How Old Almanacs Help to Explain the “Nones”

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Huntington Library looking at almanacs from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Strangely, looking at them historically illuminated for me the category “nones” (people who affirm no particular religious tradition). I think of almanacs as the smart phones of an earlier era, or, more accurately, smart phones as the present-day, more interactive versions of the earlier almanacs. These old almanacs are a compact source of numerous layers of information. They g … [Read more...]

March Global Mormon Studies Madness!

 Making up for lost time, Spring 2014 will see a flurry of global Mormon studies explorations with THREE exciting conferences at Brigham Young University (Provo and Salt Lake City, UT, March 6-7), Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley, CA, March 22), and Utah Valley University (Orem, UT, Spring 2014). The program for the "Global Crossroads" conference on March 22nd is already out and features a star-studded cast including Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Joanna Brooks, and Gina Colvin. … [Read more...]

If Your Sexual Thoughts Were Like My Asthma

When my mother was at BYU in the 70's, her bishop came into Relief Society and explained to the college-aged women that they were not dressing modestly enough. Why? Because their knee-length and calf-length skirts were baring their ankles and making it difficult for the men in their ward to control their thoughts. I'm talking about the 1970's, not the 1870's.If you're Mormon, or simply know Mormons, you've probably heard a lot about modesty and the way it's taught. And if you're like me, … [Read more...]

On the Virtues of Old People

Among Mormons, there is a classic short film produced by the LDS Church many years ago, called The Mailbox (1977). The Mailbox tells the story of Lethe, an 83-year-old widow who lives a quiet, solitary existence interrupted only by the visits of a neighborhood child—and pines for news from her children, who never write. It’s a rare example of Mormon tragedy, and even in all of its late-seventies glory, the film still packs an emotional punch today. … [Read more...]

A Song for the Body Electric

A Song for the Body ElectricWhen we moved from Boston to Salt Lake City, my husband had been working as an attending physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. He completed both medical school and his residency through Harvard, and we all thought of him as a highly competent doctor. But early in his subspecialty training at the University of Utah Hospital, his colleagues stumped him. They asked him to interpret a chest x-ray that presented a condition he had never yet come across — strange … [Read more...]

Diary of a Single Mormon Female: A Review

Few people are brave enough to publish their diary, and yet that is what Aleesa Sutton has done in Diary of a Single Mormon Female. Starting with a recent singles adult activity that Sutton jokingly describes as a savanna, full of competing lionesses but low on prey (I'll just note that I've met many desperate-for-marriage LDS men, so I do not support this stereotype), Sutton then retraces the steps that have brought her to where she is today:"Mormon and still single at the ripe old age of … [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...]

Beyond Family: Women’s Leadership in the LDS Church

 A recent flurry of debate and discussion over the issue of women’s roles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has provoked exasperation and hurt on multiple fronts. Advocates for an expansion of women’s ecclesiastical authority and responsibility point to the underrepresentation of women in church leadership structures (here, and here). For instance, during the four main sessions of the church’s worldwide General Conference last weekend, only two out of twenty-eight sermon … [Read more...]


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