Articles by

J Stuart

“In My Father’s House Are Many Mansions”: Black Mormon Pioneer Experiences An Evening with Amy Tanner Thiriot

By January 17, 2018


From the LDS Church Museum’s website:

The first black members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were a vital part of the early history of the Church. They served missions and shared the gospel. As the Church moved west, they helped build Nauvoo and Winter Quarters and drove wagons across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley. Once in the valley, they helped rescue the stranded Willie and Martin handcart companies, built roads and communities, and raised families in the Mormon settlements of the West.

Continue Reading


LDS Church President Obits in the NYT (PDF to Full Articles at Bottom of Post)

By January 10, 2018


For no reason at all, here are the headlines, as they currently stand, for each LDS Church President who had an obituary published in the New York Times:

Continue Reading


Succession in the LDS Presidency: Past and Present

By January 3, 2018


President Thomas S. Monson, sixteenth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, passed away last night surrounded by family in his Salt Lake City home from effects related to aging. We share our sympathy and support for his family and all those affected by his death, notably sixteen million or so Latter-day Saints.

There will be time for historical retrospectives at a later date. At this time, I thought it would be helpful to review how an LDS Church President is called and sustained by the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. This section is taken from the Mormon newsroom, I would encourage you to read the rest here. At the bottom of this post, I’ll share some helpful links on the historical development of succession in the LDS Church.

Continue Reading


Happy New Year! Here Are a Few Things We Are Going to do This Year

By January 1, 2018


Happy New Year from all of us at Juvenile Instructor! We enjoyed bringing you historical argument, book reviews, announcements, and our summer book club in 2017. We have several more exciting plans for 2018.

  • New authors with historiographical expertise in areas we have neglected
  • Roundtables on new books in Mormon history (including J. Stapley’s and Colleen McDannell’s new books)
  • A series of posts on beginning to write a dissertation
  • A series of posts on turning dissertations into books
  • Q&As with scholars that teach Mormon history, from that that identify as Mormon historians and those that do not
  • A March Madness-style bracket on the best articles in Mormon history

Be sure to follow us on social media or via email for updates! Following us on social media helps other to find us and helps us spread the word of news and notes from the world of Mormon history.

LINK TO SIGN UP FOR EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS OF POSTS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

SUMMER BOOK CLUB


MHA International Scholars Fund

By December 22, 2017


The Mormon History Association (MHA) seeks to raise $5,000 to support scholars from outside the United States to travel to and participate in the association’s annual conference in Boise, Idaho, on June 7-10, 2018.  If you love Mormon history, this is an excellent opportunity to support the diversification and internationalization of our community of scholars! LINK HERE

MHA is making a concerted effort to diversify its membership and include scholars and students from around the globe in order to help expand our understanding of Mormon history outside of the United States.  An annual fund of $5,000 will allow the association to subsidize the attendance and participation of scholars from Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Pacific Islands, and elsewhere, for whom the expense of traveling to the United States for an MHA conference is often prohibitive.  We need the perspectives and knowledge these scholars can contribute, and ask for your help in elevating their voices.

The Mormon History Association is the preeminent scholarly organization dedicated to the study and understanding of all aspects of the Mormon past.  As an independent, nondenominational, nonprofit organization, we welcome all who are interested in Mormon history.  MHA’s flagship event is our annual conference, scheduled to occur next on June 7-10, 2018, in Boise, Idaho.

Please join us in this initiative to bring a greater international presence to the MHA 2018 conference. Contributions of every level are welcome.  All donations are tax deductible.  Our goal is to raise $5,000 by January 22.

Thank you for your support of the Mormon History Association and our increasingly global community of scholars and members!

DONATE HERE


Highlights from Mormon Studies Review, Volume 5

By December 11, 2017


The Mormon Studies Review is the best annual over view of the Mormon Studies (sub)field available anywhere. Produced by the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, the journal is produced by a remarkable editorial team. You can subscribe for $10 (and you get the Maxwell Institute’s other publications, too!). I’ll highlight each contribution, and pull a sentence or two from each article to give a taste of the writing and rigor involved in each contribution. As much as the summaries, I hope that you’ll appreciate with me the myriad of approaches that could be used in Mormon History or Mormon Studies. The field, as they say, is white and ready to harvest.

