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Showing posts from June, 2011


In the Book of Mormon, we learn that a group of Lamanites and dissident Nephites had built a city which they named Jerusalem, being named “after the land of their fathers’ nativity” (Alma 21:1, also see vs. 2). This city was near the waters of Mormon, where Alma the Elder had preached and baptized earlier (see Alma 21:1-2; cf. Mosiah 18:4-16).
After the crucifixion of Christ, the Book of Mormon reports that a great deal of destruction took place, during which several cities are said to have been submerged by water (see 3 Nephi 9:7). This “Jerusalem” is one of those cities. 
            Based on that information, John L. Sorenson placed Jerusalem on the southern shores of Lake Atitlán, which he had designated as the waters of Mormon.[1] “The likely spot [for Jerusalem] is near Santiago Atitlan, on the extreme southwestern tip of Lake Atitlan.”[2] Realizing that Jerusalem was quickly submerged by water, Sorenson notes that “the level of Lake Atitlan has shifted dramatically – by as much…


            First, to clarify, there was only one issue of volume 14. On the website, it calls it issue 1, on the binding it says “Number 1-2.” I decided to just call it volume 14 in the title (above).
This volume may have superseded 18/1 as my personal favorite. This was a very enjoyable read. Of the 19 articles, I have recommended a whopping 13 of them (and thought about recommending a couple more). So many of the articles had useful and interesting information. On top of that, this volume had a lot variety, which (in my opinion) is a trademark of the very best issues of the Review. It covered topics such as Book of Mormon geography, Evangelical/Mormon dialogue, the Christian question (Are Mormons…), anti-Mormonism, the “Bible Code,” and various figures in the Mormon history, such as Joseph Smith (of course), Sidney Rigdon, and George Q. Cannon. In the middle of the volume is a block of reviews and responses to the collaborative effort of Evangelical scholars, The New Mormon …


            Immediately following the huge 12/2 is this rather slim issue of the Review. Without counting the Editors Introduction, this whole issue is shorter than one review (Hamblin’s) in the previous issue. If we count the Editors Introduction, then it is only a few pages longer than Hamblin’s review.
            This issue features only 9 reviews/articles (including the Ed. Intro., which is still the only non-review essay), reviewing only 5 publications. Only four of these reviews/articles are longer than 20 pages, while the other five are all under 10 pages in length.
            Louis Midgely dominates this issue. The two longest pieces (combining to cover more than 85 pages) are from Midgely, both dealing with the ongoing debates about the “Brodie legend.”
This issue may signal the shift that took place in the Review over the years from its focus on the Book of Mormon, to being dedicated to “Mormon studies” in a broad sense. Only one review is centered on the Book of M…


The name “Sariah” presents a particularly interesting case for the Book of Mormon’s historical authenticity. In that volume, it is the name of a Hebrew woman living in Jerusalem around 600 BC who departs with her husband and children into the wilderness to seek a new home, in a distant “promised land” (see 1 Nephi 2:5).

In 1830, this name could have easily been viewed as case-in-point evidence that Joseph Smith was just making the whole Book of Mormon up, creating inauthentic “Hebrew sounding” names by cherry picking name elements from the Bible. At the time, the potential Hebrew equivalent (śryh) was known in the Bible as a Hebrew male name translated as “Seraiah,” not “Sariah.”[1]  To make matters worse, a female name ending in the divine element –iah (-yah or –yahu) was unconventional, because as Hugh Nibley explains, “in female names the yahu element usually comes first.”[2] In essence, everything about this name seemed be to wrong.