Mormon Studies Weekly Roundup: “Today We Renounce” Edition

By December 8, 2013

So the ‘nacle is abuzz with discussion of past mistakes, historical distance, and leadership mistakes. But enough about the woeful judging at the “Beardliness is Next to Godliness” competition, which robbed our own Jordan W. as well as a few others who were more adventurous than the boring Heber J. Grant-style.

Beyond the always-crucial discussion of beards, I guess race was also an important talking point this week. The LDS Church’s website now includes a page dedicated to “Race and the Priesthood” (and thankfully acknowledges that the policy touched on more than just priesthood holders), which is part of the new initiative to provide thoughtful and honest answers to difficult questions. A majority of readers are thrilled with the write-up, especially the bold renunciation of past reasons for the racial restriction. This should indeed be seen as a foundational statement in the Church’s history, and the only major critiques could be that it didn’t receive more fanfare throughout the general membership as well as it showed up a week or two after sunday school classes discussed this very topic. Blog responses and discussions have ranged from thoughtful to celebratory to reserved to silly. I’m sure this is only the tip of the iceberg, the early ripples, the start of the avalanche, and whatever other cliché you want to use to indicate this brief essay will have a large impact not only on how we talk about race, but also leadership fallibility.

In Mormon scholarship news, there is a new issue from BYU Studies Quarterly (Craig Harline’s essay is a must-read!), and discussion on the death and rebirth(?) of Irreantum, the venue for Mormon literary studies.

Fresh off her brilliant essay in Mormon Studies Review on the glocalization of Mormon studies (seriously! subscribe today!), Melissa Inouye teams up with others to put together the first conference on Asian Mormon studies. Exciting stuff, of couse, so stay tuned when their program is finished and released.

Curious on last-minute Christmas gifts? Ardis P overviews a new coffee-table book on Mormonism.

Looking for a new place to move, and want to know the dominant religious affiliation in the county? Here’s your guide! (And check out the Mormon culture region!)

Lots of good writing around the digital world, too. Before the new page and ensuing discussion, Gina Colvin already posted on teaching the priesthood restriction in a faithful context, because obviously she’s a nerd and obsessed with this type of stuff like us. Channeling the mantle of Alvin Plantiga, Jim Faulconer wrote some important and incisive advice to Mormon intellectuals. Bruce Crow is still doing Bruce Crow-like things, like reconstructing more fascinating lives of Mormons in the American south. Speaking of Mormon racial beliefs and practices, Mormon History Guy has an interesting overview on the first LDS missionary to Cuba in 1947. Whodda thunk these issues were more complex than black/white relations, or that questions remained in the mid-20th century? (Speaking of Russ, he also published his JMH review of the other book on Elijah Able, though it should be remembered that they are, well, rival authors.)

Anything else catch your eye?

Article filed under Weekly Roundup


  1. Don’t forget the new paper that was just published by Jessica Finnigan and myself on Mormon Feminism and social media in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion (free login required)

    Comment by Nancy R. — December 8, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

  2. So glad you added that, Nancy! Apologies for letting it slip my mind.

    Comment by Ben P — December 8, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

  3. Thanks Ben.

    Comment by Saskia — December 8, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

  4. Great round up. Thanks.

    Comment by J. Stapley — December 8, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

  5. Thanks for the roundup, Ben.

    Comment by Christopher — December 9, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

  6. Well done, Ben.

    Comment by J Stuart — December 10, 2013 @ 9:13 am

  7. I like these round ups. As an amateur this works out to be my best option for easily keeping up with what is going on.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — December 10, 2013 @ 11:46 am

  8. Who/what is the thread title quoting?

    Comment by Publius — December 10, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

  9. Publius: a very lazy paraphrase of the “today, the church disavows…” line in the essay.

    Comment by Ben P — December 10, 2013 @ 6:56 pm


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