Mormon Studies Weekly Roundup

By January 26, 2014

For this week’s edition of the MSWR, I have all kinds of lovely links for your perusal.

In books:

–John Turner reviews Stephen Webb’s Mormon Christianity: What Other Christians Can Learn From the Latter-day Saints:

In Mormon Christianity, the evangelical-turned-Catholic philosopher Stephen Webb encourages Protestants and Catholics alike to take Mormon thought seriously. At its center, he contends, is their iconoclastic but not unprecedented understanding of an embodied God.

Turner offers a balanced overview of the book here, including a critique of the book’s counterfocus on Calvinism.

–Interested in “cowboy apostle” Anthony W. Ivins? Signature books just published an edition of his diaries. Ivins, besides a Church apostle, is also one of five Mormons in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame (he shares that honor with J. Reuben Clark, Jacob Hamblin, Jessie Knight, and Brigham Young, in case you were wondering). According to the publisher,

the publication of Cowboy Apostle is a landmark endeavor. Long talked about in historical circles for detailing post-1890 plural marriages, they are now available in print for the first time, providing the fullest account yet of life in the Mormon Mexican colonies by a high-ranking Church officer. Spanning nearly six decades, they present the reader with several incarnations of a prominent man as his life and worldview evolved.

In the good to know category, the diaries are printed in a limited edition of 500 copies and cost $125. However, there’s a Kindle edition available for the more budget-friendly price of a little over $20.

–Greg Kofford Books offers an overview of the highlights from 2013’s catalogue here.

–Blair Hodges, writing for By Common Consent, reviews Richard Mouw’s Talking with Mormonsconcluding that

Even though the book is framed as an invitation to evangelicals, Mouw makes his motivation clear by affirming his desire to change Mormonism to align more closely with his own Calvinist perspective; it?s evident he does not see a need for evangelicals like himself to adjust their own theological perspectives in exchange. The main ?invitation? here is for evangelicals to first seek to understand Mormonism more fully, and second, to help shift Mormon views closer to those of evangelical Calvinists.

–Religion in American History has a post up about thirty-five books from 2014 you should pre-emptively add to your to-read list, including Matt Bowman’s The Urban Pulpit: New York City and the Fate of Liberal Evangelicalism,  Paula Kelly Harline’s The Polygamous Wives Writing Club: From the Diaries of Mormon Pioneer Women and David J. Howlett’s Kirtland Temple: The Biography of a Shared Mormon Space. The list is long and varied, and I’m sure there’s something for everyone on there.

–Dave Banack, over at Time and Seasons, reviews JB Haws’ The Mormon Image in the American Mind: Fifty Years of Public Perception:

No doubt the book is required reading for every LDS Public Affairs employee. But for most readers the book also serves quite nicely as a narrative history of the last fifty years of Mormonism. A lot has happened and a lot has changed: reading about George Romney?s 1968 quest for the Republican nomination for President is like reading about another world.

In conferences and lectures:

–The Brazilian Association for Mormon Studies held a conference on January 18th. You can watch Marcello Yun’s talk here, titled “History or Story? Basic Principles of Historiography,” in which he talks about the collective nature of historiography. (The presentation is in Portuguese.)

Peculiar People highlights three upcoming conferences, all part of what they call “March Global Mormon Studies Madness”:  Brigham Young University (Provo and Salt Lake City, UT, March 6-7), Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley, CA, March 22), and Utah Valley University (Orem, UT, Spring 2014). The GTU and UVU conferences have a decidedly Asian focus and promise to yield very interesting results, and BYU should be posting its program soon. (Full disclosure: I’ll be presenting at the BYU symposium and hope to see some of you there!)

–Kathleen Flake will deliver the 2014 Sterling M. McMurrin Lecture at the University of Utah (hosted by the Tanner Humanities Center), called “The LDS Intellectual Tradition: A Study on Three Lives.” The lecture will be held on April 11, 2014, at 7PM and is followed by a symposium, “Faith and Reason, Conscience, and Conflict: The Paths of Lowell Bennion, Sterling McMurrin, and Obert Tanner” the next day to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center.

In everything else:

–Sacred Matters published a piece by E. Brooks Holifield on American religiosity:

Many Western Europeans think of Americans as hopelessly, bafflingly, and dangerously, religious. Many Americans think of Western Europeans as distressingly, inexplicably, and unrelentingly, secular. In 2009, the German sociologist Hans Joas observed that ?it is widely accepted that the United States is far more religious than practically any comparable European state.? And he noted Western European puzzlement: ?The more secularized large parts of Europe became, the more exotic the religiosity of the United States seemed to European observers.? So why are Americans, compared with Western Europeans, seemingly so religious? And are we as religious as we seem?

Speaking as someone with both American and European roots and citizenship, I can attest to the divide mentioned here, and I was very interested to see what Holifield had to say.

–The Mormon History Association’s January newsletter is up.

–UtahValley360 offers a list of the “100 coolest Mormon women alive today.” I shook my head a little over the compilation, which leads me to ask: who would you want to see on this list?

Peggy Fletcher Stack interviews evangelical writer Ravi Zacharias on his “bridge building” visit to Provo and Salt Lake City.

–Joe Spencer offers some thoughts on criteria used to determine the “value” of the Book of Mormon over at Peculiar People.

Anything I missed? Be sure to add it in the comments!


Article filed under Miscellaneous


  1. Thanks, Saskia. Seems there is an extra bit of exciting stuff going on than usual!

    Comment by Ben P — January 26, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

  2. Thanks, Saskia!

    Comment by J Stuart — January 26, 2014 @ 1:06 pm

  3. Again, this is very helpful. Thanks!

    Comment by Gary Bergera — January 26, 2014 @ 3:14 pm

  4. Incredibly helpful; thanks!

    Comment by J. Stapley — January 26, 2014 @ 7:43 pm

  5. thanks!

    Comment by BHodges — January 27, 2014 @ 10:40 am

  6. I would note that also among the 35 books from 2014 listed in Religion in American History is Steve Smith’s The Rise and Fall of American Religious History published by Harvard. Steve is a graduate of BYU and Yale Law School and professor at USD. (His wife Merina wrote Revelation, Resistance, and Mormon Polygamy: The Introduction and Implementation of the Principle, 1830-1853 published by USU about a year ago.)

    In terms of Mormon Studies, I would add that Mormon Scholars in the Humanities will hold its annual meeting/conference March 27-29 at Claremont.

    Comment by DavidH — January 27, 2014 @ 11:48 am

  7. If you would be so kind as to forward these events to me in the future, I’d love to get them posted at in a timely manner. I hope that you scholars find this resource valuable.

    Comment by Kent (MC) — February 3, 2014 @ 11:24 pm


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