Kirtland Temple: An Excerpt from the Book

On June 2, the University of Illinois Press released my first book, Kirtland Temple: The Biography of Shared Mormon Sacred Space. For my post this month, I thought that I would give the readers a small sampling of my new work. While most of my book covers the Kirtland Temple in the twentieth century, the following excerpt is drawn from my first chapter that narrates the emergence and uses of the temple in the 1830s and 40s. This excerpt pays particular attention to how Joseph Smith created a … [Read more...]

Going to Church in Exile..or Why Denominations Still Matter

As I have moved farther and farther away from the Independence, Missouri headquarters of the Community of Christ (RLDS church) over the past decade, I have attended increasingly smaller congregations. First, it was church with 30 people in Iowa City during grad school. Then it was church with 20 people in Worthington, Ohio when I took my first academic job. Third, it was church with 15 people in Freeport, Maine. And now, I live in an area of upstate New York without a Community of Christ … [Read more...]

Community of Christ Sings: A New Hymnal for a Divided Global Church

“You hold in your hands a vital mission tool!” proclaims the foreword of the Community of Christ’s new hymnal, Community of Christ Sings—the first comprehensive hymnal issued by the church since 1981. This new worship resource contains 664 hymns, responses, chants, and praise songs; half of these songs have never appeared in the church’s past hymnals. Perhaps the most consequential part of Community of Christ Sings lies in its “core repertoire,” or more than 100 specially selected … [Read more...]

Why LDS Women Will Not Be Ordained to the Priesthood

Over the last year, a small but growing movement within the LDS church has emerged to promote women’s ordination. After the launch of the savvy and visually appealing site ordainwomen.org last March, countless Mormon bloggers have weighed in on the questions of the theology behind women’s ordination. Perhaps predictably, these arguments have ranged from the “women have always had priesthood in temples so they should have it in public” argument to the “women occupy a divinely sanctioned … [Read more...]

Why You Should Read More Fiction (and John Turner’s Brigham Young)

Recently, I finished John G. Turner’s excellent Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet. It is an eminently fair-minded biography that should prove to be the definitive account of Young’s life. Personally, I came away from the biography with far greater insight into Young’s spirituality and his theological contributions to Mormonism—one of the many wonderful pay-offs for reading Turner’s 400-page tome. I also came away from the biography with a previously held picture of Young confirmed: he was … [Read more...]

Joseph Smith the Seeker and Same-sex Marriage: The Community of Christ Negotiating Change

  The Community of Christ’s April 2013 USA National Conference in Independence, Missouri resoundingly approved the extension of the sacrament of marriage to same-sex couples and the ordination of individuals in monogamous same-sex relationships. That the Community of Christ, Mormonism’s most progressive denomination, has approved these measures through a democratic conference is perhaps unsurprising. Community of Christ laity and leaders are fond of saying that they are called to be … [Read more...]

Conferences at the Crossroads of Mormonism

When April comes to Independence, Missouri, Latter Day Saints will go to conference. Community of Christ members will go to conference. Latter-day Saints will go to conference. Remnant saints will go to conference. Church of Christ (Temple Lot) members will go to conference. Saints who are first-generation Americans from Samoa will go to conference. Saints who have flown from Nigeria to Missouri will go to conference. And saints from dozens of other nations will go to conference. Members of the … [Read more...]

French Polynesia and Mormonization: Rethinking Mormon Origins

On January 3, the Community of Christ’s First Presidency called Maureva M. Arnaud Tchong to serve in the Council of Twelve Apostles. The current mission center president over 60 congregations in French Polynesia, Arnaud will be the first individual of native Polynesian heritage to serve as an apostle in any church descended from Joseph Smith’s nineteenth-century Restoration movement. She will also be the first woman from outside of the United States to serve in the Community of Christ’s … [Read more...]


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