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Mormon Studies Weekly Roundup

By: Christopher - February 16, 2014

Missed out on the latest news in the world of Mormon Studies? We’re here for you and back with another weekly roundup of relevant links. Let’s get to it:

Over at Rational Faiths, Connell O’Donovan writes about three newly discovered early black Mormon women. The discovery—incredibly important to recovering the African American presence in early Mormonism in all of its facets—is based on careful and surely time-consuming analysis of personal papers and printed sources. 

Speaking of primary sources, the Church History Library has recently made available hi-res scans of the minutebook from the Nauvoo Lodge of Freemasons (1841-1846). And for those interested in such issues, the folks over at The Junto: A Group Blog on Early American History posted a three-part roundtable on the trustworthiness of published editions of primary sources. Given the countless such sources central to the study of Mormon history, readers might want to check out Parts 1, 2, and 3.

Over at Keepapitchinin, Ardis Parshall offered some important thoughts on the study of (LDS) church history that everyone should take the time to read. A preview:

Do we have an oscillating Church history, too? I think so, and it’s what I like to think we – me, guest posters, and Keepa’ninnies – do here: We certainly celebrate the positive points of Church history (faithful people, expressions of faith, delightful cultural bits) but we also recognize some of the darker facets of Mormon history (racism, violence, insularity). A lot of what we do seems analogous to what people like to know about their own family history: What was the Church like when Mom and Dad were teenagers? Tell me again about when Uncle Frank went to war. Where were our adventures when we first moved to this new place? Let’s look at the family photo album!

Does knowing something about our Church’s history make us better able to cope with hard times – whether “hard times” means a personal crisis like loss of a job or a death in the family, or whether it means a wavering of faith? Does it give us a sense of being “part of something larger,” as the psychologists reported about their study of families? And if so, how does that help us be more resilient? Do we feel more in control of life or faith by knowing something of Church history?

Meanwhile, over at KiwiMormon, Gina Colvin hosted a guest post from Ganesh Cherian, a former bishop and current high councilor  in Wellington, New Zealand. Cherian shared his thoughts on “doctrinal dilemmas” prompted by the recent “Race and the Priesthood” essay at lds.org. Speaking of race, Jared Farmer has put together an interesting photoessay on various images of Indian Heads in and around Salt Lake City.

In other news, Jana Reiss reports on the findings of a recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute that indicates Mormons might be gaining ground in the 18-29 year old demographic. On a semi-related note, the Harvard Crimson ran a detailed story on Mormons among the student body there.

A handful of final links: The Legal History Blog highlighted a recent article in BYU Studies Quarterly on the founding of BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School. The Philadelphia Business Journal wrote about plans for a 32-story residential building the LDS Church plans to build next to its in-progress temple in the city. Peggy Fletcher Stack followed that up with her own short report in the Salt Lake Tribune. Scholars of religion and urban renewal (are there scholars so specialized? I’m assuming so) will want to track this as it develops. And if you missed our own Steve Fleming’s post on Mormonism in 19th century Philadelphia prompted by the news, be sure and read it now. Lastly, those of you watching the Olympics might have caught the profile NBC ran on U.S. Olympian Noelle Pikus Pace, who won a silver medal earlier this week in Skeleton. No mention was made of her Mormon faith, which only seems odd in the wake of the Mormon moment and confirms what most of us have already concluded — that moment is now past.

Did we miss anything? Leave a comment and let us know!



2 Comments

  1. Thanks, Christopher!

    Comment by David G. — February 17, 2014 @ 1:07 am

  2. Thanks Chris. I’m still waiting to see someone write up the Mormon Women of the 2014 Olympics–Noelle Pikus-Pace, Torah Bright, and dancing Kate Hansen.

    Comment by JJohnson — February 18, 2014 @ 4:17 pm