Faith and History Conference: 2015

A reminder to our readers that the Fifth Biennial Faith & Knowledge Conference will be held at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville on February 27 and 28, 2015. The submission deadline for proposals is November 7, 2014. Please note that, unlike previous years, the conference is now officially open to LDS graduate students and early career scholars in religious studies and related academic disciplines interested in the intersections of scholarship and religious faith. … [Read more...]

Book Review: Confessing History

John Fea, Jay Green, and Eric Miller, eds. Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian’s Vocation. (South Bend: Notre Dame University Press, 2010).A few years ago I witnessed an attempted revival at a university in suburban Virginia. A tall, lean young man with a short haircut and three days’ stubble stalked back and forth next to a table in front of the library. He called us to Christ and asked us if we feared sin, and the two teenagers tending the piles of tracts s … [Read more...]

Mormons and the FBI – A Bleg

The Associated Press reported in the early 1980s that “The CIA does some of its most successful recruiting in predominantly LDS Utah.”[1]  … [Read more...]

The Decline of Something Called “Religion”

Stories of Decline Perry Miller’s exhaustive intellectual histories of Puritan theology were published back in the 1930s and 1940s, and did a lot to revitalize and rehabilitate the Puritans (what? You didn’t know that Puritans have been rehabilitated?).  One of Miller’s primary narrative structures – one he shared, interestingly enough, with his subjects - was the declension narrative: that is, early Puritanism of the 1620s and 1630s shared, as Miller put it, “almost unbroken allegia … [Read more...]

God Gives US TV Sets To Please Our Eyes and Gladden Our Hearts: Two Mormon Views of the Prosperity Gospel

Here's a brief transcript from a filmstrip intended for Mormon audiences, "The Lord's Laws of Prosperity." It's undated, but the LDS Church Library places it in the mid-1960s. Narrator: Certainly it is within the province of the Lord to bring prosperity to anyone he considered worthy of it....Man: Is he talking about spiritual prosperity or temporal prosperity?Narrator: (Chuckle) I’d say both.  He says The good things of the earth.”  I’m sure the Lord requires that we acknowledge his han … [Read more...]

Mormons as Christians; Christians as Mormons

In the nineteenth sixties and seventies, an "anti-cult" movement emerged in America, assailing religious movements like Krishna Consciousness and the Children of God and Jim Jones's Peoples Temple with the word "cult."  The anti-cult movement was secular, and as such attacked these movements in secular language: it popularized concepts like 'brainwashing' and 'deprogramming,' warned that such religious movements were not really religious but rather elaborate means of self-gratification erected … [Read more...]

Ghost Stories

I'm revisiting Judith Richardson's Possessions: the history and uses of haunting in the Hudson Valley as I start thinking about nineteenth century spiritualism for a new book project, and this time I've been struck by her emphasis on place.  The tangled and broken landscape of the Hudson Valley, full of cliffs and culverts and sharp bends in the river, makes for an ideal habitat for the unquiet dead. But just as powerful is the cultural landscape, marked since the seventeenth century with the … [Read more...]

Review: Russell Banks, Cloudsplitter: a novel.

Partway through Cloudsplitter, Russell Banks's ambitious fictional account of John Brown's adult life, our narrator, John's third son Owen, reflects that his relationship to his father is analogous to Job's relationship with God.  That is, God is, well, God, just like John Brown was John Brown, and the status entitles this looming divine presence to behave as he will, and Job or Owen must simply follow, because one does not question the divine.   As Job says, in chapter 42:I have uttered wh … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X