Job Post: LDS Church History Department Records Manager

By May 4, 2018


The LDS Church History Department has opened a full-time position as a Records Manager in the Library, Research, and Preservation Division.

The job entails working with LDS Church departments and offices to collect and preserve institutional records, and involves maintaining a records management policy, training department records managers, and managing and tracking records.

The application requires either an MA with 5 years of experience or a BA with 7 years of experience in history, library science, archival studies, business, public or non-profit admin, or related fields. All applicants must be members of the LDS Church and temple worthy.

https://careers.lds.org/search/public/jobdetail.aspx?jobid=207497


The Western History Association Graduate Student Prize: Applications due June 1

By May 3, 2018


The Western History Association is pleased to accept applications for the WHA Graduate Student Prize. Inaugurated in 2014, the prize is designed to foster graduate student professional development and to enhance collegial citizenship within the organization. Up to ten students may receive the award. Each recipient will receive: a one-year WHA Membership, complimentary conference registration and tickets to the Welcoming Reception and Graduate Student Reception, and three nights of lodging in the conference hotel.

Prize ResponsibilitiesPrize winners must attend the WHA conference in the award year. The WHA Graduate Student Prize may be held concurrently with other WHA graduate student awards. WHA Graduate Student Prize winners are expected to be active in the organization through service on WHA committees and/or through participation in annual conference events and attendance at conference sessions. In addition, WHA Graduate Student Prize winners will act as co-hosts of the Graduate Student Reception each year.

More importantly, each WHA Graduate Student Prize winner must submit a two-page post-conference report to the WHA no later than December 31 of the award year. Details on report requirements will be included with the award letter.

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JMH Spotlight: Brian Q. Cannon’s Presidential Address

By May 2, 2018


Brian Q. Cannon, ??To Buy Up the Lamanite Children as Fast as They Could?: Indentured Servitude and Its Legacy in Mormon Society,? Journal of Mormon History 44, no. 2 (Apr. 2018):1-35.

The most recent issue of the Journal of Mormon History has arrived in mailboxes and it is a very strong number. We?ll be highlighting many of the articles over the next few weeks, starting with the Presidential Address of outgoing president, Brian Q. Cannon. His piece, ??To Buy Up the Lamanite Children as Fast as They Could?: Indentured Servitude and Its Legacy in Mormon Society,? examines the white Mormon entanglement with the 19th-century Indian slave trade, a system that emerged in the violence of Spanish colonization of the Great Basin. As Native nations such as the Utes acquired horses, they began raiding non-equestrian tribes and capturing women and children, who were then sold as slaves in New Mexico and California. After the Mormons? arrival in the Great Basin, they found themselves drawn unwillingly into the trade, leading to the purchase of captive children, and in 1852 the Utah Territorial Legislature legalized the trade as an indenture system of unfree labor, albeit one with extensive requirements for the education and good treatment of the indentures.[1]

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Call for Papers Reminder: Book of Mormon Studies Conference

By May 1, 2018


Last year’s Book of Mormon Studies Conference was one of my favorites. The deadline for papers and proposals is quickly approaching. Come and join us in Logan for two days of engaging work on the Book of Mormon. See http://bomstudies.com/ for more details.


Race, Gender, and Material Religion in Salt Lake City’s Utah Jazz Shrine

By May 1, 2018


In the past few weeks, a shrine to the NBA?s Utah Jazz has appeared next to Ken Sanders Books in Salt Lake City. The shrine features a confluence of religious figurines (none Mormon as of this writing), flowers, photos, Jazz memorabilia, and candles. J Stuart and Cristina Rosetti thought it would be an ideal opportunity to discuss lived religion and material religion within Mormonism. The authors acknowledge that the shrine isn?t uniquely Mormon, but we feel that there are some aspects of Mormonism that shine through when examined closely.

JS: I have jokingly referred to praying to the ?basketball gods? for favor in NBA games and playoff series. I loved seeing that someone had actually created a shrine, seemingly to the basketball gods, on behalf of the Utah Jazz. After my immediate basketball nerdery ebbed, my religious studies nerdery surfaced and I thought about how peculiar it was for there to be a shrine to anything in a place as Mormon-heavy as Salt Lake City. Of course there are fewer Mormons in Salt Lake County than throughout Utah, but it still struck me as particularly Mormon. Mormonism is both a lived and a material religion that believes in the ?presence? of supernatural beings directing events and people on the earth. Robert Orsi calls these forces ?the gods,? as he explains in History and Presence, ?Presence is real, but not necessarily good, not necessarily bad, and it is rarely either good or bad, as these words are understood in ordinary social discourse.? Presence is simply taken as for granted for many Mormons. Mormonism began with the apparition of heavenly beings and individual Mormons have continued to report their ?presence? to the present day. This shrine is another way for Mormons to acknowledge ?presence? in a way that doesn?t contradict what many of their leaders saying about the uselessness of praying for sports teams. What do you think, Cristina?

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Reflections on Taves’s Revelatory Events, pt. 1: The Plates

By April 30, 2018


Ann Taves, Revelatory Events: Three Case Studies of the Emergence of New Spiritual Paths (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016).

Taves was my dissertation adviser at UCSB

Ann Taves, Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, made some waves in the Mormon academic community with her paper 2013 MHA paper that argued that Joseph Smith made the golden plates himself but did so under religious sincerity. Taves published her argument in Numen in 2014 and then placed the argument in a larger context in Revelatory Events, which not only looks at more of Smith’s supernatural claims (the First Vision and the Book of Mormon translation) but also compares those events to other revelatory individuals: Bill Wilson, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and Helen Schucman, founder of A Course in Miracles.