First, a review panel comprised of Ann Little (a renowned women’s history specialist and microhistorian), Paul Reeve (the Simmons Professor of Mormon Studies at the University of Utah), and Sarah Carter (a historian of plural marriage outside of Mormonism) examines Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s A House Full of Females.[i]  An excerpt from Little’s response sums up the book well:

Ulrich’s instinct to hew to the daily realities of mid-nineteenth-century missionary life and westward imperial expansion serves her well. The Mormons she portrays lead complicated lives—emotionally and sexually messy as well as frequently (literally) clogged with mud, dirt, and dysentery from their various removes and migrations. She focuses on the details of early Mormon life as they were revealed in diaries rather than retrospective memoirs, which brings the immediacy of their experimentation to life.

Continue Reading


Mormon History and Mormon Studies at AAR 2017

By November 17, 2017


Here are the Mormon History and Mormon Studies Panels/Receptions at AAR 2017. If you’re interested in writing a post sharing your experience at AAR, please email joseph dot stuart at utah dot edu.

Continue Reading


Mormon History Books for Comprehensive Exams?

By November 1, 2017


Welcome to a new series at Juvenile Instructor entitled “The Gathering.” In this series of posts, several JI-ers will respond to a single question posed by another JI blogger. If you have a question you’d like to submit, please post it as a comment at the bottom of this post. 

If you could assign two books on Mormonism to be read for a US History comprehensive exam, what would they be?

Continue Reading


REVIEW: Alford, Utah and the American Civil War

By October 25, 2017


Kenneth L. Alford, ed., Utah and the American Civil War: The Written Record (Norman, OK: Arthur H. Clark, 2017).

There are several books on Utah’s place in the Civil War, but until recently, there was never book that held all of the documents related to the war in Utah Territory. Kenneth Alford, Professor of Church History and Doctrine and Brigham Young University, has created a documentary volume that places all of the documents from the Official Records of the Civil War (OR) from Utah Territory and letters, reports, and other texts in a single volume.

Utah and the Civil War has five chapters, each of which are useful to history buffs and to academics. In the first chapter, Alford provides a summary of Utah Territory’s place in the American Civil War, including the service of the Lot Smith Company. Alford’s clear and lively narration helps readers to see that multiple parties competing for power and influence in the Territory, as well as Utah’s position as a political hot potato in the rest of the country. The second chapter gives a brief overview of the creation of the 128-volume Official Records of the War of the Rebellion. Chapter Three explains the background of the Civil War Records created in Utah Territory.

Continue Reading


Which aspect of Mormon history needs to be studied through the framework of “lived religion?”

By October 24, 2017


Welcome to a new series at Juvenile Instructor entitled “The Gathering.” In this series of posts, several JI-ers will respond to a single question posed by another JI blogger. If you have a question you’d like to submit, please post it as a comment at the bottom of this post. 

Which aspect of Mormon history needs to be studied through the framework of “lived religon?”

Continue Reading


BREAKING NEWS: LDS Church to Publish the William Clayton Diaries

By October 20, 2017


At a conference sponsored by the Joseph Smith Papers Project (JSPP), LDS Church History Department (CHD) Director of Publications Matt Grow announced the publication of the William Clayton diaries. They will transcribe and annotate the volume, just like the Joseph Smith Papers volumes.

THIS IS ENORMOUS NEWS!

Some may wonder why this announcement is such a big deal. Long story short, the Clayton Diaries hold key information about plural marriage and Joseph Smith’s religious workings. While excerpts have been available for some time in publications, notably Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s new book on plural marriage, they have not been available to the public, or even to most researchers. This will allow future projects to better understand the last years of Joseph Smith’s life. This is one of the best sources to understanding Joseph Smith’s personal life, thoughts, and activities in Nauvoo.

Continue Reading


Review: The Thirteenth Apostle: The Diaries of Amasa M. Lyman, 1832-1877

By October 11, 2017


Scott H. Partridge, ed., The Thirteenth Apostle: The Diaries of Amasa M. Lyman, 1832-1877 (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2016).

