Articles by

J Stuart

Mormon Enigma Summer Book Club

By August 9, 2016


We hope that you’ve enjoyed our Summer Book Club! Each post in our series can be found below:

  • Week 1: Emma and Joseph, 1825-1827; The “Elect Lady” 1827-1830 [June 6]
  • Week 2: Gathering in Ohio, 1830-1834; Seas of Tribulation, 1834-1838; Strife in Missouri; Sanctuary in a Swamp, 1839-1841 [June 13]
  • Week 3: A New Order of Marriage, 1841-1842; In Search of Iniquity, Spring-Summer 1842; Aid to the Fugitive, June-September 1842 [June 20]
  • Week 4: More Wives and a Revelation, September 1842-July 1843; The Poisoning, June-December 1843; “Voice of Innocence,” January-June 1844 [June 27]
  • Week 5: A Final Farewell, June 12-28, 1844; The Lady and the Lion, Fall 1844; Inherit the Legacy, October 1844-October 1845 [July 4 or 5]
  • Week 6: The Sun Casts a Shadow, Winter 1845-1846; War in Nauvoo, February-December 1846; The Major, 1846-1849 [July 11]
  • Week 7: Change in Nauvoo, 1850-1860; Emma’s Sons, Lewis’s Son, 1860-1870 [July 18]
  • Week 8: Josephites and Brighamites, 1870-1877; The Last Testimony, 1873-1879; Epilogue [July 25]

We hope you’ll join us next summer! Feel free to suggest a book for next year’s series in the comments.


Death and the Historian’s Empathy

By July 27, 2016


My grandmother’s best friend was murdered on October 15, 1985 by Mark Hoffman. Kathy Sheets was not the intended target of the bomb that ended her life but that didn’t really seem to matter to the bombmaker, forger, and murderer. Hoffman also murdered Steve Christensen, one of my grandfather’s business partners, in an attempt to divert attention from his money problems related to forging early American documents. Many of Hoffman’s most famous forgeries were documents supposedly created by 19th century Mormons, including letters, receipts, currency, and legal affidavits.

I have known of Mark Hoffman’s crimes since I was very small. My grandparents kept a photograph of Kathy Sheets in their home and she looks startlingly like my grandmother. In fact, for many years I did not know the photograph was of Kathy, I just thought it was my grandmother.

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Summer Reads 2016

By July 20, 2016


A few weeks ago, Tom Cutterham at The Junto shared what he was reading this summer. I thought it would be fun to post about what I and other JIers are reading this summer–both to find new books to read and because I’m interested in what folks choose to read for pleasure. Please share what you’re reading in the comments! 

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Summer Book Club Week 6: Mormon Enigma, Chapters 16-18

By July 11, 2016


Click here for part onetwothree, four, and five of this year’s summer book club. 

 This week’s chapters address the transitions in Emma Smith’s life from Winter 1845-1846 through the removal of the Latter-day Saints from Nauvoo in 1846 to the Elect Lady’s marriage to Lewis Bidamon and his travels throughout 1849. Brilliantly, the authors open these chapters with a letter forged by James Bennet and/or associates of his, published in the New York Sun. In the fraudulent letter, someone impersonating Emma claims that the current governing leaders of the Mormon Church were “tyrants” and that she planned to raise her children in another faith. Furthermore, the letter-writer claimed to have never believed her husband’s revelations or his religious innovations.

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The Past and Present of Mormon Scholarship and Mormon Apologetics

By June 21, 2016


Today I’d like to offer some thoughts on last week’s Colloquium held in honor of Richard Bushman, particularly the place of Mormonism in the Academy and the history of Mormon apologetics. While I speak of apologists and apologetics, I do not wish to cast aspersions on apologists, apologetic efforts, or the historical work that is put to apologetic ends in Mormonism. I aim only to call attention to trends in LDS apologetics.

