Insights: An Ancient Window
The Newsletter of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies
Nine Scrolls from the Dead Sea Come to BYU
Few people in the United States have had the opportunity to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. But for thousands from Utah and nearby regions, that situation is about to change.
For fifty years these ancient documents have tantalized the world with the insights they might hold for our understanding of ancient civilization, especially early Judaism and Christianity. But most people have been unable to see any of the scrolls for themselves, since they have been scattered around the world in the possession of scholars who have been puzzling over their meaning.
Nine actual scroll panels or fragments from the Dead Sea area have recently arrived at BYU, where they will be on display in two cooperating exhibits in the Museum of Art. One exhibit, "The Story of Masada: Discoveries from the Excavations," displays artifacts from the mountain-top fortress near the Dead Sea where Jewish rebels fought against Roman rule. Fourteen Hebrew scroll fragments were found at Masada. Four of those ancient scrolls are part the exhibit. These scrolls contain passages from the Psalms, the book of Jubilees, and Ezekiel 37. The Ezekiel scroll has never before been displayed publicly.
The second exhibit, "The Dead Sea Scrolls and Discoveries from Qumran," displays scrolls and artifacts, a model of the Qumran community where the Dead Sea Scrolls were produced, and an electronic database that brings the power of modern technology to bear on the study of the scrolls.
This exhibit features four scrolls from Jordan, plus a rare Hebrew deed normally on display in the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem. With the addition of the scrolls in this exhibit, "the great exhibit of artifacts and scrolls from Masada just got greater," says John W. Welch, codirector of the exhibitions and editor of BYU Studies.
All nine ancient Hebrew manuscripts will be on display in the BYU Museum of Art. The exhibits opened March 13 and will run until September 18. Tickets are required; call the BYU ticket office at 378-BYU1 or 1-800-322-BYU1. The two exhibits are in adjoining rooms. One ticket admits a person to both.
The four Jordanian scrolls have never before left the Kingdom of Jordan. Two of them have not been on public display for over thirty years. One of them is the oldest known fragment of a biblical book anywhere in the world.
"Many requests have been made for the Jordanian scrolls," says Weston Fields, executive officer of the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation in Jerusalem. "The others have always been turned down. But when the request came from BYU, the Jordanian government was willing because they trusted the LDS people, BYU, and FARMS. That trust made all the difference."
The oldest Jordanian scroll is from an ancient copy of the biblical book of Exodus. It is written in the paleo-Hebrew script. This form of writing was used in ancient Israel in the days of Isaiah and Lehi.
The largest of the Jordanian fragments is an appendix to the Qumran Rule of the Community from about 50 B.C. It speaks of a great banquet to be held when the Messiah comes. The other texts from Jordan contain Messianic prophecies from the Old Testament and words of Moses not found elsewhere.
The fifth scroll in the FARMS exhibit is one of several Hebrew deeds from the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt in A.D. 132 that were discovered in 1961 in the Cave of Letters, about ten miles north of Masada. One of those deeds contains the name of a Jewish man, Alma ben Yehuda.
In preparation for viewing the exhibits, you may want to read or view an introductory lecture by John W. Welch, entitled "Masada and the World of the New Testament," which provides background information and poses questions that will help you get the most from the experience (see the order form on the back of this page).
You may receive a $2 discount on tickets by identifying yourself as a FARMS subscriber when you call the ticket office. In addition, FARMS will sponsor several tours through both exhibits with special information and lectures given by scroll scholars. These will be conducted approximately monthly through the run of the exhibits. The first FARMS tour will take place in the early afternoon of 24 April, a time when some FARMS subscribers will be in Provo for BYU graduation. Call the FARMS office for details.
Restoration Themes Explored
More than three hundred people attended "Pioneers of the Restoration," a conference sponsored by FARMS and BYU Religious Education that presented papers selected from a forthcoming volume in honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson, emeritus professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University.
The first paper, "The Role of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible in the Restoration of Doctrine," was written by Robert J. Matthews, emeritus professor of ancient scripture at BYU and president of the Mount Timpanogos Temple.
