Line upon Line
Gary James Bergera, editor

Chapter 5
The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine
Thomas G. Alexander

[p.53]One of the barriers to understanding Mormon theology is the underlying assumption by most Latter-day Saints that doctrine develops consistently, that ideas build cumulatively on each other. As a result, older revelations are usually interpreted by referring to current doctrinal positions. This type of interpretation may produce systematic theology and may satisfy those trying to understand and internalize current doctrine, but it is bad history since it leaves an unwarranted impression of continuity and consistency.

By examining particular beliefs at specific junctures in Mormon history, I hope to explore how certain key Mormon doctrines have developed over time. I have made every effort to restate each doctrine as contemporaries most likely understood it, without superimposing later developments. I focus on the period 1830-35, the initial era of Mormon doctrinal development, and on the period 1893-1925, when much of contemporary doctrine seems to have been systematized. Since a full exposition of all doctrines is impossible in a short essay, I have singled out the doctrines of God and man.1

The Book of Mormon tended to define God as an absolute personage of spirit who, clothed in flesh, revealed himself in Jesus Christ (see Abinadi’s sermon to King Noah in Mos. 13-14). Two years later, the first issue of the Mormon Evening and Morning Star published a similar description of God in the “Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ,” the church’s first statement of faith and practice which, with some additions, became Doctrine and Covenants 20. [p.54]The “Articles,” according to correspondence in the Star, was used with the Book of Mormon in proselytizing and indicated that “there is a God in heaven who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth and all things which are in them.” The Messenger and Advocate, successor to the Star, published lectures 5 and 6 of the “Lectures on Faith” of the Doctrine and Covenants (1835), defining the “Father” as “the only supreme governor, and independent being, in whom all fulness and perfection dwells; who is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient; without beginning of days or end of life.” In a letter published in the Messenger and Advocate, Warren A. Cowdery argued that “we have proven to the satisfaction of every intelligent being, that there is a great first cause, prime mover, self-existent, independent and all wise being whom we call God … immutable in his purposes and unchangable in his nature.”2

These early works did not address the question of ex nihilo creation, and there is little evidence that early church doctrine specifically differentiated between Christ and God.3 Indeed, this distinction was probably considered unnecessary since the early discussion also seems to have supported trinitarian doctrine. Joseph Smith’s 1832 account of his first vision spoke only of one personage and did not make the explicit separation of God and Christ found in the 1838 version. The Book of Mormon declared that Mary “is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh,” which was changed in 1837 to “mother of the Son of God.” Abinadi’s sermon in the Book of Mormon explored the relationship between God and Christ: “God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. And because he dwelleth in the flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—and they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth” (Mos. 15:1-4).4

The “Lectures on Faith” differentiated between the Father and Son more explicitly, but even they did not define a materialistic, tritheistic godhead. In announcing the publication of the Doctrine and Covenants, which included the lectures, the Messenger and Advocate commented that it trusted the volume would give “the churches abroad … a perfect understanding of the doctrine believed by this [p.55]society.” The lectures declared that “there are two personages who constitute the great matchless, governing and supreme power over all things—by whom all things were created and made.” They are “the Father being a personage of spirit” and “the Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man, or being in the form and likeness of man, or, rather, man was formed after his likeness, and in his image.” The “Articles and Covenants” called the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost “one God” rather than “Godhead,” a term Mormons use today to separate themselves from trinitarians.5

The doctrine of the Holy Ghost in these early sources is even more striking compared to our point of view today. The “Lectures on Faith” defined the Holy Ghost as the mind of the Father and the Son, a member of the Godhead but not a personage, who binds the Father and Son together (D&C, 1835 ed., 53-54). This view of the Holy Ghost likely reinforced trinitarian doctrine by explaining how personal beings like the Father and Son become one god through the noncorporeal presence of a shared mind.

