Articles by

J Nelson

Editorial Assistant (One-Year CONTINGENT)- Joseph Smith Papers Project

By October 23, 2019

The Joseph Smith Papers Project is looking to fill two editorial assistant positions. See job posting below:

ID 245661, Type: Temporary Full-Time
Posting Dates: 10/23/2019 – 11/06/2019
Job Family: Editorial, Writing & Language
Department: Church History Department


The purpose of this job is to assist the Church History Department in helping God’s children make and keep sacred covenants—specifically by helping prepare Church history materials for publication.


The Church History Department seeks an Editorial Assistant to help with the important work of publishing The Joseph Smith Papers and other department publications intended for scholars and/or members of the Church. This is a temporary, one-year position, with the possibility of being extended for an additional year based on performance and need. The Editorial Assistant will work on the editorial team as part of a large team of historians, archivists, and other editors. The primary responsibility of the Editorial Assistant will be checking facts, sources, and source citations for print and web publication. In this capacity, the Editorial Assistant checks facts for accuracy; analyzes sources to determine whether they have been used appropriately; checks quotations from original sources, making sure spelling, punctuation, and capitalization are correct; makes and files copies of sources; uses a number of databases and other resources to find sources; formats citations according to the Chicago Manual of Style and internal style guides; and corresponds with historians and editors through multiple correction cycles. Other responsibilities of the Editorial Assistant may include proofreading, copyediting, coding documents in the project’s XML database, and assisting with producing transcripts of documents. This is a great opportunity to participate in various aspects of the publishing process, to hone your skills, and to learn more about Church history.


Bachelor’s degree in English or related field
College-level coursework in editing preferred
Some professional editing experience preferred
Copyediting and proofreading ability
Familiarity with Chicago Manual of Style (seventeenth edition)
Ability to research in nineteenth-century sources; experience working with primary sources a plus
Ability to work collaboratively with a wide variety of people
Ability to give scrupulous attention to detail and sustain concentration for long periods of time with the highest level of accuracy
Ability to perform repetitive tasks
Ability to manage time effectively, be dependable, and regularly meet deadlines
Ability to learn new technology and processes
Must be a critical thinker and have a natural curiosity
Experience with text markup languages (such as XML or HTML) and software (especially Oxygen) a plus
Knowledge of early Church history

Must be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and currently temple worthy.


Please Note: All positions are subject to close without notice.

Find out more about the many benefits of Church Employment at

Continue Reading

Paid Intern (Full-time)- Church History Department

By July 23, 2019

UNITED STATES |  UT-Salt Lake City

ID 239568, Type: Temporary Full-Time


Posting Dates: 07/22/2019 – 08/05/2019

Job Family: Human Resources

Department: Church History Department


The Church History Library is seeking a candidate for a one-year, full-time (40 hours/week) paid internship opportunity working with archivists in arranging, describing, and preparing records for digitization which are related to the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members.


  • Process archival records in paper, audiovisual, and/or electronic form.
  • Participate in intake activities of newly acquired collections.
  • Create finding aids using the EAD register and rendering tool.
  • Assist in preparing paper and electronic records for digital preservation.
  • Assist in workflow management of records from acquisitions and processing to digitization and storage.
  • Review/edit cataloging work of others.
  • Develop expertise with the cataloging system to capture descriptive metadata, adhering to internal and professional standards.
  • Contribute to a collegial and professional atmosphere that incorporates the highest standards of behavior and cooperation, promoting teamwork and group purposes.


  • Required: Bachelor’s degree in history, humanities, or related field
  • Preferred: Master’s (earned or in process) in archival studies, library science, or history
  • Understanding of archival theory and practices
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office suite
  • Strong organizational and time management skills
  • Highly detail-oriented with excellent writing and editing skills
  • Willingness to dress and present oneself appropriately
  • Experience teaching and/or training (in any setting)
  • Knowledge of the historiography and sources of Church history
  • Proficiency in working both independently and in a team setting
  • Experience conducting research and/or working in an archive, including arranging and describing archival collections


Must be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and currently temple worthy.


Please Note: All positions are subject to close without notice. 

Find out more about the many benefits of Church Employment at

“Your Sister in the Gospel”: What do We Know and How do We Remember Jane Manning James?

By July 4, 2019

Quincy Newell’s biography of Jane Manning James is a significant and important piece of scholarship, not only for the field of Latter-day Saint history, but also for African American, women’s, Western, and the larger field of American religious history. Newell carefully takes readers through these histories and shows how Jane’s life connects all of them. This is a critical aspect of Newell’s methodology because even though Jane’s life is fairly well-documented, scholars must necessarily rely on the historical context of Jane’s life to help tell her story. Fortunately for her readers, this is something that Newell excels at. As J Stuart pointed out in an earlier round table post, Newell uses words like “perhaps” and “likely” when describing possible interpretations of the events in Jane’s life rather than imposing her own narrative. Indeed, Newell’s work serves as an example of how historians should approach subjects with limited documentary evidence while still connecting that subject to wide historical developments.

One of the merits of Newell’s work is that she provides us a view of Mormonism through Jane’s life, which in and of itself is a “history of Mormonism from below” (pg. 135). Mormon history has been told and retold through the lives and tenures of its leaders—important white males—and by subverting that structure, Newell illuminates the lived religious experience of an African American woman who made the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints her religious home in spite of all that she went through. This “from below” approach encourages research centering on how women of any and all races participated in Mormonism from the nineteenth century to the present. As Newell and others have demonstrated, scholars are only beginning to scratch the surface of Latter-day Saint history that incorporates source content created by women, particularly as it relates to women of color.

Newell’s Your Sister in the Gospel is not the final word on Jane’s story. Instead, it is a foundational monograph for future studies on other Latter-day Saints who were not in powerful leadership positions and whose experience as a member of the church was impacted by their race and gender. Indeed, the appendices included in the back of the book (including two patriarchal blessings) make it more of an initiative or starting point than an exhaustive conclusion. It’s fair to say that Newell hopes that these primary sources will help other scholars interested in black Latter-day Saints in the nineteenth century and that scholars in other fields will benefit from the eased accessibility of these documents.

In the epilogue, Newell briefly mentions how Jane has been remembered by Latter-day Saints in the last few decades and especially in the last three years. Jane is a very interesting historical subject, but so is her legacy and the narratives that are claimed and told (or performed) about her at certain moments in time. I’m particularly intrigued by the possibilities for studies on the memory of Jane and how both black Latter-day Saints and the church at large have utilized her connection to the life of Joseph Smith and early church history. Your Sister in the Gospel provides a sound historical basis for such studies and will inform further memory projects about Jane in the future. And in its own way, Newell’s book is as much a presentation of historical research as it is a part of the zeitgeist in Mormon studies and more recent popular trends in Latter-day Saint culture. This timely biography of Jane Manning James succeeds in informing and participating in current memory-making developments.

Mary Frances Sturlaugson, First Black Woman to Serve LDS Mission, and the Merits of Black History Month

By February 19, 2019

In June 1978, President Spencer W. Kimball announced that “all worthy males” were eligible for priesthood ordination in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although President Kimball made no mention of “worthy women,” Black women were now finally permitted to attend the temple and participate in ordinances that they had previously been barred from. Like Black men, Black women were also now eligible for missionary service.

Continue Reading


Recent Comments

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…”