The Juvenile Instructor Turns 1

By October 26, 2008

One year ago today, David G., Stan, Jared, and I sat down to lunch at J-Dawgs. We discussed our standard assortment of all things Mormon, discussed our then-current research, and eventually the talk turned to the bloggernacle. David, who had lurked and commented around the ‘nacle longer than the rest of us, shared with the rest of us the interesting posts and conversations dealing with various issues of Mormon history and culture at BCC, T&S, DMI, and the Mormon Wasp, among other blogs that post on issues from the Latter-day Saint past. We discussed the possibility of creating a blog dealing explicitly with Mormon history, dedicated to examining that history within wider contexts. We threw around various possibilities for the blog’s name (including The Men’s Exponent and Newer Cooler Thang), and decided on the Juvenile Instructor—partly as an attempt to playfully mock the trend among Mormon blogs to pick an old LDS periodical’s name and partly as an attempt to mock our own juvenile nature.

After lunch, we launched the Juvenile Instructor at, and drafted the following explanation of the blog’s purpose and aims:

The Juvenile Instructor takes its name from the 19th-century Mormon periodical, founded and edited by Mormon Apostle George Q. Cannon in 1866 in Utah Territory. Cannon, although not a professionally trained historian, sought to incorporate history into his editorials.

The name was unanimously chosen by the bloggers for four primary reasons:

1. It seems to be trendy to name Mormon blogs after defunct church periodicals, and many others were already taken.

2. Perhaps serendipitously, the motto of the original Juvenile Instructor is also appropriate to this blog’s aims – “With all thy getting get understanding.”

3. All bloggers are relatively “juvenile” (some in age, some in maturity, most in both).

4. We liked the masthead of the original Juvenile Instructor.

At The Juvenile Instructor, we seek to situate the study of Mormonism within wider frameworks, including American religious history, western history, gender history, and, on occasion, the history of the Republic of South Africa.

After adding Ben as our fifth blogger, and thanks to Matt B. of Mormon Mentality, Justin from Mormon Wasp, DMI Dave, and especially J. Stapley, we joined the Mormon Archipelago. From five BYU students, we have grown considerably over the last year, and now count eleven permabloggers among our ranks, representing not only the state of Utah, but also Texas, Illinois, Indiana, California, and Washington, D.C. In addition, we’ve had a number of outstanding guest bloggers (including both bloggernacle regulars who blog regularly elsewhere and others whose Mormon blogging experience amounts to their contributions here). Each of those contributors, along with the regular, occasional, and random commenters, have vastly improved the overall quality of the Juvenile Instructor.

In the last year, we have (thanks to J. Stapley) updated the blog’s layout, generated some mild controversy, been the object of criticism from more “orthodox and mainstream” bloggers, and even have moderated/banned a commenter or two (or, according to our current moderation and banned list, seven). Most of all, though, we have selfishly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know and converse with so many intelligent and thoughtful individuals about the Mormon past (I’ve even met a few of you in person). We hope that some of you have benefitted from what we’ve attempted to do over the last year, as well (and if that seems like a thinly-veiled hint begging for compliments and praise, then you’re right). For a rundown of some of our favorite posts from the last year, see here.

To everyone that has posted, left a comment, lurked, criticized, or contributed in some other way to the Juvenile Instructor, we thank you and look forward to future conversations.

Article filed under Miscellaneous


  1. Compliments! Praise! and happy birthday, JI! Your only fault is that you don’t blog enough. Now that you’ve had a year to warm up, let’s have MORE. (Congratulations, guys.)

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — October 26, 2008 @ 9:46 pm

  2. Turning 1, that’s like 25 years in blog-time. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Dave — October 26, 2008 @ 9:48 pm

  3. Happy, happy birthday, and many more!

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — October 26, 2008 @ 10:12 pm

  4. Felici…. Felicita…


    Comment by bloggernacleburner — October 26, 2008 @ 10:28 pm

  5. …if I had one wish, then it would be a happy, happy birthday to you from me!

    Cheers, guys!

    Comment by Kristine — October 26, 2008 @ 10:33 pm

  6. A year later and still the brightest spot in the ‘nacle. Keep of the great work!

    Comment by Randy B. — October 26, 2008 @ 10:46 pm

  7. Well done everyone, I have to say that JI has been a great find for me. David was especially helpful during my many reviewed essay last spring.

    I have always enjoyed this blog from almost the beginning.

    Good on ya!