 

In her review of Richard Bushman’s Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling in the Journal of American History, Jan Shipps laid out the origins of the academic study of Mormon history. Fascinatingly, she took care to note Rough Stone Rolling’s diverse reception among both academics and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In a particular set of paragraphs in the review’s close, Shipps stated:

Perhaps more than anything else, this diverse reaction confirms the status of the work as the crowning achievement of the “old” new Mormon history, an intellectual movement that with Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling seems to be rapidly passing into history. That is not to say that Mormon history is going away or even that the bifurcation of the Mormon past is headed for resolution. Quite the contrary…Believing historians will work in the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (then hosted by the Maxwell Institute]) mode, marshaling facts from other sources to prove the LDS scripture’s ancient bona fides. In addition, what appears to be hordes of graduate students—some Latter-day Saints and some not—are discovering that as record keepers par excellence, Mormons have left a historical legacy that will keep historians busy for many generations to come.

Shipps believed that those graduate students would “probably leave the provinciality that made so much old Mormon history inward looking.” This astute observation predicted the proliferation of the study of Mormonism within the Academy, using Mormonism and Mormons as a case study for broader themes rather than a singular drive to discover the history of religions that flowed from the theological fountain of Joseph Smith’s 1830 Church of Christ.

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How to Livetweet a Conference, featuring the Workshops, Panels, and Papers of #MHA2016 on Twitter

By June 16, 2016


Today’s post on livetweeting a conference comes from Eliza N. She is an editor who lives and works in Salt Lake City. She grew up in the Midwest and misses the cornfields. When she’s not working, reading, or watching Netflix, she enjoys running, playing volleyball, and hanging out with her dog. Eliza tries her best to follow these Twitter tips @EtotheNev.

You can see the archived tweets from #MHA2016 at the links provided at the bottom of the page! If you have tweets we missed please post them in the comments. If your tweets or session appear in the links below, please share on Twitter and Facebook (and tag either @MormonHistoryJI or our Facebook page).

 

Etiquette for Tweeting a Conference, or Seven Tips for Making Your Live-Tweet Game Sizzle

As younger generations and technology invade academia, audiences for conferences like this past weekend’s Mormon History Association’s grapple with what the heck certain platforms are and how to use them. Perhaps the most popular for MHA, Twitter is a useful and fun tool that might baffle newcomers. It takes time to learn its tricks, cadence, and inside jokes, but we can help you catch up on some of the particulars for live-tweeting a conference like MHA.

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#MHA2016 Award Winners

By June 10, 2016


2016 MHA Award Winners

JI Permabloggers in BOLD

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The JI 2nd Annual Summer Book Club: Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith

By May 23, 2016


Last year, we at the Juvenile Instructor started a Summer Book Club on Richard Bushman’s Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. The posts garnered thousands of views, many helpful comments, and publicity from the Salt Lake Tribune and the Religion News Service. I received notes from friends, acquaintances, and perfect strangers who benefited from reading along with us. It was extremely gratifying to hear from folks that found a reason to tackle such an important biography.

In the spirit of introducing non-specialists and non-academics to Mormon history, we have decided to read Linda King Newell’s and Valeen Tippetts Avery’s Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith.  We landed on Mormon Enigma for several reasons. First, we wanted to address the history of women in Mormon history. There are very few books on women in Mormonism—far fewer, at any rate, than books on men’s actions, thoughts, lives, and decisions. For instance, there are several biographies on Joseph Smith but only Newell and Avery have written a biography of Emma Smith.

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Mormonism in Religious Studies Workshop

By May 15, 2016


This year, Kris W. and I are running a workshop on Mormonism in Religious Studies (which embraces the methodologies of history, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, etc.). We will meet at the University of Utah on Tuesday, June 7, from 9 AM to 5 PM. We will congregate in Room 351 of the Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Center. There is parking close by ($) but the building is also accessible by Trax or UTA bus routes.

As a participant, you will be responsible for “presenting” a colleague’s paper to the rest of the group. You will be responsible for introducing the paper to the group and assessing the paper’s strengths and weaknesses (5 minutes or less). You will then lead a discussion on the paper for 20-30 minutes.

