[Today we are happy to have the second post in our guest series from UofU-bound-PhD student Jeff Turner. Make sure you didn’t miss his first post last week.]
In the first volume of the Mormon Studies Review, Thomas Tweed writes, “in this brief essay I want to discuss Mormon displacement and emplacement, as Twain did, and I want to propose that consideration of these two themes, and others, shows that the Latter-day Saints offer an exceptionally generative case study for translocative history, historical accounts that trace cultural flows across geographical boundaries, and comparative analysis, the justly maligned but still useful strategy of interpreting one tradition in terms of another.” While Tweed spends a significant portion of the essay addressing a comparative approach, he also suggests that missions and migration are two opportunities for a translocative study of Mormonism. In following this vein, we might ask: what might such a study of Mormonism look like? (more…)
When I composed the introduction to the special edition of the Journal of Mormon History (July 2015), I described the study of race and Mormonism as a “nice subject, historically obscure even within the Mormon studies world.” But boy have I been proven wrong, or at least behind the times!
Anyone attending last month’s Mormon History Association annual meeting in Provo, where many of the panels dealt with race (broadly conceived) and the restored church—not to mention the powerful Smith-Pettit plenary by Margaret Jacobs on the adoption of Native American Children by Mormon families as well as the Best Book Award going to Russell Stevenson’s documentary history on people of African descent and Mormonism—would recognize that race has become a major preoccupation for the corner of Mormon studies that MHA represents. (more…)
Last month (here) we told you about friend of JI and Keepapitchinin’ blogger, Ardis Parshall, and her Kickstarter campaign–She Shall be an Ensign. We are glad to support her in achieving her goal, but she is still working with a shoestring budget. And if she reaches $40,000 everyone who donates $10 or more gets an additional packet of lesson plans.
If you believe that there is much Mormon History still to be written and a wide range of women’s voices need their rightful place in that history, contribute now. You’ve got 14 hours left!
Last Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that state restrictions on same sex marriage were unconstitutional. Their reasoning pointed to the importance of establishing a uniform understanding of marriage across the United States so that individuals who were legally married in one state would be assured their relationship would be recognized if they moved to another one. The reaction on my Facebook feed has been jubilant.
One friend wrote: SO MANY RAINBOWS. SO MUCH HAPPY.
Another posted a row of rainbow hearts.
And finally, a third posted a picture of her brother with his new husband, a marriage certificate, and the words: “Today brings joy to my heart. ?#?lovewins” (more…)
[Today’s guest post comes from Jeff Turner, who recently completed a master’s degree at Claremont Graduate College where he worked with Patrick Mason in the Mormon Studies Program. This fall he will be a PhD student in history at the University of Utah.]
As far as I can tell, it’s been at least a year since JI has featured a post on conversion, which means that it’s time for us to take a trip back in our Delorean and uncover a topic that might be forgotten under a layer of dust.
Take, for example, two stories of two different English converts to Mormonism in the 1850s. First, in 1853, an Englishman attended his first Mormon meeting, encountered religious enthusiasm, and converted: “At this meeting, a testimony meeting, one young woman spoke in tongues and many of those present bore their testimony to the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This was something new to us and had a great impression upon our minds as being the truth and reasonable… So we were then and there baptized by James Woods in the baptismal font of the chappel yard… We attended meetings as often as circumstances would permit and our minds began to be lit up by the Holy Spirit which caused our hearts to rejoice.” (more…)
A few weeks ago Ben P, Catherine P, and I visited the Iosepa (pronounced, I think: ee-oh-SEP-ah, but, in practice usually closer to: yo-SEP-uh) Cemetery, near Dugway, Utah. Below I’m posting some of the pictures from the trip, mostly without commentary. (more…)
This is the seventh installment of the first annual JI Summer Book Club. This year we are reading Richard Bushman’s landmark biography of Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005). JI bloggers will be covering small chunks of the book in successive weeks through the summer, with new posts appearing Monday mornings. We invite anyone and everyone interested to read along and to use the comment sections on each post to share your own reflections and questions. There are discussion questions below.
