Brigham Young’s Favorite Hymn

Eliza-R.-Snow

On April 8, 1877, Brigham Young delivered a sermon on the occasion of his imminent departure from the St. George Temple. Many observers of Young’s multifaceted career forget how significant temple-building was for him and for his legacy. “We shall build Temples over north and South America,” Young declared in 1875 while planning the construction [Read More...]

American Pseudobibles (and the Book of Mormon)

American-Zion

Americans during the Revolutionary era and the Early Republic lived in a world suffused with the Hebrew scriptures. That reality, already charted by many historians (including Mark Noll, who once termed the Old Testament (“the common coinage of the realm”), is only the backdrop to Eran Shalev’s remarkable American Zion: The Old Testament as a [Read More...]

WELSH AMERICA, AMERICAN WALES

Mobile_1953_Madoc_plaque

I recently posted about the sizable and often under-appreciated presence of Welsh people in America. As with many immigrant groups, the relationship between home country and new land was complex and remarkably long-lived. Generally, people did not just up and move to America, immediately losing all interest in their older countries. For one thing, it [Read More...]

Stephen Webb’s Mormon Christianity

I recently had the pleasure of reading Stephen Webb’s Mormon Christianity: What Other Christians Can Learn from the Latter-day Saints (Oxford, 2013). My review is up on the Books & Culture website — I characterize Mormon Christianity as “brilliant, provocative, and occasionally maddening.” The maddening, from my vantage point, is what I consider a rather [Read More...]

Elizabeth Smart’s Story

Most visitors to the internet this week have probably noticed that Elizabeth Smart has just released a memoir of her horrific ordeal. Ten years after her rescue, she details her abduction and captivity and explains how she transcended the evils she experienced. My review is here. Warning: the book induces nightmares, especially when you have [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...]

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...]

The Mormon Image in the New York Times

The New York Times was not especially kind to either Mitt Romney or his faith during last year’s presidential election. Every so often, however, the gray lady runs a fascinating piece that pertains to the ways that Americans view Latter-day Saints. Four years ago, the paper ran a story about how returned Mormon missionaries make [Read More...]

Religion and the Victory of Same-Sex Marriage

About a decade ago, the historian David Chappell wrote a thoughtful book about religion and the civil rights movement, titled A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow. Among other ideas, Chappell presents the argument that the supporters of civil rights, ultimately, had religion on their side. In other words, while [Read More...]

The Mormon Jesus and the Garden of Eden

Canterbury Psalter

As a corollary to my current interest in the Latter-day Saint understanding of Jesus, I’ve been attempting to get some limited handle on the diverse ways that Christians of all sorts have understood, experienced, and depicted Jesus over time. The very best thing I’ve done to that end is to pick up a copy of [Read More...]


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