New York Times on Mormon History

The New York Times has an excellent piece on the “growing cadre of young scholars of Mormonism,” including my friends Patrick Mason (Claremont Graduate University) and the Anxious Bench’s own John Turner (George Mason University). As the article points out, John’s new biography of Brigham Young will be published this fall by Harvard University Press.

From the article:

For a century and a half, Mormonism has been something of a paradox in the history of the American West: passionately argued about by the church’s adherents and detractors, but largely ignored by professional scholars unsure of what to make of the religion Joseph Smith founded in 1830 or the communities created by what Mormon scripture itself described as a “peculiar people.”

But now, as Mitt Romney’s candidacy prompts talk of a “Mormon moment,” a growing cadre of young scholars of Mormonism are enjoying their own turn in the sun, and not just on the nation’s op-ed pages. Books relating to Mormon history are appearing in the catalogs of top academic presses, while secular universities are adding courses, graduate fellowships and endowed chairs.

Read the rest of the article here.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    Mormonism is growing into the third kargest denomination in the US, and in another 25 years or so is likely to pass the shrinkung Southern Baptists to become number two. That is enough justification for scholarly study of a church that will have increasing influence in the lives if Americans.

    • Philip Jenkins

      I absolutely agree that Mormonism deserves and demands serious scholarly study, but I’m very skeptical about such projections of future Mormon growth. One big problem with the LDS church’s statistics is that they record people coming in through baptism, but not defections and desertions, which are numerous.


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