Witnesses: Watch to commemorate the 177th anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith

How reliable is the Bible? and Accounts of Joseph Smith’s martyrdom (from BYU Studies)


BYU Studies


“Is the Bible Reliable? A Case Study”

By Eric A. Eliason

boy reading the Bible
As Latter-day Saints, we “believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly” (Articles of Faith 1:8). But what does that mean? In this case study, Eric A. Eliason uses King Josiah’s reforms as found in 2 Kings to examine this question.
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“Is the Song of Solomon Scripture?”

By Dana M. Pike with Eric A. Eliason
The Song of Solomon in the Old Testament is a book that has received negative and positive attention through the years. Coauthors Dana M. Pike and Eric A. Eliason examine what has been said about this book as well as the ways in which verses from this book have been used in Latter-day Saint teachings. The main question driving this study is: Is the Song of Solomon scripture? Take a moment to read this article to learn the authors’ conclusion.
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Come, Follow Me

Doctrine and Covenants 137 to 138

“The Vision of the Redemption of the Dead”

Family of Joseph F. Smith, 1901
D&C 137 and 138 teach important and comforting doctrines: The Lord judges people according to the desire of their hearts and allows covenants to be made after death. Saints are engaged in teaching the gospel in the world of spirits. These doctrines are manifestations of God’s love for us.
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Giving Thanks

“What Think You of Thanksgiving?”

By John B. Stohlton
We recommend this short speech by John Stohlton, given at BYU years ago, which reflects on the purpose for the Thanksgiving holiday: “As we contemplate our blessings, thought should be given as to how we can share a portion of our material blessings with those who have so little—for it is through sharing with our brothers and sisters that we most eloquently express our thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father.”
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Church History

“John Taylor’s June 27, 1854, Account of the Martyrdom”

By LaJean Purcell Carruth, Mark Lyman Staker
Statues of Joseph and Hyrum at Carthage
As we study the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith this week, be sure to read John Taylor’s 1854 account of those events. Elder Taylor shares his unwavering testimony of Joseph as a prophet. He acknowledges the roles that plural marriage and the destruction of the slanderous Nauvoo Expositor played in the events. Taylor says that he was the first to recommend that the Nauvoo Expositor be destroyed, declaring that the Saints “acted strictly according to law.” He claims that the murderers hurt themselves more than they hurt Joseph and Hyrum.

Taylor’s speech is detailed and takes about 30 minutes to read. The article includes a discussion of the history of Doctrine and Covenants section 135.

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Church History

“Life in Nauvoo, June 1844: Vilate Kimball’s Martyrdom Letters”

By Ronald K. Esplin
Vilate Kimball’s letters provide a detailed view of the emotional and confused atmosphere in Nauvoo during the two weeks leading up to the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, as well as give an insight into the impact of the murders on the city after the event. Read her letters in this short article.
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BYU Studies Podcast

Latest Episodes

Jeffrey R. Holland
Book review of Documents
In this week’s podcast, read for you by Brendon French, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gives a behind-the-scenes look into the development process leading to the building of the BYU Jerusalem Center, including the site selection process, apostolic meetings regarding the nonproselytizing agreement, and the fierce backlash the project received.

Also released on our podcast this week is a book review responding to the Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volumes 7–9. BYU Church History and Doctrine Professor Richard E. Bennett says of these, “This work is so incredibly comprehensive that context is as much the message of the JSP as content. Unlike contemporary Bibles of the British Foreign Bible Society and of the American Bible Society that were being published ‘without note or comment,’ Joseph Smith’s papers never stand alone.” Listen to the full review here.

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