Mormon Studies Weekly Roundup

By February 16, 2014

Missed out on the latest news in the world of Mormon Studies? We’re here for you and back with another weekly roundup of relevant links. Let’s get to it:

Over at Rational Faiths, Connell O’Donovan writes about three newly discovered early black Mormon women. The discovery—incredibly important to recovering the African American presence in early Mormonism in all of its facets—is based on careful and surely time-consuming analysis of personal papers and printed sources. 

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Response: J.B. Haws Answers Questions about his recent JMH article and his forthcoming book (Part I)

By October 21, 2013

In August, I reviewed J.B. Haws’ recent article “When Mormonism Mattered Less in Presidential Politics: George Romney’s 1968 Window of Possibilities”, published in the summer issue of the Journal of Mormon History. Haws, an Assistant Professor of Church History at BYU, graciously agreed to participate in a Q & A to answer some of my lingering questions and those submitted by members of the JI community. In the course of our conversation, we also discussed how the research he presented in his article is extended in his forthcoming (and highly-anticipated!) book, The Mormon Image in the American Mind: Fifty Years of Public Perception (Oxford, December 2013), which promises to be an important and much-needed addition to our understanding of Mormonism in the contemporary period, as well as of public representations (and misrepresentations) of Mormonism across the last half of the 20th century.

JBH: I should say, by way of preface, that as I read through your questions, my reaction after every one was to think, “Wow—great question.”  But I’m going to resist typing that every time (but just know I’m still thinking that!).  Thanks for these thoughtful and thought-provoking questions.

CHJ: Thank you, J. B.! We’re excited that you were willing to offer us some answers. So—let’s get to it!

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Mormon History Database Survey

By February 13, 2012

For those of you, like myself, who have used and benefitted from the wonderful Mormon History Database—a regularly updated online bibliography of all articles, books, theses, and dissertations in the field—maintained by Mike Hunter at BYU’s Harold B. Lee Library, please consider taking 5 minutes to participate in the following survey:

Many thanks!

Introducing Ordinary Mormons to Academic Mormon History

By November 7, 2011

Recently, I’ve been think about how ordinary members use church history in their everyday lives. In my limited experience, few members read much church history, especially if it wasn’t published by Deseret Books. I realize this isn’t news to anyone reading this blog, as we’ve discussed in several of Ben’s recent posts why many church members resist more academically-oriented literature if it challenges accepted oral traditions, is seen as unaccessible due to academic prose and/or jargon, among other reasons. But I’ve wondered what more we could be doing to encourage ward members to see the benefits of incorporating more academic history into their busy schedules.

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Best LDS Biographies

By July 21, 2010

For my nightly and Sunday reading, I’ve recently decided to read academic biographies of Latter-day Saints. I’ve now finished Ron Walker’s Qualities That Count: Heber J. Grant as Businessman, Missionary, and Apostle, Arrington’s Brigham Young: American Moses, Brooks’ John D. Lee: Zealot, Pioneer, Builder, Scapegoat, Scott R. Christensen’s Sagwitch: Shoshone Chieftan, Mormon Elder, 1822-1887, and I’m currently working through Allen’s No Toil Nor Labor Fear: The Story of William Clayton. While I’ve enjoyed all of them, I think Allen’s is an extraordinary piece of scholarship, solidly researched and engagingly written. Aside from Bushman and Prince’s bios of JS and DOM, which I assume most JI readers are familiar with, what do y’all think are the “best LDS biographies”? For my purposes, I’m interested in works written by academic historians that are both well researched and written, rather than more devotional examples like George Q. Cannon’s JS bio.

The *Top* Books in Mormon History/Studies

By March 28, 2009

Periodically, historians conduct polls among themselves to determine the state of the field. I recently asked a couple dozen youngish historians what were, in their opinions, the top five books in Mormon history/studies today.  By “youngish” I mean under 40 and by “historian” I mean someone with academic training in history or a related discipline (I also included a couple ‘nacle participants who do not have academic training in history but are probably better read in Mormon history than most historians).

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In defense of the Pew survey: a recap

By July 2, 2008

This is, quite simply, the single most extensive canvass of American religious life ever achieved.

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What’s Your Blog’s Reading Level?

By March 21, 2008

Jon W. over at Banner, Sword, and Shield has a post about a fun website that gauges a blog’s reading level (Jon got it from Emily at Mormon Times). Here’s what I get when I type in a few of my favorite blogs:

Juvenile Instructor: College (Postgrad) Genius

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Rock the Vote…The JI Gets Nominated for Three Niblets

By March 14, 2008

Dear readers, the Juvenile Instructor has been nominated for three Niblets (the ‘nacle equivalent of the Oscars, etc.). Here are the categories:

Best Blog

Best Big Blog

Best New Blog

 The competition is intense in each category, so please vote for us!

What is the Best Book Title in Mormon History?

By February 22, 2008

Ed Blum over at Religion in American History asks

[W]hat are the best titles in American religious history? Not the best books, but the best literary titles – and why.

I want to ask the same question here, but adapted to a Mormon history context. What does everyone think?

Challenge: Mormon History, 1830-1844 in 150 to 200 Words

By February 20, 2008

I’m SC Taysom is currently drafting an encyclopedia article on Mormon history from 1830-1844. The essay is supposed to pick up right after the founding of the Church in April 1830 and conclude with the Martyrdom. For my opening paragraph, I want to summarize in 150-200 words the major themes of the period. I have my ideas for this paragraph, which I may post at some point below, but I’d like to see how others would draft this paragraph.

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Which Mormon Historian Is the Best Writer?

By November 15, 2007

Over at Religion in American History, John Fea asks:

Which American religious historians are the best writers?

Being unimaginative today, we’re going to ask the same question at the Juvenile Instructor, but modified to Mormon history. Who’s the Joseph Ellis of Mormon history/studies?


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