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Joseph Smith And the Doctrinal Restoration: The 34th Annual Sidney B Sperry Symposium Hardcover – October 30, 2005
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About the Author
Contributors include Milton V. Backman, Jr., Randy L. Bott, Douglas E. Brinley, Richard L. Bushman, Richard O. Cowan, Jill M. Derr, Sherrie Mills Johnson, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Robert J. Matthews, Andrew C. Skinner, Richard E. Turley, Jr., and Mary Jane Woodger.
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This year's symposium was devoted to exploring the impact that the doctrines and scriptures restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith have had on the world in the past 175 years. Keynote speaker Andrew C. Skinner, for example (in a presentation entitled "The Impact of the Doctrinal Restoration: How the World Was Different after Joseph Smith"), noted that "the Prophet Joseph Smith single-handedly changed the theological landscape of the world" by reintroducing the world to a true knowledge of God, making known the full potential of Christ's atoning power, and putting back into operation the "powers that enable all who so desire to reenter the Father's presence" (p. 9).
Among the other twenty-five contributors to this volume are Richard L. Bushman ("Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln"), Mary Jane Woodger ("Joseph Smith's Restoration of the Eternal Roles of Husband and Father"), Richard E. Turley ("The Calling of the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy in 1835"), and Jill Mulvay Derr and Carol Cornwall Madsen ("'Something Better' for the Sisters: Joseph Smith and the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo").
Along with covering a wide variety of topics, the book also includes well-documented notes at the end of each chapter.
Daniel B. McKinlay spoke on "Joseph Smith on the Body as a Fallen or Blessed Vessel," pointing out that Joseph Smith did not arrive at his conception of the Father and the Son as a result of biblical cross-referencing or speculation. His witness came through a direct encounter with the divine and through confirmatory canonical revelations on the subject. It was a reiteration of what the Bible had said all along--namely, that God is embodied and his Son remains embodied. This verification of the Bible was necessary due to the Platonic assumptions superimposed on the Christian scripture.
In another interesting presentation, Kent P. Jackson ("The Scriptural Restoration") concluded that "the Restoration is bigger and greater than most Latter-day Saints have imagined. Most of us undervalue it and do not appreciate what it has done. It was with good reason that the future founder of the Disciples of Christ, Alexander Campbell, complained in 1831 that the Book of Mormon dealt with, and provided answers for, all the important gospel controversies of his generation" (p. 234).
Unfortunately, at least three excellent presentations (by Richard L. Anderson, Truman G. Madsen, and John W. Welch) did not make it into this volume. Hopefully they will soon be published elsewhere. Joseph Smith and the Doctrinal Restoration is nevertheless a valuable book for anyone interested in Joseph Smith's prophetic calling.