Mormon News, August 3–7

In the News

During the first joint press conference between the LDS Church and the Community of Christ, Historian Steven Snow and Seventy Robin Linkhart displayed photographs of the seer stone Joseph Smith used to translate the Book of Mormon. Although scholars have known about the stone—and the dictation method of placing the stone in a hat—for some time, most official stoneMormon depictions of the process show Smith carefully studying the Gold Plates, much like a modern-day translator would. The photos of the stone, shown for the first time, were also published in the latest edition of the Joseph Smith Papers as Revelations and Translations, Volume 3: Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon and in the Ensign magazine.

Frank Jackson of Highland, Utah, knew like all young Mormon men that he was going to serve a mission. Even with big basketball dreams, the plan was simple: go to BYU, go on a mission, then come home and play. But that was before he became one of the most sought-after recruits in the country. Now Jackson has backed off of a verbal commitment to play at BYU and will likely sign with Duke, one of the top programs in the country. While most Mormon sports stories include the inevitable sacrifice of stardom for the mission field, Jackson is taking a different route. “I think I’m probably not going to go, but you never know.” His family remains supportive, regardless of his choice. “Maybe his mission is basketball,” said his father, Al.

On the Blogs

Emily Jensen, writing at By Common Consent this week, asked how Latter-day Saints might define a family. Based on the Proclamation on the Family and popular Mormon understandings, she wrote, most would likely answer that a family consists of a man and a woman with children. But Jensen highlights a quote from former LDS president Howard W. Hunter that teaches the church today has a broader definition and includes “husbands and wives without children, single parents with children, and single individuals living alone.” Jensen also pointed out that the quote has been edited for use in the church manual by replacing the word couples with husbands and wives and removing the word roommates.

In Books

Fresh Courage Take, an anthology of women’s essays edited by Jamie Zvirzdin, was reviewed by David Banack at Times and Seasons. He highlights the high-quality of writing (several of the essayists have English degrees) and the value of Mormon men understanding the sometimes “unfair” choices faced by Mormon women. The book is available in hardcover and Kindle editions.

News update by John Hatch, acquisitions editor