If the doctrines of the Godhead in the early church were close to trinitarian doctrine, the teachings of man seemed quite close to Methodist Arminianism, which saw humanity as creatures of God but capable of sanctification. Alma’s commandments to Corianton (Al. 39-42) defined man as a creation of God who became “carnal, sensual, and devilish by nature” after the Fall (Al. 42:10). Man was in the hand of justice, and mercy from God was impossible without the atonement of Christ. King Benjamin’s discussion of creation, Adam’s fall, and the Atonement (Mos. 2-4) viewed man and all creation as creatures of God (Mos. 2:23-26; 4:9, 19, 21). Warren Cowdery’s letter in the Messenger and Advocate argued that although “man is the more noble and intelligent part of this lower creation, to whom the other grades in the scale of being are subject, yet, the man is dependent on the great first cause and is constantly upheld by him, therefore justly amenable to him.”6

The Book of Mormon included a form of the doctrine of original sin, in which everyone is sinful simply because of his or her humanity. Although sinfulness inhered in humankind from the fall of Adam according to early works, it applied to individual men and women only from the age of accountability and ability to repent, not from birth. Very young children were free from this sin, but every [p.56]accountable person merited punishment. Lehi’s discussion of the necessity of opposition in all things (2 Ne. 2: 7-13) made such sinfulness a necessary part of God’s plan, since the law, the Atonement, and righteousness—indeed the fulfillment of the purposes of creation—were contingent upon humanity’s sinfulness. An article in the Evening and Morning Star attributed this “seed of corruption” to the “depravity of nature” which “can never be entirely effaced”: “Because we were born in sin, the Gospel concludes that we ought to apply all our attentive endeavors to eradicate the seeds of corruption. And, because the image of the Creator is partly erased from our hearts, the Gospel concludes that we ought to give ourselves wholly to the retracing of it, and so to answer the excellence of our extraction.”7

These early church works also exhibit a form of Christian perfectionism, which held people capable of freely choosing to become perfect like God and Christ but which rejected irresistible grace. The Evening and Morning Star said that “God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the more conspicuous are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, until he has overcome the evils of this life and lost every desire of sin; and like the ancients, arrives to that point of faith that he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with him.” The “Lectures on Faith” argued that we can become perfect if we purify ourselves to become “holy as he is holy, and perfect as he is perfect,” and thus like Christ.8 A similar sentiment was expressed in the Book of Mormon, in Moroni 10:32, which declared “that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ.”

On the doctrines of God and humanity, the position of the LDS church between 1830 and 1835 was probably closest to that of the Disciples of Christ and the Methodists, although differences existed. Alexander Campbell, for instance, objected to the term “Trinity” but argued that “the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.” Methodist teaching was more explicitly trinitarian than that of either the Disciples or the Mormons. All three groups believed in an absolute spiritual father. Methodists, Disciples, and Mormons also believed to [p.57]some degree in the perfectibility of man. As Alexander Campbell put it, “Perfection is … the glory and felicity of man… . There is a true, a real perfectibility of human character and of human nature, through the soul-redeeming mediation and holy spiritual influence of the great Philanthropist.” Methodists believed that all “real Christians are so perfect as not to live in outward sin.”9

Mormons rejected Calvinistic doctrines of election, which were basically at odds with their belief in perfectionism and free will, but so did the Methodists and Disciples. In discussing the Fall and redemption, Book of Mormon prophet Nephi declared that “Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy” (2 Ne. 2:25). This joy was found through the redemption from the Fall which allowed men to “act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given” (2 Ne. 2:26). Like Methodist doctrine, however, the LDS doctrine of perfectionism began with the sovereignty of God and the depravity of unregenerate man. But a careful reading of Mormon scriptures and doctrinal statements reveals that LDS doctrine went beyond the beliefs of the Disciples and Methodists in differentiating more clearly between Father and Son and in anticipating the possibility of human perfection through the atonement of Jesus Christ.10

