There are 6 thoughts on “Scriptures through the Jeweler’s Lens”.

  1. “Enoch was the single most important figure for Smith’s self-conceiving and understanding of his prophetic role, and the prophecy of Enoch was his template for its successful implementation” (60)
    Sorry, Mr. Givens, but I found the above quotation incredibly simplistic and myopic. Indeed, there exists the possibility that it might be true, but then again, if I had been visited by God, the Father and His son, Jesus Christ, then I might have a far higher understanding of my role (Prophetic or whatever it might be) as than what Mr. Givens ascribes to Joseph Smith as predominantly originating from the teachings of Enoch. Especially when considered in the light of another Interpreter article which dealt with the Lord, Jesus Christ, personally teaching the Prophet Joseph Smith at or about the time of the Kirtland Temple Dedication for up to a two-week period. Regardless of Mr. Coltrin’s testimony, the First Vision AND D&C 76 specifically reveals a visit by the Savior to Joseph (One of amongst many!) I just don’t see how Joseph can get more “…self-conceiving and understanding of his prophetic role…” than being instructed by the Savior himself!

    (See: “How Thankful We Should Be to Know the Truth”: Zebedee Coltrin’s Witness of the Heavenly Origins of Temple Ordinances
    Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and K-Lynn Paul) or (

  2. Thank you, Mark, for a penetrating review of this new book. It was helpful for me to try to resolve some of the recent controversies related to the Book of Abraham–which book I greatly love!
    One question: The book is authored by Givens WITH Hauglid. You seem to ascribe the authorship only to Givens. What does Hauglid have to do with the book?
    Thanks again.

    • Gerald,

      John Gee, Kevin Christensen and I interviewed Terryl Givens about this book on Interpreter Radio last year. If I understand it correctly, Givens was primarily responsible for the main text, supported by Hauglid while Hauglid provided a lot of the research for the footnotes, although the back-and-forth of the collaboration and the percentage for each is the same as any co-authorship and is known to the authors themselves.

    • Hi Gerald, I am glad you found this review helpful. Many of the issues touched on here have also been explored an earlier paper I wrote called “Scriptures with Pictures” here in the Interpreter website.

      In regards to Brian Hauglid, he was a primary contributor to the Book of Abraham material. So he wasn’t quite a coauthor, but he apparently made the same impact on the content of the book.


  3. I enjoyed the review of the book on the Pearl of Great Price. Of course, Joseph Smith’s revealed truths are found in ancient scriptures because the Gospel has been taught from the very beginning. Of course, Joseph Smith’s revelations strongly contradicted apostate Christianity that had perverted Gospel truths about the Godhead, about the most fundamental questions of life, about marriage, about the need for ongoing revelation, about the priesthood, about eternal marriage, etc.

    The review reminded me of a question that I was asked by a good man who was a faithful member of the Church. This good man had just learned that in college I had minored in philosophy. This good man then asked me,

    Didn’t my studies in philosophy raise doubts about the Gospel?

    I answered that, on the contrary, my studies in philosophy INCREASED my testimony of the restored Gospel and of Joseph Smith. I first gained a testimony of Joseph Smith by reading the First Vision and praying about it. Then my testimony increased after I read and gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Then my testimony increased when I followed Gospel principles.
    Then my testimony increased during my studies in philosophy because of the following:

    I learned that Joseph Smith answered the most fundamental questions of life that philosophers and theologians don’t know the answers to – questions like:

    Where did I come from?
    Why am I here?
    Where am I going?
    What is the nature of God and the Godhead?

    The above 4 questions are probably the most basic questions that trouble people, and yet were marvelously answered by Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith provides marvelous, simple answers to the above 4 questions that no theologian or philosopher can match.

    There are other great questions and dilemmas that philosophers, theologians (especially apostate Christian philosophers) can’t answer or solve but that Joseph Smith answered and solved:

    How does evil exist in a universe created out of nothing as apostate Christianity teaches and has taught for centuries?

    How does free will exist in a universe created out of nothing as apostate Christianity teaches?

    What happens to all those who never had a chance to know of Jesus?

    Joseph Smith provides marvelous, simple answers to the above 3 questions that no theologian or philosopher can match.

    If anyone wants to compare religions or religious leaders or theologians or philosophers to Joseph Smith, just ask how do the answers of the above questions by religions or religious leaders or theologians or philosophers compare to Joseph Smith’s answers.

    • Thanks for the insights, Lanny. Your comments make me want to re-read Truman Madsen’s book Eternal Man.


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