The Time Neil Armstrong Searched for Gold Plates

By July 20, 2018


It’s true: Neil Armstrong led an expedition into an Ecuadorian jungle to search for gold plates. The story begins with a Latter-day Saint mission president, an eccentric anthropologist, and an Italian Catholic missionary. It ends with Donny Osmond. And there are aliens in the middle.

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Summer Book Club: On Zion’s Mount, chapter 4

By July 19, 2018


This is the fourth installment in the JI’s fourth annual summer book club. This year we are reading Jared Farmer’s On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (Harvard UP, 2008). You can view previous installments herehere, here and here. Check back every Thursday for the week’s installment. Please follow the JI on your social media of choice.

We have in the previous few chapter reviews followed the major theme of the first section of Farmer’s book: the dominance of lakes in the minds, hearts, and stomachs of the early Mormon colonists in the eastern edge of the Great Basin. The lake was a source of fish and conflict, just as the Great Salt Lake was a center of both recreation and source of holiness, as its tributaries were used for baptism and bathing. But in the late nineteenth century, Farmer argues, the lakes of the Mormons’ valleys began to be culturally displaced by mountains.

Part of this displacement was drive by necessity: overfishing and irrigation and conflict and pollution sapped the value of the lakes. It was also abetted by culture; the fictive memory of a desert valley allowed the Saints to imagine themselves as fulfillers of Isaianic prophecy. But, for the purposes of chapter 4, the shift matters because it cleared the way for the rise of mountains in Mormon culture.

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Job Post: Women’s History Research Assistant, LDS Church History Department

By July 17, 2018


Announcing a really great temporary, part-time research assistant position at the LDS Church History Department:

PURPOSES

The Church History Department is seeking an individual with a background in historical research and interest in working on an exciting project relating to Mormon women’s history. The person in this position will work closely with nineteenth century LDS records and be a member of a collaborative team. This is a contract position, anticipated to last up to 12 months. The position is a part-time (approximately 28 hours per week) hourly, nonexempt position.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Duties will include collecting, scanning, and transcribing women’s writings, and contributing to a database. The majority of the time will involve research in nineteenth-century minute books and newspapers. May require transcription verification and general research assistance to Historians/Writers. The work will include preparing texts for both online and print publication.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Bachelor’s degree in history, family history, religious studies, or related discipline. Possess excellent research and writing skills
  • Ability to read nineteenth century handwriting
  • Requires both personal initiative and collaborative competence

Position closes 30 July 2018.

To learn more or apply, click here.  

I will go forward. I will smile at the rage of the tempest, and ride fearlessly and triumphantly across the boisterous ocean of circumstance… and the ‘testimony of Jesus’ will light up a lamp that will guide my vision through the portals of immortality. Eliza R. Snow


GQC Journal: Mormon Conceptions of Race

By July 17, 2018


This post is part of our ongoing series on the George Q. Cannon diaries, which are now published on the Church Historian’s Press website.

The George Q. Cannon journals provide insights into Mormon conceptions of race in the nineteenth century. Cannon had a long tenure in the Quorum of the Twelve, as a counselor to different church presidents, and extensive involvement in writing and publishing. Because of this participation in church leadership and publication, Cannon’s writings show how church leaders conceived of race as the church changed and expanded during the nineteenth century. I will give a few examples here of instances in his journal where he discusses racial ideologies, but there are many more.  

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New Authors at the JI

By July 16, 2018


We are pleased to announce that we have added several new authors to our ranks! Please join us in welcoming them as perma-bloggers and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates!

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JI Summer Book Club: On Zion’s Mount, Ch. 3

By July 12, 2018


Today’s guest post comes from Jonathan England, PhD student in American History at Arizona State University. This is the third installment in the JI’s fourth annual summer book club. This year we are reading Jared Farmer’s On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (Harvard UP, 2008). You can view previous installments here, here, and here. Check back every Thursday for the week’s installment! Please follow the JI on Facebook and Twitter!

I first read On Zion’s Mount for a course on Mormon history. Years later, I was surprised to find it on the reading list for a seminar on the American West. I should not have been. The appeal of On Zion’s Mount is that it crosses so many genres including Western, religious, and environmental history. In chapter three, suitably titled “The Desertification of Zion,” Farmer recalls the rise and fall of northern Utah’s aquatic culture. This aquatic culture parallels the shift in historical narrative from an accurate depiction of the Wasatch Front as an oasis in the Great Basin to an arid wasteland.

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GQC Journal: Sealings and Adoptions

By July 9, 2018


In 1894 Wilford Woodruff stood in general conference and announced a revelation that had a larger influence on Mormon cosmology than the Manifesto. Even though most Mormons today are unaware of it, this revelation was the bedrock of twentieth century sealing and genealogical practice. I’ve written about these developments in an article on adoptive sealing rituals and in my recent volume on Mormon liturgy.

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Jobs at the Church History Library!

By July 7, 2018


Research Assistant for the Women’s History Team

 

Job ID: 211892.

Posting Dates: 06/29/2018 – 07/13/2018

Job Description:
The Church History Department is seeking an individual with background and interest in historical research. This role will work closely with various decades of LDS Church history.
This is a full-time temporary position, anticipated to last up to 12 months. Candidates must be currently enrolled in school and/or graduated within the last 12 months.

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The Journals of George Q. Cannon

By July 6, 2018


This post in our ongoing series on the George Q. Cannon diaries, which are now published on the Church Historian’s Press website, comes from friend of the blog Bill Smith.

“Suppose that one of the world’s masterpieces were to disappear, leaving no trace behind it, not even a reproduction; even the completest knowledge of its maker’s other works would not enable the next generation to visualize it. All the rest of Leonardo’s oeuvre would not enable us to visualize the Mona Lisa.”— Andre Malraux

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JI Summer Book Club: On Zion’s Mount, Ch. 2.

By July 5, 2018


 

This is the second installment in the JI’s fourth annual summer book club. This year we are reading Jared Farmer’s On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (Harvard UP, 2008). Check back every Thursday for the week’s installment! Please follow the JI on Facebook and Twitter!

Several years ago, I worked as a TA for a class on Mormonism and the American Experience. Towards the end of the course, the professor dedicated a week for reading excerpts from recent, groundbreaking scholarship—in contrast to the classic historiography which had largely dominated the class. My assignment was to survey several books to recommend possible excerpts for an undergraduate class. When I came to On Zion’s Mount, one of the chapters I recommended was chapter two, “Brigham Young and the Famine of the Fish-Eaters.” Now, nearly ten years later, I was eager to see if my earlier enthusiasm for this chapter was justified. I am happy to report that if anything I am more enthralled with Farmer’s research, methods, and conclusions now than I was as a TA.

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Recent Comments

D Golding on The Time Neil Armstrong: “Working on the book :) There's so much more to say, and some questions to resolve. I'm planning a research trip (or two) to Quito…”


J Stuart on The Time Neil Armstrong: “Dave. PLEASE write more about this and publish it as an article!”


Jeff T on The Time Neil Armstrong: “This is a fantastic story. Nice writing!”


Jeff T on Summer Book Club: On: “Thanks, Matt!”


J Stuart on Summer Book Club: On: “Love these thoughts, Matt. I wonder, though, if the Americanization thesis needs further critical examination. Might be something for a periodical like the Mormon Studies…”


wvs on New Authors at the: “Welcome! New blood at the JI!”

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