Nevertheless, that there was disagreement—often violent—between the Mormons and other denominations is evident. The careful student of the Latter-day Saint past needs to determine, however, where the source of disagreement lay. Campbell, in his Delusions, An Analysis of the Book of Mormon, lumped Joseph Smith with other false Christs because of his claims to authority and revelation from God, and he objected to some doctrines. He also attacked the sweeping and authoritative nature of the Book of Mormon with the comment that Smith “decides all the great controversies–infant baptism, ordination, the trinity, regeneration, repentance, justification, eternal punishment, [and] who may baptize.” But he also recognized, somewhat backhandedly, that the Book of Mormon spoke to contemporary Christians: “The Nephites, like their fathers for many generations, were good Christians, believers in the doctrines of the Calvinists and Methodists.” Campbell and others before 1835 objected principally to claims of authority, modern revelation, miracles, and communitarianism, not to the doctrines of God and man.11

[p.58]During the remaining years of Joseph Smith’s life and into the late nineteenth century, various doctrines were proposed, some which were abandoned and others adopted in the reconstruction of Mormon doctrine after 1890. Joseph Smith and other church leaders laid the basis for the reconstruction with revelation and doctrinal exposition between 1832 and 1844. Three influences seem to have been responsible for the questions leading to these revelations and insights. First was the work of Joseph Smith and others, particularly Sidney Rigdon, on the inspired revision of the Bible (especially John’s Gospel and some of the letters of John). Questions which arose in the course of revision led to the revelations in Doctrine and Covenants 76 and 93, and perhaps section 88. These revelations were particularly important because they carried the doctrine of perfectionism far beyond anything generally acceptable to contemporary Protestants, including Methodists. Evidence from the period indicates, however, that the implications of this doctrine were not generally evident in the Mormon community until 1838.

The second influence was the persecution of the Saints in Jackson County, Missouri. This persecution also intensified the emphasis on perfectionism—which eventually led to the doctrine of eternal progression. As the Saints suffered and persevered, the Evening and Morning Star reemphasized the idea that the faithful could become Christlike, and a side of man’s nature quite apart from his fallen state was thus affirmed.12

The third influence was the work of Joseph Smith and others on the “Book of Abraham.” Although Joseph Smith and others seem to have worked on the first two chapters of this book following 1835, the parts following chapter 2 dealing with a plurality of gods were not written until 1842. Still Doctrine and Covenants 121:31-32 indicate that Joseph Smith believed in a plurality of gods as early as 1839.13

Thereafter, between 1842 and 1844, Joseph Smith spoke on and published radical Christian doctrines such as the plurality of gods, the tangibility of God’s body, the distinct separation of God and Christ, the potential of man to become and function as a god, the explicit rejection of ex nihilo creation, and the materiality of everything, including spirit. These ideas were perhaps most clearly stated in the King Follett discourse of April 1844.14

It seems clear that certain ideas which developed between [p.59]1832 and 1844 were internalized after 1835 and accepted by the Latter-day Saints. This was particularly true of the material anthropomorphism of God and Jesus Christ, advanced perfectionism as elaborated in the doctrine of eternal progression, and the potential godhood of humanity.

Between 1845 and 1890, however, certain doctrines were proposed which were later rejected or modified. In an address to the rulers of the world in 1845, for instance, the Council of the Twelve Apostles wrote of the “great Eloheem Jehovah” as though the two names were synonymous, indicating that the identification of Jehovah and Christ had little meaning to contemporaries. In addition, Brigham Young preached that Adam was not only the first man but also the god of this world. Acceptance of the King Follett doctrine would have granted the possibility of Adam being a god, but the idea that he was the god of this world conflicted with the later Jehovah-Christ doctrine. Doctrines such as those preached by Orson Pratt, harking back to the “Lectures on Faith” and emphasizing the absolute nature of God, and Amasa Lyman, stressing radical perfectionism which denied the necessity of Christ’s atonement, were variously questioned by the First Presidency and twelve apostles. In Lyman’s case, his beliefs contributed to his excommunication.15

