Test your knowledge of Church history—past and present. The answers to the following five questions may be found [below].
1. When was the last time the Quorum of the Twelve presided at a general conference of the Church?
2. Which family had the largest number of children in the history of the Church?
3. What is the oldest meetinghouse continually in use in the Church?
4. How many families make up the Church? 350,000; 750,000; or 1,210,000?
5. Members of the Church were involved in which of the following historical events: Discovery of gold in California; conquest of Mount Everest; or first exploration of Antartica?
1. In 1951, when President George Albert Smith died shortly before general conference. President David O. McKay was then sustained as President in a solemn assembly on the final day of conference.
2. The James Layton and Heber C. Kimball families are tied, with 65 children in each family.
3. The oldest chapel is in Bountiful, Utah, in use since 1863.
4. There are 750,000 families in the Church.
5. Former members of the Mormon Battalion were with the James Marshall party when they discovered gold in California and set off the famed “Gold Rush of 1850.”
Printout on Isaiah
Biblical scholars have debated for centuries whether the Book of Isaiah was written solely by the prophet Isaiah or whether it was the product of many authors during different periods of time.
The Book of Mormon maintains that Isaiah, an important volume of prophetic scripture, was the work of only one man. This claim has caused non-Mormon scholars to attack the Book of Mormon because of this claim.
However, a recent exhaustive computer study of the language of the book, conducted at Brigham Young University, strongly supports the position that the book is the work of Isaiah—and only Isaiah.
The research was the project of Dr. Larry L. Adams, an Old Testament scholar and member of the BYU Office of Institutional Research.
Several hundred language variables were analyzed by more than 35 researchers, consultants, and their assistants, using 300 computer programs and more than 100 computer tapes.
Dr. Adams reports that previous studies of the language of Isaiah examined only a few language variables and thus reached false conclusions. Earlier studies are now being reappraised by some scholars in the light of the complex and extensive BYU study, in which the literary styles within the Book of Isaiah were compared with the styles in 11 other Old Testament books. The complete Isaiah text was used along with random samples from the books of Amos, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Micah, Habakkuk, Zechariah, Daniel, Ezra, Malachi, and Nehemiah.
Taken from the original Hebrew, the texts were coded and transferred to computer tape for statistical analyses.
Very important to the study was an examination of the level of style variation within the works of one author contrasted to the level of variation between a number of different authors.
Among the results which tend to confirm the singular authorship of Isaiah were:
1. The comparison of variations within the texts and between other Old Testament control texts indicates a high degree of unity within the Isaiah text.
2. The Isaiah texts were closer in their usage of Hebrew prepositions and conjunctions than were the control texts.
3. Key phrases are repeated frequently in all sections of Isaiah. In fact, the repetition rate in Isaiah was higher than in all of the other Old Testament sample texts combined.
In addition, the parts of Isaiah most often claimed to have been written by different authors were found in the computerized studies to be more similar in style than those of any other Old Testament books examined.
Dr. Adams’ computerized results do not eliminate the possibility that minor changes have been made in the text since it was first written.
“However,” says Dr. Adams, “it is evident that in spite of such possible changes, deletions, or additions, the overall style of the author has been retained.”
No Wheels? Get a Camel
The Book of Mormon describes wheeled vehicles and horses, but when the Spanish conquistadores came they did not find either. Strange?
Perhaps, but another culture gives a good example of wheeled vehicles giving way to more efficient means of transportation.
Carts, wagons, and chariots were the earliest and most common means of moving people and cargo for hundreds of years in countries in the Middle East, but camels began to replace all types of wheeled vehicles beginning at the time of Christ.
Most of the Middle East had converted to camel transportation by the end of the fifth century, A.D. Eventually, with the spread of the Islamic religion, camels became the chief source of transport as far away as Spain.
These are the findings of Dr. Richard W. Bulliet, assistant professor of history at Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. The research was published in Aramco World Magazine, a publication of the Arabian-American Oil Company.
Although we now think of deserts and camels in the same thought, Dr. Bulliet believes camels were domesticated by nomadic tribes only a few hundred years before the birth of Christ.
With eventual military might, nomads introduced the camel to neighboring kingdoms. But it was not military strength that converted the merchants from wheels to camels. It was economics.
When it proved impossible to develop a harness that would link a camel to a cart, the camel was put into competition with oxen. But oxen required more food, and it took scarce wood to build carts.
Early economists figured that camel transportation was about 20 percent cheaper than wheeled transportation. Acting on that information, the Roman emperor Diocletian ordered a price freeze in the third century that favored camel operators.
Eventually carts, wagons, and chariots—even many roads—disappeared.
Camels “ruled the road” for hundreds of years. It was only in some areas of Turkey that carts remained a strong competitor because of the influence of traders from the north.
But it was not until the advent of European influence that carriages began to replace camels as transportation for people. Even then the camel remained as the chief means of moving freight.
It was only the development of the automobile that moved the camel out of the transportation picture, Dr. Bulliet notes, although camels are still the prime source of transportation for nomadic desert tribes.
Eventually the camel will probably be only a meat supply for even the most primitive tribes, and may finally be relegated to the zoos of the world.