The peaks and valleys of our faith

An excerpt from a fireside delivered by Institute executive director J. Spencer Fluhman in Lake Oswego, Oregon, on February 24, 2018.
We are living in an age of information. This veritable explosion has fundamentally changed how many people approach questions of faith. For some, this has been exhilarating, since it has provided enhanced access to an avalanche of information about LDS history and scripture.

For many, though, it has proven to be destabilizing, disorienting, or even corrosive to faith. I suspect most everyone knows someone who has been troubled over what they’ve learned about our history or doctrine. 

Thankfully, we’ve not been left alone to fend for ourselves.
I’m convinced that our modern predicaments of faith have their resolution the Restoration’s revelations. I’m struck in particular with Doctrine & Covenants 88:118, which rather straightforwardly addresses these very difficulties:

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”

It is worth noting that this revelation’s answer to doubt relates to community—to our membership in the body of Christ. Those words—“teach one another”—offer a vision that stands in stark contrast to the loneliness and alienation that too many feel when sorting through these questions. How tragic that some struggling Saints find what shreds of community they can anonymously, online, rather than in their flesh-and-blood ward or families. We can listen better, we can walk more compassionately with those who are earnestly seeking, and we can make our Church and family spaces safer for those who “have not faith.”

We can be simultaneously more confident, candid, and studious in our approach to gospel study and more faithful, hopeful, and charitable, too. When we combine more rigorous and dedicated study with those classic Christian virtues, questions can spur us on to profound spiritual insight and experience. And we can do this, together.

March Events

  • March 7, 14, 21, 28
    Wednesday Brown Bag 
    Learn more

    Each Wednesday at noon, faculty and visiting scholars from the Maxwell Institute and Brigham Young University gather in the Institute’s library to discuss new research ideas, thereby fostering a more collaborative campus community and nurturing disciple-scholars. Brown bag discussions are overseen by Philip Barlow, the Institute’s current Neal A. Maxwell Fellow. We occasionally live-tweet these gatherings at @MI_BYU.

Our Latest Book

Christ and Antichrist: 
Reading Jacob 7

Adam S. Miller and Joseph M. Spencer, eds.

The Book of Mormon’s Jacob chapter 7 focuses on a dramatic showdown between Sherem, a defender of the Mosaic tradition, and Jacob, a prophet who views the Mosaic law as dead in light of what he calls “the doctrine of Christ.” The papers collected in this volume offer theological readings of this Book of Mormon chapter that draw on Jacob 7’s structure and literary details to illuminate key themes like law, family, prayer, mourning, and messianic time.

Includes contributions from Jana Riess, Kimberly M. Berkey, Adam S. Miller, Jacob Rennaker, Jeremy Walker, Joseph M. Spencer, Jenny Webb, and Sharon J. Harris.

Learn More

News & Announcements

Meet two new members of our full-time faculty

The newest members of the Institute's full-time faculty may look familiar to you. They've been at the Institute since its beginning!

We are pleased to announce the reclassification of Dr. Kristian Heal and Dr. Morgan Davis from administrative positions to faculty positions. Institute executive director J. Spencer Fluhman worked with Brigham Young University administration on these changes in order to allow Davis and Heal to pursue their own research at the Institute full-time.

We congratulate them on the next step in their careers! Learn more here
Subscriptions now available 
Subscriptions for the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies and the Mormon Studies Review are now available through the University of Illinois Press. 
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Adam Miller via podcast, print, and video

In the latest episode of the Maxwell Institute Podcast, Adam Miller talks about his new book—the second edition of Letters To a Young Mormon—and reads a few one-star reviews of the best-selling book. (Yes, one-star!) Listen here or read the transcript here.
Adam Miller's recent Maxwell Institute Guest Lecture, "'Letters to a Young Mormon,' Unplugged," is available to watch online now! Pass it along. 
Check out a list of book reviews and articles about the new edition of Letters to a Young Mormon—some from Adam Miller himself—here
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