Joseph Smith labored from 1830 to his death in 1844 to make corrections and divine additions to all the books of the Old and New Testaments, compiled into the Joseph Smith Translation (JST). Fulfilling prophecy, Joseph Smith restored "plain and precious truths" to the Bible through revelation; in fact, a number of doctrines were restored through this process before they were expressed in revelations that became the Doctrine and Covenants.
Next, John W. Welch, Robert K. Thomas Professor of Law at BYU, presented "Oliver Cowdery's Response to Alexander Campbell." In February 1831, Alexander Campbell published the first criticism of the Book of Mormon. Campbell argued numerous points that he felt disproved the authenticity of Joseph Smith's "romance."
Oliver Cowdery's rebuttal is one of the few official responses to anti-Mormon attacks. Rather than responding to each of Campbell's attacks, Cowdery addressed only three key concepts of the restored gospel: priesthood, Zion, and temples. Welch summarized each discussion. By skillfully putting down Campbell's arguments while at the same time teaching gospel principles, Cowdery provided a positive model for responding to anti-Mormon criticisms.
Scott H. Faulring, a research associate at FARMS, outlined "The Return of Oliver Cowdery." Faulring detailed the events leading from the excommunication of the church's Second Elder over charges of theft, forgery, and apostasy to his rebaptism ten and a half years later. Citing correspondence and historical records, Faulring showed that Cowdery sincerely desired reaffiliation with the church, but Cowdery believed he first deserved a formal absolution of the false accusations made against him by what he called "ambitious and wicked men." He never received it, but in time his intense desire to be reunited with the Saints overcame that demand. Cowdery was rebaptised in November 1848, having maintained his credibility as a Book of Mormon witness throughout that time.
In "John Gilbert's 1892 Account of the 1830 Printing of the Book of Mormon," Royal Skousen, professor of English at BYU and editor of the Book of Mormon Critical Text Project, reported the account given by the 1830 edition's typesetter sixty-three years after the Book of Mormon's first printing. To determine the accuracy of the statement, Skousen researched each assertion, painstakingly comparing it to the physical evidence available today (i.e., what is extant of the original and printer's manuscripts, the "uncut" sheets, copies of the original 1830 edition, and various notes and accounts of the process). Despite Gilbert's age when he gave the account (he was ninety), Skousen said that the typesetter's memory appears to be remarkably accurate on most assertions, and where he was wrong, the error is easily explainable.
Andrew H. Hedges, visiting assistant professor of church history and doctrine at BYU, spoke on "Pleasing the Eye and Gladdening the Heart: Joseph Smith and the Fullness of the Earth." At a time when religious leaders were shunning the physical world as "burdensome, miserable, restricting, and even evil," Joseph Smith was openly showing his love of nature, life, and the innocent pleasures of the physical world. Hedges searched early accounts to determine what characteristics were considered ideal for a Christian in nineteenth-century America. Joseph Smith's character and actions contrasted starkly with that ideal, and so he offended many people. The purpose of the earth to delight and sustain man (see D&C 59:18) was one of the precious truths lost in the great apostasy, said Hedges, and Joseph Smith's restoration of and courage to live this teaching testify of his prophetic calling.
Susan Easton Black's presentation, "The Tomb of Joseph," considered evidence that a cave featuring a cut-stone arch in Nauvoo may be the site of the tomb in which Joseph Smith intended himself to be buried. Black, professor of church history and doctrine at BYU and associate dean of general education and honors, said that the Prophet was never interred in the limestone burial vault he had built just south of the Nauvoo Temple, even though he had expressly directed that he be, and even though his body was moved twice to different sites. The tomb was lost or assumed destroyed following the Saints' trek West.
While serving a church mission in Nauvoo in the summer of 1995, Black explored the area and found a cave that fit descriptions of the tomb. She teamed up with an expert stonemason, Robert L. Christensen, to confirm that the stones in the arch were cut by the same artisan who worked on the Nauvoo Temple. This cave is no mere wine cellar, but there is not yet enough evidence to determine whether it is the tomb of Joseph.
