Treasure in Translation (Doctrine & Covenants 2 + JSH)

Monday, January 11, 2021


Channing: Hi, I'm Channing

Elise: and I’m Elise

C: and this is The Faithful Feminists podcast.

E: But this is not just any Come Follow Me podcast. We do things a little differently here. We offer approachable feminist interpretations of the Come Follow Me manual for those who want to study and understand the scriptures in a framework of equality, social justice, and sisterhood. We are here to show you all the really good ways that faith and feminism work together to illuminate and deepen the gospel experience.

C: We've saved you a seat on the soft chairs so join us today for a conversation about Doctrine and Covenants section two and Joseph Smith History verses 27 - 65 for the dates January 11-17. We're so glad you're here.

E: Welcome back everyone. Thanks for joining us on our second episode of the brand new year. In this episode, we're going to be spending the majority of our time in Joseph Smith History as opposed to in Doctrine and Covenants section two because we really found that Joseph Smith History… there's a lot going on here.

This is where Moroni appears to Joseph Smith multiple times to tell him about the gold plates, or the book of Mormon. Joseph Smith also marries Emma. Then Joseph Smith receives the gold plates and translates some of the characters.

C: Not to neglect section two, but it literally is only three verses. And will take you a maximum of 15 seconds to read. And just to give a quick overview about it, it covers the spirit of Elijah, which is all about family history. We'll talk about family history in a later episode  because later sections go into it in more depth. So yeah, just like Elise said, we'll be focusing a lot more on Joseph Smith History. We're going to start out in verse 28.

E: And the previous verse that starts off this section talks about how Joseph Smith was suffering a lot of persecution because of the vision and the things that he had seen and the stories that he was telling people, even though he continues to stand firm in his belief that he did in fact see a vision. Then in 28, this is what he writes.

“I was left to all kinds of temptation and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of my youth, and the foibles of human nature, which I am sorry to say, led me into diverse temptations offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one needs suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature. But I was guilty of levity and sometimes associated with jovial company, not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I have been. But this will not seem very strange to anyone who recollects my youth and is acquainted with my native cheery temperament.”

C: So this verse, really, to me, I feel like it gives us a little bit of a look into what Joseph Smith's personality was and the smallest peek into what his life was like. But one of the questions that I had after reading this first was What actually constitutes a person of God? What does a person of God look like or act like or do? Obviously Joseph Smith has some kind of idea about what a person of God is and what a person of God isn't. As I sat with that question for a little while, I tried to hold my own personal opinion about what a person of God is and what was showing up in this verse.

What do I feel like this verse teaches me? There's a couple of things. The first is that I think the work of God is simultaneously a part of and independent of the individual. For me personally, I think that godliness is the goodness inside of us. It's the best of us. It's what encourages us toward community kindness, hope, faith, equality, service, charity, all that good stuff. We don't always make the choice to showcase that in our actions, but even in that case, our goodness and our worth is independent of our actions.

Additionally, I think that a person doesn't need to fit a pre molded idea of what a person of God or a character of God actually looks like to maintain an authentic or deep connection with God. So what I mean by that is I think in our LDS culture, we have some like preset ideas of what a godly person looks like. We think that a prophet ought to act a certain way and a Bishop ought to act a certain way and a Relief Society president needs to act a certain way.

I have a friend who is Relief Society president, and sometimes she feels a little bit self-conscious about her lightheartedness and joy and sometimes feels like, Oh no, I need to be more serious or she needs to act this certain way for people to trust or respect her as a Relief Society president, even though that's not true.

E: Right.

C: And so I think this is a good opportunity for us to talk about or think about the fact that our personality doesn't define our character. We can still be lighthearted and joyful and happy in ways that maybe don't fit the pre-molded idea of Relief Society president or a Bishop or Young Women's president.

I also think that by defining certain characteristics or certain traits as godly doesn't just put us in a box of how we need to act or what we need to do or say or be like, but I also think that it puts God in a box too. By saying, well, God expects us to be this one way because that's what God wants when really, I mean, at least for me, I personally feel like God makes us all individuals and we all showcase a different side or different aspects of what it means to be God-like.