Thirteenth Apostle is the first of Signature Books’ Legacy Series, which replaces their award-winning and incredibly valuable Significant Mormon Diaries Series.[i] They chose an excellent set of diaries to begin the Legacy Series. Not only was Lyman an apostle, his sons and grandsons became apostles, and more recently, his great-great grandson James E. Faust served in the LDS First Presidency. The Lyman family have shaped, and continue to shape, the religious and intellectual life of Latter-day Saints.

I first became acquainted with Amasa Lyman while reading Ron Walker’s Wayward Saints: The Social and Religious Protests of the Godbeites against Brigham Young. Lyman is a major character in Walker’s work, an apostle, apostate, and seemingly, a man that never quite fit in either religious or philosophical circles. Lyman’s association with the Godbeites led to his excommunication from the LDS Church in 1870.[ii] Still, most readers will come to the diaries looking for information on the paths that led to his excommunication and later affiliation with the Godbeites and Spiritualists. On the first two accounts, readers will be disappointed. Regrettably, the diaries from Lyman’s time with the Godbeites are not available or do not exist.

Lyman’s life is much more interesting even than his affiliation with the Godbeites. He served multiple missions, joined the first group of Latter-day Saints that received the sealing ritual, was sealed to one of Joseph Smith’s plural wives, helped to settle San Bernardino, and labored as an apostle. His rich life is only hinted at in the diaries themselves; however, historians are sure to be able to use Lyman’s diaries to illuminate the broader world of nineteenth-century Mormonism.

Readers are able to see the ways that Lyman was comparable to other Latter-day Saint men at the time—he served missions, he spent a lot of his time in travel, and pontificated on theology (including a controversial sermon that denied the necessity of Christ’s atonement). He participated in the Spiritualist Movement, and claimed to have spoken to his daughter about “the cancer with which he [was] afflicted” among other topics.[iii] I found Lyman a fascinating figure and immediately wished that Lyman had been able to Tweet during his lifetime. Heck, I would have even settle for following him on Facebook.

Lyman’s life, as much as any other apostle, reveals the ways that Mormonism participated in both the American culture and operated on its religious fringes. Lyman spent time on the frontier, moved west, served his community, and tried to serve his religious and secular communities. He participated in popular religious movements like spiritualism and worked on his writing and grammar. However, he was also an apostle in a religious group that wasn’t recognized as authentically religious as much as organized hearsay in the nineteenth century. He had eight wives and fathered dozens of children. I would love to see Lyman incorporated into studies that use those at the edges of Mormonism (intellectually, theologically, racially, sexually, etc.) to reveal more about the average experience of nineteenth-century Latter-day Saints.[iv]

Interestingly, and frustratingly, Lyman’s diaries do not reveal the inner workings of his mind to the degree that the journals of leaders like Wilford Woodruff, Heber J. Grant, or Ernest Wilkinson do. Partridge’s footnotes and introduction will be valuable for readers, although there are a few things that caused me some frustration. First, I would have liked to have seen events in the diaries in conversation with works in the history of the American West and American religious history. I believe Mormon history is best when it can speak to broader topics—pointing readers to works outside of Mormon history would be immensely helpful for non-experts. Second, I would have liked to have seen more works of Mormon history referenced in the text (especially newer works).

These issues aside, Partridge and the Signature Team have much to be proud of. I wholeheartedly recommend Thirteenth Apostle to all those that work in nineteenth-century Mormonism, spiritualism, and the history of the American West.

 

 

[i] Many of these volumes, along with other books and primary sources, are available at Signature Books’ Internet Archive site.
[ii] The excommunication was overturned (his baptismal and priesthood blessings were restored) in 1909.
[iii] A study could be done on what he reports seeing and hearing during séances. Emily Suzanne Clark’s recent book “Luminous Brotherhood” makes great use of spiritualist records left behind by black Catholic men in nineteenth-century New Orleans.
[iv] For a rationale behind such projects, see Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp, “The Clock and the Compass: Mormon Culture in Motion,” Journal of Mormon History 32, no. 2 (April 2017): 1-19.


