The Juvenile Instructor Turns 2

By October 26, 2009

It 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 the academic study of Mormon history. It’s been an enjoyable couple of years, and the JI has grown—both in terms of readership and in the number of bloggers. We have also spread out. No longer limited to Provo, only two of our bloggers remain year-round residents of the Beehive State (and they will each very likely be on their way out within the next year).[1]

We wanted to take the time, though, to re-introduce ourselves and catch up anyone interested on our current activities, favorite JI posts, etc. So, without further ado:

David Grua

Started blogging at JI: October 2007
Current School (and degree sought): Texas Christian University (PhD, History)
Favorite JI post: Joel’s Identifying with Romney? My Historiographical Rant Against Mormon Ethnicity
Research Interests: racial ideologies and Mormonism (curse of Canaan); Native Americans; American West; civil rights; Mormonism and political ideologies; collective memory and identity.

Christopher Jones

Started blogging at JI: October 2007
Current School: The College of William & Mary (PhD, History)
Favorite JI post: Matt’s musings on Parley Pratt’s conversion and the patterns of Mormon piety
Research Interests: Evangelicalism in the early Republic; Methodist schismatics; lived religion; the relationship between religion, race, and nationalism.

Jared T.amez

Started blogging at JI: October 2007
Current School (and degree sought): University of Utah (MA, History); but where I’ll be this time next year is up in the air : )
Favorite JI post: David’s BYU Religion Made Me P*ke
Research Interests: I am researching the LDS Church in Mexico. I am interested in the history of the Church in Latin America as well as in South Texas.  I am currently editing the diaries of Anthony W. Ivins.

Stanley Thayne

Started blogging at JI: in the beginning…
Current School: UNC-Chapel Hill (PhD, Religious Studies)
Favorite JI post: Edje’s bug stuff (see here, here, here, and here).
Research Interests: metaphysical-theosophical stuff; moorish science; American scripture; religion in the American West; death; B. H. Roberts; Edith Peshak; polygamists and utopians in southern Utah; the all-seeing eye of the omnipotent Jehovah.

Ben Park

Started blogging at JI: October 2007
Current School (and degree sought): University of Edinburgh (MSc, Theology in History)
Favorite JI post: Recently? Ryan T’s Parley Pratt and the Literary Impulse
Research Interests: 18th and 19th Century Transatlantic Thought, Theology, Intellectual History, American Romanticism.

Steve Taysom

Started blogging at JI: January 2008
Current School: Cleveland State University (Assistant Professor, Religious Studies)
Favorite JI post: Jared’s post on the Provo Temple renovation
Research Interests: Religion and memory, the role of narrative in religious boundary formation, Shakers, Mormons, ritual studies, demonology and devil figures in comparative religious perspective.

Jordan Watkins

Started blogging at JI: February 2008
Current School (and degree sought): University of Nevada, Las Vegas (PhD, History)
Research Interests: 19th Century U.S. Religious History; American West.

Joel Miyasaki

Started blogging at JI: March 2008
Current School (and degree sought): University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (PhD, History)
Favorite JI post: David’s Through Missourian Eyes: Remembering the Mormon War in Missouri
Research Interests: Mormon Historicity, Race and Ethnicity, U.S. Empire, Asian American History.

Matt Bowman

Started blogging at JI: April 2008
Current School (and degree sought): “G’Town, as well call it” (That’s Georgetown University for the uninitiated; PhD, History)
Favorite JI post: [Guest blogger David] Howlett’s typology of Community of Christ historians
Research Interests: Theology, particularly Protestant; the evangelical movement; Protestant fundamentalism and liberalism; Mormon ephemeralia.

Ed Jeter

Started blogging at JI: June 2008
Current School (and degree sought): Sam Houston State University (MA, History); High School Math instructor, Sanabil Private School, Janabiya, Bahrain.
Research Interests: Identity construction, particularly involving groups not physiognomically distinct from surrounding population; document analysis; 1890s; Colonial/Imperial/Postcolonial-ism.

Brett Dowdle

Started blogging at JI: August 2008
Current School (and degree sought): Brigham Young University (MA, History)
Research Interests: history of Mormon education; U.S. Progressive Era history.

