Joy of Grad School

By May 28, 2009

Today while going door to door collection money for our kids’ school with my almost eight-year-old daughter, I asked her what she wanted to do when she grew up. She said “I don’t know, maybe I want to be an artist or a student like you,” and she affectionately kissed me on the arm. While she meant it as a sign of affection I had to interject, “Wait honey, a student isn’t something you do when you grow up, it’s something you do in order to do something else. You see, I want to be a professor.” To this she responded in a very sympathetic voice, “Do you really think you’ll be able to do that?” To which I responded, “Yes, of course.” To which her reply (having lost the sympathetic tone) “Yeah right, in like 10 years or something.”

So I’ve been a grad student (or trying to be a grad student) her entire life I can understand her point of view. Which leads me to this post. While we need a PhD to be a professor, has grad school made us better scholars? This question hit home to me at MHA this year in that while there are lots of stellar young Mormon scholars in grad school, Mormonism has always had an army of historians without that training. Now I’m thinking particularly of J. Stapley and SamMB (is it bad form not use the internet names?) They were integral to two of the most academic sessions at the conference, are doing scholarship of the highest quality, and Sam in particular is publishing in the major journals and hopes to publish his book in a major university press.

So what has grad school gotten me? My master’s degree helped a lot in seeing bigger contexts and having a mentor to both point out the major scholarship and to give rigorous critics of my work was very useful. My degree in religious studies has opened my eyes to all kinds of useful scholarship as well. I think I would be a very different scholar without these experiences, but no doubt bright individuals are able to autodidact their way into professional status.

So what is the usefulness of graduate training? Will it continue to be relevant in this century or are we entering an era where motivated individuals will increasingly do professional quality work without the training. Or has this always been the case?

Article filed under Reflective Posts State of the Discipline


Comments

  1. I don’t know, but I just wanted to say what an obviously cool and smart daughter you have.

    Comment by Kevin Barney — May 28, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

  2. My wife read this post and emailed me saying, “this is what our daughter will be saying in ten years!!”

    As for the actual post, you bring up excellent questions. I definitely think that it is the case that it is often left to those who don’t have graduate training to prove that they can research and write at a quality level, as individuals like J, SMB, and Ardis have all proven while some others haven’t. I think individuals like those are pretty rare, while the majority of us need a graduate training to make a quality contribution.*

    Also, graduate training is strictly necessary for those of us who want to just make a living out of this stuff–most others are left doing it by candlelight after doing their real job all day; they definitely have my respect.

    ______________
    *Another great example of non-trained historians make a great contribution is Val Avery and Linda Newell. Linda, in her MHA presentation on Saturday, talked about how when they started on Mormon Enigma, neither one of them had written anything more than just a standard undergraduate term-paper.

    Comment by Ben — May 28, 2009 @ 8:03 pm

  3. Not sure if I can explain what grad school has done for me, but it has done wonders (I have had a rather miserable experience at less the prestigious institutions).

    This post at FPR and the comments that follow might be informative.

    Comment by Chris H. — May 28, 2009 @ 8:44 pm

  4. As I have trouble finding employment with my graduate degree I can certainly understand the significant cost benefit analysis that we all have to go through many times in our academic training.

    Thanks for the post.

    Comment by Morgan Deane — May 28, 2009 @ 9:50 pm

  5. First, thank you for your kind evaluation. And you should be grateful to have kids so smart.

    I think that modern technology facilitates the process of education and data collection. Moving from chemistry to history is facilitated by some good friends who don’t mind being pestered yet again with another question or draft.

    The rule will always be that trained professionals will be the guardians of historiographic virtue. As it should be. I’m happy that you folks let a few of us up to the table on occasion, though.

    Comment by J. Stapley — May 28, 2009 @ 11:14 pm

  6. She’s full of great one liners no doubt.

    I wonder though, would scholars have produced different work without the grad school experience? Would highly motivated academic types have ended up doing the same things regardless?

    Thanks for the link Chris. Perhaps I’m a little late to this discussion.

    Comment by Steve Fleming — May 28, 2009 @ 11:52 pm

  7. No, your post is timely. I am recently ABD. I have been teaching full-time for three years in a visiting position. Still looking for work in the fall. As a provider, I am not sure what good it has done. As a political thinker, it has done me wonders because it has challenged me in ways that I could not have done on my own.