“Science vs. Dogma: Biology Challenges the LDS Paradigm” by Greg Prince, Author & Historian

By September 27, 2017


The Obert C. & Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center presents The 2017 Sterling M. McMurrin Lecture on Religion & Culture

“Science vs. Dogma: Biology Challenges the LDS Paradigm” by Greg Prince, Author & Historian

Wednesday, September 27 at 7:00 PM

Salt Lake City Public Library – Nancy Tessman Auditorium

210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City

Open to the public, no tickets required

Facebook event: https://goo.gl/4jXtP8

LIVE STREAM: http://www.kaltura.com/tiny/h1ynw

 

The Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah presents the 2017 Sterling M. McMurrin Lecture on Religion & Culture, “Science versus Dogma: Biology challenges the LDS Paradigm” by Gregory A. Prince, author and historian, at Salt Lake City Public Library, September 27 at 7:00 p.m.

 

Until the late 1960s, when the Stonewall Riots in New York City brought LGBT issues into the public square, the consensus among clinicians, scientists, legislators, and religious leaders was that homosexuality was either an unfortunate choice that could be unchosen, or a disease that could—and must—be cured. As the field of molecular biology matured, there was a spirited hunt for a genetic explanation for homosexuality—the “gay gene.”

 

In the short term, failure to find such a gene reinforced the “choice paradigm” of homosexuality.  However, recent research has shown that a combination of genetic and (mostly) epigenetic factors act during fetal development to imprint sexual preference and gender identity indelibly within the brain. Prince argues that the “biology paradigm” calls for a reassessment of Latter-day Saint doctrines, policies, and attitudes towards homosexuality, all of which were built on a foundation of the “choice paradigm.”

 

“Greg Prince’s unique perspective,” says Tanner Center director Bob Goldberg, “combines scientific knowledge with humanistic sensibilities.  This insures that his insights will offer new ways of understanding matters that touch us all.”

 

Prince’s lecture will be followed by a book signing hosted by the King’s English Bookshop.

 

About Gregory A. Prince

Scientific researcher and historian Gregory A. Prince earned his graduate degrees in dentistry (DDS) and pathology (PhD) at UCLA. He then pursued a four-decade career in pediatric infectious disease research. His love of history led him to write three books, including the award-winning David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Most recently, he has published Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History.

 

Very Special Thanks

 

B.W. Bastian Foundation

 

Community Partners

 

The Salt Lake City Public Library

Q Salt Lake Magazine

The King’s English Bookshop


Q&A with Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

By September 25, 2017


Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, whose book we have been reading together for nearly six months, has graciously agreed to answer a few questions from JI bloggers and readers. If you found the book club useful and/or interesting, we hope you will follow JI on Facebook, Twitter, and share our articles. 

JI: What has the reception been among academic, popular, and Mormon audiences?  

Continue Reading


Q&A with Patrick Mason on the Global Mormon Studies Center at CGU

By September 5, 2017


We are pleased that Patrick Mason, Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University, has responded to questions asked by JI bloggers about his plans for the Global Mormon Studies Center. You can find more about the Global Mormon Studies Center here.

  1. The Global Mormon Studies Center is the first research organization directly connected to Mormon Studies. Do you see the Center as a part of the program’s draw for students, or as a separate research center attached to CGU?

Continue Reading


Student and Early-Career Scholar Workshop: A Report

By August 28, 2017


In early June, Kris and I organized a “publication workshop” for graduate students and early-career scholars working on projects related to Mormon History and American Religious History. Thanks to the generosity of the John C. Danforth Center for Religion and Politics at Washington University at St. Louis, we were able to meet in a central location before the meetings of the Mormon History Association (lots of capital letters!). I thought that it would be useful to share what I learned at the event and also share what I view as the primary benefits of organizing writing workshops.

STATE OF THE FIELD

Continue Reading


What I Wish I had Known About Coursework

By August 8, 2017


I spent too much of coursework worrying about coursework. Of course, that’s easy to say now that I’m studying for comprehensive exams. Reading several hundred books has a way of putting things into perspective. You realize that there is a LOT of great work out there and that it is very difficult to publish a book. Nary has an acknowledgments section gone by without mentioning that the author reached a point where they nearly gave up or had to rely on their “people” for encouragement. However, something else struck me—very few of the books I’ve read mention anything about the project growing out of a paper written during coursework.

Continue Reading


Global Mormon Studies Initiative at Claremont Graduate University

By July 13, 2017


Our readers will be interested to see what becomes of CGU’s plans for a Global Mormon Studies Center. You can learn more about the proposed Center in the video below!

