Feeding the Sheep:
The Foundations of Mormon Practice: Sacraments, Authority, Gifts, Worship
This volume will be a sequel to Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Practice. It will be focused on ecclesiology, i.e., the theology of the church as institution, and will cover such topics as
- priesthood authority
- spiritual gifts
- structure and organization
- boundary maintenance
Expected publication date: spring 2017, Oxford University Press.
Mummies, Manuscripts, and Making Scriptures:
The History and Controversies of the Pearl of Great Price
(with Brian Hauglid)
The Pearl of Great Price is at the focus of the most pressing controversies involving Mormon theology and Mormon history today, including disputes over the historicity of the Book of Abraham, conflicting versions of Joseph Smith’s visionary accounts, and the viability of Mormonism’s professed anti-creedalism. At the same time, the study will impact issues far beyond the scope of Mormon Studies, including questions of canon formation, the sustainability of creeds in the modern church, and the survival of enchanted worlds in a secular age.
Table of Contents:
- Introduction: The place of the PGP in LDS scripture, Mormon studies, and religious studies.
- Chapter 1: Joseph Smith, and the making of modern scripture. A historical account of the component parts of the PGP (particularly the Book of Moses and the Book of Abraham) and the history of its compilation and subsequent canonization. This chapter would chart the progress of the PGP from a missionary pamphlet in 1851 to scripture in 1880.
- Chapter 2: "Caught up to an exceedingly high mountain." The Book of Moses. A detailed historical and cultural analysis of the Book of Moses in terms of its production, and place in LDS culture and curriculum from the 1830s to the present.
- Chapter 3: "Zion was taken up into heaven." Theological Contributions of the Book of Moses. An argument for the theological primacy of the Book of Moses
- Chapter 4: The Book of Moses and the Book of Genesis: Textual Considerations and Conundrums. What did Smith mean by a "new translation?"
- Chapter 5: "Written by his own hand, upon papyrus." The curious history of the Book of Abraham. From mummies to the Met.
- Chapter 6: "These two facts do exist" Theological Contributions of the Book of Abraham. Mormonism’s new cosmology.
- Chapter 7: Failed narratives and Fashioning new ones.
The cultural and intellectual setting of Joseph Smith’s Abrahamic "translation." Can this text be saved?
- Chapter 8: Emending the scriptures: JS and the translation of the Bible (JS-Matthew)
Mormon millennialism then and now.
- Chapter 9: Historicizing the Origins of Mormonism (JS-History)
Introducing Smith’s First Vision to the world (and to the Mormons). The problem of competing First Vision accounts.
- Chapter: 10: Of Creeds and Articles (The Articles of Faith)
Representing Mormonism in an anti-creedal church. From Fraud to Philandery to Football in the public imagination.
- Chapter 11: The Fading of Millennialism. Mormonism emerged in the midst of a virtual frenzy of millennialism sweeping America during the Second Great Awakening. After the failure of the Saints to establish a Zion in Missouri, the Mormons continued to anticipate their return to reclaim the land from which they had been forcibly evicted in the 1830s. The canonization of Matthew 24 was perhaps the last, desperate gesture to keep alive a hope that even then was fast becoming a tenuous relic of Mormon thought.
- Chapter 12: Conclusion.
A nineteenth century chronicler noted that only three works were regularly studied in Mormon Church curricula: two were works by Parley Pratt. The third was the Pearl of Great Price. How can we account for its demotion in the LDS gaze, and is that trajectory likely to continue? As a related question, What are the prospects for Mormonism’s "open canon"?
Expected publication date: early 2018, Oxford University Press.