic Writing/Bill Davis’s Visions of Seer Stone

By Gospel Tangents Podcast

We’re continuing our conversation with Dr. Brian Hales on Book of Mormon authorship.  What are some naturalistic explanations are there to explain how Joseph Smith could have written the Book of Mormon? Brian will tackle a few more theories, such as automatic writing, as well as Bill Davis recent book, Visions in a Seer Stone.  Are those good explanations?

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Thanksgiving on the Tower of Rameumptom

By Michael Austin @ By Common Consent

It is November again, a month famous for growing mustaches, writing novels, complaining about Christmas music, and, not at all least, practicing gratitude. It’s the gratitude that I want to talk about. For several years, I have really tried to use the ubiquitous November messaging—let’s call it “Big Gratitude”—to try to improve the way that I feel and express thankfulness about many things. It’s harder than it looks, I keep discovering, because of the Rameumptom Problem.  

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Upcoming Events

Mar 11–12 Church History Symposoum, Provo and SLC, UT
Mar 25 Conference on the Legacy of D. Michael Quinn, SLC, UT
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