Joseph Smith’s First Vision and President Eyring’s Challenge

Yesterday, the Church released for widespread distribution a beautiful video of the events of the First Vision. That video has been on display at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, but as far as I am aware it was not widely available before yesterday. It is a remarkable video that integrates the various accounts of the First Vision. I especially loved how the video emphasizes the personal aspects of Joseph Smith’s prayer more than any other telling of the First Vision that I have seen.  Here was a 14-year-old boy seeking personal revelation and a remission of sins. I think the added details make the vision even more relatable and personal.

Yesterday there was also a remarkable face-to-face event for youth with Elder Holland and President Eyring.  Reflecting their location in Palmyra, New York, the Apostles spent a lot of time talking about prayer, testimony, and gaining a personal witness.

In particular, I was struck by President Eyring’s final invitation and challenge to the youth and I wanted to share that portion of the event here:

““Our dear young friends, that is our desire for each of you. That you may know for yourself, independent of anyone else, that the God of Heaven is real and he knows you, and that his son has atoned for the sins of the world. Our hope is that you will gain for yourself an unshakable testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

 

 

 

Mercedes-Benz is against Church values?

There is a small but very interesting controversy involving a street name change in the Atlanta, George area.  Mercedes-Benz USA, which is investing in Atlanta, wants to change a street name to “Mercedes-Benz Drive.”  The Church opposes this, according to local Church “spokesperson” Bill Maycock.

The Mormon church will oppose the renaming of Barfield Road to Mercedes-Benz Drive, which goes before the City Council on March 7, according to metro Atlanta church spokesperson Bill Maycock. He called for a separation of church and brand.

 

“The Mercedes-Benz brand is known for prestige and luxury and class status and all that sort of thing,” Maycock said. “In the Atlanta Georgia Temple of the church, we don’t do any of that…It’s not what the Atlanta Temple is. It’s not what the Atlanta Temple teaches its members.”

 

MBUSA met with church leaders, but is driving ahead, according to company spokesperson Donna Boland.

“We don’t feel that the road renaming has an adverse impact or implication on church beliefs, but understand if the church feels it must voice its disagreement to the city,” Boland wrote in an email. “We are focused on being a valued member of the Sandy Springs community and hopefully that will be a more important factor than what this particular road is called.”

 

The road is currently called Barfield in honor of an old farming family, several members of whom also opposed the renaming idea when it was announced in late 2015. The proposal went quiet for over a year due to the controversy, but is back now that construction on the new headquarters at Abernathy and Barfield roads is underway.

 

MBUSA, which is relocating to Sandy Springs from New Jersey, said it has a 40-year “tradition” of naming streets around its facilities for the company. German-based Mercedes-Benz is known for using its name in branding, including recently purchasing the naming rights of Atlanta’s new football and soccer stadium.

The story continues:

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Recapturing the Mormon Trail

Artists Josh Clare, John Burton, and Bryan Mark Taylor worked for years on a project called Saints at Devil’s Gate. It consists of landscapes capturing the Mormon Trail, the 1,300-mile route from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, Utah, that mid-19th century pioneers traveled on their migration west.

The artists’ intention was to pair their paintings with excerpts from historical trail journals by Mormon immigrants, which would allow them to construct a singular persona that could stand for the whole of the pioneer experience.

The paintings record the mundane trail that accompanied the pioneers’ daily wanderings. Practical activities are detailed such as washing clothes, picking wildflowers, and playing music and dancing together in the evenings.

Beyond picturesque beauty, the paintings also explore a sense of the sublime and also sometimes the horrific.

LDS Church History Museum Curator Laura Allred Hurtado discusses with Laura Harris Hales of LDS Perspectives Podcast how researching the history for the book that accompanies the exhibit expanded her understanding of the experience of those who traveled the Mormon trail. For many, it was a rite of passage and the experience of a lifetime.

Join us as we seek a more nuanced glimpse into what the Mormon trail meant to those who traversed it and discuss what we can learn from reading their experiences.

LDS Women Speaking Up and Speaking Out

Editors Jenny Reeder and Kate Holbrook, respectively 19th- and 20th-century women’s historians, discuss their multi-year project to bring LDS women’s speeches together in At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women in this episode of the LDS Perspectives Podcast.

This is the second book to come out of the Church Historian’s Press in as many years with the goal of making LDS women’s experiences, history, and discourses available to the mainstream membership.

Before the reader even opens the book, the nostalgic cover art of At the Pulpit brings to mind its two opposing themes: change and familiarity. One glance at the over-sized corsage adorning Belle Spafford’s tailored dress may spawn a flood of memories. When was it that they stopped having women wear corsages at conference anyway? The scene is as familiar and comforting as it is foreign.

Because women didn’t typically speak in conference settings before the mid-20th century, the definition of “discourse” is stretched a bit for this anthology. To Reeder and Holbrook’s credit, this makes the book seem less like a collection of discourses than treasured glimpses into the relationship LDS women have had to their God over the last 185 years.

It is less a collection of talks than a creative medium for teaching about how attitudes toward the roles of women at home and in the LDS Church have changed and in some ways remained the same.

Many may find the introductions to each discourse the most enjoyable portions of the book. In these brief overviews, readers not only receive context for the discourse but also context for the time in which it is given.

Overall this is a welcome addition to the fine work coming out of the Church History Department and to the library of anyone wishing to entertain a more nuanced view on the amplitude of women’s voices in LDS discourse over the years.

Every Knee Shall Bow, And Tongue Confess: Foreshadowing The Resurrection Ordinance

This is a guest post by Nick Galieti, a podcaster for LDS Perspectives and Book of Mormon Central. Nick Galieti was recipient of the 2015 John Taylor: Defender of the Faith Award by FairMormon, is author of the books Tree of Sacrament, and The Exaltation Equation, and has directed and produced the documentaries Picturing Joseph, and Murder of the Mormon Prophet.

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The Old Testament, New Testament, The Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants record some derivative of the phrase, “every knee shall bow, and tongue confess” with respect to the divinity of Jesus Christ and his Atonement. In Isaiah 45:21-25 it is written (italics added):

21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.

22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

 24 Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.

25 In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

In context, this passage is an assertion not only of the divinity of the Savior and the singular path that leads to the justification of humankind to the father, but implies a sense of allegiance to Him. Continue reading