Run-down of Recent Mormon History Articles

By September 29, 2012

As summer closes and fall is upon us, that means it is time for another round of issues from Mormon studies journals. The following are several articles that stood out to me from the latest issues of Dialogue, Journal of Mormon History, and John Whitmer Historical Association Journal. I hope we have some further engagement with some of these articles in the near future, including some more “Responses” articles.

Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 45, no. 3 (Fall 2012). This entire issue was devoted to conference papers from the last year, and demonstrates the depth and breadth going on in the many disciplines of Mormon studies. (Subscribe, download the entire issue, or download individual articles here.)

  • Patrick Mason, “Mormon Blogs, Mormon Studies, and the Mormon Mind.” Presented at UVU’s conference on Mormonism and the Media, this is a brilliant examination of the intersections between the “bloggernacle” and the academic study of Mormonism. He posted some of his findings previously, but this published paper includes much more. We’ll hopefully do a bigger discussion–perhaps a small roundtable?–on the broader implications of blogging for the academic world.
  • Amanda Hendrix-Komoto, Benjamin Park, and Richard Bushman, ?Conversion in 19th Century Mormonism: Identities and Associations in the Atlantic World.? This was a panel at the Mormon History Association that originally included another stellar paper from another JIer, Christopher Jones. Amanda’s paper is on the familial politics of conversion as seen through the life of Mary Fielding Smith, and my paper looks at the evolving identities of Edward Tullidge as a way to explore the nature of belief. Richard Bushman’s response is a provocative look at conversion, identities, and social history.
  • Rachael Givens, “Lost ‘Wagonloads of Plates’: The Disappearance and Deliteralization of Sealed Records.” Rachael’s fascinating paper was presented at the Mormon Scholars Foundation Summer Seminar last year on the gold plates, and is a provocative look at how tracing the evolution of one idea–what the sealed records contained and when they will become available–can tell us about the social transitions within Mormonism. (Rachael previously blogged a portion of the paper here.)
  • Saskia Tielens, “The Gold Plates in the Contemporary Popular Imagination.” This paper, from another JI friend, was presented at this year’s Summer Seminar on Gold Plates, and is a fun and sophisticated look at the role of the plates in Mormon material culture. And being that we have already seen the brilliance of Saskia’s analysis here on JI recently (see here and here), you should all be excited.
Journal of Mormon History 38, no. 4 (Fally 2012). (If you subscribe, you can download it here.)
  • Lisa Olsen Tait, “Between Two Economies: The Business Development of the Young Woman’s Journal, 1889-1900.” Lisa is a good friend of JI, and has been doing phenomenal work with women’s and young women’s organization during the transition era.
  • Justin Bray, “The Lord’s Supper during the Progressive Era, 1890-1930.” Justin has won MHA’s best undergraduate paper award for two straight years, and this was the first of those winners. Justin is a bright young scholar in the field, and we should look forward to more work from him in the future. Plus, as I’m sure Matt B and J Stapley will tell us, we need a lot more work on Mormon liturgy.
  • Alex Smith, “The Book of the Law of the Lord.” An editor of the Joseph Smith Papers Project and all-around nerd (and I mean that in the best way possible), Alex offers a fantastic explanation for this document that has received lots of attention in the Mormon past. It is document scholarship at its best.
John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 32, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2012).
  • Kyle Walker, “Looking After the First Family of Mormonism: LDS Church Leaders’ Support of the Smiths after the Martyrdom.” Kyle has done some excellent work with the Smith family in the past, and I’m glad someone is examining how one of the most important icons in early Mormonism (the Smith family) played a role in the succession period.
  • Scott Esplin, “Competing for the City of Joseph: Interpretive Conflicts in Nauvoo’s Restoration.” I listened to this paper at last year’s JWHA, and it is a real treat. It examines how the different Mormon churches in Nauvoo understood and interpreted historic sites during the twentieth century, shedding light not only on the LDS and the (then) RLDS traditions but also the nature of religious historic sites in general.
Lots of great stuff! Time to get reading!

Article filed under Book and Journal Reviews


  1. Thanks for these Ben! I’m never going to catch up with all of the reading!

    Comment by Amanda HK — September 29, 2012 @ 10:07 am

  2. and of course:

    Vol 5 (2012): International Journal of Mormon Studies
    Table of Contents

    Patriotism and Resistance, Brotherhood and Bombs: The Experience of the German Saints and World War II
    Steve Carter 6-28

    Origins and Development of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter?day Saints in Historic County Durham, 1843?1913
    Ronald L. Bartholomew 29-63

    The Species Debate: God and Humanity in Irenaeus and the Latter?day Saints
    Adam J. Powell 64-80

    ?Those Who Receive You Not?: The Rite of Wiping Dust Off the Feet
    Daniel L. Belnap 81-127

    The Holy Ghost in LDS Ritual Experience: Preparation for Exaltation
    James D. Holt 128-138

    Embodiment in Mormon Thought: Ambiguity, Contradiction and Consensus
    Aaron S. Reeves 139-164

    Book Reviews
    Review ? Mormon Convert, Mormon Defector: A Scottish Immigrant in the American West, 1848?1861
    David M. Morris 165-169

    Review ? The Mormon Rebellion: America?s First Civil War
    Carter Charles 170-177

    Review ? Why I Stay: The Challenges of Discipleship for Contemporary Mormons!
    Polly Aird 178-182

    Review ? Tiki and Temple: The Mormon Mission in New Zealand, 1854?1958
    Gina Colvin 183-185

    Review ? Flunking Sainthood
    Samuel M. Brown 186-187

    Review ? The Development of LDS Temple Worship
    Mauro Properzi 188-192

    Review ? The Mormon Menace: Violence and Anti?Mormonism in the Post?Bellum South
    Jordan T. Watkins

    International Journal of Mormon Studies 1-198

    Comment by David M. Morris — September 29, 2012 @ 10:29 am

  3. Amanda: just do what I do and read a couple articles every week at Church.

    David: thanks for the IJMH TOC, as I hadn’t seen it yet. Looks like a good issue.

    Comment by Ben P — September 29, 2012 @ 11:08 am

  4. Glad to see the JI so well-represented here (although this is becoming a regular thing). Also, congrats to Alex Smith for publishing the article on the BLL!

    Comment by David G. — September 29, 2012 @ 11:10 am

  5. I’m at a seminar in Salzburg right now and I spent much of the ten hour train ride up here catching up on journal articles. Thanks for the write up, Ben.

    Comment by saskia — September 29, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

  6. I always appreciate these Ben. Thanks. And congrats to those JIers and friends of JI!

    Comment by Christopher — September 29, 2012 @ 5:18 pm


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