The newer and older doctrines thus coexisted, and all competed with novel positions spelled out by various church leaders. The “Lectures on Faith” continued to appear as part of the Doctrine and Covenants in a section entitled “Doctrine and Covenants”—distinguished from the “Covenants and Commandments,” which constitute the current LDS Doctrine and Covenants. The Pearl of Great Price containing the “Book of Abraham” was published in England in 1851 as a missionary tract and was accepted as authoritative in 1880. The earliest versions of Apostle Parley P. Pratt’s Key to the Science of Theology and Brigham H. Roberts’s The Gospel: An Exposition of Its First Principles both emphasized an omnipresent, non-personal Holy Ghost, although Pratt’s emphasis was radically materialistic and Roberts’s more allegorical. Both were elaborating ideas addressed in the King Follett sermon. Such fluidity of doctrine, unusual from a twentieth-century perspective, characterized the nineteenth-century church.

By 1890 the doctrines preached in the church combined what would seem today both familiar and strange. Yet between 1890 [p.60]and 1925 these doctrine were reconstructed principally on the basis of works by four European immigrants, James E. Talmage, Brigham H. Roberts, John A. Widtsoe, and Charles W. Penrose. Widtsoe, Penrose, and Talmage did much of their writing before they became apostles, but Roberts served as a member of the First Council of the Seventy during the entire period.

Perhaps the most important doctrine addressed was the doctrine of the Godhead, which was reconstructed beginning in 1893 and 1894. During that year Talmage, president of Latter-day Saints University in Salt Lake City and later president and professor of geology at the University of Utah, gave a series of lectures on the “Articles of Faith” to the theological class of LDSU. In the fall of 1898 the First Presidency asked him to rewrite the lectures and present them for approval as an exposition of church doctrines. In the process, Talmage reconsidered and reconstructed the doctrine of the Holy Ghost. In response to questions raised by Talmage’s lectures, George Q. Cannon, of the First Presidency, “commenting on the ambiguity existing in our printed works concerning the nature or character of the Holy Ghost, expressed his opinion that the Holy Ghost was in reality a person, in the image of the other members of the Godhead—a man in form and figure; and that what we often speak of as the Holy Ghost is in reality but the power or influence of the spirit.” The First Presidency on that occasion, however, “deemed it wise to say as little as possible on this as on other disputed subjects.”16

In 1894 Talmage published an article in the Juvenile Instructor elaborating on his and Cannon’s views. He incorporated the article almost verbatim into his manuscript for the Articles of Faith, and the presidency approved the article virtually without change in 1898.

The impact of the Articles of Faith on doctrinal exposition within the church was enormous. Some doctrinal works, including B. H. Roberts’s 1888 volume The Gospel, were quite allegorical on the nature of God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost. In the 1901 edition, after the publication of the Articles of Faith, Roberts explicitly revised his view of the Godhead, modifying his discussion and incorporating Talmage’s more literal interpretation of the Holy Ghost.

By 1900 it was impossible to consider the doctrines of God and humanity without dealing with organic evolution. Charles [p.61]Darwin’s Origin of Species had been in print for four decades, and scientific advances together with changing attitudes had introduced many secular-rational ideas. Talmage and John A. Widtsoe had confronted these ideas as they studied at universities in the United States and elsewhere. In a February 1900 article, for example, Talmage argued that science and religion had to be reconciled since “faith is not blind submission, passive obedience, with no effort at thought or reason. Faith, if worthy of its name, rests upon truth; and truth is the foundation of science.”17

Just as explicit in his approach was Widtsoe, who came to the conclusion that the “scriptural proof of the truth of the gospel had been quite fully developed and was unanswerable.” He “set out therefore to present [his] modest contributions from the point of view of science and those trained in that type of thinking.” Between November 1903 and July 1904, he published a series of articles in the Improvement Era under the title “Joseph Smith as Scientist.” The articles, republished in 1908 as the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association course of study, argued that Joseph Smith anticipated many scientific theories and discoveries.18

Joseph Smith as Scientist, like Widtsoe’s later A Rational Theology, drew heavily on Herbert Spencer’s theories and ideas. The Mormon gospel, Widtsoe argued, recognized the reality of time, space, and matter. The universe is both material and eternal, and God organized rather than created it. Thus God was not the creator, nor was he omnipotent. He too was governed by natural law, which was fundamental.