E: And I think that it would be worthwhile if you are feeling those pressures in the church or in your calling to act a certain way in order to be deemed a person of God, or in order to be deemed a person who has been called to do God's work, I think it's worth slowing down and saying, Wait a second. Who are the people in charge that are setting the dominant culture or the dominant understanding of what I need to think of as a person of God? And typically it's not those people at the margins. It is, especially in the church, older, white, straight men who are saying not only, “This is what God wants from you,” but “This is what you need to be doing in order to uphold this mantle of goodness or godliness.”

C: Yeah, I totally agree. And something that I think pairs really well with in the comments on our recent Instagram post this week about my experience with my Bishop in my old ward in Phoenix.

 I think I've seen a lot of comments from people saying I'm afraid to be my real authentic self because of the calling that I hold, or I'm concerned about the way that I'll be treated because I am the Relief Society president, or I'm in the Young Women's presidency and I hold more liberal views than what a lot of other people do in my community. I'm afraid of pushback.

I think that that's absolutely a valid concern because it's true that in our LDS community there is not a lot of room for differentiation from the whole. And I think that that's unfortunate because in truth, just like we've been saying about Joseph Smith, we don't all need to be the same, and we don't all need to fit this idea or this image of what perfection or godliness looks like in our callings. We're allowed to be ourselves, especially if we've been called to that calling and there is some kind of revelation going into the whole, calling process. Then God wants us in our wholeness and our authentic, real self to be there in that calling. So that's my own personal “gospel according to Channing” idea that's going on here. But I have some questions that I think are worthwhile to explore at least internally. And some of those questions are:

1.      What does a person of God look like and act like to me?

2.      Do I consider myself to be a person of God? Why or why not?

3.      In what ways does my community value or not value the traits I bring to it?

4.      What can I do if anything, to find or create space that honors my unique connection with God?

E: Those are really powerful questions and I'm glad that you capped your thoughts with those questions to have us think more. Those questions also caused me to think about another interpretation of this verse that can be used really harmfully.

If we only ever dismiss or paint over people's actions and just continually say, Well, they're, they're a person of God. They're called of God. Then we can get into a really tricky spot. Right? Because then there is no justice, I think. And you can't just act however you want and then say, Oh, well I'm still a person of God so it's okay that I was doing these things on the side, or it's okay that I was doing these things behind closed doors. And I just can't stop thinking about the, all of the Mormons that showed up to the Capitol this week in a violent, violent way. And also the Mormons who will go to their churches and apologize and say, well, you know, I thought I was doing the right thing at the time, but I just didn't know.

And while I think forgiveness is of course always already available to everyone, and I agree with you that godliness is a part of our divine nature and nothing can strip us of our worth, I do think that we have to walk a fine line between [that and the fact that] our actions show something about the God that we think that we are modeling.

And I think my question then is if we are all people of God, or if we're called of God, what God are we modeling? And who is it hurting?

C: We need to walk the line between understanding that people are going to show up as their authentic selves, but also that our actions speak loudly and show for us what our values really are. If those values are harmful, if we value white supremacy, or if we value oppression, or we value patriarchy, then we are accountable to ourselves, to God, and to our community for the consequences of those actions. We don't get to, just like you said, do whatever we want and then call ourselves a person of God.

If it's true that Joseph Smith did bad things, then he needs to be held accountable for those. And I think in this verse, he's trying to do that for himself. He’s trying to provide some  explanation or justification that says, “Look, I know I've made these mistakes and I know that I'm not living up to my best self or my best person of God.”

Moving onto our next topic. We'd like to discuss the life and character of Joseph Smith. We would honestly be remiss not to mention that there exists argument about the character of Joseph Smith. That conversation alone would require its own full length episode, but we hope as we study this year, that we can explore these conversations in a way that allow for a more nuanced understanding about who Joseph Smith was, what choices and actions he made, how those choices and actions affected the early and modern day saints, and what it means for our testimonies.

E:In these verses, this is when the angel Moroni appears to Joseph Smith and starts telling Joseph Smith about these buried gold plates and Joseph Smith practices translating them. There's a lot of mystical, magical mysteriousness behind this story so we wanted to give a bit of context.

C: Well, and not just that, but even in the verses following the one that we just covered, Joseph Smith talks about how he has received accusations of being a “treasure digger,” and goes to great lengths to clear his character or clear his name of the act of treasure digging  by saying he went to a silver mine and the expedition was unsuccessful or unfruitful, and so encouraged the person that he was working for to “abandon the mission.” That's just a very paraphrased summary of it. But it’s just interesting this section to see all the different ways… I almost get the feel that Joseph Smith is kind of stumbling over himself to offer some kind of a justification or explanation for all of the different umbrella accusations that he's received in his life. And so talking about some of these, I think would one be helpful and add context to what we're reading about and to maybe give a little bit better understanding of like what's happening here. Because some of this is a little bit jarring, right?