In "The Authorship Debate concerning Lectures on Faith: Exhumation and Reburial," Noel B. Reynolds, professor of political science at BYU and president of FARMS, related the controversy over the lectures given to the school of the prophets in the early days of the church. The lectures, which have a decidedly Protestant style and content, were originally included in the Doctrine and Covenants, but the church dropped them from the 1921 edition, presumably because some of the lectures' teachings appear to contradict LDS doctrine. Most scholars have assumed that Joseph Smith wrote or at least upheld the lectures, but three separate methods of scholarly study, plus other circumstantial evidence, have shown Sidney Rigdon to be the most likely candidate for principal authorship of the lectures.
The authorship puzzle will probably never be solved because too many of the pieces are missing. The issue may not be worthy of much scholarly attention, which is Reynolds's reason for the subtitle of his paper. But asking such seemingly unimportant questions and searching for answers can often contribute to our understanding of other matters, such as, in this case, the interaction of the "First Presidency" in the church's early days.
Donald Q. Cannon, professor of church history and doctrine and associate dean of religious education at BYU, wrote a paper entitled, "Words of Comfort: Funeral Sermons of the Prophet Joseph Smith." The Prophet preached eleven known funeral sermons in his life, sermons "designed to comfort and instruct the Saints." We have written records of eight of those, the most well-known being the King Follett Discourse. Cannon highlighted several points and key teachings from Joseph's sermons and retrospective comments, such as the plan of salvation and resurrection. "Joseph Smith taught some of the most profound doctrines of the Restoration in funeral sermons," said Cannon.
"The Ram and the Lion: Lyman Wight and Brigham Young," a presentation by Davis Bitton, emeritus professor of history at the University of Utah, acquainted the audience with two early apostles whose lives at first paralleled but later took very different turns when Joseph Smith died. Both Lyman Wight and Brigham Young were tireless missionaries who held high positions in the church and were entrusted with much leadership and care over the Saints. However, after Joseph Smith's martyrdom, Wight became embittered when Young ascended to the presidency, and eventually Wight fell away. Bitton pointed out that Wight missed two formative experiences that helped shape the Twelve and bind them together-the exodus from Missouri and the mission to England-and he speculated how this may have led Wight to feel less loyalty to the group and to Brigham as its leader. Wight was given many opportunities to rejoin with the Saints, but he refused and was eventually excommunicated.
Richard O. Cowan, professor of church history and doctrine at BYU, gave a presentation entitled "Richard L. Anderson and Worldwide Church Growth: A Tribute." Richard Lloyd Anderson's ground-breaking efforts in LDS missionary work led to our modern formal system of teaching the gospel. In the mid-1940s, Anderson put into practice some ideas he had about reaching investigators. For example, he stressed distributing copies of the Book of Mormon instead of simply handing out tracts, since that book of scripture is the primary teaching tool of the gospel.
As "the Anderson Plan" spread, missionary success soared. The missionaries were enthusiastic, and investigators were being converted by the spirit of the Book of Mormon. Anderson's ideas contributed to developing church proselyting plans. Branching out from a single missionary's area to the church worldwide, the ideas from "the Anderson Plan" have helped missionaries over the years and throughout the world spread the exciting news of the gospel.
The conference presentations are available in three formats on the enclosed order form: as audiotapes, videos, and unedited, prepublication drafts. Expanded and revised versions of these papers will later be published in a larger collection of papers.
