BCC Papers 6/2, Weeks, The Last Days of Joseph Smith

Full paper here.

Zebulun Q. Weeks, The Last Days of Joseph and Hyrum Smith: A Chronology (Introduction)

But heroic like demi-gods they firmly trod the road to death and glory

-Dan Jones [Read more…]

BCC Papers 6/1: Hardy, The King James Bible

You can read the full paper here.

Grant Hardy, “The King James Bible and the Future of Missionary Work”—Synopsis

The King James Version of the Bible has a long and storied history, but the LDS Church is entering a period when the drawbacks of that 400 year old translation will become more and more apparent, for several reasons: [Read more…]

BCC Papers 5/2: Smith, ‘Suspensive’ Historiography

Is “Suspensive” Historiography the Only Legitimate Kind?

Christopher C. Smith*


I am a PhD student at Claremont Graduate University, doing History of Religions in North America, with a particular focus on Mormon Studies.  I also happen not to be a Mormon.  I have never been a Mormon.  My interest in Mormonism is academic, and I’m especially interested in Joseph Smith.  Joseph Smith is a fascinating puzzle to me, and I have struggled to make sense of who he was and what motivated him to do the things he did.

That of course puts me in a difficult position, because here at Claremont I am surrounded by believing Mormons, and so I’m constantly aware of the risk that the way I make sense of Joseph Smith and the Mormon movement may be offensive to some of my friends and colleagues here.

As a result, I’ve thought a lot about this question of whether it’s legitimate for me as a scholar and a historian to talk about LDS truth claims.  Is it legitimate for me to express views about Joseph Smith that fly in the face of what Mormons believe?  Will this be perceived as an attack?  Will I be considered biased and anti-Mormon by my colleagues?

My Mormon colleagues here at CGU face a similar problem, but from the opposite direction.  If they speak as faithful Mormons from a position of belief in the Church, they run the risk of alienating non-Mormons, of being labeled biased apologists, and of being seen as non-academic and perhaps even unemployable by secular universities. [Read more…]

BCC Papers 5/1: Cranney, Josephus

Josephus and Joseph: A Brief Comparative Study of Mormon Scripture and the Antiquities of the Jews.

by Stephen Cranney [Read more…]

BCC Papers 4/1: Östman, Eldorado

European Newspaper Coverage of the Eldorado Raid: Selected References

by Kim B. Östman [Read more…]

BCC Papers 3/1: Head, Near Eastern Beekeeping

A Brief Survey of Ancient Near Eastern Beekeeping

by Ronan James Head

[Read more…]

BCC Research Collaborative 3: Social History of Evolution

From an exemplary graduate student in history:

I’m interested in researching the impact of evolution on Mormonism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. We know a great deal about Mormons’ doctrinal response to Darwin – men like BH Roberts sought to incorporate it into Mormon doctrine; others like Joseph Fielding Smith virulently opposed it.

What I’m more interested in is its impact on Mormon theologizing in areas other than Biblical literalism, and on Mormon culture and society in general. Thus, I’m less interested in citations to conference talks and The Truth, The Way, The Life, and more interested in more informal references. What did Mormons think about Social Darwinism? Was evolution brought up when genealogical work got hot in the 1890s in relation to issues of ancestry? Did it pop up as men like Roberts sought to clarify the exact nature of the familial relationship between God and man?

References to that sort of theology welcome; to popular culture (Nephi Anderson novels, diaries) treasured.


As always, we wil be glad to consider your questions at research at bycommon consent dot org

BCC Papers 2/2: Barney, Elkenah

On Elkenah as Canaanite El

by Kevin L. Barney

[Read more…]

BCC Research Collaboration 1: Sacramental Emblems

It seems that one of the sample questions was considered of interest: the variety of emblems employed for the sacrament.
[Read more…]

BCC Papers 2/1: Brown, Orthodoxy

Encounters with Orthodoxy: Alexander Men, Modern Martyr

by Samuel Brown


With the publication of my translation of Alexander Men’s Son of Man,1 a three-year sojourn in the community of Orthodox Saints has drawn to a close. While I am glad to move on to other projects, my reminisces have taken a bittersweet turn as I think of the marked changes that have taken place in my soul and mind during this period. Over the course of the translation, I have been introduced to a theology and a post-martyrdom community that have altered my experiential understanding of Mormonism. This rich communion has made me a more committed Latter-day Saint and Christian. [Read more…]

BCC Papers 1/2: Barney, Deseret

On the Etymology of Deseret

by Kevin L. Barney


[Read more…]

BCC Papers 1/1: Östman, Finnish Newspapers

Early Mormonism in Finnish Newspapers, 1840-1849

by Kim Östman


Kim Östman, “Early Mormonism in Finnish Newspapers, 1840-1849,” BCC Papers 1/1, July 2006,

[Read more…]

“BCC Papers”

Announcing “BCC Papers.” [Read more…]