Articles by

Jeffrey Mahas

2020 Church History Symposium CFP: Visions and Visionaries: Joseph Smith in Comparative Contexts

By June 13, 2019


Church History Symposium, 2020

Visions and Visionaries: Joseph Smith in Comparative Contexts

The Department of Church History and Doctrine at BYU and the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announce the Church History Symposium, March 12–13, 2020. The symposium will convene at Brigham Young University (March 12) and at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City (March 13). Keynote speakers include Sheri Dew and Richard Lyman Bushman (March 12), and President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (March 13).

We invite scholars of all backgrounds and career stages to submit proposals specifically addressing the broad theme of “Visions and Visionaries: Joseph Smith in Comparative Contexts.” Topics that could be explored under this theme include, but are not exclusive to, the following:

  • Joseph Smith’s First Vision and subsequent visions
  • Latter-day Saint visionaries
  • Other visionaries
  • Presbyterianism and Methodism and the First Vision
  • Unusual excitement—this is typically described as “revivals” without a clear sense of what that meant to Joseph Smith and his peers
  • Women and the First Vision—does it mean something different to women than to men? (see Susa Young Gates in April 1920 Improvement Era)
  • Youth and the First Vision (see MIA speech contests around turn of 20th century; BYU centennial celebration in 1920)
  • J. Reuben Clark’s 1938 statement that religious educators must assent to the First Vision as a historical event—context and implications
  • How the First Vision has been used in general conference (frequency/emphasis/change over time, etc.)
  • How the First Vision has been used in Church curriculum
  • How the First Vision has been used in missionary work
  • How the gospel topic essay “First Vision Accounts” has been used in classrooms and what difference, if any, has it made for students
  • Context and content of Orson Pratt’s An Interesting Account
  • Context and content of Orson Hyde’s German translation
  • Context of other contemporary accounts
  • Who did Joseph tell and when?
  • Theological content of the First Vision
  • Music and the First Vision
  • Art and the First Vision
  • Cinema and the First Vision
  • Pageants and the First Vision
  • Joseph Smith among visionaries—how is he alike and different
  • Provenance of the accounts
  • Antagonists of the First Vision—arguments against it

Proposals should consist of a brief abstract (no more than 500 words) and a current CV. Proposals may be sent to any member of the symposium organizing committee (see below). Deadline for submission is September 15, 2019. Notification of acceptance will be given by October 15, 2019. Selected papers will be published by the BYU Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book following the symposium.

Respectfully,

Alexander L. Baugh, PhD

Chair, Church History and Doctrine, BYU

alex_baugh@byu.edu

Steven C. Harper, PhD

Professor, Church History and Doctrine, BYU

steven_harper@byu.edu

Brent M. Rogers, PhD

Associate Managing Historian, Joseph Smith Papers

bmrogers@churchofjesuschrist.org

Benjamin C. Pykles, PhD

Historic Sites Curator, Church History Department

pykles@churchofjesuschrist.org

Brent R. Nordgren

Operations and Production Supervisor, Religious Studies Center, BYU

brent_nordgren@byu.edu


Job Ad: Joseph Smith Papers, Full-Time Research Assistant

By June 6, 2019


Research Historian, Joseph Smith Papers, (Contingent)–Church History Department

PURPOSES

The Church History Department announces an opening for a Research Historian with the Joseph Smith Papers project. The successful candidate will assist the Joseph Smith Papers in the Publications Division of the Church History Department with historical and textual research for volumes in the Papers’ Documents series. This is an exciting and unique opportunity for someone interested in pursuing a career in history. We are looking for a motivated, energetic, and skilled individual to join our team.

This is a full-time position starting in September 2019 and expected to last 12 months.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Duties will include research related to document analysis (textual and documentary intention, production, transmission, and reception) and contextual annotation of documents (identifications and explanations). Research will involve work in primary and secondary sources for early nineteenth-century America and early Latter-day Saint history. Work will include general assistance to volume editors.

The Research Historian will work under the direction of senior Historians/Writers.

QUALIFICATIONS

The ideal candidate will possess the following knowledge, skills, and abilities:
Completion of Bachelor’s degree in history, religious studies, or other related field, preference will be given to those with master’s degrees and/or in doctoral programs in history, religious studies, or related discipline.
Knowledge of and training in historical research
Demonstration of excellent research and writing skills
Ability to work in a scholarly and professional environment
Strong organizational, time management, and verbal communication skills
Organized, with an ability to prioritize time-sensitive assignments
Creative and flexible
Ability to work in a team, as well as independently
Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite

Please attach a vita, a short writing sample demonstrating ability in using primary sources to form a cogent argument, and a list of three references to your application.

WORTHINESS QUALIFICATION

Must be an endowed member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with a current temple recommend.

Deadline: 23 June 2019

To apply, go to careers.lds.org and search for Job Posting 236293


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

Rachel Helps on Digitized Publications Available from: “BYU also scanned the Exponent II and it's available on archive.org.”


Kent S Larsen II on Digitized Publications Available from: “It’s not just the Scandinavian, German and Dutch publications that are available. Almost all the foreign language publications in the Church History Library are available…”


Matt Harris on Digitized Publications Available from: “C. Terry & J. Stapley: Thanks for these outstanding posts!”


Gary Bergera on Digitized Publications Available from: “This is great and deserves wide circulation. (And J. Stapley's amazing.)”


C Terry on Digitized Publications Available from: “Thanks for all those helpful additions, J Stapley!”


J. Stapley on Digitized Publications Available from: “...and one last one. All of the relevant University digital collections are worth checking out (though as you note BYU's is the most impressive…”

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