 


JI Summer Book Club 2017: A House Full of Females, Chapter 6

By July 10, 2017


This is the sixth entry in the Third Annual Summer Book Club at Juvenile Instructor. This year we are reading Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women’s Rights in Early Mormonism (Knopf, 2017). Check back every Sunday for the week’s installment! Please follow the book club and JI on Facebook.

Chapter Six of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s A House Full of Females details the crossing of Iowa and depicts a people in motion, both physically and emotionally. While many histories detail the environmental and emotional challenges of the exodus from Nauvoo, Ulrich adds depth to the story of the Mormon migration and complicates our thinking about it. Like biblical sojourners, who understand that they stand at a turning point in their story, A House Full of Females describes how some diarists began new journals just before leaving the city, while other new diarists appear on the stage.
Ulrich notes that Mormon diaries share many similarities with other Oregon trail journals including records of weather and difficulties with animals. However, she also claims that the Mormon migration of 1846 was unique, highlighting the fact that Mormons leaving Nauvoo were refugees who “had a bit in common with the displaced Potawatomi and Omaha people, on whose lands they took temporary refuge once they reached the Missouri River.”(138). Chapter six fully describes the emotional and physical disorder of the Nauvoo exodus, which made it different from later waves of Mormon migration. Finally, Ulrich also points to the pressures of ideal sainthood that had mounted during the final weeks in Nauvoo, “how much they had to learn about pioneering, and how little they knew about the demands of establishing God’s kingdom.”(139). A House Full of Females paints a visceral picture of a people both moving forward and mired in mud. Men, women and children up to their waists in mud, snakes slithering out of the muck and wagons needing to be extricated from swamps all portray the challenges of a physical journey that dragged on and the need to face new emotional challenges as a radical new family structure took shape during extreme circumstances.
Ulrich deftly illustrates that the earliest Mormon migration should not be understood simply as a move west, an exodus or a displacement. It also needs to be understood as the site of changing domestic and marital identities. In the face of birth, death, disease, separation, and domestic contention, A House Full of Females tells the story of both creating and dissolving families and community. The reality of aging parents, the death of children, changing marital structure as well as conflicts about succession within the church, ubiquitous disease and the physical demands of the journey culminate in Ulrich’s conclusion of the chapter which pushes the reader beyond hagiographic depictions of the Nauvoo exodus noting that, “The Saints had struggled through the mud of Iowa only to reach a worse misery. In their would-be Zion, there was never enough of anything to go around, never enough food or shelter, never enough respect or love or charity. The harder they tried to live by the dictates of their religion, the more they exposed their own lack of perfection.”(155)


Addendum to the 2018 MHA Call for Papers

By June 28, 2017


This addendum has been added to the 2018 MHA Call for Papers (original call here). Paper abstracts are still due on November 15, 2017 and the conference will still be held on June 7-10, 2018 at Boise, ID.

Since its founding in 1965, the Mormon History Association has been dedicated to the promotion of intellectually rigorous, diverse scholarship on the history of the Mormon tradition. To help us create a welcoming space that embraces work from a wide variety of methodological and religious viewpoints, we encourage individuals to organize panels for the 2018 Conference in Boise, Idaho, that include presenters from a variety of institutional, social, and religious backgrounds. The program committee will give preference to panels that reflect the diversity of the historical profession by featuring women and underrepresented minorities. [Bold added by J Stuart]

 

Older Posts 

Series

Recent Comments

J Stuart on The New LDS First: “E: Yes, according to his bio from lds.org: https://www.lds.org/prophets-and-apostles/what-are-prophets/bio/russell-m-nelson?lang=eng&_r=1”


Old Man on The New LDS First: “I don't understand the refusal to discuss politics on this post. Any ignoramus knows that President Uchtdorf was not reassigned because of his more…”


E on The New LDS First: “Does President Nelson have a PhD in addition to his MD?”


David G. on The New LDS First: “Sorry for the confusion, Moss. The post has now been updated for clarity.”


acw on The New LDS First: “I also find it intriguing from a sociological perspective that so many of the apostles/prophets have had inactive or absent fathers--Nelson, Oaks, Richard G Scott,…”


Moss on The New LDS First: “I'm sorry, but I am confused by the following paragraph. Could someone reword it for me? "Dieter F. Uchtdorf, who had served as Second Counselor to…”

Topics


juvenileinstructor.org