Malcolm X in Cairo

Malcolm X, 1964 Courtesy of the Library of Congress

“My heart is in Cairo,” declared Malik El-Shabazz (more commonly known as Malcolm X, formerly Malcolm Little) in July 1964. “And I believe the more progressive relations [and] forces in the Muslim world are in Cairo.” If one teaches American religious history, it does not take long to recognize that undergraduate students love to discuss [Read More...]

Bethel at War: A Digital History

Courtesy -- Bethel at War

I’m pleased to present a guest post from Fletcher Warren, a recent graduate of Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Read this fine essay, but more importantly, check out the impressive digital history project, created by Warren and Chris Gehrz on which it is based. –David *** Bethel at War is a locally-rooted history of [Read More...]

Evangelicals Will Vote Trump

On Tuesday, Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. endorsed Donald Trump. A NBC news poll released that same day found that Trump was the preferred choice of a plurality of evangelical voters nationwide. At first glance, Trump should be doing poorly among evangelical voters. He has no obvious track record of churchgoing, piety, or evangelical [Read More...]

The Global Context of InterVarsity and #BlackLivesMatter

Part of InterVarsity’s response to the #BlackLivesMatter controversy has been entirely predictable. In part, the organization is negotiating the intricacies of evangelical politics. A statement released on December 31, 2015, in the wake of controversy read: “InterVarsity does not endorse everything attributed to #BlackLivesMatter. For instance, we reject any call to attack or dehumanize police. [Read More...]

How to Market a Book

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The title of this post is as much of a question as a statement. This April, Harvard University Press is releasing The Mormon Jesus: A Biography. Instead of fashioning a “new religion,” I argue, Latter-day Saints have through their experiences, descriptions, and depictions of Jesus Christ created a movement both utterly Christian and distinctly Mormon. [Read More...]

Vonette Zachary Bright (1926-2015)

Vonette and Bill Bright at UCLA, 1951 (Courtesy of Cru)

In December 2004, I went to Orlando, Florida, to interview Vonette Bright. I was in the process of researching and writing a dissertation about Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru), using the organization as a lens into the trajectory of American evangelicalism in the second half of the twentieth century. I already felt as if [Read More...]

Joseph Smith’s Last Christmas

2 o[clo]ck about 50 couple sat down at my table to dine. while I was eating my scribe called on me to selmnz [solemnize] the Marriage of Doct Levi Richa[r]ds & sarah Griffiths [Griffith] — but. as I could not leave. I referred the subj[e]ct to Presidt B[righam] Young. who married th[e]m. A large party [Read More...]

The King of Beaver Island

Polygamist King

Most people with only a passing acquaintance with the history of Mormonism presume that there was a simple transition to Brigham Young’s leadership after the June 1844 murder of Joseph Smith, Jr. In truth, Smith’s death precipitated several competing claims to leadership. A new “Kindle Single” authored by John J. Miller in The Polygamist King [Read More...]

Muslims, the New Mormons

In 1890, the U.S. Supreme Court — in upheld laws intended to disenfranchise Mormon polygamists. The 1882 Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act required voters to swear that they were not polygamists, and the Idaho Territory had passed a statute requiring voters to attest that they were not Mormons. In Idaho, church member Samuel Davis was convicted of [Read More...]

Woodrow Wilson, Race, and the Depravity of Human Nature

Today’s guest post comes from Dr. Barry Hankins, professor of history at Baylor University. His religious biography Woodrow Wilson: Ruling Elder, Spiritual President will be published by Oxford University Press in June. Students at Princeton have joined students at Mizzou in clamoring to remove their president. The difference is that the president the Princeton students want [Read More...]


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