    Comment by Chris H. — May 29, 2009 @ 12:26 am

  8. Another great thing grad school does for you is it forces you to read through many texts, sources, and theories that you otherwise might not get around to (unless you are uber-motivated). As it has been mentioned on this blog before, a deep understanding of theory can either exponentially increase the quality of your work, or make it a useless drone of nonsense.

    Comment by Ben — May 29, 2009 @ 12:46 am

  9. I’m not sure that you’ve chosen the right comparison, Steve (though I’m flattered by your praise). Staples and I both have doctorates and either have a strong academic bent or are traditional academics, just in a different field. I think someone like Ardis, who produces great, well-respected history without formal academic training, would be a better comparison (she does prove that grad school is optional for producing good Mormon history).

    I am not allowed to do a PhD until my wife finishes hers. I do toy with the idea, although I don’t think I could bear to grade papers again, either in grad school or after.

    As I see it the advantages to a PhD are the sustained attention of a mentor and an awareness of how an academic field behaves. (Plus a socially validated way to sit around reading books and smoking cigarettes or equivalent LDS behavior.) The problem with a PhD is that you can end up locked into the specific and sometimes broken hermeneutics of a field. And you have to grade papers and exams. And in the humanities you have to pretend to like freud.

    As for the patience of children, my daughter told me as I headed off to work last night, “daddy, why can’t people just take care of their sickness and not get it?” With a brief hiatus, I have been in training of one sort or another for 13 years since college. The paths we take can be painfully long but also richly rewarding.

    Comment by smb — May 29, 2009 @ 7:14 am

  10. And I meant to say good luck to all you grad students out there.

    Comment by smb — May 29, 2009 @ 7:14 am

  11. It should be noted that Stapley’s work is ably abetted by Kris Wright, who does have formal training as an historian. I know that her perspective has saved J. from some mistakes and definitely helps his writing. (Sorry, J.–it has to be said ;))

    Comment by Kristine — May 29, 2009 @ 9:14 am

  12. Kris is wonderful. I’m embarrassed I didn’t mention her. And my wife is getting a PhD and serves as a wonderful scholarly Beatrice to my often stuporous pilgrim.

    Comment by smb — May 29, 2009 @ 9:46 am

  13. Pretending to like Freud one can manage — try Foucault.

    Comment by John Turner — May 29, 2009 @ 10:09 am

  14. With developing fields such as Mormon Studies there is the room for participation from both the formally trained and the autodidact. Add to this the fact that religion tends to be a topic that those without formal training care enough about to engage those with formal training. (On a side note, I’ve always believed it to be true that religion is one of the fields where you could have a PhD from Harvard and most members of a faith group would still think you don’t really get “it”.)

    As the field expands I imagine that we will see fewer self-trained scholars participating in the same events. At the same time we’ll probably also see the continued growth of forums for the self-trained and all those in between (FAIR, Sunstone, etc.). Fortunately there is not a clear cut line between the trained and untrained. There are more and more LDS master’s students studying religion, many of which will not go on to do a PhD. Add to this undergraduates not at Church schools doing a BA in religious studies, as well as those who just have a passion for the topic, and this suggests that there will be more engagement with the issues that those who are trained at the PhD level will be dealing with.

    All this said, much like situations were a few people without formal legal training can successfully represent themselves in a courtroom, you’ll always have the gifted few (you mentioned a few of them already) that are able to produce work on par, or even better, than trained professionals.

    Comment by smallaxe — May 29, 2009 @ 10:20 am

  15. JT: Or Bourdeaux. Sorry, Balldiou.

    Comment by smb — May 29, 2009 @ 11:15 am

  16. Hear, hear to John.

    Incidentally, as I mentioned on another post, this is also a conversation taking place in the profession. In fact, it’s almost a given among grad. students that non-professionals write more enjoyable history that scholars. We all know it’s true; we just grumble when we admit it because it threatens our viability as a profession. If *they* can do it, who can’t? And what room is their left for us? The standards academic historians have for “making it big” (getting a review in the NYT review of books) are nothing compared to folks like Tim Tyson who write a memoir and get major motion pictures contracts (granted, Tyson has probably lost his mind, so greatness comes with a price).