• Part 1: Prologue, Chapters 1-2
• Part 2: Chapters 3-4
• Part 3: Chapters 5-6
• Part 4: Chapters 7-9
• Part 5: Chapters 10-12
• Part 6: Chapters 13-15
• Next week (Part 8): Chapters 19-21
Sparse comments last week suggest some understandable mid-book fatigue (it IS hefty, after all, and it IS the busy part of the summer for most of us), but never fear – just jump right back in. Chapters 16-18 form, in many ways, the emotional heart of Bushman’s biography and a microcosm of the thorny problems inherent in writing a finely textured history of a figure as iconic and enigmatic as Joseph Smith. They are Rough Stone Rolling itself, writ small. (more…)
JI recently finished a roundtable review on Paul Reeve’s wonderful Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness (New York: Oxford University Press: 2015). Dr. Reeve has kindly consented to respond to the roundtable–his thoughts are found below. (more…)
I am currently working on a mapping project at the University of Michigan focused on sexual crime in nineteenth-century Utah. Every day, I look through the index of the Third District Court Criminal Case files. The cases included in the index (which is available through ancestry.com) covers the years, 1882 – 1916. I still have a long ways to go with the project, but I thought I would share some preliminary thoughts. (more…)
TWO job announcements from our friends at MHA, the editorship of the Journal of Mormon History and the Executive Director Position of the Mormon History Association:
Editor Search for the Journal of Mormon History
The Mormon History Association is conducting a search for a new editor of the Journal of Mormon History. The editor determines the content of the quarterly Journal, solicits submissions, oversees peer review, works with submitting authors in performing substantive and stylistic content editing, and coordinates with a production staff to ensure that issues of the Journal are published according to deadline and within budget. The editor has full editorial control of the journal but reports to the MHA board of directors in maintaining a high quality product that serves as the flagship publication for the organization. (more…)
This is the sixth installment of the first annual JI Summer Book Club. This year we are reading Richard Bushman’s landmark biography of Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005). JI bloggers will be covering small chunks of the book in successive weeks through the summer, with new posts appearing Monday mornings. We invite anyone and everyone interested to read along and to use the comment sections on each post to share your own reflections and questions. There are discussion questions below.
• Part 1: Prologue, Chapters 1-2
• Part 2: Chapters 3-4
• Part 3: Chapters 5-6
• Part 4: Chapters 7-9
• Part 5: Chapters 10-12
• Next week (Part 7): Chapters 16-18
Chapter 13: Priesthood and Church Government
Chapter 14: Visitors
Chapter 15: Texts
This year, MHA piloted something I hope we see more of in the future: a workshop as a pre- or post-conference tour alternative. A half-day workshop about documentary editing (aka “Geeking Out with Old Documents”) was dreamed up by JI’s own Robin Jensen of the Joseph Smith Papers Project and supported by BYU Special Collections, where the event was held. I helped make some of the initial introductions and arrangements as part of the MHA 2015 Program Committee, and then Local Arrangements took it and ran, and we all held our breath a little as the registration opened up (especially since it was up against the deservedly popular women’s history bus tour – which I hope we get a write up about! But I digress–), not knowing who would be interested in spending a day in the library learning the ins and outs of turning an original document (letter, diary, manuscript) into a readable resource for researchers, genealogists, and possibly even for publication.
Turns out: quite a lot of folks. (more…)
Mormon History Association 51st Annual Conference
Call for Papers
2016 Snowbird, Utah
The 51st annual meeting of the Mormon History Association will take place on June 9-12, 2016*. The conference theme is simple yet evocative: “Practice.” The work of Mormon history in the past few decades has delved deeply into theological, institutional, and cultural research. And yet the richness of the lived realities of the Mormon experience begs to be uncovered in new ways that cut across these familiar categories. “Practice,” in this sense, is used broadly in order to capture the dynamic participation of individual adherents within diverse strains of Mormonism throughout the past two centuries. Several decades-worth of scholarship in “lived religion” provides the tools to capture these fresh perspectives. Mormonism’s distinctive religious morphology and substantial corpus of records creates a promising field for new theoretical understanding. What role does “practice” play in Mormon religiosity? What is the relationship between hierarchical, correlated authority and grassroots implementation and innovation? How do Mormon practices change, evolve, and adapt over generations and throughout global communities? How are global Mormon religious norms shaped by indigenous culture in Salt Lake City, Kinshasa, or Manila? (more…)
Below I summarize (700 words) my 2015 MHA paper (3,000 words), “The Origin and Persistence of Mormon Horns.” Note that I’ve blogged about Mormon horns before and almost all the images I used in the presentation have appeared in prior blog posts, so I’ve omitted them here. (more…)
This is the fifth installment of the first annual JI Summer Book Club. This year we are reading Richard Bushman’s landmark biography of Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005). JI bloggers will be covering small chunks of the book in successive weeks through the summer, with new posts appearing Monday mornings. We invite anyone and everyone interested to read along and to use the comment sections on each post to share your own reflections and questions. There are discussion questions below.
Every year at MHA, generous vendors, periodicals, presses, and bookstores donate their products for the Mormon History Association Student Reception. It is a fantastic event that is only possible because of their generosity. We at JI (and the MHA) would like to publicly thank those vendors. Here they are listed in alphabetical order:
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought
Greg Kofford Books
MHA Local Arrangements Committee
Mormon Historical Studies
Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship
University of Illinois Press
University of Oklahoma Press
University of Utah Press
Thank you very much! If you are interested in donating books for next year’s student reception, please e-mail the Mormon History Association (or Joseph Stuart, the student representative).
