Book Notice-Between Pulpit and Pew: The Supernatural World in Mormon History and Folklore

By February 13, 2011

Hitting shelves this April is this long-awaited collection of essays edited by Paul Reeve and Michael S. Van Wagenen and which features the work of two JIers: Matt and Stan. The book’s webpage states that,

Mormons gave distinctive meanings to supernatural legends and events, but their narratives incorporated motifs found in many cultures. Many such historical legends and beliefs found adherents down to the present. This collection employs folklore to illuminate the cultural and religious history of a people.

The contents:

Elaine Thatcher, Foreword

W. Paul Reeve and Michael Scott Van Wagenen, “Between Pulpit and Pew: Where History and Lore Intersect”

Matthew Bowman, “A Mormon Bigfoot: David Patten’s Cain and the Conception of Evil in LDS Folklore”

W. Paul Reeve, “‘As Ugly as Evil,’ and ‘As Wicked as Hell’: Gadianton Robbers and the Legend Process among the Mormons”

Matthew Bowman, “Raising the Dead: Mormons, Evangelicals, and Miracles in America”

Michael Scott Van Wagenen, “Singular Phenomena: The Evolving Mormon Interpretation of Unidentified Flying Objects”

Kevin Cantera, “A Currency of Faith: Taking Stock in Utah County’s Dream Mine”

Alan L. Morrell, “A Nessie in Mormon Country”

Stanley J. Thayne, “Walking on Water: Nineteenth-Century Prophets and a Legend of Religious Imposture”

Congrats to Paul, Mike, and all contributors!

Article filed under Announcements and Events JIers in Print


  1. Bigfoots and UFOs and Nessies, oh my!

    Looks like a solid volume.

    Comment by Ben — February 13, 2011 @ 3:55 am

  2. Great, another thing to buy with my borrowed money!

    Comment by Christopher Smith — February 13, 2011 @ 4:32 am

  3. WOW ?? What a book cover, Between Pulpit and Pew:

    Between Pulpit and Pew ?? Judging from the book cover,
    it looks like Ron L. Hubbard had something to do with this publication.
    Definitely a Scientologist influence behind the image on Between Pulpit and Pew.
    I’m not sure if magic mushrooms have taken over the chosen or if they are being abducted
    by alien beings hovering over the planes of Zion?

    Either way it’s got to be a great read with lots of tangents to the Mormon Odyssey.
    I love to read first hand accounts of abductions.
    Everyone loves the supernatural wrapped in faith.
    Religious Freedom Forever no matter what the cost.

    Comment by Gus O. Kahan — February 13, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

  4. Can’t wait to check this one out.

    Comment by BHodges — February 13, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

  5. Neato!

    Comment by ep — February 13, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

  6. OH, and Stan, I’ve been waiting to read this essay for like four years.

    Comment by ep — February 13, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

  7. Looks fun!

    “Borrowed money” eh? And where would I get this “borrowed money”?

    Comment by Not JI Ben — February 14, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

  8. Go to graduate school and fill out a FAFSA. Then watch your debt grow! It’s like a chia pet!

    Comment by Christopher Smith — February 14, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

  9. Awesome. Great cover!

    Comment by J. Stapley — February 14, 2011 @ 11:12 pm

  10. Very interesting. It’s always fascinating to me how many pre-existing myths, urban legends and the like get “Mormonized” and then people assume they always were Mormon.

    I honestly didn’t know there was an Mormon angle to UFOs. It’s interesting in that the typical angle I hear is that there must be life on other planets (going back to the old Pratt interpretation of D&C 88) but that even if they could come here they wouldn’t have authority to do so. On the other hand I’ve met plenty of Mormons who fully believe in them too. So there’s a lot of diversity.

    I’m really intrigued. Too bad there wasn’t an essay on water dowsing. I was shocked when my parents mentioned this practice still going on in the highly Mormon area of southern Alberta. It was taken for granted this was part of digging for wells.

    Comment by Clark — February 15, 2011 @ 11:46 am

  11. For a second there I didn’t see the dream mine article and I was worried that it was going to leave out digging for hidden Nephite treasure. 🙂

    Comment by Brett D. — February 22, 2011 @ 12:32 pm


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