Although the publications of Talmage, Roberts, and Widtsoe established the church’s basic doctrines of the Godhead, some members and non-members were still confused. In 1911 Apostle George F. Richards spoke in the tabernacle on the nature of God. Afterward a member challenged him, arguing that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were one God rather than three distinct beings. Richards disagreed and cited scriptural references, including Joseph Smith’s first vision.19

In February 1912 detractors confronted missionaries in the Central States Mission with the Adam-God theory. In a letter to the mission president, the First Presidency argued that Brigham Young did not mean to say that Adam was God, and at a special priesthood meeting during the April 1912 General Conference, they secured [p.62]approval for a declaration that Mormons worship God the Father, not Adam.20

Reconsideration of the doctrine of God and the ambiguity in discourse and printed works over the relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ pointed to the need for an authoritative statement on the nature and mission of Christ.

From 1904 to 1906 Talmage delivered a series of lectures on “Jesus the Christ” at Latter-day Saints University. The First Presidency again asked Talmage to incorporate the lectures into a book, but he suspended the work to fill other assignments. In September 1914, however, the presidency asked him to prepare “the book with as little delay as possible.” In order to free him “from visits and telephone calls” and “in view of the importance of the work,” Talmage was “directed to occupy a room in the Temple where” he would “be free from interruption.” After completing the writing in April 1915, he said that he had “felt the inspiration of the place and … appreciated the privacy and quietness incident thereto.” The presidency and twelve raised some questions about specific portions, but they agreed generally with the work, which elaborated views expressed previously in the Articles of Faith.21

By 1916 the ideas which Joseph Smith and other leaders had proposed (generally after 1835) were serving as the framework for continued development of the doctrine of God. Talmage, Widtsoe, and Roberts had undertaken a reconstruction which carried doctrine far beyond anything described in the “Lectures on Faith” or generally believed by church members prior to 1835.

Official statements were soon required to canonize doctrines on the Father and the Son, particularly because of the ambiguity in the scriptures and in authoritative statements about the unity of the Father and the Son, the role of Jesus Christ as Father, and the roles of the Father and Son in the Creation. A statement for the church membership prepared by the First Presidency and twelve apostles, apparently first drafted by Talmage, was published in 1916. The statement made clear the separate corporeal nature of the two beings and delineated their roles in the creation of the earth and their continued relationships with this creation. The statement was congruent with the King Follett discourse and the work of Talmage, Widtsoe, and Roberts.22

This elaboration, together with the revised doctrine of the [p.63]Holy Ghost, made necessary the revision and redefinition of works previously used. By January 1915, Charles W. Penrose had completed a revision of Parley P. Pratt’s Key to the Science of Theology. Penrose deleted or altered passages which discussed the Holy Ghost as non-personal and which posited a sort of “spiritual fluid” pervading the universe.23

Less than two years later, in November 1917, a meeting of the twelve apostles and First Presidency considered the question of the “Lectures on Faith,” particularly lecture 5. At that time, they agreed to append a footnote in the next edition, apparently clarifying the lecture’s teachings on God. This proved unnecessary when the First Presidency appointed a committee to revise the entire Doctrine and Covenants.24

Revision continued through July and August 1921, and the church printed the new edition in late 1921. The committee proposed to delete the “Lectures on Faith” on the ground that they were “lessons prepared for use in the School of the Elders, conducted in Kirtland, Ohio, during the winter of 1834-35; but they were never presented to nor accepted by the Church as being otherwise than theological lectures or lessons.” How the committee came to this conclusion is uncertain. The General Conference of the church in April 1835 had accepted the entire volume, including the lectures, as authoritative and binding upon church members. What seems certain, however, is that the 1916 official statement, based upon Talmage’s, Widtsoe’s, and Roberts’s reconstructed doctrine of the Godhead, had superseded the theology of the lectures.