E: Well, yeah. And again, history is always someone's story about what happened. You see Joseph Smith here giving a really polished, narrated, although still authentic version of himself or story of himself. And so we just wanted to push past the story that he offered here and see what else there is to learn.

The brief history that we're going to walk through right now is all from church-supported, church-friendly sources. The church has an essay about treasure digging. The church has a gospel topics essay about the translation of the book of Mormon. There's tons of Joseph Smith papers and lots of church history that you can sift through to find this bit of context.

Joseph Smith did pursue treasure seeking as a hobby and as a profession between 1820 and 1830, and because of this, people would often come to Joseph and ask him to help them find buried treasure, because it was said that he had a real talent for being able to see things that were “invisible to the natural eye.” And in order to locate treasure, Joseph would use a peep stone, which was often a stone that had a hole in the middle. Although Joseph never actually successfully helped anyone locate any treasure, he and his family still had a reputation for treasure digging and a bit of folk magic. And even though these magic related activities were common, I think it's also fair to say that gold digging and treasure seeking were seen as  fraudulent activities by many.

Two, Joseph ends up meeting Emma because Joseph works for Emma's father on this silver mine excursion or treasure hunting excursion. But because Joseph was never able to help them find any silver, Emma's father concluded that Joseph was a kind of a charlatan or a fraudulent in his treasure seeking abilities. As a result of this experience, Emma's dad had a really, really low opinion of Joseph Smith and he didn't want Emma to marry Joseph. And so that's what caused Joseph and Emma to flee to Pennsylvania and to elope, because Emma's dad thought that Joseph Smith was a fraud.

C: Going along with that, in these verses we learned that Joseph Smith obtains the gold plates and translates them with the Urim and Thummim, or the seer stones. And from these same essays that you mentioned earlier, we learned that Joseph used these same peep stones or seer stones in his translation of the book of Mormon. And we have an account from David Whitmer that explains how Joseph Smith used these stones to translate the book of Mormon. He says,

“Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light. And in the darkness, the spiritual light would shine, and a piece of something resembling parchment would appear. And on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdrey, who was his principal scribe. And when it was written down and repeated to brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear.”

E: If this is the first time you're hearing about Joseph Smith's activity with treasure digging, or his elopement with Emma because Emma's dad thought he was a fraud, or putting his face into a hat to translate the gold plates and you're feeling like, Oh my gosh, this is not what I've been taught… That is right. Even though these are all from church sources, this is not the way that this section of Joseph Smith's life and the translation of the book of Mormon gets taught.

And so why can all of this feel like such a hard pill to swallow? And I think it is because it's been frequently hidden by the church and not widely taught. I'm sure you can recall depictions or paintings of Joseph Smith translate in gold plates where he's sitting at a desk by candle light and he has the gold plates open right before him, and he's tracing each line with his finger, and he has the studying face on as if he's reading it and then translating it. But in fact, that's not what happened. Even if the gold plates were next to him, he wasn't referencing the gold plates. He was looking into this dark hat and images would appear before him.

With this new, or what feels like new information, it again, like we said last week, it can feel like a real betrayal from the church. The phrase sacred, not secret comes to mind. That's the phrase that people often use when they talk about the temple, but when you hide something for so long, or when you're not forthcoming about something for so long, it feels secret. And secrets feel dangerously wrong and they feel like a threat.

In this way, too, this history can feel like a really big stumbling block to a lot of members who are learning about this for the first time. But honestly it feels like the church has created its own problems and its own stumbling blocks for its members by not being honest, by not being forthcoming. And I know that things are changing and we're moving in different directions and more people are learning about these things, but this is not what we were taught all growing up. This is not what is often shared or spoken about at the pulpit. And so there's this weird spot that we live in, where we feel deceived.

Also, because the church pushes back so strongly against magic or mysticism, but treasure digging and this kind of miraculous way that Joseph Smith translated the plates, that's magical, like that's mysterious and miraculous and I don't know why the church separates us from that. And then we have to learn about it, you know, 20 or 30 years later, we feel tricked or embarrassed or just deceived.