More on the Hanging of Zemnarihah
The Book of Mormon details the execution of a leader of the Gadianton robber band in the following words:
And their leader, Zemnarihah, was taken and hanged upon a tree, yea, even upon the top thereof until he was dead. And when they had hanged him until he was dead they did fell the tree to the earth, and did cry with a loud voice, saying: May the Lord preserve his people in righteousness and in holiness of heart, that they may cause to be felled to the earth all who shall seek to slay them because of power and secret combinations, even as this man hath been felled to the earth. (3 Nephi 4:28-9)
In the law of Moses, stoning was the usual method of execution for Israelites guilty of sin. Nevertheless, there is evidently provision for hanging in Deuteronomy 21:22-3: "And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day."1
Most early rabbis understood this to mean that the bodies of stoned malefactors were subsequently hanged for public display to warn others. Some of them held that only blasphemers and idol-worshipers were to be hanged.2 But one of the Dead Sea Scrolls supports the use of hanging for certain crimes and may shed light on why Zemnarihah was hanged rather than stoned. The Temple Scroll calls for execution by hanging for the crime of treason:
If there were to be a spy against his people who betrays his people to a foreign nation or causes evil against his people, you shall hang him from a tree and he will die. . . . If there were a man with a sin punishable by death and he escapes amongst the nations and curses his people /and/ the children of Israel, he also you shall hang on the tree and he will die. Their corpses shall not spend the night on the tree; instead you shall bury them that day because they are cursed by God and man, those hanged on a tree; thus you shall not defile the land which I give you for inheritance.3
The Gadianton band led by Zemnarihah consisted of "dissenters" who had turned against the Nephites (Helaman 11:24-6; 3 Nephi 1:27-8). Giddianhi, Zemnarihah's predecessor as leader of the band, admitted that his people had dissented from the Nephites (3 Nephi 3:9-11). It is also of interest that Giddianhi swore "with an oath" to destroy the Nephites (3 Nephi 3:8), clearly cursing the people as also mentioned in the Temple Scroll.
During the great war with the Lamanites, the Nephites regularly executed dissenters who refused to defend their country against enemy invasion (Alma 51:15, 19-20; 62:6-10). Later, members of the Gadianton band were also executed if they did not renounce their evil ways and rejoin the Nephite nation (3 Nephi 5:4-5). We are not told how these traitors were executed, but the story of Zemnarihah, along with the evidence of the Temple Scroll, suggests that they may have been hanged.4
1. John W. Welch has noted that Jewish law required that the tree on which a criminal was hanged be cut down and buried with the body, and he noted that the hanging was principally to suit the punishment to the crime. He further demonstrated the execrational nature of Zemnarihah's execution. See "The Execution of Zemnarihah," in Reexploring the Book of Mormon, ed. Welch, (1992), 250-2, and his sources.
4. Some have wondered if Nehor may have been hanged, since Alma 1:15 speaks of him acknowledging his faults "between the heavens and the earth." However, this may have reference to the fact that he had been taken "upon the top of the hill Manti." In any event, we are merely told that "he suffered an ignominious death."
Based on research by John A. Tvedtnes.
Scholars to Speak about the Restoration
On 7 June FARMS and the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History at BYU will sponsor a conference on "Ancient Scriptures and the Restoration." Participants will take a detailed look at the role that ancient scripture played in the restoration of the gospel and in its subsequent development.
Richard L. Bushman, a professor of history from Columbia University, will give a paper on "The Rhetoric of Revelation: Ancient and Modern Models." Also featured in the program will be Royal Skousen, BYU professor of English, who will discuss "Translating the Book of Mormon: Evidence from the Original Manuscript."
The conference will be chaired by Ronald K. Esplin, professor of church history and the director of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History, and Noel B. Reynolds, professor of political science and president of FARMS.
The event, which is open to the public without charge, will be held in the auditorium of the Joseph Smith Building. It will begin at 10:00 A.M. and will extend into the afternoon, with a one-hour lunch break.
Other papers at the conference will include
New FARMS publications
Review Looks at Old and New Subjects
The most recent issue of the FARMS Review of Books examines books that attempt to promote the faith of Latter-day Saints in the Book of Mormon and presents lively critiques of books that attempt to destroy that faith. It reviews books on several aspects of scripture studies, particularly Book of Mormon geography. This issue reviews Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews and gives more commentary on the B. H. Roberts question. It also reviews a selection of internet pages that discuss Mormonism, a novel based on the Book of Mormon, and reflections on the Book of Mormon by a well known scholar of American literature.
