With this issue a new editor has taken over the helm of the Journal. Because of a recent church calling, it was necessary for Andrew H. Hedges, the immediate past editor of the Journal, to step down after only a short time. The new editor, Paul Y. Hoskisson, an erstwhile contributor to and long-time reader of the Journal, agreed to begin immediately. He brings a wide range of interests and professional experience.
This current issue forms a transition from the editorship of Andrew Hedges to myself. We will miss Andrew; he took the editorship seriously and served faithfully.
Terryl Givens has provided the first article in this issue, which makes available in print his presentation of the first Laura F. Willes Center Book of Mormon Lecture. Givens has already amassed a considerable and acclaimed body of scholarship on the Book of Mormon.1 In this article he discusses provenance as an important theme in the Book of Mormon, pointing out its influence on the structure and purpose of the book. He also discusses the themes of revelation, Christology, Zion, and scripture in the Book of Mormon.
The year 2009 is the hundredth anniversary of the translation of the Book of Mormon into Japanese. To help celebrate this milestone in the spread of the Restoration in these latter days, Shinji Takagi has written an exploration and commemoration of this seminal work.
Most well-known religions were founded in the misty past, with little if any contemporaneous documentation. Not so the restoration of the gospel in these latter days. Extant newspaper and other published accounts open windows onto interesting vistas of many of the early events of the Restoration. Matthew Roper offers Journal readers a few glimpses of the rich material about the Book of Mormon published in newspapers contemporaneous with Joseph Smith.
With the current change of editors of the Journal, it is only appropriate to include here for our readers a retrospective, written from the perspective of all the Journal editors, beginning with the very first editor.
Perhaps in the future historians might declare that, with the exception of our Restoration scriptures, the publication of the Joseph Smith Papers ranks as the most important publication in these latter days. Therefore, Matthew Grow’s review of the second book of the papers project, also the first book of the Revelations and Translations series, will be of interest to our readers.
With this issue we begin a new feature, “Worthy of Another Look: Classics from the Past.” In 1993 Robert Millet published “The Book of Mormon, Historicity, and Faith.”2 This paper is as relevant today as when it was first published. One of the directions biblical studies had taken, and continues to take, denies that scriptural events need be historical. On the contrary, it is important that Latter-day Saints know why many of the events recorded in the scriptures must be historical.
I hope you enjoy the variety and scholarly acumen that our authors have provided for your enjoyment and edification. As editor, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. See, for example, The Viper on the Hearth: Mormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997); By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002); The Latter-day Saint Experience in America (Westport, CN: Greenwood, 2004); People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007); The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009); “The Book of Mormon and Dialogic Revelation,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 10/2 (2001): 16–27.
2. Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/2 (1993): 1–13.