C: I love that point that you brought up about the magic and the mysticism of it, because you think you're right, that our modern LDS culture tries to separate itself, very distinctly from those ideas. But it's really interesting to look back on the history and see that it actually played a huge part in our creation story.

And for me and my background, I just find it very, so interesting and too hilarious because my own personal experiences of being like Witchcraft? What? That's not allowed! and I'm like, um, Joseph Smith was hat scrying to translate the book of Mormon. This whole idea of seer stones or peep stones, or being able to find treasure, those are all very folk magic things. And so for my background, I'm like, “Oh yeah, I totally get that.” It bothers me very little because of my already very liberal background. But I will admit, when I first came across this, I was like, what in the world? Magic? That's not allowed. That's not any way that I was taught anything about Joseph Smith.

And so I do think that you're right in saying that learning these details about how the translation occurred and what Joseph Smith's character was like, can be really, really jarring even if you have a liberal understanding about witchcraft and magic and all of that. Its just interesting to see all of these different elements at play regarding our most revered prophet of all time.

E: And I think a question I would like to ask is like, if people are feeling pained or confused or betrayed, I think you've got to get really personal and ask yourself, where is that coming from? Ask yourself why until you get to the very core of it. You might be feeling betrayed. Why? Because you feel embarrassed and you feel because you didn't know this, or you feel like the church's hiding things from you. And that means that you're feeling tricked. And I'm,

I think I'm wondering if as you work through these questions, perhaps you'll find that the pain is less about Joseph Smith's character and more about the modern day deception from the church. From there, I think you can ask yourself too, what, if any, role does Joseph Smith play in my personal relationship to God? What, if any role does Joseph Smith and the translation of the book of Mormon play into my personal relationship with the book of Mormon? And finally, what would it be like if I knew from the very beginning of my membership that this was a part of Joseph Smith's life, and this was the way he translated the book of Mormon? What would change and what would stay the same?

C: Yeah. These are really great questions to consider because it, essentially, what you're asking us to do is step into a space of self exploration and exploring our own faith from a lens of like, okay, this is what happened. How do I feel about it? Here's where I am. What do I want to do with this information and how do I move forward? And I like that. I think it's important to do that well.

E: And even, like we said, in last week's episode, where would I be without my tradition? Like not here, not now. And I think we need to concede that our faith, like the LDS faith right now is it's the historical way that we have been gifted to see things, and from there, It's the way through which I have come to understand myself and my God. But it's not a lifeless trap. I am not bound to the 1820s with Joseph Smith for all of my faith journey, no way. I can give my thanks, give my complements, and then spend the rest of my time creating a religion that I want, creating a religion that is a more welcoming, more inclusive, more forthcoming, and more brave than it has been in the past.

C: One of the things that you and I talked about in preparing for this episode is the weight or the importance of how true or historically accurate this story about Joseph Smith finding the plates or about the first vision or about how he translated the book of Mormon… How much the truthfulness of that influences our current state of the LDS church, the current state of our faith?

And I think for me, this really illustrates to me just how influential and powerful a story can be. Even if it's not “True,” because stories like we talked about in last week's episode, they do live their own lives and they do serve their own purpose and they create something because they are alive. And so the story of Joseph Smith having the first vision and translating the book of Mormon has created this religion and this community and the space that you and I and all of the other church members that are alive today, it's created a very real, tangible space and thing to belong to and be a part of, even if the creation story didn't happen in the way that it's being told here in these like 40 something verses. The effects of it are still real and tangible.

It's not even that we've done this with just this story. There are hundreds and millions of stories that we believe that have created something, right? Like, look at the way that the story of Eve that evangelical Christians have used to justify the treatment of women for the last 2000 years. That's a story that's created a real consequence. If we want to bring it more modern day, the story that Trump is telling about America has created a very real insurrection at the Capitol this week.

And so stories are powerful and the reason why I want to talk about this, and I think it's important to mention, is that I don't think that there needs to be any shame in feeling or in realizing how influential a creation story has been in your life, even though it's maybe not “true,” right. Because stories are powerful and it's done what it's meant to do. And so I think at some point we need to be in that middle or a nuanced space of understanding, like, yes, this is how I got here. Yes. Things have been hidden from me and yes, I'm angry about that and feeling into that space of discovery, but also understanding that the community that I'm a part of is still a very real space to be in and I have a responsibility to make this space that I'm in now loving, caring, compassionate, truthful, authentic, and holding those two things together.