Participants should submit a paper to their readers by May 27th, 2016 by 11:59 PM. The papers can be up to 10,000 words, including footnotes. Your submission could be anything from a blog post to a book or dissertation chapter. It is expected that each participant will read each other participant’s paper and make comments for the benefit of the author, either in track changes or by hand.

We will also discuss trends in “Mormon Studies,” or as I prefer to think of it, the study of Mormonism within an academic framework, often using the tools of religious studies. As a part of that discussion, we will read:

Dr. Richard Bushman

Dr. Richard Bushman

shipps

Dr. Jan Shipps

Dr. Stephen Taysom

Dr. Stephen Taysom

Many participants will have read these articles before, but Kris and I feel that they will allow us to have an informative and engaging conversation.

Please let Kris or I know if you would like to attend by e-mail, joseph dot stuart at utah dot edu. We hope to make the workshop an annual tradition–please send a note if you’d like to be included in the future.

 


JIers at #MHA2016

By May 5, 2016


As early-bird registration for #MHA2016 wraps up this Saturday, May 7, I thought it would be useful to highlight what our authors will speak about at this year’s conference.

MHA Logo

In alphabetical order:

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New Course at the University of Utah (with Guest Lectures open to the Public): The Intellectual Life of Mormonism

By May 2, 2016


Brian Birch, Professor of Philosophy at Utah Valley University, will be teaching a course on the intellectual life of Mormonism this coming fall at the University of Utah. He has kindly made his syllabus and course readings available online, which many readers will want to read at their leisure.

Course Poster

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Call for Submissions: Helen Z. Papanikolas Award for Best Student Paper on Utah Women’s History

By April 19, 2016


Helen Z. Papanikolas Award for

Best Student Paper on Utah Women’s History

Utah State History sponsors the Papanikolas Award to encourage new scholarly research in the area of Utah women’s history at colleges and universities.  The award is named for Helen Z. Papanikolas (1917-2004), a former member of the Utah State Board of History who was most noted for her research and writing on Utah and ethnic history, but also wrote fiction, as well as women’s history.

Helen Z. Papanikolas

Helen Z. Papanikolas

Submission Guidelines

  • Papers must address some historical aspect of women’s lives in Utah.
  • The author must be enrolled at a college or university.
  • Papers need not be published.
  • Papers should include original research that includes primary sources.  The paper must be footnoted.
  • Papers should not be more than 50 pages long.
  • Papers must be received by May 15, 2016.
  • Please call or E-mail us on May 16, 2016 if you have not heard directly from us that we received your paper.

The winner receives a monetary award as well as being honored at Utah State History’s annual meeting held September 30, 2016 in Salt Lake City.

Submit papers to:

Linda Thatcher

(801) 534-0911

thatcher0911@msn.com


Instagram: The Lived Religion of General Conference (PHOTOS GALORE!)

By April 3, 2016


While watching the LDS General Conference this weekend I consulted Instagram for inspiration regarding breakfast choices. While I searched the #ldconf hashtag, my mind turned to the ways that historians and cultural analyze Mormonism, both now and in the future. All photos are in the public domain from Instagram.com. If anyone would like their photo removed, please contact me immediately.

RITUAL

Much of Mormon ritual is found in their Sunday services and temple liturgy, including the Sacrament and the performance of temple ordinances. However, Sunday morning sessions of General Conference are affectionately known in some quarters as “Pajama Church.” Because there is no need to dress up, families celebrate by staying in their pajamas. Photos documenting this trend on Instagram often show entire families on the couch together in their pjs, spending time together. This informal ritual speaks volumes about Mormon families and the ways that Mormons envision worship experiences.

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Mormonism in the Academy: Teaching, Scholarship, & Faith A Scholars’ Colloquium in Honor of Richard L. Bushman

By March 30, 2016


If you are in Utah this June after MHA, friends and colleagues of Richard Bushman are meeting to honor him and his work on Mormonism within the Academy. Dr. Bushman has been a friend, mentor, adviser, and role model to all those that study Mormonism in its religious and historic contexts. The schedule for the Colloquium can be found below.

