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30-50 feral hogs or unruly swine?

By August 12, 2019

Twitter was created for certain things, and one of those things occured last week. If you missed the twitter fracas centered on 30-50 feral hogs last week, catch up. It was good.

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Roundtable on Quincy Newell’s *Your Sister in the Gospel*: YOUR SISTER, JANE

By June 25, 2019

This is the second post in a roundtable on Quincy D. Newell’s Your Sister in the Gospel: The Life of Jane Manning James, a Nineteenth-Century Black Mormon (Oxford University Press, 2019). Read the first post here. (I would alternately title itPerhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps—if anyone out there needed a Cake reference.)

Image result for jane manning james

There is much to appreciate in Quincy Newell’s new biography of Jane Manning James. She has masterfully fleshed out an illuminating and complex narrative of a paradoxical life marked by documentary absence more than presence, more atypical than common. Quoting what was perhaps Jane’s final plea for participation in temple rites to Joseph F. Smith—Latter-day Saint church president, the title offers the motivating paradox

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What’s in a name?

By March 13, 2019

I’ve spent a bit of time in the last month thinking about titles. I’m considering my own potential book titles, but also the titles of two books that I’m currently reviewing. When I got a copy of The Expanded Canon: Perspectives on Mormonism and Sacred Texts edited by Blair G. Van Dyke, Brain D. Birch, and Boyd. J. Petersen (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2018) I assumed I knew what it was about. Joseph Smith’s expansion on the Christian canon has been a lightning rod for attention since before he organized any church. I expected a focused consideration of Latter-day Saint expansions to the Christian canon: The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. Likewise, when I first saw Larry Morris’ Documentary History of the Book of Mormon (Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 2019), I made assumptions. I initially panicked wondering if his work overlapped too much with my own current Book of Mormon reception book project and then hoped that he laid out the publication history through documents so I didn’t have to sort it all out myself.

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For Your Consideration: A Brief Musing on the Categorization of History

By February 1, 2019

Since the time I began working on my current book project on early Book of Mormon reception history, there have been individuals who have called what I am doing women’s history. I am certainly not offended by someone saying I do women’s history, I am not opposed to women’s history. I think women’s history does significant and important compensatory work to fill a historical chasm empty for too long. My Master’s thesis was clearly women’s history, I have done consistent work in that field, as well as the discipline directly informing other work that I do.

However, I’m always interested in the formal and informal categories that we construct to order the historical field and I’m wondering what makes something women’s history? As editor of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Joseph Spencer, introduced my recent article here for the Maxwell Institute, he complimented my work (thanks) and summarized the article: “how early converts—and especially women—approached the text of the Book of Mormon.” I suspect Joe wanted to highlight one of the things present in my article that is often absent in Mormon History, women. However, the “especially women” gave me pause. That pause has only expanded as I have heard others describe my current work as women’s history.

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Joseph Smith Papers Conference CFP

By January 31, 2019

The JSP just published the following Call for Papers:

To celebrate the release of volumes seven, eight, and nine of the Documents Series, the Joseph Smith Papers Project will host the third annual Joseph Smith Papers Conference on October 11, 2019.

Due to the overwhelming public interest in past conferences, this year’s event will take place at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah, to accommodate all who want to attend.

The conference will focus on the history of Joseph Smith and the Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois, from September 1839 to April 1842.

We invite proposals for papers that engage with the theme “Joseph Smith’s Expanding Visions and the Practical Realities of Establishing Nauvoo.”

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MHA Deadline Quickly Approaching

By November 12, 2018

The Mormon History Association’s annual conference will be in SaltLake City, June 7-10, 2018. The topic for next year’s conference is “Isolation and Integration” and the deadline for proposals is this week—Thursday the 15th. Find the Call for Papers here.

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Call for Papers Reminder: Book of Mormon Studies Conference

By May 1, 2018

Last year’s Book of Mormon Studies Conference was one of my favorites. The deadline for papers and proposals is quickly approaching. Come and join us in Logan for two days of engaging work on the Book of Mormon. See for more details.

