This week brings us a diverse assortment of news and research for your perusal.
A recent study conducted by UVU professor of psychology and behavior science Kris Doty examined the effects of returning home early from a mission due to circumstances such as failing physical health, mental health issues, or indiscretion can have on individuals. The study involved survey responses from 348 early returned missionaries. Unfortunately, there is no link to the study anywhere on the Web.
A new job listing went up this week at the Utah Division of State History for a Senior State Historian-Digital Editor. “This person will co-manage the Utah Historical Quarterly operations with a Senior State Historian-Print Editor. Together the co-managing editors will run the day-to-day operations of the Quarterly.” Check it out yo!
First Washington and now the U! I for one welcome this ongoing conversation between a state university and a major native tribe. Maybe we’ll see a return to the previous University of Deseret mascot: the Running Orson Spencers!
Alright, what do they get right and what do they wrong? I think it’s notable that CNN is still addressing a post-“Mormon Moment.” It’s also nice reference sheet regardless of your argument to the preceding question regarding veracity, especially for your lunch conversations with co-workers’n’stuff.
A friend of JI, Joseph Spencer, gets down deep with a fabulous discussion of apologetics, orthopraxy, and what the future of “defending” Mormonism could look like. Also, I just love this paragraph so I’m quoting it in full:
The sort of Mormonism that can be defended on entirely secular grounds (even if what?s thereby established as possible might harbor within itself something extra-secular) is a Mormonism that just doesn?t say much. If the Book of Mormon only gives us a secularly traceable history of the ancient Americas (derivatively lending credence to Joseph Smith as a prophet); if the Book of Abraham only gives us a secularly correct interpretation of a few Egyptian documents (derivatively lending credence to Joseph Smith?s wildly speculative Nauvoo theology); if the history of the Church only gives us a secularly defensible picture of institutional doings (derivatively lending credence to the idea that God could support such an institution)?if that?s all we?re to get from the things that need defending in Mormonism, I?m not sure what we?re fighting for.
Fresh papes! Get ‘um while they’re hot!
The fall issue features Wilfried Decoo comparing Catholicism and Mormonism on human life ethics and same-sex marriage, Henri Gooren comparing Mormon and Adventist growth patterns in Latin America and Noel Carmack exploring the connection between Captain William Kidd?s buried treasure and Joseph Smith?s retrieval of the gold plates. It also includes pieces by Shawn Bailey, M. Shayne Bell, Brayden King, Simon Peter Eggertsen, Clifton Jolley, Ben Park [THEBENPARK.com], and William Morris. Plus Philip Barlow beautifully and deftly explores some ?Questions at the Veil.?
David Mason, he who hath conjured the “I’m a Mormon, Not a Christian” NYT Op-Ed, is back again with another Op-Ed about the recent and unexpected(?) Mormon senatorial support for an anti-discrimination law addressing LGBT grievances. I think he surfaces some interesting and recent cultural shifts within the Mormon culture and religion. Give it a go then return and report.
A tragic story about two sister missionaries being targeted and beaten in Kosovo is making the rounds. It seems like a relatively unique case since the attackers have links to Muslim extremist groups and “[a] sniper rifle, handguns and material for making an improvised explosive device were found in suspects? houses, according to the police official.” This incident brings David Knowlton’s JMH article, “Mormonism and Guerillas in Bolivia,” to mind.
Lastly, an intriguing infographic that visualizes various findings from the Pew Research Religious Landscape Survey. One interesting finding shows that Mormons, above any other group, claim their prayers were answered multiple times a month. Oh, and Mormonism has the healthiest religion overall at a score of 55, which is apparently some cosmic number that cannot be disputed. </sarcasm>