    Comment by Russell — May 29, 2009 @ 11:16 am

  17. I think there may be an internal strain in academia over the notion of “enjoyable history,” whether that’s the goal or not. It’s nice to try to write for the masses, but I also like writing for other scholars. I see these audiences as very different.

    Comment by Steve Fleming — May 29, 2009 @ 11:45 am

  18. Sam, I quite like Bourdieu. I consider the Logic of Practice one of the reasons why I’m glad I went to grad school. I plan on using it to explain why and how the folk retained medieval religiosity for centuries in Protestant lands. Theorists know doubt can be over done. Walter Benjamin for instance (not that I have any idea what he’s talking about) but it seems to be in vogue to throw around the word “violence” for anything and everything.

    Comment by Steve Fleming — May 29, 2009 @ 11:53 am

  19. Note: Tyson’s book and movie are based on his History M.A. thesis. He’s a great example of an academically trained historian who retained the ability to write well.

    Comment by John Turner — May 29, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  20. This is a worthwhile conversation to have over and over again, I think, and I appreciate you bringing it up here, Steve. Part of my reason for going to grad school is because I want to teach at the university level. But since we’re primarily concerned with research and scholarship here, I’ll just add my voice to others that grad school has done wonders for my ability to critically engage sources and provided a forum to address history, historiography, and theory with like-minded folks also interested in such things.

    Comment by Christopher — May 29, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

  21. True, but Tyson is actually a bit of an odd man out in the academy. I have it from an old colleague of his that getting him to write the thesis at all was a chore. He was always ready to leave the program, do something else, go somewhere else, often in a fit of drama. They finally got him to write his thesis on his personal experience, a topic that they weren’t exactly excited about. His book is lacking in footnotes and has been called by one reviewer: “a good summer read.”

    Now he has essentially be ostracized from the academy. If you notice, he has teaching appointments at both Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill. He’s slightly better off than an adjunct. And he lost a little face by involving himself too deeply with the Duke Lacrosse affair. No one will hire him on as tenure track.

    But then again, I just think more than a few academic historians are a little bitter that they can’t sell books about postcolonial gender confusion a la Foucault in modern Eritrea.

    Comment by Russell — May 29, 2009 @ 2:30 pm

  22. The overall question is a good one, but I think having a good and higher education from a great institution makes all the difference in the study of history–hands down. Sure some good studies can emerge by untrained scholars, but to be honest, Mormon studies are still new and its not totally controlled by academics yet (lucky for many of us). But its only a matter of time.

    And though some doubt the usefulness of an advanced degree, I can’t say enough good about advanced degrees. I got a BA in history in Utah, thought I knew some stuff, and it did open my eyes. But then I went back east and got a MA degree in history from an ivy league school and it made all the difference. My whole worldview changed, and so did my take on Mormon history. A degree makes a lot of difference, or at least it has for me.

    Comment by zach — May 29, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  23. Honestly, though, I’m not convinced that swallowing the bitter pill of academia is much better than drinking the kool-aid of amateurism.

    While we can credit academia for being a little more rigorous in their source analysis, academia is also *dominated* by Foucault, Derrida, and Benedict Anderson. Deconstructionism/postmodernism is not just the theory employed–it’s reached the level of Gramscian hegemony! If one dare suggest there is a Truth of *any* kind–gender, etc., you’ll be denounced as backwards. The academy has accepted that the writing of history is a political act, that all reality is made of social constructs: masculinity, nationality, you name it. The next step is that these constructs be established ideological “structures of power” (hat tip to Althusser and Foucault). Magically, we have now transformed a student into an activist since no one I know likes the idea of oppression–and that’s *certainly* what power structures do, right?

    I’ve just seen academics suck the life out of riveting topic through their -isms. And if we ever hope to be relevant in the lives of people who need these stories the most, then we need to learn to smelt out the rigor of scholarship from the drone of Foucault.

    Comment by Russell — May 29, 2009 @ 5:06 pm

  24. “While we can credit academia for being a little more rigorous in their source analysis, academia is also *dominated* by Foucault, Derrida, and Benedict Anderson. Deconstructionism/postmodernism is not just the theory employed–it’s reached the level of Gramscian hegemony!”