That's a hard place to be in, but you and I are pretty practiced in that at this point. And I'm grateful for that because I think there's value in that space.

E: Yeah, and I think you set up our next discussion point really well because stories can be true and valuable and meaningful and give us purpose and help us discover the why behind it, even if they're not the same type of “true” as scientific evidence. Because I can't scientifically explain through, uh, the scientific method with a hypothesis exactly how the translation of the book of Mormon happened. I don't know. It's miraculous and mysterious and magical to me, but it doesn't mean that it's any less true, and like you said, it doesn't mean that the reality has shaped for us now is any less real or valid.

Toward the end of this section in verses 63 through 65, we come up against this very same thing we've been talking about. How can things be true and truthful and beautiful and how also do we grapple with things that are supposed to be logical and scientific and technical and factual? In verse 63, Martin Harris takes characters from the plates with Joseph Smith's transcription to professor Charles Anton, who was quote “a gentlemen celebrated for his literary attainments.”

“Professor Anton stated that the translation was correct more so than any other he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated and he said that they were true characters and He gave me a certificate certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them that had been translated was correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket. And I was just leaving the house when Mr. Anton called me back and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he had found them. I answered that the angel of God had revealed it unto him.

He then said to me, “Let me see that certificate.” I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him when he took it and tore it to pieces saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and then if I brought the plates to him, he would translate them.”

And this story provides us with an excellent opportunity to discuss the meaning and the role of truth as it's related to spirituality.

C: Absolutely. And I think that when we begin this conversation, we have to realize that we find ourselves at the intersection of philosophy science and religion, which is a pretty tricky space to be in, but we're going to do our very best. And many of these ideas that I want to share today come from the book Gaia and God by Rosemary Radford Ruether, which consequently is one that we've shared on our Instagram page before because it's like the best book ever.

Ruether talks about the development of the scientific method and the separation between religion and science. And so I just want to get into a little bit more detail about that. So Francis Bacon is the person who created the scientific method, and with that, he also created an entire branch of science that relies on empirical evidence. “Empirical evidence” is defined as information received by means of the senses, particularly by observation and documentation of patterns and behavior through experimentation. So Reuther says, “the Baconian scientific method defined only that which can be empirically observed and measured as scientific, while all subjective matters of inward experience and value, judgment, the ethical, the aesthetic, and the spiritual belong to a realm outside of scientifically verifiable truth. Scientists influenced by the mechanical objectivism of the scientific method increasingly came to regard these subjective matters as ‘unreal.’”

So to break that quote down a little bit, Ruether is saying that in the world of science, science believes that what can be measured is true and what cannot be measured is  “unreal” or not true. And I think that in this story of Martin Harris and Dr. Anton, we see these same themes at play.

Dr. Anton is looking for empirical truth or an experience or experimentation with his own senses while Martin Harris seems satisfied with the spiritual nature of the experience of Joseph Smith. And I think that begs the question of who's right? Who's wrong? Are both of them right or wrong? Neither of them? Does it matter?

And I think that those are tricky questions to sit with but they're important to ask. And I think too, that this opposition of the scientific vs the spiritual could possibly be a product of their time because given the information and the context leading up to this time, period, it's not surprising to see that reason or truth and beauty or faith personified in these two figures of Dr.Anton and Martin Harris and see them at odds with one another in this anecdote.

Rosemary Radford Ruether continues to argue that since then, like since this time period that we're discussing right now, the spheres of religion and science have reduced their insulation from each other. For a long time, science was reguarded as inherently good, all of the scientific developments were for the betterment of human life, but this faith in the goodness of science disappeared with the creation of nuclear weapons in the 1940s.

She goes on to say that “science proved incapable of satisfying the longings of the human spirit for aesthetic ethical and spiritual dimensions of reality. Religion not only failed to fade away in the face of science, but even young people raised entirely in the scientific perspective were turning to religion to fill this need.”

Essentially, what we're trying to say is that the separate worlds of spirituality and science used to be very distinct and operate independently of each other, but within the last probably 50 to 100 years, they've started to soften and blend with one another. So when we look back on this story and we translate it through a modern day lens, I think that we have a different viewpoint than what we would have had we been early saints, right? I think, and I'm speaking pretty generally an optimistically here, that we now have a more nuanced understanding about the relationship between science and religion. They are no longer separate spheres operating independent of one another, but we see them bridging or creating bridges into one another and defining what the relationship between them habits always been, which is a mystical coexistence.