Taves divides Revelatory Events into two parts: she starts with a historical examination of the founding of each religion and then she compares them to each other in part two. Since the book is a rather novel and somewhat complex approach to Mormon origins, I’ll break my review into two parts, following Taves’s division.

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“A little bit of that in there, too”: Arcade Fire and Mormon Heaven

By April 27, 2018


This is the latest installment in a very sporadic series of posts on Mormonism and music. And by very sporadic, I mean the first such post in nearly seven years. Previous posts include “Of Mormon Fundamentalism and Outlaw Country Music” and “Conveying Joseph Smith: Brandon Flowers, Arthur Kane, and the Mormon Rock Star Image.”

_______________________

Win Butler. Screenshot from “Put Your Money on Me” music video.

Arcade Fire is a Canadian indie rock band. Their lead singer, Win Butler, and his younger brother and bandmate, William Butler, were raised by a Latter-day Saint mother in northern California and suburban Houston. Though neither is a practicing Mormon today, the Butlers have had mostly positive things to say about their LDS upbringing. Here’s Win in a 2010 interview:

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Applications FAQ for MHA Face-to-Face Mentorship Event

By April 26, 2018


The deadline to apply for the Face-to-Face Mentorship event is coming up in less than a week! The deadline for applications is May 1st (email them to mha.face2face@gmail.com). The call for applications can be found here. In the meantime, here are some details about the event and clarifications about the application process.

Why is it called a ?Face-to-Face? mentorship?

The event is designed to facilitate dialogue. Your conversation, however, could take a number of different forms: you could workshop a research or source problem, strategize your career trajectory, or investigate an alternative occupation. Do you want to talk to the main scholar in your field about your research idea?Do you want to understand the ins and outs of the Church History Library archival process? Do you want to strategize how to get an academic job? Do you want to explore alternative career possibilities in publishing, digital humanities, public history, or archival work? MHA attracts so many different types of scholars that we have the unique ability to facilitate many different kinds of conversations.

The face-to-face mentorship also means that the mentorship will happen in a concentrated amount of time. Any continued contact between you and your mentor outside the event will be up to the two of you.

Who can apply?

The call for applications says ?students? and ?young scholars.? I would like to think of the ?young scholar? category, especially in this first year, as an expansive category. In other words, if you think you could benefit from an event like this (whether you are an undergraduate, independent historian, or anything between) make a case for yourself in your application!

Who will the mentors be?

It is highly encouraged that you identify potential mentors (up to five people) and explain why they might be helpful. If you don?t know who to ask for that is okay! But make sure you describe in as much detail as possible what type of mentor and conversation you are looking to have so that the committee will get a better idea of who to pair you with.

The mentors will be people who are already attending the conference. So when you are listing potential mentors with make sure you keep in mind who will be at the conference. A good place to start is by looking at the preliminary program to get a sense of who will be there (although there will be more people coming who are not involved with the program).

How long is the event?

It will go from 5:30-6:30 on Friday and will be directly followed by the awards ceremony. We will start with a round of 2 minute introductions and then the rest of the time will be yours to talk with your mentor.

Why do we need to apply to take part?

Some academic organizations pre-select mentors and have drop by sessions where people can engage in general conversations.The idea for this event, however, is to have specialized one-on-one conversations.The application process will help you, in part, to understand the type of dialogue that will be useful for you.

This sounds cool! I?m available to participate as a mentor.

Great! Shoot an email to mha.face2face@gmail.com and let us know what you can offer.


Phrenology and More: Introducing the Joseph Smith Papers Documents Volume 7

By April 24, 2018


Matthew Godfrey, Spencer W. McBride, Alex D. Smith, Christopher James Blythe, eds. The Joseph Smith Papers: Documents, Volume 7, September 1839-January 1841. (Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2018).

 

I was introduced to the newest addition to the Joseph Smith Papers Project the day the books hit the shelves a couple weeks ago. We were given an opportunity to meet with the editors and talk about their favorite parts of this new volume. The Joseph Smith Papers Documents Volume 7 continues the inevitable march to June 1844 and as we get closer, the numbers of documents increase and the time period covered shortens. This seventh Documents volume covers just five months from September 1839 to January 1841 in 713 pages. We might consider the meticulous nature of the editing and annotation of each of these volumes, in that, this new volume is no different. All offer new nuance and detail to the narrative of Joseph Smith?s life. However, unlike the last volume, this volume is a period often skipped over. After the harrowing drama of the Missouri War and expulsion and the brief respite found for the refugees in Quincy we often narratively find ourselves in a fully formed and functioning Nauvoo. This volume zeroes in on Joseph Smith laboring to establish and bring the Saints to what he considers will be ?the greatest city in the world? as he likewise endeavors to seek political redress for what happened in Missouri, and begins to introduced distinctive Mormon doctrines that will shape the Nauvoo period.

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Interview with Patrick Mason and Sara Martin (link)

By April 17, 2018


I’d like to draw your attention to two recent interviews that may be of interest to Mormon history enthusiasts. Kurt Manwaring interviewed Patrick Mason, Howard H. Hunter chair of the Mormon Studies program at Claremont Graduate University–it’s worth reading for Mason’s thoughts on what Mormon Studies is, what Mormons don’t necessary talk about (but should!), and the question Mason would ask Ezra Taft Benson if he could! (It begs the question: if you could ask a historical figure one question, who would it be and what would you want to know?)

Then, Kurt also interviewed Sara Martin, editor of the John Adams Papers, who talks about her work, archives and technology, Abigail Adams–and the Joseph Smith papers project. Head here to find out more.

 

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matt b on Review: Bergera, ed., CONFESSIONS: “Thanks folks - and especially to Gary for chiming in! As to the Hunter caption, I agree that it's factually accurate; of course, though, the facts…”


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