By May 10, 2015
A few Mormon studies-related links from around the internet over the last (couple) week(s):
Seth Perry authored a provocative review essay of Terryl Givens’s Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Reflecting on the book’s “emphatically male framing,” Perry examines it against the backdrop of contemporary Mormon debates over sex roles:
Wrestling the Angel is a comprehensive synthesis of Mormon theology. It?s not specifically about the theological particulars that undergird the Church?s increasingly unpopular sexual politics. Right now, however, those particulars are what people are interested in, and Givens?s struggle with them is emblematic of his Church?s current predicament. In a different era, a cogent, explicitely Christian synthesis of Mormon theology such as this one would have performed an apologetic purpose, giving Mormon thought the dignity it deserves. Nowadays, though, Mormon thought largely has that dignity. What readers both inside and outside the Church wonder about now is why it is so closely associated with an understanding of sex and gender that many find backward. The theological answers presented here are haunted by political questions.
A recent episode of Backstory with the American History Guys on “island hopping” included some discussion of James Strang and Beaver Island. Elsewhere on the radio, Doug Fabrizio discussed age and leadership in the LDS Church with scholars Richard Bushman and Greg Prince. Bushman, along with his wife and fellow scholar Claudia, were interviewed over at Past is Present, the official blog of the American Antiquarian Society, where the Bushmans have spent the year as Distinguished Scholars in Residence. Two excerpts of interest:
Past is Present: Richard, same question for you. How do you first become interested in a project? You have two strains in your work, one on American life and culture more generally and one on Joseph Smith and Mormonism.
RB: It?s that double life that lies behind this project. I?m basically an early American historian, but from time to time I?ve been asked to do something on Mormonism, so I got involved in writing about Joseph Smith. As I was looking for a new project on the early American history side, I thought I ought to do something that would interact with the work I was doing on Joseph Smith. His family were farmers, so I thought, ?Well, I?ll see what I can find out about farmers.? And it worked out well. The two halves fed into each other. I use the Joseph Smith example, his family, in the farm work and the other way around.
Past is Present: I guess one more question. If there?s one book that you could write that you haven?t written yet, what would it be? One topic that you would love to cover.
CB: Well, I have two projects. One is [an oral history project on Mormon women]. The other one is my autobiography. I?m doing this for lots of reasons, but one is that women don?t write their autobiographies and they always apologize for doing it. They say, ?I wouldn?t have done this, but my children, my neighbors asked me.? Because that?s the way we feel. Women shouldn?t, we?re just not important enough to write about ourselves. So I decided that that would be one of my final women?s studies projects, that I would tell my own story, and I?m about halfway done with it, I guess. I have plenty more to do. Seeing as I was not apologizing for it, I would give it an in-your-face title. So the title is, I, Claudia. So you take yourself seriously, but not too seriously. Will anybody ever publish it? I don?t know. My family can publish it. See, now I?m already apologizing! That?s bad. We just don?t want to apologize for ourselves, because it?s so important to have women?s autobiographies. Those that we have we value so much. I don?t dare think of another project until I get those done.
Meanwhile, over at the Salt Lake Tribune, Peggy Fletcher Stack reported on a youth Sunday School teacher in Hawaii who was released after using the church’s recently-published essay on race and the priesthood in one of his lessons.
A CNN profile of Mormonism in Cambodia provided a fascinating look at the religious politics of temple work for the dead in a predominantly Buddhist country.
In academic conference news, the Mormon Pacific Historical Society released the CFP for its fall conference, to be held on the campus of BYU-Hawaii October 23-24.
We’ll wrap things up with a couple of bloggernacle links: First, a post over at By Common Consent by Steve Evans reflecting on the present and future of Mormon Studies, which sparked a lively conversation in the comments section and a lengthier response from Ardis Parshall over at Keepapitchinin on “Academia vs. Scholarship” (that’s the second link). Be sure and read both.
By March 29, 2015
There is much to highlight, so let’s get started:
110th Translation of the Book of Mormon Published (LDS Church Growth)
?Kosraean is the 110th language into which the Church has translated the Book of Mormon. Other translations of the Book of Mormon that have been completed within the past seven years include Malay, Slovak, Serbian, and Yoruba.? See also: Kosraean language
By January 10, 2015
Keep an eye out, now! A small handful of roundup links on matters of interest from the past few weeks…
TLC’s My Husband’s Not Gay
Just when you?d thought we?d exhausted all the angles for a Mormon-related reality series, we now have My Husband?s Not Gay, from TLC (of Sister Wives and My Five Wives fame). Shot in Salt Lake City, My Husband?s Not Gay premieres tonight at 10 ET, and reportedly it revolves around the lives of four LDS men who, despite feeling attraction to men, do not identify as homosexuals. Indeed, three have chosen (presumably on the basis of their religious convictions) to marry women, and the show will trace the conflicts between sexual desire, human identity, and religious conviction.
