On June 1, 1978 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints extended priesthood ordination and full temple participation to members of African descent. Forty years later, scholars and students will gather at Brigham Young University to discuss the contexts of the restriction’s origins and the landmark revelation that lifted them, the revelation’s international dimensions, and the meaning of the revelation for today’s Church.
Today Matt B. and I attended a release even for Saints, the new narrative history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From the Church’s website, Saints is designed to share the stories of “women and men who dedicated their lives to establishing the LDS Church across the globe.” In due course, that means that readers will learn about landmark events in Mormon history, including those that don’t fit into traditional narratives of LDS Church history. The first volume covers 1815-1846, highlighting the global phenomena that led to Joseph Smith’s family moving to New York and closing with the Saints’ exodus from Illinois to the American West. To read more about the press conference, please see this Twitter thread (and follow us on Twitter). I’ve written some preliminary thoughts on Saints with quotations from LDS Church leaders and Church History Department leaders throughout.
Welcome to the eighth 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. Or, you can find them here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Please follow the JI on Facebook and Twitter.
I was eight the first time I remember hiking the Timpanogos Cave National Monument. After a hike, intermittent stops for Fruit-by-the-Foot, and what seemed like an eternal wait, my family and I stepped into the dimly lit tunnel that took me into the cave. I was a little nervous that my fanny pack would bump the wall and ruin some spectacular stalactite or stalagmite, which would lead to my immediate dismissal from the Cub Scouts. Towards the end of the tour, the guide pointed to an enormous formation with a light illuminating it from behind. “This is the ‘Great Heart of Timpanogos,'” she said. She told us the legend of Utahna and sent our group back down the mountain, with me thinking about the poor princess who had been willing to give her life for her people to survive a drought.
I don’t remember hearing the story again until the summer after I read On Zion’s Mount in a Utah history course at BYU. Suddenly the Heart of Timpanogos didn’t seem so full of wonder and sacrifice, it felt like a painful reminder that the mountain was more than a tourist attraction–it was a place shaped by the interactions of indigenous people and Mormon settlers. Moreover, it was a place whose value and meaning was shaped by the nation in which it is found.
Scans of the Wilford Woodruff Diaries have been made available on the website for The Church History Library (owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). This is a huge deal for four reasons (beyond the fact that he was an Apostle and Church President, which I walk through below.
First, Woodruff kept a diary for more than fifty years as an active Mormon. Historians have a much better idea of what happened in Mormon relationships, church meetings, and other areas because of his records. He kept meticulous track of many things, including the letters he sent, people he baptized, and more. He recorded the words of ordinary Mormons. He wrote down his visions and impressions. He doodled. In short, his diary is fascinating for anyone looking to understand how Mormonism worked in nineteenth-century Mormonism. If you don’t believe me, ask Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. She says, “Woodruff’s massive chronicle is not only an essential source for the study of nineteenth- century Mormonism, it is a great American diary.”
MORMON HISTORY ASSOCIATION CALL FOR PAPERS – 2019 ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Salt Lake City, Utah “Isolation and Integration”
The 54th conference of the Mormon History Association will be held June 6–9, 2019, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 2019 conference theme “Isolation and Integration” highlights a continuing tension in the Mormon experience and commemorates the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad and John Wesley Powell’s first Colorado River exploration. When Latter-day Saints arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in July 1847, they crossed an international boundary in search of religious liberty, something they hoped to find in the isolation of the desert expanses of northern Mexico. As MHA returns to Salt Lake City in 2019, we remember historical moments which reflect the Mormon desire for isolation as well as a corresponding pull toward integration represented by the laying of the Golden Spike in northern Utah on May 10, 1869, and, two weeks later, the beginning of Powell’s charting of the mighty Colorado. In addition, the 1869 national discussion over granting Utah women suffrage led to their becoming the first to vote in the modern nation in early 1870, pulling them into the center of the national suffrage movement. Moreover, the Mormons’ imagined sense of isolation in the Great Basin did not account for the reality of their settlements being built on land already claimed by the region’s Native American inhabitants, thus perpetuating Native American dislocation and marginalization.