    Comment by Jon W. — October 26, 2008 @ 11:23 pm

  8. Congratulations and hopes for many more years, and many more great threads. You had a great start, and it’s not slowed down at all.

    Comment by kevinf — October 26, 2008 @ 11:46 pm

  9. Happy birthday. JI has been a great addition to the bloggernacle, keep it up.

    Comment by Jacob J — October 27, 2008 @ 12:26 am

  10. Congratulations!

    Comment by Researcher — October 27, 2008 @ 8:19 am

  11. Who knew that any good thing could come out of Provo (esp. a place called J Dawgs)?

    I offer my congratulations on an excellent year!

    Comment by Justin — October 27, 2008 @ 8:27 am

  12. Nice going, guys. Major props on an outstanding blog.

    Comment by Mark Brown — October 27, 2008 @ 9:11 am

  13. Has it only been a year? Wow.

    Comment by BruceC — October 27, 2008 @ 9:22 am

  14. You guys have done a really good job. Kudos, and happy birthday.

    Comment by Kevin Barney — October 27, 2008 @ 9:34 am

  15. Excellent work guys. Definitely some of the finest content, not only on the Mormon blogs, but all religious and history blogs. Well done.

    Comment by J. Stapley — October 27, 2008 @ 9:41 am

  16. Haha, thanks for the memory trip, Chris. I don’t recall discussing the name “Newer Cooler Thang,” but I find it hilarious. Maybe we should change names now?

    Thanks to all for the kind words.

    Comment by David G. — October 27, 2008 @ 10:36 am

  17. Thanks to all for their kind words, and thanks to my fellow JIers for letting me tag along.

    Comment by Ben — October 27, 2008 @ 11:01 am

  18. Thanks for all the well wishes!

    Comment by Jared T. — October 27, 2008 @ 12:00 pm

  19. Thanks everyone for your kind words.

    David, “Newer Cooler Thang” was Stan’s idea (surprise, surprise).

    Comment by Christopher — October 27, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

  20. Happy b-day

    Comment by Clark — October 27, 2008 @ 12:39 pm

  21. Congratulations on the first year! And thanks for letting me join in the fun.

    Comment by Edje — October 27, 2008 @ 12:59 pm

  22. Congratulations, gang.

    Comment by Steve Evans — October 27, 2008 @ 1:18 pm

  23. I agree: the brightest spot on the ‘Nacle!

    Comment by Tod Robbins — October 27, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

  24. Well, 2nd brightest anyhow.

    Comment by Steve Evans — October 27, 2008 @ 3:27 pm

  25. 2nd brightest anyhow.

    I’ll take it!

    Comment by Christopher — October 27, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

  26. Doesn’t JI still maintain the distinction of being the only blog where Richard Bushman left an unsolicited comment? 😉

    Happy Birthday, fellas.

    Comment by BHodges — October 27, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

  27. Happy Birthday!

    Comment by Jared* — October 27, 2008 @ 3:39 pm

  28. Steve, that’s quite the compliment for Keepa. I’m sure that the JI guys are more than willing to let Ardis take credit for the brightest spot in the ‘Nacle.;)

    Comment by David G. — October 27, 2008 @ 3:51 pm

  29. Congrats on an incredible first year. We’re all looking forward to many more.

    Comment by John Hamer — October 27, 2008 @ 6:11 pm

  30. Happy birthday. I’m surprised Holy Envy didn’t make it onto the list of possible titles 🙂 I have loved being a small part of this!

    Comment by Elizabeth — October 27, 2008 @ 7:06 pm

  31. Liz: On Holy Envy I’m waiting to hear about a new hot journal coming out of the Yale div school by that title!

    Comment by stan — October 27, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

  32. good job sweetie-pies! I love you all and am so proud of your intellectual prowesses.

    Comment by becca — October 27, 2008 @ 10:48 pm

  33. […] week this blog will officially turn 1 year old, just behind the Juvenile Instructor.  It will be in a sense an achievement, for a single blogger it is time […]

    Pingback by Thinking about blogging « Banner, Sword, and Shield — October 28, 2008 @ 12:48 am

  34. Congrats on a year of operation! I love reading your posts!

    Comment by David Howlett — October 28, 2008 @ 8:14 am

  35. […] has now been two years since that fateful day at J-Dawgs in Provo, Utah, where a group of four BYU students collectively decided to start a blog devoted to […]

    Pingback by Juvenile Instructor » The Juvenile Instructor Turns 2 — October 26, 2009 @ 12:31 pm


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