You can see the schedule and original press release at the Maxwell Institute’s Website.

Mormonism in the Academy: Teaching, Scholarship, & Faith

A Scholars’ Colloquium in Honor of Richard L. Bushman

Brigham Young University
June 17–18, 2016

Dr. Richard Bushman

Dr. Richard Bushman

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Beyond Biography: Sources in Context for Mormon Women’s History

By February 27, 2016


BYU and the LDS Church History Library are hosting a conference this Thursday and Friday entitled, “Beyond Biography: Sources in Context for Mormon Women’s History.” The conference looks to be a major step forward for Mormon history by engaging Mormon Women’s history through a number of methodologies. There is no registration fee–if you’re in Utah you will want to be at the BYU or LDS Conference Center!

R. Marie Griffith and Julie B. Beck will deliver the plenary addresses.

JI-er presentations can be found below. You can view the rest of the schedule here.

church-history-symposium-web-graphic-banner

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Applications for The Marlin K. Jensen Scholar and Artist in Residence Program (Due April 15, 2016)

By February 13, 2016


Another announcement from our friends at the Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah:

The Marlin K. Jensen Scholar and Artist in Residence Program

marlin-k-jensen-large

Program Launch: Spring, 2017.

The Tanner Humanities Center on the University of Utah is proud to announce a fellowship in the name of Marlin K. Jensen. Our Marlin K. Jensen Scholar and Artist in Residence Program will host prominent scholars with expertise in Mormon Studies or renowned artists who explore the relationship between faith and art in their work.

Marlin Keith Jensen was a general authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), serving as the official Church Historian and Recorder from 2005 to 2012. During his tenure, Jensen worked to professionalize the Church’s History Department, give it international range, make its holdings more accessible to researchers, and publish primary materials. Jensen was made an emeritus general authority in 2012. Currently, he practices law in Salt Lake City and is a member of the Utah State Board of Regents.

The fellowship will consist of a semester-long residency. Each scholar will:

  • Teach a class for University of Utah students
  • Serve as a research or artistic mentor
  • Offer public lectures or performances
  • Contribute to Mormon Studies curriculum planning and program development

Nominees are asked to submit:

  1. A CV
  2. A one page course description for a Mormon Studies class
  3. The names of two recommenders

Please submit the above by April 15, 2016.

The successful candidate will have an office in the Tanner Humanities Center and be part of the Center’s fellow community. In addition, the position offers an honorarium of $50,000.

Please send your application material to Bob Goldberg, Center Director and Professor of History, University of Utah, at bob.goldberg@utah.edu


Tanner Humanities Center’s Mormon Studies Fellowship (Applications due March 1, 2016)

By February 12, 2016


From our good friends at the Tanner Humanities Center (University of Utah):

TannerHumanities

Mormon Studies Fellowship  

The first of its kind in the nation, the Tanner Humanities Center’s Mormon Studies fellowship (at the University of Utah) provides a doctoral student funds to spend a year researching the history, beliefs, and culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and its members. This fellowship is open to all dissertation level students of the Mormon Experience from any university in the United States or from around the world. Areas of focus include, but are not limited to: Theology, History, Sociology, Economics, Literature, Philosophy, and Political Science.

This fellowship supports academic scholarship. It seeks to enlighten and educate while grounding understanding in serious research. The fellowship will not disparage or denigrate any religion, organization, people, or group. The fellow must be affiliated with a university and actively enrolled in a Ph.D. Program. A committee, chaired by the Director of the Tanner Humanities Center and composed of scholars and members of the community, informed and sensitive to the needs of Mormon studies, select the fellow annually.

