The new volume of Restoration Studies is out — and I have the first copy here in my hands. If you’re not familiar with it, the first nine volumes of this Mormon studies journal were published irregularly by the Community of Christ’s Temple School. Going forward, Restoration Studies will be an annual journal, jointly published by the John Whitmer Historical Association (JWHA) and the Community of Christ Seminary Press.
Restoration Studies was born in 1980, immediately prior to the JWHA Journal’s 1981 debut. Both journals come out of the Reorganized Latter Day Saint tradition and both examine the Restoration broadly. While the JWHA Journal focuses on history, Restoration Studies primarily publishes articles relating to theological, cultural, and religious studies.
Although there have been just 10 volumes of Restoration Studies over the years compared to 28 of the JWHA Journal, Restoration Studies volumes have frequently been hefty. Restoration Studies Vol. III (1986) was a whopping 356 pages long — a length the JWHA Journal has only ever approached in its most recent three volumes.
The complete runs of Restoration Studies and the JWHA Journal.
The new volume of Restoration Studies is 210 pages, including an index of Volumes I-X, and 15 original articles on an array of subjects that I think you’ll find interesting, whether you’re LDS, Community of Christ, or any other aspect of our shared tradition.
The lead article is President Wallace B. Smith’s “Experiences in Growing a Faith: Reflections on a Twenty-year Journey, 1976–1996.” Smith is a great grandson of Joseph Smith Jr. and is Prophet Emeritus of the Community of Christ. Much of the remarkable transformation of the RLDS Church occurred during his administration — from priesthood ordination for women to the construction of the temple in Jackson County, Missouri. A lot of Mormons may know little more than the bare outlines of this story, which President Smith recounts personally here for the first time.
Several of the articles relate to the early period of Restoration history that is shared among all Latter Day Saint tradition churches. Two of these were contributed by BYU professors. Alonzo Gaskill explores the question, “Does Beelzebub Have a Body? The Corporal Nature of Satan in Early Restoration Experience and Thought.” Mary Jane Woodger examines Joseph Smith’s dreams in her article “‘Yes We Are a Visionary House’: The Restoration of Revelation and Dreams by Joseph Smith.”
In “The Prophet and the Papyrus,” Bill Morain, a retired professor of surgery at Dartmouth Medical School, and author of The Sword Laban: Joseph Smith Jr. and the Dissociated Mind, proposes that Book of Abraham papyrus illustration restored as Facsimile No. 1 can be viewed as akin to a Rorschach test into Joseph Smith’s mind. Andrew Bolton, a Community of Christ apostle, describes how early Mormons in Kirtland modeled their community on the primitive Christian church as described in the Book of Acts in “Pentecost and All Things Common: Acts 2 and 4:31 as Template for Community in Kirtland, 1830–1837.” On the question of whether temple rituals developed in Nauvoo conferred priesthood upon women, Mike Riggs draws upon the Cutlerite experience to offer a reappraisal. (The Cutlerites are the only extant non-Brighamite Restoration church to employ the Nauvoo-era endowment.)
Additional contributors include: David N. Anderson, Dale E. Luffman, Chrystal Vanel, Jeanne Murphey, Donald E. Pitzer, Mark A. Scherer, Graham St. John Stott, and Anthony J. Chvala-Smith.
You can order Restoration Studies Volume X today at Amazon.com.