In anticipation of the premiere, the show has generated a fair bit of controversy. Gay advocates have turned up the heat on TLC, denouncing the show as ?downright irresponsible?; ?dangerous for LGBT people?; and ?damaging for Mormons, especially gay Mormon youth.” A sizable campaign has also been petitioning for the show?s cancellation. TLC, for its part, shrugged off the criticism earlier this week, and the LDS Newsroom struck a moderating tone. On the basis of his critic’s sneak preview, NYT TV critic Neil Genzlinger characterizes the show as classic incendiary reality tv, although he does note ?a few interesting and genuine-sounding moments in which the couples or their friends explore the collision of faith and feelings.? Those kinds of enlightening moments, however, he expects to be inevitably ?drowned out.”
Other multifarious tidbits:
Peggy Fletcher Stack reports on Ordain Women‘s new photo illustration series envisioning female officiation in priesthood ordinances.
Regional media continue to track the unfurling of the Book of Mormon musical across the country in smaller markets, the responses of Latter-day Saints and the Church’s proselytizing response.
A new (and largely nonplussed) review of Avi Steinberg’s recent “bibliomemoir” The Lost Book of Mormon: A Journey Through the Mythic Lands of Nephi, Zarahemla, and Kansas City, Missouri.
P.S. To all last-minute applicants for the Maxwell Institute’s Mormon Theology Seminar, 2015, a reminder that Jan. 15 is your day of reckoning.
By November 2, 2014
Links to the latest Mormon Studies news from around the internet:
Mormons and Politics are in the news again. Only this time, in book form. David Campbell, John Green, and Quinn Monson’s new book from Cambridge University Press, Seeking the Promised Land: Mormons and American Politics was reviewed in the Deseret News. Interested in more? Jana Riess posted a Q&A with Campbell and Monson over at Flunking Sainthood; Doug Fabrizio also hosted the co-authors on his Radio West program on Thursday.
You’ve likely heard that BYU Religious Education has revamped its curriculum, and the bloggernacle has weighed in from all angles. See here, here, here, here, and here for a sampling.
Also out of BYU, a couple of big announcements from the Maxwell Institute: The online edition of Royal Skousen’s Book of Mormon Critical Text Project has launched, and a new digital subscription option to all three journals published by the MI (Mormon Studies Review, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, and Studies in the Bible and Antiquity) is now being offered (for only $10!).
Several archives in Utah and Arizona have teamed up to create the Highway 89 Digital Collections Project, “an online aggregator and exhibition that brings together the stories of US 89, as it travels through the state of Utah.” Their aim “is to aggregate existing images, texts, and oral histories related to US 89 while simultaneously identifying and digitizing additional relevant collections.” Read more at Researching the Utah State Archives.
Finally, one final reminder that the submission deadline for the 2015 Faith & Knowledge Conference is approaching (THIS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7!) Get your submissions in ASAP!
By October 26, 2014
Most notably, the LDS Church released three essays on the practice of polygamy during the Nauvoo, Utah, and post-Manifesto eras. if you have questions about polygamy that were not answered in any of the essays, SUBMIT THEM HERE.
Despite the click-baity title, The New Republic had a great article on Mormon genealogy, particularly as it relates to LDS theology. Here’s a snippet:
- “The church?s most ambitious project is its online tree. Anyone who logs in to Family Search may record and research his or her family history there, but what distinguishes this tree from all the other online services is that the church is trying to connect all the branches, using its massive records and the activities of users to build a big tree of all of humanity. “
By September 28, 2014
Another week, another Mormon Studies Weekly Roundup
On the more academic side of things, the annual conference of the John Whitmer Historical Association kicked things off this weekend in Lamoni, Iowa. Check out the twitter feed for JI Ben’s tweets on the conference. The feed also confirms rumors that LDS Church Historian Steven E. Snow is in attendance. BYU’s L. Tom Perry Special Collections has advertised a position for Curator of 19th and 20th Century Mormon and Western Americana Books. Also, the Mormon Texts Project announced that five historical Mormon e-books have been added to Project Gutenberg. If you’re in the Logan area next week, come hear venerable historian Ron Walker speak on Brigham Young and the Utah War at the 20th Annual Arrington Lecture.
