Articles by

Ardis S

“Playing Jane”: Jane Manning James in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin

By March 5, 2011


Our very own Max Mueller has recently written a fascinating article on Jane Manning James that appears in the Winter/Spring 2011 issue of the Harvard Divinity Bulletin (Vol. 39, Nos. 1 & 2). In it, Max discusses James’ experiences as a black member of the early restored Church and in a parallel manner adds insight to the modern black LDS experience through a narrative on Jerri Harwell, a Genesis Group member who brings Jane to life for Utah audiences. Max’s research on James’ is adding significant insight into the life of a woman whose story is well-known but not necessarily well-explored. 

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First Edition of the Book of Mormon, British Library

By February 21, 2011


The British Library at St Pancras, London has a first edition Book of Mormon available for view in its rare book reading room. I initially discovered this as a BYU London Centre study abroad student in 2007. As I looked up sources on Sir Robert Walpole for British Politics research at the BL, I also decided to see what LDS sources the Library might also hold. I discovered the first edition in the catalogue. As a former BYU Nauvoo student, the prospect of holding and paging through a first edition Book of Mormon was extremely exciting. I quickly requested the item, as well as those for my other research, and then raced over to King’s Cross/St Pancras.

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The LDS Church in the London Times, 1830s and 1840s

By February 3, 2011


One of the first references to the LDS Church in London’s newspaper The Times occurred on 6 November 1838, when The Times correspondent on Ireland made a passing derogatory remark on a “scene of uproar and confusion that would be sufficient to disgrace an assemblage of Mormonites.” The author also stated that these “Mormonites” were led “by that transatlantic ruffian who styles himself the true prophet of God.” [1] Nearly three years later, another article in the news section stated that “A good deal of curiosity has been excited in this city during the last few days by the departure of great numbers of deluded country people (Mormonites), old and young, for the ‘New Jerusalem’ in America.” The author believed that these “unfortunate dupes” were motivated by the idea “that on their arrival at the American paradise they shall be made young again and shall live for a thousand years.” [2]

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Women’s History Series, Church History Library

By June 18, 2010


The Church History Library will be holding a Women’s History Lecture Series for the second half of 2010. It begins 8 July with a lecture by Chad Orton, CHL archivist, titled “Those They Left Behind: Experiences of Missionary Wives and Children, Unsung Heroes of the Restoration”. Knowing the caliber of these lecturers and their work, the lectures will in no doubt

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“Treasures of the Collection” at the Church History Library

By March 20, 2010


During General Conference this April, the Church History Library will be displaying treasures of the Library’s collection. This event will occur on Friday, 2 April from 5-9 pm and Saturday, 3 April from 12-2 pm and 4-9 pm. It will be a great foray into Church historical sources, and especially for those who will be on Temple Square for General Conference

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The Abel family in census records

By February 26, 2010


For a recent project, I was doing some research and came across a brief summary of Elijah Abel, a man who has fascinated me since I first read about him a few years ago. As most of you already know, Abel was a close friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith who received the partial endowment in the Kirtland Temple and was ordained a Seventy during the Prophet’s time. He served several missions, returning from his last mission immediately previous to his death in Salt Lake on 25 December 1884 (you can check out his obituary here). There’s been a fair amount of research done on Elijah Abel and his life, but as I was reading an article about the new grave marker that the Church had placed on his grave in 2002, I came across someone I had not heard of before: Mary Ann Abel.

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BYU and Martin Luther King in 1969

By February 4, 2010


A year following the discussion of King’s life and death in 1968, a series of editorials and letters to the editor reignited the debate on King in a manner that reflected the deviating views of BYU students on civil rights. On 30 April 1969, assistant news editor Judy Geissler wrote an editorial titled “In Memoriam: M. L. King.” Speaking to the idea of King’s life as a sacrifice to racial equality, Geissler declared that prejudicial words and attitudes had frequently led to the justification of discrimination, subjugation, and murder on the basis of race in the United States. She also provided a respectful biographical sketch on King in order to substantiate her own argument that BYU students should not only think about furthering equal rights but should “get out and DO something about it.”

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Internship Opportunity with the LDS Church History Library

By January 14, 2010


If you are interested in Church history and have advanced technological skills, there is currently an internship opportunity at the Church History Library that you may be interested in.

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BYU and Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968

By December 22, 2009


Over the past year, I have published several posts on JI about my research on how the civil rights movement was discussed in BYU’s student newspaper, the Daily Universe, during the 1950s and 1960s. I have recently begun studying a new aspect of this research that has proved particularly interesting and enlightening – how civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was talked about in the pages of the Daily Universe in the latter part of the 1960s and then again in the 1980s as the national discussion on establishing a federal holiday in honor of King came to Utah. In the next few posts on JI, I will analyze how students discussed King’s role as a civil rights leader in 1968, 1969, and the 1980s.

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Black Muslims, Malcolm X, and BYU

By June 5, 2009


I’m sorry for the severe delay in posting this research.  It is a very interesting facet of my overall research at discussions of civil rights in BYU’s newspaper The Daily Universe:

In March 1964, the Daily Universe published a series of three editorials on the Nation of Islam, which were most likely reprinted editorials from a national newspaper.[1]  The first of the three editorial was published three days after Malcolm X announced that he was leaving the Nation of Islam, and an editor’s note preceding the first editorial noted that the editorial series was being published given “recent developments in the Black Muslim movement” and “recent publicity” on Cassius Clay and the Nation of Islam.[2] Although the new series was listed under the headline of “Black Muslim Threat,” the editorials discussed the religious movement in more objective and respectful terms than might be expected of an extreme group at BYU.

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CRM, the Daily Universe, and the 1950s–Part One

By March 19, 2009


On 25 May 1954, the Daily Universe published its first article about the passing of Brown v. Board of Education, a monumental decision ordering the desegregation of the nation’s schools, preventing Southerners from depending upon previous ideas of “separate but equal” that justified segregation. [1] Although the United States governmental radio station “The Voice of America” broadcast news of the ruling to Eastern Europe in less than an hour, the Daily Universe took about a week to report news of the Supreme Court decision. [2] In an article entitled “Banners Hide Acceptance of New Edict,” student reporter Arthur Hardy reported that while the media portrayed Southern refusal of the ruling, the majority of the men and women who lived in the South were actually for desegregation:

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BYU, LDS Teachings, and the Civil Rights Movement

By March 5, 2009


Last year, as I was contemplating what research project I should engage in for my African-American history course, I came across a quote that intrigued me. In an article in BYU’s student newspaper the Daily Universe, 1960s student reporter Doug Wixom stated that “[t]he whole social protest movement passed right over the heads of BYU students that lived in Happy Valley” because students “were all so much in harmony with the basic values of the church that there was nothing to protest.” [1] This quote made me wonder–what was the actual reaction on BYU campus, if any, to the vast political and social events that were occurring in the United States during the time period? Were BYU students immune from social unrest or political uncertainty simply because they were shielded by their adherence to “the basic values of the church,” as Wixom postulates, or were the issues that were being discussed and protested on other college campuses throughout the nation similarly relevant and present at BYU?

What I have found in my research is that the latter view offers a more accurate description of the atmosphere at BYU during the 1950s and the 1960s.

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