Elizabeth Pinborough

Started blogging at JI: September 2008
Current School (and degree sought): Yale Divinity School (MA, Religion and the Arts)
Favorite JI post: Stan; also, Ryan T.’s Joseph Smith and Poetry-Prophecy
Research Interests: medieval bestiaries and manuscript illumination, aesthetics, play-writing, spiritual autobiography.
Loves: Shakers.

Ryan Tobler

Started blogging at JI: February 2009
Current School (and degree sought): University of Chicago (MA, Religious Studies)
Favorite JI post: Christopher’s Making Sense of Doctrine and Covenants 39-40; or why it matters that James Covill was a Methodist and not a Baptist
Research Interests: 18th/19th Century Transatlantic Religion/Culture; New England intellectual culture; Secularization; ‘Liberal’ Christianity.

Steve Fleming

Started blogging at JI: June 2009
Current School (and degree sought): University of California, Santa Barbara (PhD, Religious Studies)
Favorite JI post: Edje’s Blue Beard
Research Interests:Where Mormonism comes from; or, the persistence of popular medieval religiosity.

So that’s us. We’d like to invite you to (re)introduce yourselves to us, now. We appreciate the engaging discussion readers have elicited in the comments and continue to enjoy the friendships this venture has created. So please share with us who you are, how long you’ve been reading, and your favorite post (if you have one). We’d also like to invite you to recommend how we might improve the blog in the coming year, including features (book reviews, roundtable discussions, etc.) you’d like to see more of.

Thanks for reading.[2]


[1] We hope we’ve also matured a bit, too, though that seems unlikely. We certainly have no plans at the moment to drop the Juvenile from our blog’s title, as our namesake did years ago.

[2] Again, out special thanks goes to Jonathan Stapley, who designed the blog’s current layout and maintains the site. We would not be where we are today without his assistance.

Article filed under Miscellaneous


  1. Happy birthday, losers!

    Comment by Steve Evans — October 26, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

  2. What a cool survey of you bloggers and your work! (And had I realized you were this close to a birthday, I’d have saved that ad for today and made it an anniversary tribute to you.) Congratulations, you band of brothers (and a sister)!

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — October 26, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

  3. Great site, guys. Well, I guess I shouldn’t refer to you as “guys” since it appears that you do have one female in your ranks. One.

    Anyhow, I enjoy what you have to say here. My only suggestion is that you should consider giving Jared a paycheck for the insane amounts of transcribing he’s done here.

    Bravo to you and good luck in the future.

    Comment by Hunter — October 26, 2009 @ 12:49 pm

  4. I’m so glad to have informers like you in my life. Keep up the good spying!

    Comment by Kent (MC) — October 26, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

  5. Great idea to start with, and it’s still going strong it seems. Keep it up.

    Comment by WVS — October 26, 2009 @ 2:11 pm

  6. Congrats! Very strong work.

    Comment by J. Stapley — October 26, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

  7. Thanks for putting this up, Chris! It’s been a pleasure and a privilege.

    Thanks Hunter, and thanks all.

    Comment by Jared T. — October 26, 2009 @ 3:53 pm

  8. Happy birthday, folks. Good work this year.

    My name is Justin, and I’ve been reading since Day 1 (I happened to be sitting at an adjacent table at J-Dawgs on that fateful day, eavesdropping while wolfing down a polish dog).

    I confess that I enjoyed the comments on this post.

    Comment by Justin — October 26, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  9. Ha, Justin, I did save a copy of that page. Good stuff. 🙂

    Comment by Jared T. — October 26, 2009 @ 4:34 pm

  10. Happy birthday, JI! I’ll start working on memorabilia to commemorate–perhaps key chain hot dogs with miniature copies of History of the Church for buns.

