Be a Man

Every summer, our family spends some time at a cabin in rural Utah and attend church nearby. Many of the men in the local ward earn a living through physical labor. They are strong; they are big; they have masculine presence. And then they speak, and they cry, and every member of the congregation sees that manly men, even those who won a medal in last night’s rodeo, cry and love.One of their talks in particular has stayed with me. The speaker was a construction worker and a High Councilman - … [Read more...]

The Humanist’s Book of Mormon

The past decade has witnessed a remarkable surge of interest in the Book of Mormon---or at least of interest in making the text of the Book of Mormon available and accessible. Beginning, in many ways, with the 2003 publication of Grant Hardy's Reader's Edition of the Book of Mormon (published by the University of Illinois Press and based on the 1920 edition), what might almost be called a kind of movement has taken shape: Penguin published a handsome reprint of the 1840 edition of the book; … [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 a “pr … [Read more...]

Put Your Mormon Where Your Mouth Is: Gender, Sexuality, and The Second Great Commandment

During Conference in October 2007, at the end of General Relief Society President Julie Beck’s now-famous talk, “Mothers Who Know,” I made a derisive sound from my perch on the living room couch. Once again, began a commentator’s voice inside my head, a talk for Mormon women that focuses largely on domestic roles: “nurturing,” “homemaking,” “cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home,” and “Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world.”My mother, who … [Read more...]

“Matt and Me (But Mostly Me)”*: A Conversation about _The Book of Mormon_ on Broadway

The Book of Mormon, the musical comedy co-written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, went into previews on Broadway the week I turned in my dissertation on images of the Latter-day Saints in American culture from 1890 to the present. Sadly, this meant that while I quoted much of Parker and Stone’s work in my dissertation (South Park, Cannibal! The Musical, Orgazmo), I did NOT include a discussion of their Tony-winning musical in my work. Last week, I finally got to see the show, a … [Read more...]

On Historical Sources, Mormonism, and the Pinterests of the new General Young Women’s President

I've spent the last three weeks carefully handling 18th century manuscripts housed in some of England's most treasured and stories archives. Most of these sources fall into one of three general categories: journals, correspondence, or church records. The research is for my dissertation, and I've been doing this sort of thing for most of my adult life now: poring over records, considering their provenance and reliability, taking into account authorial point of view, comparing them with other … [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...]

How Mormons Read the Bible

A little more than a week ago, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released an update to its online edition of the Bible and other authoritative texts, with a print edition to follow later this year.  Some of these changes reflect better historical knowledge of LDS history, as well as improved study aids, and some historical contextualizing of some important LDS texts.  The new edition of the LDS Bible is incremental, offering a few minor spelling and punctuation updates to the King J … [Read more...]


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