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Women Praying in General Conference and Grassroots Efforts

By March 19, 2013

If (when) we see women praying in spring General Conference 2013 (hallelujah!), it may or may not be the result of grassroots efforts. Some will argue that the change was in place long before the efforts of “Let Women Pray in General Conference,” yet those involved will not likely feel that their efforts were of no consequence. Nor should they, they are part of a significant LDS historical tradition.

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“We shall now call on some of our sisters”: LDS Women and General Conference Participation

By March 14, 2013

On the second day of October conference 1929, LDS Church President Heber J. Grant introduced three other Presidents without warning—Sisters Louise Robison, Ruth May Fox, and May Anderson. President Grant commented,

“We have listened to a great many testimonies from our brethren during this conference.

We shall now call on some of our sisters…”[1]

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The Mountain Meadows Massacre in Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet

By November 8, 2012

Brigham Young “has never been less than the tyrant of the Mormon church, and if there does not cleave his soul today the deadly crime of wholesale murder in the massacre of Mountain Meadow, there will be forever, probably, cleave to his name the guilt of that awful slaughter, in the conviction of the American people, who would have indulged in no reprehensible joy, if he had been brought to the bar of human justice for that and the involved iniquities that defame his memory and disgrace his name.”[1]

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I Found it in the Archives: Archival Code Breakers

By October 29, 2012

I have to admit, as completely unpalatable as I find Nicolas Cage (despite his influential corner of internet memes), every once in a while I wish that archival research was a little less sitting and reading a little more jumping to action and making remarkable and miraculous connections—preferably in some deep lost underground tunnel holding documents no one has seen for a couple hundred years or more. (Dr. Jones, Jr. is clearly more acceptable than Cage, were it not for that crystal skull and his inability to get tenure, but I don’t really need to get in a row with cannibalistic natives.) Despite this desire for excitement, most archival finds and brief moments of epiphany occur only after a lot of work amidst the mundane.

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Remarkably Clever: The Mormons and Jane Austen

By September 24, 2012

Jane Austen died in 1818 with mild recognition but little success. The latter part of the twentieth century saw a dramatic surge in Austen’s popularity, first with reprints and films and later with a multitude of spin-offs. In the early twenty-first century Miss Austen seems nearly ubiquitous. Jane even has her own font (see the title). Though the literary Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy may be your favorite, the options are plentiful. You might pick the Colin Firth version of Darcy (with or without dripping shirt), you might also choose a dashing yet stern 1940 Sir Lawrence Olivier, or 2005 Matthew MacFayden, or even Colin Firth as Bridget Jones’ Mark Darcy, or Darcy meeting his match in Lizzy Zombie Killer. (A hint: heads rolled.)

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Mormons and the Media: If a Carnivorous Crocodile and a Stripling Warrior Fought…

By August 29, 2012

Professor Jared Farmer and the State University of New York at Stonybrook very generously posted a free e-book last week—Mormons in the Media, 1832-2012. Though the title should be “Mormons in American Media,” the 342-page book and the hundreds of images therein need to be seen. They are beautiful and brilliant—some impressively horrific in their full technicolor glory. Farmer builds upon a foundation established by Gary Bunker and Davis Bitton in their 1983 The Mormon Graphic Image, 1833-1914: Cartoons, Caricatures, and Illustrations and is able to radically enlarge it. The expansive scope of these pages can easily induce a little head spinning—the very best kind.

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