Please join us in congratulating this year’s winners of the 2015 Mormon History Association Awards (JI bloggers are bolded):
Leonard J. Arrington Award: Néstor Esteban Curbelo Armando
Best Book Award: Russell W. Stevenson, For the Cause of Righteousness: A Global History of Blacks and Mormonism, 1830-2013 (Salt Lake City,:Greg Kofford Books, 2014).
Best First Book Award: David J. Howlett, Kirtland Temple: The Biography of a Shared Mormon Sacred Space (Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield: University of of Illinois Press, 2014).
Best Biography: Julie Debra Neuffer, Helen Andelin and the Fascinating Womanhood Movement (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2014).
Best Documentary Editing/Bibliography: Terryl L.Givens and Reid L. Neilson, eds. The Columbia Sourcebook of Mormons in the United States (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014).
Best Family/Community History: Donna Smart Toland, Finding Rachel & Myra Among Henrie Pioneers (self-published).
Best Personal History/Memoir: Craig Harline, Way Below the Angels (Grand Rapids, MIL Wm. B. Erdmans Press, 2014).
Best International Book: Marjorie Newton, Mormon and Maori (Salt Lake City,:Greg Kofford Books, 2014).
Best Article: Andrea G. Radke-Moss, “‘I hid [the Prophet] in a corn patch’: Mormon Women as Healers, Concealers, and Protectors in the 1838 Mormon-Missouri War,” Mormon Historical Studies 15, no. 1 (2014): 25-40.
Article Awards of Excellence (2): David Walker, “Transporting Mormonism: Railroads and Religious Sensation in the American West,” in Sally Promey, ed. Sensational Religion: Sensory Cultures in Material Practice. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014), 581-603.
Christopher James Blythe, “‘Would to God, Brethren, I could Tell you Who I Am!’ Nineteenth-Century Mormonisms and the Apotheosis of Joseph Smith,” Nova Religio: The Journal Of Alternative and Emergent Religions 18 no. 2 (2014): 5-27.
Best International Article (2): Casey Paul Griffiths, Scott Esplin, Barbara Morgan, and E. Vance Randall “Colegios Chilenos de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias”: The History of Latter-day Saint Schools in Chile,” Journal of Mormon History 40, no. 1 (2014): 97-134.
Dylan Beatty, “Mamona and the Mau: Latter-day Saints Amidst Resistance in Colonial Samoa,” Pacific Studies 37, no. 1 (2014): 48-74.
Best Article on Mormon Women’s History: Rachel Cope, “Composing Radical Lives: Women as Autonomous Religious Seekers and Nineteenth-Century Memoirs” in Nineteenth-Century American Women Write Religion, ed. Mary McCartin Wearn (Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2014), 45-58.
Best Dissertation Award: Max Perry Mueller, “Black, White, and Red: Race and the Making of the Mormon People, 1830-1880,” Harvard University.
Best Thesis Award: Joseph Stuart, “Holy Races: Race in the Formation of Mormonism and the Nation of Islam,” University of Virginia.
Best Graduate Paper: Charlotte Hansen Terry, University of Utah, “Rhetoric vs. Reality: Mormon Women’s Diaries and Domesticity in the Early Twentieth Century.”
Congratulations to all the winners!
If you can believe it, we are only a few days away from #MHA50! Several JI permabloggers are presenting at the conference and more of us will be attending. A smattering of abstracts from several of our authors can be found below.
Here’s the format: Name: Paper Title (top) Session Title (Bottom). Let me know if this is confusing.
Anniversary conferences are a wonderful time to have retrospective panels that aim to chart the field’s development and future. Therefore, for MHA’s 50th anniversary, I thought it would be worthwhile to put together a panel that looks back on Mormon history’s most successful (in terms of academic awards) and most divisive (in terms of praise/rejection) book in the last few decades: John Brooke’s The Refiner’s Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844 (Cambridge UP, 1994). A recipient of both Columbia University’s Bancroft Prize and the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic’s Best Book Prize, most Mormon historians denounced the book as methodologically flawed and, in some corners, as anti-Mormon. This led to a bifurcated legacy: on the one hand, most religious historians’ only exposure to Mormonism is through the book, given its wide academic popularity, while most Mormon historians have tended to dismiss it and pretend it never happened.
Two decades later, it is time for a fresh look of both the book and its reception. What does Refiner’s Fire tell us about Mormonism’s place in the academy in the 1990s? What does its reception tell us about New Mormon History’s relationship to the broader historical community? How have the two fields developed in the past twenty years? (more…)
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This is the fourth installment of the first annual JI Summer Book Club. This year we are reading Richard Bushman’s landmark biography of Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005). JI bloggers will be covering small chunks of the book in successive weeks through the summer, with new posts appearing Monday mornings. We invite anyone and everyone interested to read along and to use the comment sections on each post to share your own reflections and questions. There are discussion questions below.
Chapter 7, “The Kirtland Visionaries: January-June 1831”
Chapter 8, “Zion: July-December 1831” and Chapter 9, “The Burden of Zion: 1832″