The Incomparable Richard Bushman

Richard Bushman really is a fine (albeit unofficial) speaker for the LDS church. Chris Jones pointed this article out to me.

It’s a long read but I think worth it if you can do it in chunks. The panel surrounding him asked many of the same questions and brought up many of the same issues as we do here (and did so with respect and civility). I think there are some things that he said that some LDS would disagree with, but he really represents the LDS faith with a lot of class and candor.

I wish there was an audio version of this forum. Anybody got a link?


11 thoughts on “The Incomparable Richard Bushman

  1. Agreed that the article is well worth the read. Unfortunately, it appears that no audio is currently available.

    I imagine Bushman (and possibly others … Terryl Givens, Sally Gordon, for instance) will be interviewed by the press more and more with Mitt Romney’s Presidential candidacy generating national buzz. Nate Oman over at Times & Seasons blogged on this a couple of days ago, and it created some interesting conversation.

    Check it out here:

  2. I’m not finished reading t, but so far, it seems like Bushman says a lot of things that would make your average Mormon have a conniption and call him an anti-Mormon.

  3. I’d love to know what specifically you think would be problems for the average LDS. I have some ideas.

    I think that’s too bad, because he comes off really well.

  4. I don’t think there was anything so shocking. In fact, I loved the whole thing. What are some of your ideas that might be problematic? I think Bushman gave a great summation of the struggle and perception of the political vs. theological of the early church and leaders.

    I think he answered the questions put to him quite well.

  5. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. If you said that in Gospel Doctrine of Elders’ Quorum, you’d get some pretty sharp rebukes. Or at best they’d try to gently correct you or shake their heads quietly.

    It stands in direct opposition to the general LDS understanding of what a Prophet is and does.

    It’s not so much specific things that Bushman always says, but the general approach to what he’s saying that I think would unsettle a lot of your rank-and-file Mormons.

  6. Dando, I didn’t find your quote in the text. What I found was this:

    “Brigham Young did not claim to be a prophet like Joseph Smith. He claimed to be inspired and have God’s will revealed to him in the administration of the church; he didn’t claim to look into heaven as Joseph Smith had. He did, however, perpetuate Joseph Smith’s notion of Zion.”

    He didn’t claim to be LIKE Joseph Smith. He was more focused on the “administration of the church”. He certainly didn’t receive the kind of earth shaking revelations as Joseph did. Joseph received many revelations and claimed to have seen into the heavens itself, conversed with the physical Jesus, received the ministrations of angels upon angels, had vision after vision, originated most if not all of the current doctrines of the church today, and brought forth the current cannon of the church.

    Certainly no prophet in modern times have reached the prophetic caliber as Joseph Smith.

    This isn’t anything that Elders Quorum would shun like Kullervo is alluding to.

  7. As far as Bushman goes, this is the only thing of his that I’ve read. It goes to show I’m not up on the LDS scholars as I should be.

    If most of his talks/speeches are like this then bring more of him out. I liked what I read. I think most members would also agree. And for those who find what he says “new” then I think their second reaction might be, “Hmm, never thought of that before. That makes more sense now.”

  8. You should check out the Mormon Stories Podcast with Bushman.

    I can see that I may have been reading that quote differently than you. I took it as “Young did not claim to be a PROPHET like Joseph Smith.” I guess we’d need to here what his inflection was to clear up that confusion.

  9. Whatever Austin, “all is well in Zion.”

    It’s mind-boggling to try to deal with the “everything’s fine and makes perfect sense” BS stonewall that Mormons put up.

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