An important statement concerning the Church and Islam

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The evening took place in the large (and full) auditorium of the Joseph Smith Building at Brigham Young University.
(Image in the Wikimedia Commons public domain)

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First of all, however, Kyler Rasmussen’s latest installment in his Bayesian Inquiry series has now been released:

“Estimation of the proofs Episode 16: On various and variable themes”

[Editor’s Note: This is the sixteenth in a series of 23 essays summarizing and evaluating Book of Mormon-related evidence from a Bayesian statistical perspective. See the FAQ at the end of the introductory episode for details on methodology.]

It seems unlikely that an old book would have so many common themes and ideas at the start of the 19th century.

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The following are also relatively new to the Interpreter Foundation website – I was busy yesterday:

Nibley conferences: Come follow me Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 5 “It is the Spirit of Revelation”: D&A 6-9

In 1978, 1979, and 1980 Hugh Nibley taught at Doctrine and Covenants Sunday School. Cassette recordings have been made of these classes and some have survived and were recently digitized by Steve Whitlock. Most of the tapes were in pretty bad shape. The original recordings usually don’t stop or start at the start of the lesson and there is background noise. Volumes vary, probably depending on where the recorder has been placed in the room. Many are at very low volume but in most cases it is possible to understand the words. In a few cases, the ends of a class have been placed in a space left by a different class. There is some confusion around D & C90-100 which could not be discovered so these recordings are as they were on the tapes. Even with these flaws and missing lessons, we believe they will be interesting to listen to and valuable to your Come follow me study programme. This week we have three relevant conferences for January 25-31 Come follow me Classes.

Audio round table: Come follow me Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 44 “A house in my name”: D&A 124

The radio round table performs for Come follow me Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 44, “A house in my name” on D&C 124, with Martin Tanner, Kris Frederickson and Mike Parker. This particular roundtable was taken, without commercial and other interruptions, from the September 19, 2021 broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show. The entire broadcast of that date can be heard on https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreter-radio-show-September-19-2021/. The performer radio show airs every Sunday evening from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640. Or, alternatively, you can listen live during that hour on the Internet at ktalkmedia.com.

And Jonn Claybaugh kindly contributed the following brief help for students and teachers of the scriptures:

Come follow me – D&A Study and teaching aids Lesson 44, October 25-October 31: D&C 124 – “A house in my name”

You might also find this interesting and useful:

“New Joseph Smith Papers Podcast: Why the Nauvoo Temple is Essential to Understanding the Restoration”

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The Islam conference that BYU hosted on Monday and Tuesday went very well. (Again, well done to Professor Grant Underwood, I was even satisfied with the sometimes quite personal statements that were elicited during the final wrap-up session, which I had the privilege of moderating. (My job was very easy. : I just introduced some kind of theme and the ten speakers still present responded.)

I understand that the conference presentations, which were broadcast live, will soon be available online, if they are not already. (I checked a few minutes ago, and they didn’t seem to be there yet.)

From what I understand, the carefully choreographed discussion between David A. Bednar and Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will also be online. concluded the conference last night. (Some of the material in their joint presentation came straight out of the Christopher Hitchens Memorial File “How Religion Poisons Everything”What they had to say was important for a number of reasons, including his fairly explicit repudiation of anti-Islamic bigotry. I really enjoyed it. (In the past, I have had more than a few Islamophobic Latter-day Saints who majestically announced to me that, unlike me, they were on the side of the prophets and apostles and not with the murderous followers of Muhammad. I knew full well. that they were wrong, of course, but now there is more and more on the public record to to prove that they are wrong.). And I also appreciated their mention of the Islamic Translation Series:

“Brothers Bednar and Gong Discuss How to Better Understand Muslims: Church Leaders Soon to Present Booklet: ‘Muslims and Latter-day Saints: Beliefs, Values, and Lifestyles'”

Incidentally, Gary E. Stevenson, also a member of the Twelve, was also present. He spoke briefly beforehand, at the dinner held for the conference participants as well as for the members of the committee that planned the conference and for some guests. We had at least one member of the Seventy there, as well as several Auxiliary Chiefs, including my friends. Sharon Eubank (who, she told me, was heading to Egypt today), Ahmad Corbitt, and Brad wilcox. Such representation of high-ranking Church leaders – a quarter of the Quorum of the Twelve, for example – speaks volumes about the seriousness of the issue of anti-Muslim bigotry among some of our members. It’s very useful.

This was far from the first public expression of the Church leadership on its attitude towards Islam and Muslims. Two of these most important statements, among many others, are:

The June 1979 issue of Teaches – at the time, the official Church magazine was carrying the text of an important address by Howard W. Hunter, then a member of the Council of the Twelve but who would serve briefly as the fourteenth President of the Church. He had originally delivered his remarks at Brigham Young University in February of the same year:

https://www.lds.org/ensign/1979/06/all-are-alike-unto-god?lang=eng

A year earlier, in February 1978, the First Presidency – then composed of Spencer W. Kimball, N. Eldon Tanner, and Marion G. Romney – issued an extraordinary message on “The Love of God for All Mankind” which remains essential reading for any Latter-day Saint who reflects on questions concerning Islam:

http://emp.byui.edu/SATTERFIELDB/FDINT203/FIrst%20Presidency%20Statement%20Feb%201978.html

Elders Bednar and Gong quoted this 1978 statement in their remarks last night.


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