    Comment by Elizabeth — October 26, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

  11. I made a present for you.

    Comment by Tod Robbins — October 26, 2009 @ 7:21 pm

  12. I’ve been reading for a little less than two years. But I’ve loved every bit. Even the parts I didn’t quite understand. 🙂

    Many happy returns.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — October 26, 2009 @ 8:31 pm

  13. Happy anniversary. You folks have carved out a great brand in the Mormon blogosphere. And good luck to y’all seeking those advanced degrees…

    Comment by Kevin Barney — October 26, 2009 @ 8:44 pm

  14. Hard to believe it’s already been two years. Keep up all the good work!

    Comment by Randy B. — October 26, 2009 @ 9:35 pm

  15. Happy birthday! Keep up the good work in the bloggernaclademia!

    Comment by TT — October 26, 2009 @ 9:41 pm

  16. Happy Birthday brothers and sister. Well done and many more.

    Comment by Paul Reeve — October 26, 2009 @ 9:51 pm

  17. Mazel Tov, y’all.

    Here’s to at least two more good years.

    Comment by Mark Brown — October 26, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

  18. Thanks everyone. Seeing as how most of us will be in grad school for the better part of the next decade or so, I’d like to say we collectively have a few more good years ahead of us.

    Comment by Christopher — October 27, 2009 @ 8:42 am

  19. Since you’re all about half my age, Christopher, that had darn well better be true.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 27, 2009 @ 8:56 am

  20. Haha, fair enough, Ardis.

    And I forgot to reply to Todd (#11). Wow. That’s awesome, esp. since GQC is not only the grandfather of this blog but also my actual g-g-grandfather (and g-g-great uncle twice, but we don’t need to get into that here).

    Comment by Christopher — October 27, 2009 @ 9:17 am

  21. Happy belated anniversary, folks. Work got in the way of my blog reading yesterday, so I didn’t get to the party on time. I’ve been reading since at least the first week, and as a dabbler in history, have loved everything here. I feel like I am getting a post-graduate education in history, without having to pay tuition and spending all that time in classes. Keep up the good work. And as for a favorite post (actually a series) look here for Edje’s Galveston Hurricane series, which featured my Grandfather’s missionary journals. I also love the transcripts of the live sessions in Utah that I can’t get to from Washington.

    Comment by kevinf — October 27, 2009 @ 10:45 am

  22. Add my congratulations to the list. I started reading JI late last winter and now wonder how I ever began my day without it. No one post pops up as a favorite, however, I love book reviews and academic conference reports. Thanks for all the work all of you do.

    Let’s see, GQC was my ggfather’s boss for a while, although not on the JI.

    Comment by Susan W H — October 27, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

  23. Wow, two years has gone by fast. I’ve enjoyed reading this blog and the comments that are shared from time to time. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Mark Staker — October 27, 2009 @ 1:23 pm

  24. Congrats, guys!

    Comment by Chris B. — October 27, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

  25. Aww–happy birthday, guys! I wish I could bake you a cake.

    Comment by Kristine — October 27, 2009 @ 9:10 pm

  26. Congratulations, happy birthday, and best wishes to a wonderful set of bloggers whom I’ve been reading for most of your two years. If you didn’t exist, we’d, er, have to invent you. I especially liked reading your biogs and catching up on what you’re doing and where. It’s a VERY impressive rosster that makes me feel better about the future of the history profession than I have in quite awhile. As for the presence of only one sister on the list that’s a puzzle, but then as the delegate from Sam Houston State will no doubt remind us the informal motto of the Texas Rangers (not the ball club) is: “One riot, one Ranger.”

    Comment by Bill MacKinnon — October 28, 2009 @ 12:28 am

  27. Thanks everyone for the kind words.

    Re: the disparate sex ratio among bloggers here: We are more than open to adding more (many more, in fact) female bloggers. We’ve tried, and if you take a peek at our guest bloggers, you’ll see evidence of that. Unfortunately, because of various circumstances, those individuals were not able to continue as permabloggers.

    To any female academic-minded young historians out there (all broadly-defined) who are interested in blogging with us, please (PLEASE) send an email to the admin. account and we can chat further.

    Comment by Christopher — October 28, 2009 @ 9:42 am

  28. Well, I’m even later to the party than kevinf, but congratulations and happy birthday and many happy returns of the day and best wishes for a wonderful upcoming year, etc., etc.

    Comment by Researcher — October 28, 2009 @ 7:18 pm


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