Epistemology and the LDS Church

epistemology: the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.

Dan is awesome!

So is Brett McDonald!

Blake Ostler shares valuable insights:

Blake presented on this topic at the 2007 FAIR Conference:

Eternity-only Sealing Encouraged by non-LDS husband: Ruth Vose Sayers

This woman’s sealing to Joseph Smith illustrates many important elements of Joseph’s polygamy. Ruth was married to a non-member who greatly admired Joseph Smith.

Mr. Sayers suggested to his wife that Ruth should be sealed to Joseph, as Mr. Sayers himself didn’t believe in the afterlife.

Joseph had no sexual relations with Ruth. Eternity-only sealings were a means of connecting families. Joseph was sealed to many women with whom he had no sexual relations. Ruth is a clear example of this unique sealing phenomenon.

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You may want to listen to this informative 5-minute podcast on Ruth Vose:

Critical segments below:

Ruth states the sealing was performed by Hyrum Smith who did not accept plural marriage until several months later on May 26, 1843. Therefore, either the identity of the sealer or the date is in error. Regardless, Ruth Vose’s sealing to Joseph Smith is important among all of the Prophet’s plural marriages to legally married women because it is documented to have been for eternity only, not time and eternity and therefore did not include sexual relations.6)

Within the research papers of Andrew Jenson, author of the 1887 Historical Record article on Joseph Smith’s plural wives, is the following statement:

Sister Ruth/ Mrs. Sayers was married in her youth to Mr. Edward Sayers, a thoroughly practical horticulturist and florist, and though he was not a member of the Church, yet he willingly joined his fortune with her and they reached Nauvoo together some time in the year 1841;

While there the strongest affection sprang up between the Prophet Joseph and Mr. Sayers. The latter not attaching much importance to the/ theory of a future life insisted that his wife Ruth/ should be sealed to the Prophet for eternity, as he himself should only claim [page2—the first 3 lines of which are written over illegible erasures] her in this life. She was/ accordingly the sealed to the Prophet in Emma Smith’s presence and thus were became numbered among the Prophets plural wives. She however though she/ continued to live with Mr. Sayers / remained with her husband until his death.7

Another document confirms that concerning Joseph’s plural sealing to Ruth Sayers: “Joseph did not pick that woman. She went to see whether she should marry her husband for eternity.”8

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Ruth and Edward chose to return to Boston where they stayed until 1849. She was unable to be sealed by proxy to Joseph in the Nauvoo temple, but Church President Lorenzo Snow arranged for a vicarious ceremony to be performed for Ruth in the Salt Lake Temple in 1899.9 After their five-year stay in Boston, Ruth and Edward moved to Utah, reuniting with old acquaintances.

Edward died in 1861 and Ruth in 1884. Her obituary gives a glimpse of her demeanor: “Tall and erect in figure, a countenance always beaming with human kindness, charitable to the poor and ever ready to comfort the disconsolate, she endeared herself to her associates. She was a woman of brilliant conversational powers and possessed a ready fund of valuable information, especially upon topics of interest to the Saints. She was never tired of relating incidents of her Boston life nor of dwelling upon Gospel themes and the days of Joseph and Hyrum.”10

Evidence of the LDS Church from Early Christian Teachings

One would think that the Gospel restored by Joseph Smith should at least somewhat reflect the teachings of the early Christian Church. It turns out to have more than just a few similarities.

Wonderful insights:

Barry Bickmore gives a presentation on this same topic: similarities between the restored church and the early Christian church.

Arguments against Agnosticism

William Lane Craig is a wonderful philosopher:

John Lennox is a bright mathematician and philosopher. Lennox and other discuss the lack of evidence for the multiverse. But lack of evidence is no problem when blind faith can be inserted.

Alvin Plantinga is a bright mind:

Mark Hofmann

I grew up in the 1980s and remember hearing bits and pieces about this saga. Hofmann was a con man and murder who was also an expert in the field of LDS history and documents.

Informative and fascinating insights from Gospel Tangents:

This fellow noticed the elements in the ink that made him think these documents were possible forgeries.

Misreading the Bible


I recently discovered Gospel Tangents YouTube channel. The host, Rick, finds terrific scholars. Ben shares very helpful insights.

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For millennia, mankind believed the earth was flat. Does the Bible support that view?

Ben Spackman says yes. We’ll talk about a biblical world view, and how we’ve come around to believe the earth is round, rather than flat. Check out our conversation…

The Book of Genesis describes the creation of the earth in 7 days. Can that be interpreted through a scientific viewpoint?

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Ben Spackman will answer that question. Check out our conversation…

Was Jonah really in the belly of a great fish for 3 days?

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I learned quite a bit about the forward-thinking Pres. McKay:

Pres. Smith was a wonderful prophet, but not a scientist. A very literal thinker.

Women and the Priesthood

In 1992, Dr. Michael Quinn published an essay stating that women have held the priesthood since 1843. It was one of the reasons church leaders cited in excommunicating him.

This will be an interesting contrast to our conversation with Dr. Jonathan Stapley (see below), who did not endorse the idea that women held priesthood.


In the 19th and early 20th century, Mormon women used to lay hands on the sick. Dr. Jonathan Stapley will give us more information on baptisms for health, and temple healers. Check out our conversation…

In April 2014, Elder Oaks gave a sermon on women and priesthood. Dr. Jonathan Stapley this was no ordinary talk. He called it theologically groundbreaking! I was a bit surprised how revolutionary Stapley felt the sermon was.

It seemed to me to be a response to the Ordain Women movement which was asking for women to be allowed to attend the priesthood session of General Conference. Do you think Oaks talk was groundbreaking? Check out our conversation