In his review of Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews, Andrew H. Hedges concludes that although at first blush it seems odd that the BYU Religious Studies Center would issue a reprint of the text that for years critics of the church have considered the true origin of the Book of Mormon, there is a real need for View of the Hebrews to be more readily available. Because it had not been reprinted since the 1825 original, copies of View of the Hebrews were previously quite hard to come by, but this new edition enables readers to decide for themselves whether View of the Hebrews, rather than the golden plates, is the source of the Book of Mormon. The two texts resemble each other superficially, and although scholars have linked Native Americans to Jews since as early as the sixteenth century, the Book of Mormon teachings about the Native Americans are much more than a mere expanding of the explanations that existed during Joseph Smith's time.
Daniel C. Peterson reviews James R. Spencer's "The Disappointment of B. H. Roberts: Five Questions That Forced a Mormon General Authority to Abandon the Book of Mormon." Peterson challenges Spencer's claims by breaking up these five questions into seven categories that explain the diversity of Amerindian languages, the absence of Hebrew in the any of these languages, the existence of the horse among the Nephites of America, how Nephi's steel bow reflects the use of steel in ancient times, when iron was first smelted in the Americas, the Book of Mormon use of "cimeters" (scimitars), and the existence of silk in the Americas during Nephite times.
In light of the many internet sites that discuss Mormonism, Gregory H. Taggart's review of Mormon websites guides travelers on the information highway to those that are really worth a good perusal. Taggart separates the sites into helpful categories that guide net surfers to specific types of information they want to research. This article is a must for those who want to know more about the Mormon resources available on the World Wide Web.
The Review also contains an index of the 1996 issues of the FARMS Review of Books. Other publications reviewed in this issue include:
FARMS Brown Bag Lectures Continue to Enlighten
Joseph Smith challenged the Saints to find connections between our world and the world of the Egyptians. In a FARMS Brown Bag lecture on 6 November 1996, Michael D. Rhodes and Michael P. Lyon reported on their attempts to aid us in achieving that goal by gathering and cataloging copies of as many of the world's existing hypocephali as possible into a reference work that will assist both LDS and non-LDS scholars in their research of ancient Egyptian studies. A hypocephalus is a circular Egyptian document placed under the head of a deceased person at burial to guide the person's spirit to the world of spirits. The reference work will display photographs of each of the 83 hypocephali they have cataloged, along with its current location, history, hieroglyphic translation, and transcriptions. It will also include an exhaustive chronological bibliography.
Rhodes and Lyon indicated that they also intend to publish a follow-up reference work directed to an LDS audience specifically to address Facsimile 2 from the Pearl of Great Price.
On 20 November 1996, Hugh Nibley's son-in-law Boyd Petersen delighted and informed Brown Bag participants with factual stories of Nibley's life and exploits-peppered with popular myths about the famed scholar. For over a year now, Petersen has been gathering correspondence, unpublished papers, and memorabilia from Nibley's past for possible inclusion in the Collected Works series. Nibley's singular character and wit radiate from the stories told of him. Letters from his youth show wisdom, knowledge, and maturity beyond his years-Nibley has always been ahead of his time. Nibley added his insights to the material Petersen presented, verifying facts, giving backgrounds, and sharing stories related to those Petersen told.
Rounding out the fall semester Brown Bags on 4 December 1996, John A. Tvedtnes and Michael P. Lyon gave a presentation on traditions and symbolism concerning glowing or shining stones, including precious cut and uncut gems. Their research on the subject covers not only what is said in the Book of Mormon but also what we can learn about such stones from other ancient and sacred writings.
Lyon, an illustrator and researcher for FARMS, began the presentation showing slides of various luminescent stones and gems. Together, Lyon and Tvedtnes explained the fascinating symbolic meanings of glowing or luminescent stones. In many traditions, precious gems are connected to things eternal.
