Fun Fact: Zelph on the Shelf Doesn’t Know What They Are Talking About

Zelph on the Shelf is the name of a blog run by Samantha Shelley and Tanner Gilliland, two millennial ex-Mormons who are, sadly, afflicted with the handicap of thinking that Twitter hot takes and edgy memes are suitable substitutes for sound historical scholarship and critical thinking. Take, for instance, the “fun facts” which Zelph recently … Read more

Vicarious Performative Wokeness: The White Ex-Mormon’s Burden

[This post contains explicit language.] Last week saw the unfolding of what my friend Tarik LaCour has called Streetergate. To summarize the incident, on Thursday, May 17, 2018, just as LDS Church leaders were meeting with leaders from the NAACP, an ex-Mormon blogger named Jonathan Streeter created a website parodying the Church’s official newsroom and … Read more

On the Internet, Libraries, and Seeking

Pictured: techies at Google headquarters in ancient Alexandria polishing their search engine algorithms (ca. 56 BC). Steven C. Harper (who holds a PhD in early American history from Lehigh University) is a former professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University, a current editor at the Joseph Smith Papers Project, and a historian … Read more

What You’ll Read About in the New Institute Manual on Early Church History

Some time ago I blogged about a new seminary manual on the Doctrine and Covenants released by the Church. The manual is significant because it includes discussions of sensitive topics related to Church history, such as the multiple accounts of the First Vision, the Mountain Meadows Massacre and the Utah War, the history of plural … Read more

10 Commandments for Balancing the Life of the Mind and Spirt on Campus

Sound advice. The Latter-day Saint historian and theologian Philip Barlow has what he calls his “Ten Commandments for LDS students attempting to balance faith and learning while at college.” They are: 1. “Seek truth, seek good, and bind them together” 2. “Do not disparage the intellect” 3. “Understand that reason is not the only avenue … Read more

Jackets and Assumptions

Pictured: yours truly wearing his beloved jacket, in the presence of one D. Vader and one S. Trooper. Last week I visited my family in Idaho. The evening I arrived, my parents and I went out to dinner to celebrate our reunion and to catch up on things. Everything went great. The next morning I … Read more