Journal Overview: BYU Studies Quarterly 53:2 (2014)

By August 11, 2014

Just a quick note to turn your attention to two fine documentary articles published in the latest issue of BYU Studies Quarterly:

Continuing his work on Mormonism in Asia in this issue, Reid Neilson presents a brief set of correspondence between Alma O. Taylor, one of the first Mormon missionaries to Japan, and the Reverend Nishijima Kakuryo, a Japanese Buddhist and missionary to the United States. Corresponding in 1901, the two men conducted a rather extensive debate centering on the practice of polygamy. Neilson uses the opportunity to discuss early Mormon evangelizing in Japan, and points toward much scholarship yet to be done on Mormonism in Asia and the significance of theological conceptions of race in early Mormon missionizing.

53.2coverThe current issue also features, thanks to our very own Robin Jensen and to LaJean Carruth, the first transcription of a set of notes of Sidney Rigdon’s speech on August 8, 1844, in which he urged the Saints to recognize the legitimacy of his authority to lead the Church. Taken by Thomas Bullock in Taylor shorthand, the notes lay undeciphered until now, and they represent a larger body of “lost sermons” which Carruth—one of only a few who reads shorthand—has been gradually recovering. They are presented here with the benefit of Robin’s legendary editorial eye. As Jenson and Carruth note, the document gives us a better look at Sidney Rigdon, who has been difficult to assess because many accounts are colored by his subsequent estrangement from the Twelve and the main body of the Church. It also sheds some badly needed light on a key moment during the tempestuous “succession crisis” following Joseph Smith’s death.

The issue also contains, for those interested, an excerpt from Susan Easton Black’s recent reproduction of the The Prophet, a Mormon newspaper published briefly in NYC from 1844-1845; Robert Millet’s meditations on the necessity and yet also “the perils of grace” in Mormon theology; an article by Eric Eliason which proposes an “experience-centered approach to Mormon folklore”; an article by Corbin Volluz on Hebrew numerology and the Book of Mormon; and a version of Douglas D. Anderson’s speech “Mormons in the Marketplace,” given at the Claremont Mormon Studies Student Association Conference in 2012.


Article filed under Book and Journal Reviews Race Succession Crisis


  1. Thanks, Ryan. Sounds like a strong issue.

    Comment by Christopher — August 11, 2014 @ 9:18 am

  2. Interesting!

    Comment by Saskia — August 11, 2014 @ 10:28 am

  3. Thanks, Ryan. This comment doesn’t need to be posted, but a couple of glaring typos would make this post more readable. The first is a missing “be” at the end of paragraph one. The other is an unneeded “document” at the end of paragraph 2. Dang nitpicky editors!

    Comment by Lew Scannon — August 12, 2014 @ 10:12 am

  4. Thanks for tidying up, Lew. All fixed.

    Comment by Ryan T. — August 12, 2014 @ 10:44 am

  5. I’ve already cited Robin and Lajean’s work. I look forward to reading the rest.

    Thanks, Ryan!

    Comment by J Stuart — August 12, 2014 @ 1:52 pm


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