Thursday, November 22, 2007

Learning to appreciate church history

I was about to post some comments at an LDS blog, but had second thoughts, realizing that my comments would be poorly received there. How much better to share these thoughts and fond memories on my own blog.

I am in my mid-fifties, and cannot recall when I first formed a more comprehensive understanding about Joseph's gift of translation. Must have had roots in early primary lessons. Insights about seer-stones and the Urim and Thummim also developed along the same lines. If there was ever anything suppressed or secret relating to Joseph's use of such instruments, I was never aware of it. Perhaps my experience was different from that of Utah mormons because my more liberal California upbringing. :-)

I remember how entranced I was as a college freshman to discover the LDS Instutute library, a little closet stuffed with books and magazines from wall to wall and top to bottom. I spent many days there reading the big collection of Dialogue, and devouring Journal of Discourses. I read and revisited Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I fell in love with the Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, and the writings of John Taylor. I lived vicariously in the fiery sermons of Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball.

Though I flunked all my college courses, it was a great preparatory regimen for my mission.

I also discovered the core of authoritative LDS writers, building on the tradition of Talmage and Widtsoe. Hugh Nibley and Truman Madsen were my modern-day heroes. And I learned great respect for the Doctrines of Salvation-Gospel Questions-Origin and Destiny-Mormon Doctrine that added upon the bulwark and legacy of restoration scholarship.

I wish I could go back to those times. Things were so much better then.

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