Speaker: Dan Vogel

Four Views Of Joseph Smith Historians Debate The Prophet Puzzle

“The mystery of Mormonism cannot be solved until we solve the mystery of Joseph Smith,” Jan Shipps wrote. Four decades later, the prophet continues to puzzle. Was he true prophet, sincere visionary, pious fraud, or con man? In a friendly debate, four historians will each advocate a different hypothesis. Opening statements and rebuttals will be …

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Four Views Of Joseph Smith Historians Debate The Prophet Puzzle

“The mystery of Mormonism cannot be solved until we solve the mystery of Joseph Smith,” Jan Shipps wrote. Four decades later, the prophet continues to puzzle. Was he true prophet, sincere visionary, pious fraud, or con man? In a friendly debate, four historians will each advocate a different hypothesis. Opening statements and rebuttals will be …

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DIAGNOSING THE SEER: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE FIRST VISION

Mormons consider Joseph Smith’s first vision one of the most significant events in religious history; it is by far the most controversial of his visions. Many Mormons maintain that the accounts of the vision are historically accurate, while critics assert that different accounts are inconsistent and historically inaccurate. This session will summarize the various accounts …

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Does the Historicity of the First Vision Matter?

Does it matter if Joseph Smith’s 1838 account of the First Vision (canonized by the LDS in 1880) is not historically reliable, as some Mormon historians have argued in recent decades? In reaction to apologists who insist on the First Vision’s historicity as a litmus test for the faith, some Latter Day Saints of a …

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Fawn McKay Brodie And Joseph Smith: A 60th Anniversary Retrospective

Fawn McKay Brodie And Joseph Smith: A 60th Anniversary Retrospective This session, consisting of two presentations, provides a retrospective on the life and work of the controversial writer-biographer Fawn McKay Brodie. This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of Brodie’s highly influential biography of Joseph Smith, No Man Knows My History. It also …

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In Pursuit Of The Elusive Joseph Smith

Why is Joseph Smith still remembered when many other would be prophets and religious innovators have faded into obscurity? I believe much of the answer lies in the symbiosis of leader and follower that worked to shape the stories Joseph Smith told about himself. If this is so, will we ever be able to know …

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Seerstones, Scrying, and “Translating” Holy Writ: Can a Government Espionage Program Help Us Understand Joseph Smith’s Translation Methods?

Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon (according to some accounts) by burying his face in a hat with a “seerstone.” Skeptics think such methods undermine Joseph’s claim to legitimacy as a prophet, while apologists try to reconcile the apparent facts in a faith-preserving way. Calling on personal experience in a U.S. government remote viewing …

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Unraveling the History and Mystery of the Priesthood

Research and a close analysis of scriptures and the historical record strongly suggest that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery did not receive the priesthood in the manner supposed by most Latter-day Saints. This study also shows it to be unlikely that the priesthood was part of ancient Israel’s religious practices until the time of the …

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The Use and Abuse of Chiasmus in Book of Mormon Studies

The Use and Abuse of Chiasmus in Book of Mormon Studies This paper will demonstrate that simple Hebraic-type chiasmus does not exist in the Book of Mormon except in rare instances, but that there is a natural explanation for these occurrences. This paper will also examine longer, more complex chiasms. Applying the criteria of a …

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