Phrenology and More: Introducing the Joseph Smith Papers Documents Volume 7

By April 24, 2018

Matthew Godfrey, Spencer W. McBride, Alex D. Smith, Christopher James Blythe, eds. The Joseph Smith Papers: Documents, Volume 7, September 1839-January 1841. (Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2018).


I was introduced to the newest addition to the Joseph Smith Papers Project the day the books hit the shelves a couple weeks ago. We were given an opportunity to meet with the editors and talk about their favorite parts of this new volume. The Joseph Smith Papers Documents Volume 7 continues the inevitable march to June 1844 and as we get closer, the numbers of documents increase and the time period covered shortens. This seventh Documents volume covers just five months from September 1839 to January 1841 in 713 pages. We might consider the meticulous nature of the editing and annotation of each of these volumes, in that, this new volume is no different. All offer new nuance and detail to the narrative of Joseph Smith?s life. However, unlike the last volume, this volume is a period often skipped over. After the harrowing drama of the Missouri War and expulsion and the brief respite found for the refugees in Quincy we often narratively find ourselves in a fully formed and functioning Nauvoo. This volume zeroes in on Joseph Smith laboring to establish and bring the Saints to what he considers will be ?the greatest city in the world? as he likewise endeavors to seek political redress for what happened in Missouri, and begins to introduced distinctive Mormon doctrines that will shape the Nauvoo period.

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Job posting: Historical Director for Better Days 2020

By April 9, 2018

Better Days 2020 is using important upcoming suffrage anniversaries to celebrate Utah women’s illustrious heritage and expand knowledge of that history as they look to improve the future of women in Utah.Better Days is a great example of public history and how that history has the potential to make a difference and they need a historical director. 2020 will be the 150-year anniversary of Utah women becoming the first in the nation to vote, the 100-year anniversary of the 19th amendment and US women’s suffrage, as well as the 55-year anniversary of the Voting Rights Act expanding access to disenfranchised minorities. Even if you don’t need a job, check out their efforts. Martha Hughes Cannon is on her way to Washington in 2020 and Better Days 2020 is on the move. Apply for a chance to become part of something important.

Roundtable: Johnson – Accessibility and Nuance in Stapley’s *The Power of Godliness*

By March 21, 2018

The particular danger of a roundtable in a digital format is in the overlapping repetition, forgive us for that. (Check out Tona and Joey‘s prior posts.) Though I had an opportunity a few weeks ago to respond to Jonathan Stapley?s The Power of Godliness in person, today I want to focus on the eminent accessibility of the nuanced liturgical history that Stapley crafted. Though I want the initial chapter on the cosmological priesthood to be more specific as he lays out the foundation of his argument, it is fulfilled over time in consecutive chapters. I appreciate that in each chapter Stapley outlines a dense history with complex transitions over time in a nuanced, compact, and entirely relatable manner. This would not be possible without the body of Stapley’s earlier work. (There will be rejoicing amongst my future students when they realize that there might be a more concise version of Stapley and Kris Wright?s spectacular but to them seemingly interminable 88-page JMH article on female ritual healing.) This accessibility matters both historically and devotionally.

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wvs on JWHA CFP 2020 (St.: “Looking forward to this. Thanks J.”

Daniel Stone on JWHA CFP 2020 (St.: “Thanks much for posting this, Joey!”

Mel Johnson on JWHA CFP 2020 (St.: “This JWHA will be outstanding, maybe the best ever. I encourage all Restoration historians and cultural studies people to attend along with their friends. The setting at…”

Gary Bergera on George F. Richards' journals: “I remember reading through the microfilms of the Richards's journals in the mid- to late-1970s. Nothing was redacted. They were amazing.”

Jeff T on George F. Richards' journals: “Thanks, Stapley!”

Hannah Jung on George F. Richards' journals: “That is exciting! I had no idea this was in the works! Any idea when the plan is to release the next twenty years of…”