• Episode 78: D&C 135-136

    Shiloh and Ben discuss some historical context and the memorial passage from John Taylor dedicated to Joseph Smith after his death in Carthage, IL. How we remember and memorialize those who have come before us are powerful tools in how we frame current identities, and how we remember and memorialize Joseph Smith still speaks to the strong identity that Latter-day Saints have to the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is an interesting shift between Joseph and Brigham between Sections 135 and 136, and in 136 we see Brigham taking practical advice and standards that the Saints should keep and observe along the long journey…

  • Episode 77: D&C 133-134

    Ben and Shiloh discuss the many repeating themes found in Section 133 from the beginning of the D&C, and they muse over how Section 133 is an interesting original bookend following Section 132. This is as if to show that Section 133 is how things start, and Section 132 is how things ended in Joseph's experience as the leader of the Church. The "declaration of belief" concerning government found in Section 135 has an interesting historical context to the Saints when it was first written and voted on by the Saints while Joseph was away. It shows a very interesting window into the beliefs of the early Saints concerning how…

  • Episode 76: D&C 129-132

    Shiloh and Ben discuss the instructions given from Joseph Smith to the Church concerning how to deal with angels, the physical nature of God, the state of the earth during the millennium, and other end-of-days prophecies. The “revelation” on polygamy pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, written by Joseph directly to Emma, merits a bit of historical context. Polygamy is never an easy discussion, and there is still currently a lot of pain and trauma silently endured by Church members concerning these narratives and doctrines. The Church still believes in and continues to practice polygamy today. As one church leader once told Shiloh: “The church still believes in and…

  • Episode 75: D&C 125-128

    Ben and Shiloh talk about the letters from Joseph Smith to the Church while he was in hiding concerning the new and unique doctrine of baptism for the dead. These letters show an increasing complexity in Joseph's understanding of the "Mormon Cosmology" and in how the Plan of Salvation operates. By the time these letters were written in 1842, Joseph had already started secretly engaging in the practice of plural marriage (showing that he had been thinking of the eternal nature of men and women and of humanity's eternal relationships) and had participated in the rites of the newly established Freemasonry lodge in Nauvoo (which added a new layer of…

  • Episode 74: D&C 124

    Shiloh and guest co-host Christopher Hurtado talk about the early Saints' consistent divine call to create sacred space. Whether in Kirtland, Jackson County, Caldwell County, Daviess County, or Nauvoo, the Saints are instructed to construct a temple in order to perform sacred ordinances or to have revealed sacred things. When, in the New Testament, the Jews asked for a sign of authority for Jesus Christ's actions in driving out the money changers of the temple, he answered by saying "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The people, thinking he was talking about the physical temple of stone, did not understand that "he spake of…

  • Episode 73: D&C 121-123

    Ben and Shiloh are excited to talk about D&C 121, and they find that there are always new rich and beneficial conversations about the scriptures whenever we approach them with excitement. This week's readings come from the time when Joseph and his companions were in Liberty Jail. Liberty Jail becomes a pivotal moment in Joseph's life as he is not really the same person who comes out of that experience as he was when he went into it. In these particular sections we can see, hear, and feel Joseph's trauma, and we can see that God is responding to and comforting Joseph in specific ways that are unique to his…

  • Episode 72: D&C 115-120

    Shiloh and Ben discuss some history of the early Saints' early persecution that is not often talked about in Sunday school. These sections comprise the period in Missouri after the Saints left Kirtland in 1837 until the Missouri "Extermination Order" in October 1838. While the relationship between the early Saints and the Missourians was not perfect in 1838 it was functional and, some historians argue, had begun to heal and mend since the Jackson County expulsion in 1834 and the Clay County expulsion in 1836. However, relationships between the Saints and their Missouri neighbors took a radical downturn in the summer and fall of 1838 leading to Governor Boggs' famous…

  • Episode 71: D&C 111-114 (Updated)

    Ben is joined again by Christopher Hurtado in a discussion about D&C Sections 111-114. The Saints are anxious about their future and ability to establish the Church according to the revelations. The Lord tells them that they need not be concerned with outcomes. He will take care of their debts and the destiny of Zion. They are invited to simply labor with Him. They are to take of their cross and feed His sheep. As we take upon ourselves the name of Christ, the scriptures about Christ become scriptures about us. The priesthood is the power of God to redeem Zion through gentleness, meekness, and love, without compulsion. How does…

  • Episode 70: D&C 109-110

    Ben is joined by Christopher Hurtado for a discussion about the Kirtland Temple dedication. How did the early Saints view the temple and what does the Lord invite us to by way of the symbolism of the temple itself? Does God need a building or is the structure a mode by which we manifest our intention as a people? Prayer is often perceived as a way to inform or persuade God, but if God's knowledge and will are perfect, prayer can only be a mode of changing us and our perceptions to align with God's. How does Joseph Smith's dedicatory prayer show us a pattern of worship and prayer? What…

  • Episode 69: D&C 106-108

    Shiloh is joined with guest co-host Christopher Hurtado to discuss modality in terms of the priesthood. Modes are, in a sense, stories that we believe in as real and that we pour our intentionality into to produce experiences. By "story" it is not necessarily to say a "fiction," but it is a narrative that frames our belief(s) and that we combine with our faith unto action. When we say something as simple as "I am going to go pray to God," we often do not take into account the richness and complexities of the assumed stories and expectations that go into that short phrase. In that statement is the assumption…