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Review: Philip Lockley, ed., Protestant Communalism in the Trans-Atlantic World, 1650-1850

By July 14, 2016


Protestant CommunalismPhilip Lockley, ed., Protestant Communalism in the Trans-Atlantic World, 1650-1850 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). 

A little more than five years ago, I posted some thoughts on Scott Rohrer’s chapter on Mormonism in his Wandering Souls: Protestant Migrations in America, 1630-1865 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010). I was particularly intrigued by his inclusion of Mormonism in a volume on Protestant migrations, and a lively conversation and debate over whether Mormonism is, was, or ever has been Protestant ensued in the comments.

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Mormons, Supplementary Worship, and Ash Wednesday

By February 19, 2015


Mormons have a long history of supplementing their LDS worship with attendance at or participation in the services of other Christian denominations. In the 19th century, some Latter-day Saints in the American South would, in the sometimes lengthy periods between visits from traveling missionaries, attend Sunday services at the local Baptist or Methodist church. In the 21st century, Mormons are counted among mega-preacher Joel Osteen’s many listeners and viewers, tuning into his broadcasts on Sunday mornings while getting ready to attend their own meetings; others, acting as spiritual tourists, occasionally take in a Catholic or Anglican service while traveling.

Perhaps the most notable (and timely) example of Mormons supplementing their worship outside the confines of the Mormon chapel or temple, though, is the increasing number of Latter-day Saints who take part in some aspect of the traditional Christian liturgical calendar. Some attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve, others finding personal meaning and significance in Ash Wednesday. In perhaps the most striking example, a ward in Medford, Oregon collectively observed Palm Sunday last year, complete with palm fronds made by the primary children. Last year, I decided to observe the Lenten fast, giving up dessert/candy/sweets for the 40-day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. I did so quietly, taking as my guide the excellent devotional readings by the good folks at By Common Consent as part of their ongoing Mormon Lectionary Project. It ended up being a wholly worthwhile experience, and this year I was eager to participate again. Yesterday at noon, I attended the Ash Wednesday service at the Williamsburg United Methodist Church, accompanied by another Mormon grad student. 

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Mormon Studies Weekly Roundup

By November 24, 2013


Most of our team that contributes links for the weekly roundup have been preoccupied this week, so the MSWR is a bit light in terms of quantity (though certainly not quality) this week. Let’s jump right in:

James Goldberg has written/curated an informative, fascinating, and, quite frankly, beautiful account of a Latter-day Saint exodus in covered wagons that most Mormons probably know nothing about (I certainly didn’t before reading the post). Check out online exhibit, “The Armenian Exodus,” at history.lds.org, to read more about the early 20th century journey of Mormon migrants from Turkey to Syria. Once you’ve finished there, head on over to Keepapitchinin to read Ardis’s complementary post that adds a bit more detail to the online exhibit and links to previous posts on Armenian Latter-day Saints at Keepa. You’ll be glad you did.

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Joseph F. Smith and the New York City Draft Riots, Part 1: Background

By July 10, 2013


Image:  “The Riots in New York: The Mob Lynching a Negro in Clarkson-Street” [1]

engraving

 

One of the things that first interested me about Joseph F. Smith was his personality as a diarist.  He liked to pen elaborate descriptions of impressive places he visited, such as the ancient Mo’okini heiau (temple) in Hawaii, the famous Mauna Loa volcano, or the Wentworth Castle and Estates near Barnsley, England.[2]  He cataloged what he saw as faults in others, ranging from family members, to LDS church enemies, to people he encountered as a missionary.[3]  He recorded seemingly insignificant details and used trite or repetitive phrases (some of which have crept into my own journaling vocabulary), in the process illuminating much about his education, priorities, biases, and spirituality.[4]  And we can’t leave out the infamous cat massacre that Amanda HK described in a post some time ago.

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Cough Lozenges and Indian Fighters: Joseph F. Smith’s “Dream of Manhood”, Part 2

By August 16, 2012


Continued from this previous post.

As I began perusing Joseph F. Smith’s other mission journals—he served ten “missions” during his lifetime, and kept extensive records of a number of them[1]—I stumbled across what appeared to be an account of the Dream of Manhood, found in Joseph F.’s record of his first British mission (1860 to 1863).  After Joseph F. went to bed on the night of 12 January 1862, he “had a most glorious dream”:

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Climbing Up the Child’s Ladder: Catechism for Little Saints

By August 4, 2012


I stumbled on this little gem while looking for something else in the Internet Archive’s collection of Mormon publications [1] and was both charmed and intrigued by it. The pamphlet is a 16-page tract, titled “The Latter-day Saints’ Catechism: Or, Child’s Ladder,” by Elder David Moffat. Subtitle: “Being a Series of Questions Adapted for the Use of the Children of Latter-day Saints.”

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Is Mormonism a “western” religion?

By January 30, 2012


Over at the Religion in the American West blog, Laurie Maffly-Kipp has offered her thoughts to the above question. The whole post is worth reading—and it’d be great to generate some discussion on the topic over there—but I wanted to highlight a couple of points I found especially important.

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Reassessing: The Refiner’s Fire: the making of Mormon cosmology, 1644-1844

By February 25, 2011


It’s my opinion that the further we get from the publication of John Brooke’s The Refiner’s Fire, a wildly inventive examination of Mormon origins through the lens of various esoteric European -isms (including occultism, the quest for hidden and often mysterical knowledge;  hermeticism, a particular brand of the occult supposedly derived from ancient Egypt and for Brooke basically a restorationist concept that sought to regain Adam’s access to God, and the non -ism alchemy, or the transformation of the mundane into the exalted) the more interesting a book it seems. 

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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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