Joseph Smith's Revelations
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Laura Harris Hales sat down with Matthew Grow, the LDS Church History Department Director of Publications, to discuss the completion of an exciting project.


The Revelations in Context essays, which have been added to over the past four years, are now complete.  In addition to finding them on the Revelations in Context webpage, they can be accessed in booklet form or on the Gospel Library App. Links to the essays have also been integrated into the digital version of the Gospel Doctrine manual on the Doctrine and Covenants and Church history.

The essays not only delve into the historical background of the revelations but also how the revelations were received by members at the time. These are not scriptural commentaries but rather stories about how these revelations affected the lives of individuals. They present the award-winning scholarship of the Joseph Smith Papers Project in an easy-to-read format.

We also talk about an essay written by Matt entitled “Thou Art an Elect Lady,” which discusses D&C 24, 25, 26, and 27. Thought you knew about “Emma’s revelation”? Listen in to hear new insights we gain from the fine researchers of the Church History Department.

Exploring the Revelations in Context is a seven-part series with episodes released monthly.

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Image from Fox 13 News

SALT LAKE CITY — A new study at The University of Utah shows that Mormon religious experiences and sex both stimulate the same parts of the brain.

“These types of regions in the brain activate during sex, romantic and parental love, winning at gambling, drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines, really their core pleasure enduring circuits in the brain,” explained the study’s lead author Jeffrey Anderson, an associate professor of radiology and bio-engineering.

Anderson and his associates took 19 devout Mormons between 20 and 30 years old, 12 men and seven women, and had them lie in an MRI machine while they focused on Mormon religious quotes, videos and asked them to pray. The study lasted one hour.

Read the full article at Fox 13 News, or read the full study on the University of Utah website.

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Image from the Landon Howe GoFundMe page

Our prayers go out to the two missionaries serving in the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission. Both were struck by a car while riding their bikes the day after Thanksgiving, leaving one in critical condition, according to the Elko Daily Press.

Elder Landon Howe suffered three brain bleeds, a punctured lung, broken ribs, and a fractured skull, according to Facebook updates and a GoFundMe account set up by his family. Elder Howe has been hospitalized, though his family says his helmet probably saved his life, according to KENV TV.

His companion, Elder Mortensen, did not receive any serious injuries.

Just 30 minutes ago, the GoFundMe page set up by his family reported:

Landon slept well last night and is getting nourishment from a feeding tube instead of an IV now. The respirator that he is attached to was turned down a bit and he is now breathing about 85% on his own. He continues to have fevers, but they are being kept under control with a fan and medication. This morning’s CT scan also came back clear, so the blood clot may be gone for good. He has opened both eyes slightly and even tried to smile. His scabs and swelling also look a little better.

Our prayers will continue to go out to the Howe family.

To read even more go to LDS Living.

Life after paralysis: Hope
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What if? It’s a question we all ask ourselves at one time or another.

“What if I had married that one person?”

“What if I had gotten into college?”

“What if I had gotten that job I really wanted?”

“What if I didn’t get sick?”

What if …

It’s a question we can spend all day thinking circles around, and if we’re not careful, it’s a question that has the ability to paralyze us in the past instead of propelling us in the present. So how do you move past living “What if?” to live “What is” and to find joy in it? It’s by no means easy, and it doesn’t happen right away, but after spending over a decade in a wheelchair, this is what I’ve learned.

Nightmares Can Be Real Life

That was me—the girl who loved doing gymnastics and dancing on the back of a moving horse. The sport is called equestrian vaulting, and I fell in love with it at a young age. I spent 10 years training in equestrian vaulting to become an international competitor. At that time, I was also a ballerina, I did gymnastics, I did cheerleading, and I was also a member of my high school diving team. I saw myself as an athlete and as a horsewoman.

But on June 21, 2005, I was training with my equestrian vaulting team and miscommunicated with my partner on the horse. I went for my aerial dismount and hit my partner with my leg. It changed my rotation in the air, and I landed in a position that broke my back and severed my spinal cord. I became permanently paralyzed from the waist down. My dreams for the future were crushed. My life drastically changed.


And Watch her Mormon Channel “Hope Works” Talk below:


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On the peaceful side of Oahu, in a place not very populated, are three Church-owned entities—the Laie Temple, BYU-Hawaii, and the Polynesian Cultural Center that together are acting as a quietly powerful gateway to missionary work in Polynesia and Asia.

Not very many people realize what is happening for it is a movement beneath most of our radars, but the Laie Temple Visitors’ Center is the second busiest LDS visitors’ center in the world and much of the strength of the Church in Polynesia comes through Laie.

Why Laie? It is not entirely clear, but like so many things the Lord does, it has been in the works for a long time. In fact, in 1865, Elder William W. Cluff was walking along the beach early one morning in Laie when Brigham Young appeared to him in a vision and said, “This is the place, and upon this land we will build a temple unto our God.”

To understand how unusual this is—Brigham Young was still living. At that time the Church had no temples beyond the one that had been abandoned in Nauvoo. St. George, the first temple completed in Utah, wouldn’t be announced until six years later in 1871. Hawaii was just a set of tiny islands in the most remote place in the Pacific.