    If postmodernism was really dominating the academy, I would call for all to run away from the academic venture. However, this is actually a limited case. I cannot speak for history, but postmodernism is not that dominant in political science (though it has too strong of a presence for my liking). In political theory it is respected to a degree, but only to an extent. In philosophy it is almost completely rejected and only tolerated on the periphery.

    Now is your study English or cultural studies, postmodernism might play a bigger role. So, do not study those areas.

    It is also an insult to Foucault to put him in the same category of Derrida.

    Comment by Chris H. — May 29, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

  25. I am speaking only of the academy that I really know: history. From the political sciences courses I have taken, I agree with you. Number-crunching and regressions have become far more the method d’jour.

    In history, the influence is not so much as stated as it is unconsciously accepted since the demise of Roland Barthes’ structuralism in linguistics. No one likes to admit that they’re a postmodernist, but it casts a long shadow for historians. The entire subfields of gender history hinge on postmodernism (that masculinity/femininity is a construct) as does the history of race (that whiteness/blackness is created according to the whims of the society). Diplomatic history is just now getting its first helping with studies of how gender constructs affect foreign policy decisions (Cuba was portrayed as a damsel in distress during the Spanish-American War, Kennan described the Soviet Union as a hyper-libidinous male, etc.)

    In any case, postmodernism has its place; I just find that when I question it, I get looks like I’ve insulted their mother.

    Comment by Russell — May 29, 2009 @ 6:20 pm

  26. The recent evolution of information indicates that this phenomenon will increase, not decrease. As information becomes more readily available to those outside the university circles it makes sense that there are those who would excel without the tutelage of those with an agenda.

    The wife of a grad student might point out that the purpose of the Ph.D is not to be a scholar, but to be a paid scholar. You can be an great scholar without the Ph.D but to date the higher education system requires that you spend a number of years “learning” from it prior to getting that little title to allow you to get paid for teaching others and occupying cubicle space to write for the benefit of the university. The question implied in this post might be whether or not you should be required to have a Ph.D to teach.

    Those who pick more lucrative fields and make money while enjoying writing their enjoyable history have taken a path that to some of us with desire for a second bathroom may be somewhat enviable.

    The hobos in the humanities, however, do get paid to do what they love and that is worth something, I hear. Or at least, it better be.

    Comment by Lee Fleming — May 29, 2009 @ 6:52 pm

  27. As some of you have mentioned, grad school is at least as much a ritual of credentialing as it is anything else. The fact is that anyone with enough resources and motivation can learn almost anything that is taught in any graduate or professional school without actually attending the school. This is true of medicine and law and engineering and so it is certainly true of history. The difference is that practicing history without a PhD won’t land you in jail or (probably) kill anyone. Although, obviously, teaching in a university requires this kind of credentialing. (One of the great perversities of higher education is that students very rarely get any serious pedagogical training of any kind) My grad school experience was most useful in the following ways:
    1. Gaining breadth in the field
    2. Sharpening my interpretive skills through an immersion in various theoretical and methodological schools of thought
    3. Learning how to engage in face to face exchanges with other scholars over our own and others’ work in the context of graduate seminars.
    4. Teaching skills developed through very tough experience

    Comment by SC Taysom — May 29, 2009 @ 7:31 pm

  28. So, honey, (can you see where our daughter gets it) how would you envision 21st-century pedagogy (she works for a organization attempting to reform secondary education) at the graduate level?

    Sam, J., and Ardis, are you guys a relic of the past or are you the future? I agree with Lee (not surprisingly) I see no indication that “Mormon Studies” (however we define that) is coming under the control of the academics. As I mentioned before, this was a very academic MHA, but Sam and J. were a big part of that. The fact that Sam and J. work closely with other scholars doesn’t invalidate what they do, but just goes to show that they know how to work the system to their advantage. Which way is this trend going?

    Comment by Steve Fleming — May 29, 2009 @ 8:08 pm

  29. You grad students have all been generous towards the rest of us, and I appreciate that. The trend, though, is, or should be, toward professional training of historians.

    I very much recognize what I lack. When I come across the traced of a life or event, my nose starts twitching almost by instinct. I know that this thing is important in ways that I haven’t yet figured out. Sometimes I can figure out the importance within the world of Mormon history, the only history I really know. But even when I recognize that an event has significance beyond Mormon history, I don’t know how. I don’t know how we fit into the rest of the world, and I don’t know how to find that out. Presumably grad school equips you to sort all that out.