Tvedtnes, senior project manager for FARMS, then discussed some of the references to the use of glowing stones in the ancient Near East. For example, shining stones are used for revelation, instruction, and as an indication of God's physical presence. As we become enlightened about the physical world and the manifestation of God's power in it, we are better able to appreciate our place in God's plan.
On 15 January 1997 Paul Hoskisson, professor of ancient scripture at BYU, gave a progress report on his study of Book of Mormon proper names. For each name, he is attempting to determine the Hebrew word or words to which it may be related or from which it may be derived. In many cases he showed alternative possible derivations and their corresponding possible meanings; then he discussed the strengths and weaknesses of these possible derivations.
Hoskisson pointed out that it is premature to try to accomplish the same thing for Jaredite names, until the consonants and sounds can be shown to correspond to a known language, as Nephite/Lamanite names can be shown to correspond to Hebrew.
Preliminary copies of this study will soon be available for other Hebrew scholars to examine and give feedback.
On 21 January 1997 George Kiraz, of the Languages Modeling Research Department of Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, gave a brief overview of the various "Syriac Versions of the New Testament" and the problems attached to each of them, including unknown origins, revisions of translations, variant readings, deliberate destruction or repression of translations and originals, and nonsensical "mirror" translations.
Kiraz pointed out five main reasons for the historical significance of the Syriac translations: as an Eastern dialect of Aramaic, Syriac is very close to the Aramaic dialect Jesus spoke; "Syriac presents us with the oldest and earliest translation of the Greek New Testament into any language"; these translations provide the Mesopotamian and Semitic perception of the biblical texts and early Christian thought free from Hellenism; they also demonstrate the process of Hellenization; and they provide scholars with insights into the history of Christianity in the Orient.
William J. Hamblin, professor of history at BYU, gave an update on his research findings concerning the "Jaredite Genealogy and Chronology" on 26 February 1997. Hamblin asserted that the Jaredite record contained in the book of Ether gives insufficient information to support any firm conclusions about the genealogy and chronology of that people.
However, Hamblin has established a time range within which the Jaredites must have lived by combining the internal information (such as lines of succession through "generations" [the meaning of this term remains unclear] and references to the "great tower") with data from other sources from the Old and New Worlds (such as correlation to the "Great Tower," references to urbanization and iron working, and similarity among archaeological structures).
From other presses
Book of Mormon Authorship Reverified
Roger R. Keller, of the Department of Church History and Doctrine at BYU, has conducted extensive research on word use by Book of Mormon writers. In Book of Mormon Authors: Their Words and Messages, Keller shows how certain terms were used differently by different Book of Mormon authors and discusses how the authors' views of particular concepts relate to differences in the authors' background, interests, and mission.
Keller used textual analysis to conduct in-depth studies that show how certain words are unique to each Book of Mormon author, thus helping to validate that the ancient record Joseph Smith translated was written by multiple authors. Keller focuses on the words commandments and laws; church or churches; earth; Israel; and land or lands.
Although Book of Mormon Authors presents complex statistical data, it reads well; the data and findings are presented clearly. After the introductory chapter, which discusses how wordprinting efforts such as John Hilton's have aided Keller's word usage studies, each subsequent chapter contains the findings of Keller's study of a particular word or group of words.
Each chapter concludes with a summary of how the word use demonstrates author individuality. It then provides a discussion of how what is learned from the study of that particular word's or concept's usage applies to a modern-day audience, particularly focusing on how an LDS audience can benefit from such findings. Keller's book, published in 1996 by the BYU Religious Studies Center, is available at a discount using the enclosed order form.
Application Deadline Announced
Each year FARMS grants fellowships to promising graduate students who are working in fields of interest to FARMS, in the name of Hugh Nibley. Interested students should submit transcripts, curriculum vitae, and letters of recommendation to M. Gerald Bradford at the FARMS office. The deadline for applying for awards for the 1997-98 academic year is 1 June 1997.