Children in Ethiopia receive a nutritional porridge called Atmit produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help relieve starvation Image from

A lot of people aren’t looking for a true church, they’re looking for a good church. They want to be part of an organization that is fundamentally sound and makes its members and the world around it better.

I’m not trying to say the Church is perfect. But we so often get stuck focusing on its minor faults and its truth claims that we often miss what an outstanding organization it simply is. Here are 21 reasons we are lucky to be members.

1) Takes Care of Their Own

The Church does good by those who are members. Through fast offerings, bishop’s storehouses, and job services, along with ward councils and home teachers to make sure no one slips through the cracks, the Church is wildly efficient at caring for its own members.

2) Does Good in the Community

The Church and its wards regularly serve at the community level. Whether it’s participating in local service projects, working at local food banks, or organizing with the new website, Latter-day Saints strive to make where they live a better place.

3) Does Good Around the World

But not only is the Church focused locally, they keep their perspective worldwide. They are regularly praised for their quick response to disasters. The Church’s clean-water initiative has helped over four million people in Africa alone. The Church itself is actually present in more than 137 countries doing good in its communities.


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I preface this article with this. I have been a temple worker and in the past 3 years since returning from my mission I have visited 65 different Temples and I have gone over 200 times, I love the Temple! What I am saying is 100% ok to talk about outside of the temple. Here are 4 things I wish I was told about the Temple before I was Endowed!

1st Go to the Temple again as soon you can.

When you receive your endowment often it is a big ordeal with friends and family coming together to go with you. In the hustle and bustle of the day often you miss the subtle things that happen, by going to the Temple again as soon as you can, it will give you the chance to better understand the ordinances you have just performed and the covenants you have entered into.

Don’t forget to do initiatories! Often members go back for an endowment session and completely forget about initiatories, my brother-in-law did not do any for over 5 years after he received his endowment. They only take about 30 minutes to do 5 vicarious initiatories, but they are jammed packed full of blessings!

“The supreme benefits of membership in the Church can only be realized only through the exalting ordinances of the temple. These blessings qualify us for “thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers” in the celestial kingdom.” – President Russell M. Nelson.

Read the full post on My Life, By Gogogoff.

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The writer Alain de Botton had just published his book Religion for Atheists, and he knew one thing for certain: He wasn’t going to visit Utah on his book tour.

After all, why would Mormons care about a book specifically for nonbelievers? Why would they buy a book that says atheists should embrace the positive aspects of religion? Mormons already have religion. They wouldn’t want to read about it from the perspective of a nonbeliever.

His book simply wouldn’t sell in Utah.


Imagine de Botton’s surprise when he discovered that book sales were eight times higher in Utah than in any other state.

In a radio interview, de Botton explained his theory for the booming book sales. He suggested that there are people in Utah who love parts of Mormonism but struggle with many of its public stances and truth claims. Often these people are so unsettled that they leave the fold, distancing themselves from friends and family.

This trend is a major source of cultural tension in Utah right now, as well as throughout the global Mormon community. For the most part it’s happening behind the scenes, but as sales of Religion for Atheists suggest, the tensions are more widespread than we may think.

I’ve wrestled with these tensions myself.

My wrestling started more than a decade ago, while I served as a Mormon missionary in California. Through conversations with investigators, I learned things about church history I hadn’t known before — that Joseph Smith looked into a hat to translate the Book of Mormon, that he had nearly three dozen wives (many young, many married), and that his translation of the Book of Abraham differs completely from the papyrus on which it was based.

If I didn’t know these facts about the church, what else didn’t I know?

Read Jon Ogden’s the full article on MormonHub or buy his book Mormons Who Doubt.

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image via from BYU TV

After performing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for their 2013 Christmas concert and starring in a new BYUtv movie set to premier this Thanksgiving, John Rhys-Davies has had more exposure to Mormons and LDS culture than most in the movie industry.

Rhys-Davies, best known for his roles as Gimli in Lord of the Rings and Sallah in Indiana Jones, recently finished filming Winter Thaw, a one-hour BYUtv production based on Leo Tolstoy’s classic short story “Where Love Is, There God Is Also.” The film portrays the story of an embittered cobbler who has given up on God and his faith—until his dead wife appears to him one night, saying God will soon visit him.

After working with Mormons over the past three years on a variety of faith-promoting projects, Rhys-Davies shared what he thinks about Latter-day Saints and some of their unique traditions.


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Thomas S Monson Christmas

Happy Thanksgiving!

Read how President Thomas S. Monson made one Thanksgiving his most memorable. The following is an excerpt from Consider the Blessings: True Accounts of God’s Hands in Our Lives.

Occasionally I ponder an experience from my boyhood. I grew up during the Depression. These were difficult times. My father was a craftsman, a printer, and he always had employment, although others were not so fortunate.

I remember the boys with whom I went to school. Many had clothing bought at rummage sales. The same size jacket was to fit four boys in one family. The father did not support the family. The mother worked nights as a telephone operator in Salt Lake City. The thing I remember most about this family was that when I would call upon the boys to go to school, they would be having breakfast—cornflakes with water. There was no milk, there was no cream, there was no sugar—only cornflakes and water.