The deadline for the 2016-2017 Mormon Studies fellowship is March 1, 2016

For more information and application forms please click here: http://thc.utah.edu/fellowships/mormon-studies.php


Bad Referees, Dirty Recruiting, Commercialization of College Football, and No One Wanting to Play the University of Utah: from the Diaries of Ernest L. Wilkinson

By February 9, 2016


I’ve started a new project that requires me to read the diaries of longtime BYU President Ernest L. Wilkinson. I thought these four excerpts were interesting and funny. Wilkinson worried a lot about keeping up with the University of Utah–keep that in mind.

 

February 11, 1955

“In the evening attended the basketball game between the U. of U. and the B.Y.U. The paper had all predicted the U. of U. would have a comparatively easy time of it. Stan Watts, however, had devised some special strategy for the game. When the first half ended, the B.Y.U. was 10 points ahead. Near the middle of the second quarter the B.Y.U. was 15 points ahead, and then one of those unusual changes occurred, with the result that, with just four second left to go, the U. of U. made a field goal which tied the score. In the five minutes’ overtime, however, the B.Y.U. scored four points, and the U. of U. two, ending the game with a score of 76 for B.Y.U. and 74 for U. of U. It was a great upset. All admit that the B.Y.U. outplayed the U. We almost lost this game, however, through very poor foul pitching. The B.Y.U. made 56 points of field goals as compared with 44 for the U. of U.”

President [Ray A.] Olpin [the President of the University of Utah] cordially congratulated me after the game, but it was reported from many that he was vigorously complaining about the poor officiating of the officials. Ray does this so often that very few pay attention to him. His own guest at the game whispered to me that “B.Y.U. won fairly notwithstanding what Ray has to say.”

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MHA: Calls for Awards

By January 25, 2016


A friendly letter and reminder from the Mormon History Association. Be sure to nominate those who are deserving! Please remember female authors and scholars from underrepresented groups if/when one nominates work. It does not make much time to nominate someone else’s work!]
MHA Logo

MHA Logo

Dear members and friends of the Mormon History Association:

It’s that time of year when we’re actively seeking nominations for our annual publication awards.  Because submission information is currently unavailable on the MHA website, we felt that this email reminder would be timely and helpful.

Remember that the submission deadline is February 1, 2016 for all works that have a 2015 publication/copyright date.
For book awards 
We remind authors and presses that books should be submitted directly by the publisher.  Five copies of each book to be considered should be sent to the MHA office (note the NEW ADDRESS):

Mormon History Association
175 South 1850 East
Heber City, UT  84032

Tona Hangen chairs the book awards committee.

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Announcing The Marlin K. Jensen Scholar and Artist in Residence Program at the University of Utah

By January 14, 2016


marlin-k-jensen-large

Marlin K. Jensen

The Tanner Humanities Center is proud to announce its most recent Mormon Studies initiative. We have begun to raise funds to create a fellowship in the name of Marlin K. Jensen. OurMarlin K. Jensen Scholar and Artist inResidence Program will host prominent scholars with expertise in Mormon Studies or renowned artists who explore the relationship between faith and art in their work.

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J Stuart on Eugenics and the Intellectual: “Thanks, Cassie, WVS, and Professor Mauss!”


Armand Mauss on Eugenics and the Intellectual: “Don't forget to check out the influence also of the LDS Genealogical Society, especially the work of its executive secretary James H. Anderson during the…”


wvs on Eugenics and the Intellectual: “Interesting stuff, J. All kinds of fun links to the Taylor-Galbraith efficiency movement and quack psyche.”


Cassie on Eugenics and the Intellectual: “The topic of Mormon elite interest in Eugenics is fascinating and requires additional unpacking to fully understand the reverberations of the pseudoscience on the church…”


Amanda on Eugenics and the Intellectual: “I mean...who controls which spirits go to which families? It's like we forgot everything that's been revealed about foreordination...that, just as there will be…”


RL on Eugenics and the Intellectual: “Great points Amanda. We often think Mormonism is unique in having to grapple with race or gender and belief, but we a Christian faith…”

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