Talmage, Widtsoe, and Roberts devoted at least as much effort to considering the doctrine of man as they did the doctrine of God, but their work did not lead to the kind of authoritative statement on man which was issued by the First Presidency on God. For example, Talmage argued for a radical doctrine of free will, which essentially rejected the ideas implicit in the Book of Mormon by denying man’s predisposition under any conditions to evil, whether before or after the Fall, and defended the possibility of progressing among the three degrees of glory. Roberts espoused a materialistic theology of man and God, including the importance of sexual relationships, here and hereafter, for procreation and love, and also advocated the eternal existence of individuals as conscious, self-existing entities or intelligences. Widtsoe too endorsed the eternal [p.64]nature of human consciousness and even suggested that there was a time when there was no God. Not all church leaders, however, favored these progressive ideas.25

Several possible reasons for the failure to settle questions regarding man seem plausible. First, it may be that the church leaders and members generally considered such questions settled by doctrines implicit in the Book of Mormon and other teachings of the period before 1835. Second, it may be that they generally took for granted the doctrines of the King Follett discourse and the progressive theologians. Or third, it may be that the church membership never thoroughly considered the implications of the problems.

Given the available sources, it seems probable that the reason questions were not authoritatively resolved is a combination of the second and third hypotheses. Basically, concern over the increasing vigor of the theory of evolution through natural selection seems to have outweighed all other considerations on the doctrine of man. The First Presidency wanted to see the truths of science and religion reconciled, and much of the work of Talmage, Widtsoe, and Roberts dealt with that challenge. On evolution, for instance, they generally took the view that while evolution itself was a correct principle, the idea of natural selection was not. The First Presidency’s official statements of 1909 and 1925 specifically addressed the problem of evolution and of human nature, which was an important part of Talmage’s, Widtsoe’s, and Roberts’s works.26

Because evolution was constantly in the background, it seems apparent that two things happened. First, church members internalized the implications of the doctrine of eternal progression, assuming that men and women, as gods in embryo, were basically godlike and that the flesh itself, since it was common to both God and humanity, posed no barrier to human perfectibility. Second, members seem to have concluded that Joseph Smith’s statement in the “Articles of Faith” that God would not punish man for Adam’s transgression was a rejection of the doctrine of original sin, which held that humanity inherited a condition of sinfulness. In general, it seemed, the doctrine of absolute free will demanded that any evil which man might do resulted not from the flesh but from a conscious choice. How these, and related doctrines, will change in the future remains to be seen.


1. Readers interested in a fuller treatment should see my “The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine: From Joseph Smith to Progressive Theology,” Sunstone 5 (July/Aug. 1980), 4:24-33.

2. Evening and Morning Star (Kirtland, OH, reprint edition), June 1832, 2; May 1833, 189; W. A. Cowdery to Editor, 17 March 1835, Messenger and Advocate, May 1835, 113.

3. Al. 18:28; 22:9-12; 1 Ne. 17:36; D&C 14:9; 45:1; James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1833-1964, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75), 1:27.

4. Milton V. Backman, Jr., Joseph Smith’s First Vision: The First Vision in Its Historical Context (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1971), 155-57; Richard P. Howard, Restoration Scriptures: A Study of Their Textual Development (Independence, MO: Herald House, 1969), 47-48; James B. Allen, “Line Upon Line,” Ensign, July 1979, 37-38.