    Mhy laptop is stuffed with completely, thoroughly, incredibly well researched significant events in Mormon history that are largely (sometimes completely) unknown to anybody else. Those stories are apt to stay right where they are, because of my overwhelming fear of not doing them justice because I’m aware of what I’m missing, not having been able to go to school (you all know, I suppose, that I don’t even have a bachelor’s).

    I did publish one article because my fear of not doing it justice was outweighed by my fear that someone else would eventually solve the puzzle and publish it with a sensational spin that it did not deserve. (The uses to which that story has been put since publication proves that my fear was justified — but at least no one can ever tell that story again without referring to my article, where the more moderate interpretation is set out.)

    So get all the training you can get, and make good use of it. My only advice to you is that you absolutely must accept that grad school does not teach you how to write, and could easily destroy any native writing talent you have. Write in academese if it’s necessary to get the degree, but then forget it, and repair the damage with lots of reading of real writing.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — May 29, 2009 @ 9:15 pm

  30. And learn to proofread. I didn’t.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — May 29, 2009 @ 9:16 pm

  31. I conjecture that the trend is toward an increased volume of reputable scholarship from outside the academy. Internet-based communications provide (something like) a Habermasian public sphere where (something like) a meritocracy can hold sway.

    This is because:
    –Archival materials are now more available to non-academics.

    –The probability that consistently good work will get noticed and drawn into the broader conversation, which includes academics, is higher in cyberspace than in meatspace. Online, I can get my work in front of far more eyes and far more willing eyes for less money than I ever could if I had to persuade someone to print my stuff, pay for printing, and persuade enough people to read it.

    –Internetters educate for free. By day, I pay heaps of money for professors to tell me when and how I’m wrong and for other students to engage me in conversation. By night, people provide very similar services for no pay, and I don’t have to be physically at a university to participate.

    Comment by Edje — May 29, 2009 @ 9:19 pm

  32. The reason why I highlighted Sam and J. is because they very clearly do have expertise beyond just Mormonism; they’re doing everything that Ardis says trained scholars should. Are they just prodigies or are they the beginning of a trend?

    And Ardis, don’t keep all that material to yourself. While the peer review process can be intimidating, it can also be really helpful.

    Comment by Steve Fleming — May 29, 2009 @ 9:50 pm

  33. You can’t review something that I don’t know how to write, Steve.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — May 29, 2009 @ 9:54 pm

  34. Ardis, you should collaborate with people who have similar research interests that could help you fill in whatever gaps you see. Collaboration being an essential 21st-century skill, my wife tells me.

    Comment by Steve Fleming — May 29, 2009 @ 11:14 pm

  35. Ardis, I agree with Steve. In my main field, papers routinely have 5-15 authors. This obsession with sole authors in the humanities seems silly to me. I’m currently collaborating with J, mb, and an undergraduate I’m supervising on papers in Mormonism and religious history. There are a few projects that are so helplessly specific that they merit only one author, but I personally think we should be collaborating more.

    For me, it’s a question of what I want to do to support my history research. I can either sit in faculty or committee meetings and teach (and grade the papers of) undergraduates, or I can treat patients and write epidemiology papers. The latter is so fantastically more appealing to me that I have a hard time imagining that, even if I got a PhD, I would ever take a position that was primarily humanities academic.

    Also, I get to be cross-disciplinary whenever I want. I am thinking that my next project will actually be a cultural history of “irritated” bowels because I think it’s a fascinating topic. then maybe back to Mormon topics or maybe on to the “new phrenologists” (the neurobio/cognitive science/new atheism brain:mind crew). I just feel rather free as for topics.

    That said, I would love 4 unobstructed weeks to actually crank out manuscript material on my history work–I never get large chunks of time to work on this.

    As for the future of Mormon Studies, I think there will be a mix as there always was, but that some of the undocumented workers (shall I call us illegal aliens, A&J?) will be interested in incorporating some more traditionally academic voices or approaches into our work.

    And I’m going to stick by my guns, though I’ll try to be polite about it–I’ve not found critical theory as typically propounded by the F/D/Badiou crowd to add much of anything to analyses. People sort of sound like they’re having psychic seizures when they talk about it. As much as I love and admire many of the people who do it (I really do–some of my closest friends use critical theory), it always feels at least a little like the naked Emperor to me. The most clear-headed theorist of religion I’ve found is JZ Smith.

