Category: Church History

A Mormon Narrative for the 21st Century

Historians don’t just catalog events, they assemble events into stories or “historical narratives.” But to really be relevant or worth reading, a given historical narrative has to tap into a bigger theme or “grand narrative” (using the term rather loosely).…

Biographies of a New World Man

Joseph Smith, it’s fair to say, was a rebel and a runner and a restless young man. That, plus his many religious accomplishments, makes him an attractive subject for biographers both in and out of the Church, who have responded…

Tooth Bugs

Recently my husband and I came across a set of rather old LDS song books. As my ward’s primary chorister my favorite was The Primary Song Book: Including Marches and Voluntaries. The edition is missing the title page and so…

Our Crown Jewels: The Church Archives

In the fall of 1983, Dialogue published Davis Bitton’s personal memoir of Leonard Arrington’s tenure as Church Historian, “Ten Years in Camelot.â€? That essay conveyed the excitement of discovering, writing, and publishing Mormon history on a scale never before known.…

Prophecy vs. History

Not too long ago, I stumbled across the PBS presentation of Jared Diamond’s book Guns, Germs, and Steel (2d ed. 1999). It reminded me of dealing with the book at college and enjoying the ideas presented and the sweeping take…

Another Martyr

DESERET EVENING NEWS Monday, March 5, 1888 ANOTHER MARTYR Elder John B. Johnson departed this life at the Utah Penitentiary at an early hour this morning (March 5th).

Jerusalem

Last week Janice and I spent several days in Cornwall, Great Britain, with the BYU students doing London Study Abroad.

Visions–Medieval and Modern

I had just completed the oral defense of my admission-to-PhD-candidacy exams, which emphasized the writings of medieval visionaries and mystics. My advisor extended his hand, and with his typical wry smile, said: “Congratulations. You passed. Now, go home and have…

Sectarianism vs. Assimilation

Which should we be more strenuously avoiding, and how? Clark Goble suggests that the Church in “the last decade and a half has focused on building on common ground. But that has also (IMO) had unfortunate doctrinal consequences on the…

268M in 2080

Most members of the Church are probably familiar with the estimate made by (nonLDS) sociologist Rodney Stark that, if current growth patterns hold, there will be 268 million members of the Church by the year 2080.