Das Buch Mormon

About a year ago, I asked for advice about how to structure a course on American evangelicalism. Many first-rate suggestions were forth-coming. This fall, I’m teaching a course on Mormonism in Heidelberg, Germany (gluecklicherweise auf Englisch, sonst waere es mir sehr peinlich). For the next year, I am residing at the Heidelberg Centre for American [Read More...]

Anti-Mormon Humor

Brigham Young's Widows Mourn His Passing

It’s so easy to make fun of Mormons that The Book of Mormon: The Musical didn’t even mention polygamy. The golden plates — where are they now? The Garden of Eden — where is it? No coffee? The preceding three questions may violate the spirit of Episcopal Bishop of Utah, the Rev. Scott Hayashi’s plea [Read More...]

Evangelicals and White Supremacy (part II)

While a national denomination fitfully advanced an agenda of social justice and civil rights, my local congregation fractured. The session moderator, a host of leading congregants, and much of the attendance disappeared. Week by week, the numbers dwindled. Empty pews were disillusioning. Across the country, congregations were leaving and joining a splinter denomination, and bitter [Read More...]

Evangelicals and White Supremacy

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Carolyn Renée Dupont’s Mississippi Praying: Southern White Evangelicals and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1975 is a challenging book, both in terms of history and theology. What follows is the first of a two-part review. This week, I lay out Dupont’s arguments. Next week, I’ll flesh out the story and assess those arguments. Dupont challenges much [Read More...]

New and Forthcoming Books

In a New Year’s Day post, Thomas Kidd encouraged us to read more and to “read more intentionally.” He referenced “non-professional reading,” but I find I need help simply keeping up with the professional reading because of the constant onslaught of worthy books rolling off the presses (or being digitized by said presses). In that [Read More...]

Campus Ministry, Race, and Affirmative Action

We here at IVCF have a spiritual legacy that over the years has sort of dipped a little bit. Fifteen years ago, our fellowship was made up of a majority of white students, and one of the areas that students and staff began to be convicted about was the lack of connection with the rest [Read More...]

Evangelical-Liberal Détente

Continuing in the vein of last week’s post on liberal Protestantism, I recently got my hands on the August 21 edition of the Christian Century. The biweekly editorial mentions the suddenly burgeoning historical scholarship on liberal religion (in particular, works by Elesha Coffman, David Hollinger, and Matthew Hedstrom), noting that it complicates the “question of [Read More...]

What’s Present is Prologue to the Past

Jennifer Schuessler at the New York Times introduces cutting-edge historical scholarship to the masses. Last summer, she published a piece on Mormon history, and this past spring an article on scholarship about American capitalism followed (that piece discussed, among other books, Bethany Moreton’s To Serve God and Wal-Mart). Most recently, Schuessler introduced readers to recent [Read More...]

End Hymnal Wars

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Never agree to serve on a hymnal committee. First of all, if your church (like mine) is still using hymnals, that’s probably a sign that its membership (like mine) is aging and shrinking. Second, one can be certain that a new hymnal — or any new decision about congregational singing and music — will produce [Read More...]

Cold, Tired, and Single in Zion

One of my favorite things about spending several summers in Utah was enjoying an extra holiday on July 24th, commemorating the 1847 pioneer trek from the Missouri River to the Salt Lake Valley. For my family, Pioneer Day meant the Pioneer Day Classic road race in Provo, which loops around the Provo Temple (and, unlike [Read More...]


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