Scholars to Discuss Civilizations
From 7 to 11 May 1997 the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations will hold their twenty-sixth annual meeting at Brigham Young University. The conference includes forty-nine sessions and will feature presenters from colleges and universities throughout the world.
A number of BYU and FARMS scholars are scheduled to present information: John L. Sorenson, BYU professor emeritus of anthropology and a former member of the FARMS board, will present a paper entitled "Pre-Columbian Contact with America: India-Mesoamerica" and will participate in a panel discussion on "Comparative Paradigmatics and the Study of Civilizations"; Susan Easton Black, BYU professor of church history and doctrine and associate dean of general and honors education, will present a paper on "Brigham Young as the American Moses"; Daniel C. Peterson, BYU associate professor of Asian and Near Eastern languages and chairman-elect of the FARMS board, will address the question, "Are Mormons Christian?"; and John A. Tvedtnes, FARMS senior project manager, will present a paper on "The Political Aims of Religious Festivals in the Ancient Near East."
The conference is open to the public, with a charge for admission. For further information, write to BYU Conference and Workshops, 136 HCEB, Provo, Utah 84602, or call (801) 378-4853.
In the February issue of Insights we made an error in describing President Merrill J. Bateman's address at the FARMS banquet, for which we apologize. President Bateman spoke about the pattern of revelatory procedures required when a new dispensation must be established; as part of this pattern, "angels, often from earlier dispensations, transmit priesthood keys to move the Lord's work forward. . . . The Book of Mormon also has much to say about the role of the Holy Ghost in enabling this pattern to unfold" (p. 1). In the paragraphs that follow President Bateman discusses how the Holy Ghost affects these procedures-a discussion full of insight that will reward you well for the time you spend reading it.
Unfortunately, when we summarized this role in a list of nearly a dozen roles of the Holy Ghost, we included the statement that "the Holy Ghost . . . transmits the priesthood keys and authority in new dispensations"-clearly an incorrect summary of what President Bateman taught.
We regret this error and appreciate President Bateman's gentle touch in pointing it out to us. Correcting the error, however, does give us the opportunity to once again recommend this speech to you (copies can be obtained using the enclosed order form).
In the news
LDS Church Website
The internet is fast becoming a common means of communication on the information superhighway. Accordingly, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched its first official website in early December 1996.
The home page leads visitors to three general categories. First, "Basic Media Information" gives church policy and interesting facts and figures about the church, including information on beliefs and doctrines, the missionary program, temples, church finances, and membership distribution. It also refutes some of the common myths about the church and its members.
Second, "The Book of Mormon-Another Testament of Jesus Christ" shows how to obtain a no-cost, no-obligation copy of the Book of Mormon.
Third, "Family History-How Do I Begin?" explains the importance of completing family histories, tells visitors about the location and function of family history centers, and gives five basic steps for beginning family history research. It includes descriptions of the indexes and resources that are available to family history researchers, and it offers a free video and brochure about families and family history.
Located at http://www.lds.org, this website will be of interest to longtime members of the church and those who simply want to know more about the church and its beliefs.
13 March-18 September: Two exhibits on Masada and on the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Museum of Art at BYU (see the article starting on page 1). For tickets call 378-BYU1 or 1-800-322-BYU1.
3-4 April: "Classic Maya Religion: A New Synthesis." Conference sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, Kennedy Center, Department of Ancient Scripture, Utah Humanities Council, and FARMS. Participants include Michael Coe, Stephen Houston, Linda Schele, Karl Taube, Nikolai Grube, David Webster, David Stuart, and John Monaghan. A reception will be held by FARMS after the keynote address on the evening of 3 April. Call the FARMS office for more details. Free and open to the public.
24 April: FARMS tour of Masada and Scroll exhibits. Call the FARMS office for tickets.
7-11 May: Twenty-sixth annual meeting of the International Scoiety for the Comparative Study of Civilizations, at BYU.
7 June: Symposium on Ancient Scriptures in the Restoration, sponsored by FARMS and the BYU Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History (see the article on page 3). Free and open to the public.