Shulem wrote: ↑
Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:29 am
The 30-year delay
or failure to canonize the Pearl of Great Price is between the Lord and Brigham Young. He was the only man on God’s green earth that could move to authorize that act. So, it’s all on Brigham Young and I can’t answer for him. John Taylor became Church President in 1880 and immediately canonized the Pearl of Great Price. So whatever indifferences may have existed between Young and Taylor about this matter was settled when Young died. Perhaps there are clues to this in his personal writings or journal. That would certainly prove interesting!
That it would. So John Taylor seems to have been intimately involved in the BofA project from the get go. When Taylor became president of the church he went on a revelatory binge of sorts. If I’m not mistaken during his ministry as prophet he was known for bringing a constant flow of revelatory writings into publication for the Saints. It doesn’t surprise me that he would resurrect the BofA for canonization and publication in Utah. It’s interesting that apparently for a thirty year period the booklet containing the BofA was published in England, along with other publications, and accepted as…what? Scripture? It obviously hadn’t been canonized yet. Was it a curiosity? This thirty year gap seems rather odd. If the PofGP and the Book of Abraham were considered scripture on par with the other three standard works I can’t help but think something would have transpired during the time of Brigham Young. We wait until John Taylor who seems to have had a much more expansive view as to what was considered to be revelatory than did Brigham.
Reading through all of the resources you’ve contributed here…much of the content from here:
I am still not convinced that Joseph himself saw the BofA project as a precursor to adding a fourth standard work of scripture to the canon. That seems to have been the work of John Taylor. If so, then it comes down to the question of Taylor’s motivations and inspiration in this matter. Obviously if he presents the matter of canonization at conference and he supports it, those in attendance are likely to support it. At that point in time and ever since, we are then left with the results of that vote in that place at that time.
Why did Brigham Young not bring up the vote in conference for canonization? Did he feel the same way about the BofA as John Taylor? Were there other things going on there that we are not fully or even aware of at all?
There were a bunch of people around Joseph that viewed whatever came from the prophet as being from God Almighty Himself. Joseph’s mother Lucy was totally on board and into the Book of Abraham project from the very beginning and also saw I as a way to gain more notoriety and fame for the Saints there in Nauvoo. The T&S’s made a financial turn around as a result of the fantastic story being published in serial form. Joseph himself was the writer and promoter, along with others, of this ‘blast from the past’, so to speak. And he may very well have considered the BofA project to be God inspired in a midrashic fashion similar to the way in which he viewed his translation work with the Bible.
There are enough moving parts during the Nauvoo period, the publication of the PofGP in England, the lag time of publication and canonization in Utah, etc., that it causes me to wonder whether we ought to go ‘whole hog’ and put all of our eggs in one basket as far as the BofA is concerned. I think John Gee, a few years ago, pretty much said something to that effect if I’m not mistaken.
Personally, I’m not willing to risk my own commitment to the validity of the restoration movement based on the BofA project there in Nauvoo. Just as with polygamy, there are too many things that are rather fuzzy and hard to get a full crystal clear picture of.
But, let me be clear, I can see where those that see the Book of Abraham as a type of ‘smoking gun’ for Joseph’s revelatory claims as being fraudulent are coming from. It is all rather messy. The apologists have their points of argument that are interesting and convincing as do the critics and naysayers.
I’m willing to leave the BofA on the shelf and wait for confirmatory evidence one way or the other as to how much Joseph Smith and Co. got right vs. what they got wrong. And as I’ve tried to make clear, I think there are some items of interest as I’ve already outlined having to do with the whole canonization process, that I’m a bit wary of giving full confidence to all that transpired along the way from 1850 to 1880.