We are grateful that the new Acquisitions Editor of the University of Utah Press, Thomas Krause, took time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for JI! Please make sure to follow the University of Utah Press on social media and check out their stellar Mormon Studies titles.
JI: How did you enter in the field of publishing?
TK: I started in 2010 as an editorial assistant at the University of Oklahoma Press. At the time, I was a first-year graduate student at
I was thrilled to be able to check out the Women in Mormon Studies (WiMS) website over the weekend. It represents the labor of many women that have worked together to amplify the work of women in our beloved subfield. After looking at scholar profiles (you can add yours HERE), I’ve come to a few conclusions:
Another MHA has come and gone and it was one of my favorites yet. Lots of colleagues, friends, and acquaintances in one place speaking about a topic that occupies a lot of my brainspace. The plenaries and Judith Weisenfeld’s Smith-Pettit Lecture were all excellent, and you’ll all want to read all of them in JMH or future books. Rather than recap the conference, I’ve jotted down some quick thoughts on what I’m taking away from the 2018 MHA Annual Meeting.
Gender: More women presented at MHA than in previous years. This is unequivocally a good thing. I heard some grumbling that including more women was “too much too fast.” This seems insensitive and shows much more about the speaker than about the program. There’s no way for every worthy paper to be accepted for any conference (ask any member of any program committee). Thinking that there were too many women suggests that there is a right number of women or that women are somehow a supplement to the program. The program committee did an excellent job organizing their programs around the conference’s theme and balancing the need for new and seasoned voices on a variety of topics. My hat goes off to them
Congratulations to all of the winners! JI-ers are in bold.
Arrington: Gary James Bergera
Special Citation: Cherry Bushman Silver
Best Book: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women’s Rights in Early Mormonism, 1835-1870 (Knopf, 2017).
Best Biography: Carol Cornwall Madsen, Emmeline B. Wells: An Intimate History (University of Utah Press, 2017).
Best First Book: Brent M. Rogers, Unpopular Sovereignty: Mormons and the Federal Management of Early Utah Territory (University of Nebraska Press, 2017).
Honorable Mention: Mary Campbell, Charles Ellis Johnson and the Erotic Mormon Image (University of Chicago Press, 2016).
Best Documentary Editing: Jill Mulvay Derr, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Kate Holbrook, and Matthew J. Grow, eds., The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History (Church Historian’s Press, 2016).
Best Article: Amy Harris, “Early Mormonism’s Expansive Families and the Browett Women,” in Rachel Cope et al., eds., Mormon Women’s History: Beyond Biography (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2017): 83-112.
Women’s History: Andrea G. Radke-Moss, “Silent Memories of Missouri: Mormon Women and Men and Sexual Assault in Group Memory and Religious Identity,” in Rachel Cope et al., eds., Mormon Women’s History: Beyond Biography (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2017): 49-81.
International: Lamond Tullis, “Tzotzil-Speaking Mormon Maya in Chiapas, Mexico,” Journal of Mormon History 43, no. 2 (2017): 189-217.
Excellence: Jeffrey David Mahas, “‘I Intend to Get Up a Whistling School’: The Nauvoo Whistling and Whittling Movement, American Vigilante Tradition, and Mormon Theocratic Thought,” Journal of Mormon History 43, no. 4 (2017): 37-67.
JMH Award: Tonya Reiter, “Black Saviors on Mount Zion: Proxy Baptisms and Latter-day Saints of African Descent,” Journal of Mormon History 43, no. 4 (2017): 100-123.
Dissertation: Taunalyn Ford Rutherford, “Conceptualizing Global Religions: An Investigation of Mormonism in India,” Claremont Graduate University.
Thesis: Jessica Nelson, “The ‘Mississippi of the West’: Religion, Conservatism, and Racial Politics in Utah, 1960-1978,” Utah State University.
Graduate Paper: Matt Lund, “Missionary Widows: The Economic and Social Impact of Mormon Missions on Families,” University of Utah.