Elder Snow and other Church History Department officials spoke at a press conference recently that provided details on the Church History Museum’s permanent exhibit renovation, “The Heavens Are Opened,” scheduled to open October 2015. As several media outlets noted, the new exhibit will augment the museum’s artifact collection with technology to enhance the story of the early Restoration (1820-1846). These newspaper articles interpret the new exhibit within the church’s recent efforts to approach its history with transparency (with the Joseph Smith Papers and the Gospel Topics essays as the most notable examples), as the exhibit will attempt to tackle difficult historical issues, such as multiple accounts of the First Vision, seer stones and Book of Mormon translation, and Nauvoo polygamy.
By September 14, 2014
And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be [links]:
First up, a couple of items from a little beyond a week ago: The Salt Lake Tribune wrote about the latest exhibit at the Church History Library, a veritable treasure trove of rare documents and publications from the archives. Over at Religion in American History, Charlie McCary and Michael Graziano introduced readers to a course they’re team-teaching at Florida State this semester on Religion & Law in U.S. History. See Part I here and Part II here.
Last Saturday, Slate‘s “The Vault” featured a “day-by-day commemorative map of the Mormon journey West” from the late 19th century. According to Rebecca Onion, “The map?s commemorative publication in 1899 seems to show how quickly pilgrimage tourism, now common among Saints, had taken hold.” Speaking of the late 19th century, it was in 1893 that the LDS Church was denied a seat at the World’s Parliament of Religions held in conjunction with the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Next year, 122 years later, the Parliament will be held in the heart of Mormonism, Salt Lake City.
The Givenses remained in the news this week, with Terryl and Fiona each participating in a Reddit AMA on r/latterdaysaints. They also joined Doug Fabrizio on RadioWest for an interview about their latest book.
Over at A Motley Vision, Scott Hales lays out “a fifteen-week reading course in the Mormon novel.” Check it out here.
We’ll wrap things up this week with a handful of conference announcements: The Association for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Culture has posted a CFP for their annual conference, to be held next March in Boston. Proposals are due October 3 (for single papers) and October 17 (for complete sessions). Miles Mullin previews this year’s Conference on Faith and History annual conference at The Anxious Bench. Colleen McDannell is giving one of the four plenary addresses on the subject of “Heritage Religion and the Mormons.? And finally, in what looks to me like the conference of the years, Southern Methodist University’s Center for Presidential History and the Danforth Center at WUSTL are co-sponsoring a conference on “Religion and Politics in 21st Century America” (in Dallas, TX on November 8). The roster of presenters is a veritable who’s who of the best and brightest young scholars of American religious history, including JI’s good friend Spencer Fluhman, who will present on “Never-Ending Mormon Moments.”
By August 31, 2014
Sorry for the hiatus. Let’s get to the links from the past week!
By July 27, 2014
This article is a few months old, but the recently founded Polynesian Football Hall of Fame has found a home at the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) in Hawai’i. “PFHF honors the sport?s greatest players, coaches and contributors from Polynesia.” This is an interesting development considering the history of the PCC and Mormonism throughout the region.
Primarily targeted at pioneer stock Mormons, this microsite “is FamilySearch’s attempt at comparing the list of pioneer companies to those listed in your Family Tree. We recognize that it may not be comprehensive or completely accurate historically. We hope you enjoy this information.” I’ve included a screen grab of my results for those who likely won’t have many connections:
By July 20, 2014
For your Sunday perusal:
Our own Amanda Hendrix-Komoto writes about the excommunication of Kate Kelly (and Mormon feminism?) on the Nursing Clio blog.
Pauline Kelly Harline writes about female Mormon bloggers and the long tradition of writing that exists in Mormon culture.
Joseph Spencer recaps the Mormon Theology Symposium that recently wrapped up in London here.
A whole host of qualified people (including JI-ers Andrea Radke-Moss and Rachael Givens) weigh in on the question of equality, gender, and priesthood here on a panel at Patheos.
Is the Mormon moment finally over? Find out here.
On the complexities of Mormon identities, being a gay Mormon, and going from being a missionary to playing one on a stage.
On the intersection of politics and religion when it comes to popular opinion.
Emmeline Wells is highlighted by the National Women’s History Museum here.
The Deseret News reports on the third new temple film to come into rotation in the span of twelve or so months.
And finally, the Annual Summer Seminar on Mormon Culture is holding its symposium on July 22, 23, and 25. The program can be found here. In the neighborhood? Come listen to Natalie Rose on Tuesday!
Anything we missed? Leave your contributions in the comments!