Welcome to the inaugural installment of our new regular feature, Mormon Studies Weekly Roundup, which will appear each Sunday morning and consist of links to news and interesting items related to the study of Mormon history and culture. JI bloggers will take turn curating the post each week, and although we’re casting the net fairly wide here, the content posted will likely reflect that individual’s own interests. We don’t necessarily expect a lot of discussion to show up in the comments of these posts, though you are more than welcome to comment on any of the linked content and encouraged to post links to any relevant news items we might have missed. Thanks for reading!
We’ll start with links to summaries of the two Mormon Studies conferences held last weekend in the Beehive State: FAIR (ably summarized by speed-typist Blair Hodges in a two part series at the Maxwell Institute Blog here and here) and Sunstone (reported on in the City Weekly here). If there other worthwhile reports of either, please do post links to them in the comments (especially if they report on the more scholarly papers presented at either).
Also from the Maxwell Institute Blog comes this podcast interview with BYU professor, evolutionary ecologist, and science fiction author Steven Peck about his wonderfully provocative novella A Short Stay in Hell, which was recently picked up by independent film director David Spaltro for adaptation as a feature film.
Speaking of films, most of you have likely heard (or seen) by now that LDS Temples throughout the world now feature a new film. Over at her blog, Jana Riess weighs in on the decision to not make any changes to the film’s script and laments the “missed opportunity” to introduce a more racially and ethnically diverse cast. Also from Jana comes this firsthand account of attending “Feminist Mormon Girls Camp” in July. One final big announcement from Margaret Young at By Common Consent: The Genesis Group has established a branch in Dallas, Texas. The post also included a short history of the organization written by Darius Gray, which made me wonder if there has been any solid scholarly analysis of The Genesis Group, its history, and the experience of those who participate. Anyone know? It sounds like a great MA thesis to me.
Over at The Deseret News, Lucy Schouten summarizes the recent Smith Family Reunion in Salt Lake City, where “roughly 1,100 Smith descendants from Hyrum, Joseph Jr. and Samuel Smith?s lines” gathered for a busy three days that included a sermon from Smith descendant and LDS Apostle M. Russell Ballard, “faith-based history and family time,” and a 5K run that “that celebrated the 1813 experimental surgery that saved young Joseph?s leg.” (Yes, I’m serious.) Even as a Cannon, that all sounds like a bit much to me, but more power to the scattered Smiths getting their faith-promoting party on, I guess.
And finally, a handful of posts from around the Bloggernacle that caught my eye this week: Over a Keepapitchinin, where nearly every one of Ardis’s posts is notable, I was especially interested in this one that excerpted several letters from Heber J. Grant written from Japan and England in the first decade of the 20th century. At BCC, our own J. Stapley reflects on the historical and contemporary relationship between women, priesthood, and authority; and to wrap things up, JIer Ryan Tobler offers some more personal thoughts on family, history, and faith at his other blog home, Peculiar People.