5. Messenger and Advocate, May 1835, 122-23; D&C 20:28.

6. Messenger and Advocate, May 1835, 113.

7. Evening and Morning Star, Oct. 1832, 77.

8. Ibid., March 1834, 283; D&C 1835 ed., 67.

9. Alexander Campbell, A Compendium of Alexander Campbell’s Theology, ed. Royal Humbert (St. Louis, MO: Bethany Press, 1961), 85, 231; Jonathan Crowther, A True and Complete Portraiture of Methodism (New York: Daniel Hitt and Thomas Ware, 1813), 143, 178.

10. Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People, 2 vols. (New York: Doubleday, 1975), 1:532.

11. Alexander Campbell, Delusions, An Analysis of the Book of Mormon With an Examination of Its Internal and External Evidences, and a Refutation of Its Pretences to Divine Authority With Prefatory Remarks by Joshua V. Himes (Boston: Benjamin H. Greene, 1832), 5-7, 12-14. See also Evangelical Enquirer (Dayton, OH), 7 March 1831, 1:235-26; Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate (New Series, 1913), 2:47; Niles Weekly Register, 16 July 1831, 353; and The Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (Brattleboro: Fessenden & Co., 1835), 844.

12. See Evening and Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 256; March 1834, 283.

13. James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), 67-68.

14. See T. Edgar Lyon, “Doctrinal Development of the Church During the Nauvoo Sojourn, 1839-1846,” Brigham Young University Studies 15 (Summer 1975): 435-66; Stan Larson, “The King Follett Discourse: A Newly Amalgamated Text,” Brigham Young University Studies 18 (Winter 1978): 193-208; Van Hale, “The Doctrinal Impact of the King Follett Discourse,” ibid., 209-25.

15. Clark, Messages, 1:253; 2:233-40; Brigham Young et al., Journal of [p.66]Discourses, 26 vols. (Liverpool: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1855-86), 1:50-51; 7:299-302; Ronald W. Walker, “The Godbeite Protest in the Making of Modern Utah,” Ph.D. diss., University of Utah, 1977, 183.

16. James E. Talmage Journal, 5 Jan. 1899, Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; Juvenile Instructor 29 (1 April 1894): 220; James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith: A Series of Lectures on the Principal Doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1899), 164-65. See also Ken Cannon, “The Development of the Mormon Understanding of the Nature of the Holy Ghost,” Seventh East Press, 12 April 1982, 9-10.

17. Improvement Era, Feb. 1900, 256.

18. John A. Widtsoe, In a Sunlit Land: The Autobiography of John A. Widtsoe (Salt Lake City: Milton R. Hunter and G. Homer Durham, 1952), 66-67; Joseph Smith as Scientist: A Contribution to Mormon Philosophy (Salt Lake City: YMMIA General Board, 1908).

19. George F. Richards Journal, 28 March 1911, archives, Historical Department, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City; hereafter church archives.

20. Clark, Messages, 4:266; Anthon H. Lund Journal, 8 April 1912, church archives.

21. Talmage Journal, 14 Sept. 1914, 19 April 1915; Lund Journal, 4, 6 May 1915; Richards Journal, 15, 24 June 1915; Heber J. Grant Journal, 18, 20 May, 8, 10 June 1915, church archives; Clark, Messages, 4:399-400; James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1915).

22. Clark, Messages, 5:23-24.

23. Lund Journal, 21 Jan. 1915.

24. Grant Journal, 15 Nov. 1917, 20 Aug. 1920; Talmage Journal, 3 Jan. 1918, 11 March 1921; Richards Journal, 11 March, 29 July 1921. The principal reason for the committee was the worn condition of the printer’s plates and the discrepancies existing between the current edition and Roberts’s edition of Joseph Smith’s History of the Church.

25. This is discussed at greater length in my Sunstone essay, “The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine,” 30-31.

26. See Clark, Messages, 4:199-206; 5:243-44.