And so with this perspective of science and religion blending with each other, it begs the question. What does this mean? What does this opposition or even blending of truth and reason with beauty and poeticism and faith, What does this mean for members of the LDS church? And I think that this story invites us to explore the ways that truth and faith or interchangeably reason and beauty function in our theology and rhetoric.

A couple of questions that we could use to explore are:

In what ways does the LDS church of value, truth and reason more than faith and beauty? And secondly, if we look at it the opposite way, in what ways does the LDS church value, faith and beauty, more than truth and reason?

And there are pros and cons to both of those, right? Like, I think to answer, in what ways does the LDS church value faith and beauty more than truth and reason we're looking at it right now, the story where the LDS faith has encouraged us to think of Joseph Smith, translating the book of Mormon in that like very idealistic painting that Elise talked about earlier versus the historical accounts that are being provided by others around Joseph Smith at the time, but we're still expected to have faith and just trust in the goodness, just the good side, right? The beauty and the poeticism of the first vision and how this like religion came to be.

E: I think for me in my religious life, my religious life is true to me because it's something I experience. Religious truth to me is the thing that burns inside me. It's the thing that calls me to get up off my butt and do something. It's the thing that moves me and the thing that pushes me to ponder and question and sit in uncertainty and it's okay if I don't have all of the answers. And so in that way, I think religious truth is much more meaningful to me. It invites beauty into my life. It invites wonder and reverence, and those are all things that can't be measured or deduced. And when they do, I often think that we become even more abstracted from our experience, from our love of God.

For example, we could measure and scientifically break down what baptism looks like.

Right? You have this, I don't know how much eight year old kids way, but you have this like 50 pound, eight year old child and they descend the steps of the baptismal font because of gravity. And they walk into a pool that's filled with, again, like 80 gal, like is 80 gallons enough for a baptismal font. I don't know, 800 gallons, 800 gallons worth of H2O. Right. That's water. Right. If only we could get to the most, if only we could reduce it down to its truest, most scientific form, then we could really stand the truth behind a baptism. But for me, like if I thought of my baptism as going into an 800 gallon pool of H2O, that means almost nothing to me. But when I think of holy water or when I see the ocean or when I go outside and experience my world, or when I pray and things come to my mind or move in my heart, like, that's my experience. Those are the things that are true for me. And that's when I feel the most connected to religious truth.

And I think religious truth also calls us to do the truth. And in my notes, I had written that the question of whether or not all of this is true, , like whether or not Joseph Smith participated in treasure digging and whether or not this is the exact formulaic way that he translated the book of Mormon, or even on a larger scale, whether or not this is the true one, true religion… I think that those questions don't call me on a fact finding mission because I'm in love with God. I'm not in love with history or facts or proof, although I am always already indebted to history, right? Like I would be nowhere without this world at this time in Phoenix with my tradition. So I'm always already indebted to history, but I'm in love with God and that religious sense of life.

That truthfulness that burns deep within me, the love of God that feeds me, calls me to do something, to do the love of God, to do the impossible. And I'm not saying we don't need science. Like we absolutely do need science. I need medicine. I need, I want doctors. I need people who understand how the internet works, which I don't know how that works. I need people who know how to build stoplights. Like we need those things. But for me, those are not the things that make this world the most meaningful.

C: I think there's a book that for me has illustrated the beauty of science and the need for science, but also measured it perfectly with like that inner sense of devotion to God. If you haven't read it before, it's called Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmer and Oh, it's just so beautifully done. I wish I could give that book to every single person ever, but, um, it's a very eco feminist book. She is an indigenous native American. She is a member of the Pottawatomie tribe. And she's also a member of the scientific community. Like her entire career is in science and studying botany. So she blends the two worlds, just so perfectly and talks about how, um, science gives meaning and meaning gives science a purpose. And so if you want to read more about it, you have to do check out that book.

Friends. Thanks so much for joining us today for this in-depth conversation about Joseph Smith, about the translation of the Book of Mormon, folk, magic, religion, science, mystery, mysticism, all of these things encompassed in one podcast episode. I didn't think it could be done, but here we are. We love you. We appreciate you. We can't wait to continue the conversation and hear your thoughts about this week episode. We'll see you next week.

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