    Comment by smb — May 30, 2009 @ 7:31 am

  36. That last wasn’t very polite. This is hard for me as I have such a strong aversion for critical theory as propounded and such respect for some of the people who do. On this point, I would recommend for now that you dismiss me as a crank.

    Comment by smb — May 30, 2009 @ 7:32 am

  37. It seems to me that one of the very useful things graduate training in history can do for would-be historians of Mormonism is to help situate Mormon history in a broader conversation. While non-professionals have contributed a great deal to the sort of denominational history that has constituted the bulk of Mormon history to this point, if Mormon history is going to matter to non-Mormons, it will be important for us to know how to connect to the kinds of questions that historians of other traditions are asking and use the vocabulary and, yes (sorry, Sam!) the theoreticcal constructs that they use to illuminate those questions.

    Another thing I think professional training can do is to help with questions of scale and scope. For example, when an idiot like me barges in and says “I think I’ll look at children’s curriculum,” I need someone who knows better to say, “uh, that’s a GIGANTIC field, with a well-developed literature that you can’t possibly begin to treat.” In Mormon history, there’s practically nothing about children’s history, at least not beyond narrative histories of the Primary. I still think that the history of the Primary has all kinds of interesting things to contribute to the construction of a social history of Mormonism, but even understanding how big that project is requires a wider view of the field than I can get from the perspective of an amateur thoroughly situated within the denomination. I think there are lots of other areas where we need professional training to be able to scale the walls of the Mormon history compound.

    Comment by Kristine — May 30, 2009 @ 9:45 am

  38. Thanks for all the input, this has been an interesting discussion. I think this blog demonstrates why graduate training for those wanting to do Mormon studies will continue to be relevant in that there are a quite a number of individuals who want to do what professors do and are happy (some of the time) to go through the training. As Kristine points out, Mormons studies has and will continue to be greatly benefited by the training we get.

    Sam critical theory has played a very minor part in the training I’ve received. Tilting at windmills? (I do sympathize with your distaste for such things, but no one taught us any Lacan). At the same time, post-colonialism, feminist theory, post-structuralism, etc. can be very useful in exploring different points of view. While anything can be overdone, I’ve learned that as a white American male my scholarship and worldview can greatly benefit from seeing the world from different perspectives.

    Comment by Steve Fleming — May 30, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

  39. Are they just prodigies or are they the beginning of a trend?

    I’ll elaborate a bit more on my earlier comment (#14). I think we could say that they are a beginning to a trend in the sense that, as Edje mentions, more information is more easily accessible to more people and the internet facilitates opportunities in interacting with larger audiences.

    However, and I think this relates more directly to the initial post, I do not believe that we will see more participation in venues such as MHA by non-academics. Granted that the MHA could, and probably will grow, allowing for more room for new participants; but as organization such as these grow (in conjunction with the growth of a new field), the increase in need for a regulatory mechanism to identify proper “historians” also grows. Like any other field, the larger it grows the more this need arises to create a system for identifying “quality” work. In the case of Mormon History, or Mormon Studies at large, I cannot imagine such a mechanism will arise independent of academia. There will always be non-academics attending, and occasionally presenting; but as the quality of scholarship gets better and better (this of course is an assumption), and the number of people interested in the field increases, the more “credibility” ascertained by easy reference to a regulatory mechanism such as an academic pedigree will arise.

    Comment by smallaxe — May 30, 2009 @ 1:25 pm

  40. Sorry am reflecting on lit crit and other disciplines. History less susceptible to it tho still present. Lacan a disaster.

    Comment by Smb — May 30, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

  41. full sentences generally better

    just sayin’

    (or was that some kind of gesture towards restoring equilibrium to the universe by compensating for absurdly long, convoluted Lacanian sentences?)

    Comment by Kristine — May 30, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

  42. hilarious anecdote, steve. grad school is a long and painful gauntlet for a family!

    Comment by angela michelle — June 4, 2009 @ 8:37 am

  43. […] week or two ago when my wife was out of town, my daughter (yes, that one) said something at dinner that caught me off guard. “I don’t believe our church is […]

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