LDS Perspectives #54: Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation: Part 1 with Dr. Ken Alford

The JST in the D&C
with Dr. Ken Alford

LDS Perspectives Podcast is now one year old!

To celebrate, LDS Perspectives is holding a special first anniversary double episode on Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible.

In this first anniversary episode, Dr. Kenneth (Ken) Alford reviews the historical background of the Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation and important ways we see the Bible translation influence the Doctrine and Covenants.

Ken Alford studied the Joseph’s Bible translation extensively as an undergraduate at BYU in the 1970s. Ken now teaches at BYU in the Department of Church History and Doctrine. But for the intervening decades, Ken was a member of the United States Army, including assignments as Strategic Leadership department chair at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., associate professor of computer science at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and serving on the Army Secretariat staff at the Pentagon. This varied background provides Ken context for the way Joseph’s evolving understanding of the Bible text matured.

Though the LDS Church did not retain Joseph’s Bible translation after the evacuation of Nauvoo, it is clear that the Bible translation was an active part of Joseph’s early theological development and instruction of Church members in what are now sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. New insights from recently discovered documents expand our appreciation of the interaction between the Bible and the Doctrine and Covenants. Ken cites Brigham Young’s 1844 comments, suggesting that had Joseph ever been able to publish the Bible translation, it would have evolved beyond what we have today.

Taunalyn Rutherford of LDS Perspectives not only interviews Dr Alford, but adds perspective from her experience with the Church in India.

Next week’s podcast will be the second anniversary episode, as Laura Harris Hales interviews Dr. Thomas Wayment about new research that sheds light on how Joseph went about translating the Bible.

3 thoughts on “LDS Perspectives #54: Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation: Part 1 with Dr. Ken Alford

  1. So… tell me more about this “teenager’s closet” otherwise known as the First Presidency safe.

  2. I haven’t seen it, but from the discussion, it appears to be a space where precious items and documents are kept, but apparently it was not organized until the JSP team initiated a cataloguing effort under President Hinckley.

    Another fascinating artifact I recently learned about was John Taylor’s shaving case. Apparently the case had a false bottom where a few precious documents were kept. The documents were transcribed by a researcher I met at JWHA this weekend, but the shaving case itself has disappeared. It is suspected that some member of the Taylor family felt it ought to remain in the custody of the Taylor family rather than held by the Church Museum, but it could be that someone screwed up the cataloguing and it’s languishing in the bottom of a box that hasn’t been documented properly.

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