Our conference at SVU was a great success. The campus was beautiful and treated us with the best of “Southern hospitality.” The entire conference was recorded and is available at


Session 1 – 9:00
– 9:00 – 9:15, Welcome, etc.
– 9:15 – 9:35, First Paper: Jeremiah John (Southern Virginia University), “Law and Church in Section 42 of the Doctrine and Covenants”
– 9:35 – 9:55, Second Paper: Nathan Oman (College of William and Mary ), “‘I Give unto You My Law’: Section 42 as a Legal Text and the Paradoxes of Divine Law
– 9:55 – 10:15, Discussant (TBA)
– 10:15 – 10:45, General Discussion

University Forum
11:00 – noon

Lunch in the campus dining hall
Noon – 1:15

Session 2 – 1:30
– 1:30 – 1:50, First Paper: Russell Fox (Friends University), “‘Thou Wilt Remember the Poor’: Liberation Theology and a Radical Interpretation of ‘The Laws of the Church of Christ”
– 1:50 – 2:10, Second Paper: Robert Couch (Willamette University), “Consecration and the End of the Poor”
– 2:10 – 2:30, Discussant (TBA)
– 2:30 – 3:00, General Discussion

3:00 – 3:30

Session 3 – 3:30
– 3:30 – 3:50, First Paper: Karen Spencer (Independent Scholar), “To Teach or Not To Teach: Three Possible Interpretations of D&C 42:12-14”
– 3:50 – 4:10, Second Paper: Kristine Haglund (Dialogue), “‘The Beauty of the Work of Thine Own Hands’: On the Possibility of an Aesthetic for Zion”
– 4:10 – 4:30, Third Paper: Joseph Spencer (University of New Mexico), “Remnants of Revelation: On the Canonical Reading of D&C 42”
– 4:30 – 4:50, Discussant (TBA)
– 4:50 – 5:15, General Discussion

Break 5:30 – 6:00

Dinner in Lexington 6:15 – 8:15

The date is set: we’ll be presenting the papers from this seminar at a conference at Southern Virginia University (in Buena Vista, Virginia) on September 10, 2010. A schedule for the day will be forthcoming shortly.

We’ve come to our final post!  A note before I forget–I’m away from home and I’ve cut off my access to email.  So if any of you are trying to send me email, I can’t get it until the 21st.  Let’s do find some other way of getting in touch if it’s urgent, though. (more…)

First, I’ll note that these verses have a fairly complicated textual history, for which it is useful to return to Grant Underwood’s textual analysis, pp. 123-126.

Verses 53-56 add an important clarification to the ideas of consecration and stewardship, by making a distinction between the system being revealed here and fully common ownership.  I stumble a bit at the idea of Saints paying each other directly, rather than having all transactions go through the storehouse.  Is there some secondary economy contemplated, in which people could buy and sell laterally? And “pay” introduces some questions–are we talking about a monetary transaction, or system of bartering?  Does it matter?  Ultimately, though, it seems to me that this clarification makes it possible that one should “stand in the place of [her] stewardship”–setting up the requisite confidence in personal ownership to motivate careful and efficient care and husbanding of  resources.

Verse 56 seems like an abrupt interjection of a new and, at first glance, unrelated topic.  The traditional interpretation of these verses asserts that they refer to Joseph’s “translation” of the New Testament that was underway at the time this revelation was received.  This seems historically reasonable, but hermeneutically unsatisfying.  We have to wonder why these verses are included in this important revelation, and whether they are intended to have a wider valance than a strictly historical interpretation of the text can render (which is to say that,  to a lit. crit. wannabe, practically everything looks like an invitation to grandiose speculation on the place of The Text in the large scheme of things). (more…)

From our abundance of discussion this week, I have chosen to highlight our thoughts on three topics: clothing, death/healing, and Zion. (more…)

Verses 40-52 discuss pride, clothing, cleanliness, idleness, and healing. I will begin with a verse-by-verse commentary, with any helpful cross-references I found. Then I will add some theological thoughts and questions, also arranged verse-by-verse. (more…)

Thanks everyone for your great comments on my post.  When exactly are we supposed to do this summary, and how should we do it?

36 That my covenant people may be gathered in one in that day when I shall come to my temple. And this I do for the salvation of my people.

37 And it shall come to pass, that he that sinneth and repenteth not shall be cast out of the church, and shall not receive again that which he has consecrated unto the poor and the needy of my church, or in other words, unto me—

38 For inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these, ye do it unto me.

39 For it shall come to pass, that which I spake by the mouths of my prophets shall be fulfilled; for I will consecrate of the riches of those who embrace my gospel among the Gentiles unto the poor of my people who are of the house of Israel. (more…)

These three verses, much like verses 30-32 before them, have made it clear that there remains a great deal of historical, economic, and philosophical analysis remains to be done before theological questions can be productively engaged. The discussion this week primarily turned on the viability of using the language of capitalism to make sense of D&C 42; on the competing notions of excess, residue, and capital; and on the structural differences between the 1831 and 1835 “systems” implied in the corresponding versions of the revelation. Very few conclusions, however, were reached. (more…)