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

Book Notice: “From Darkness unto Light: Joseph Smith’s Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon”

The Religious Studies Center at Brigham Young University and Deseret Book have co-published a new book titled From Darkness unto Light: Joseph Smith’s Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon. I have picked up a copy just today, and have been able to quickly skim through the contents of the book. Co-authored by Michael Hubbard … Read more

“Faith in the Past: Church History in an Information Age”

J. Spencer Fluhman, associate professor of history at Brigham Young University. Professor J. Spencer Fluhman delivered an excellent devotional talk at the LDS Business College some time ago (I recall encountering this article for the first time back in 2014, when I believe it was delivered) that is worth reposting here. (Hat tip to Dan Peterson … Read more

Dale Morgan on Objectivity in Mormon History

 Dale Morgan, 1914-1971. Lowell Dale Morgan (who commonly went by simply Dale Morgan) was an American historian (and former Mormon) who influenced such authors as Juanita Brooks and Fawn Brodie. Morgan left behind an interesting collection of personal letters and correspondences that has been published by Signature Books. In reading through his letters, I was struck … Read more

“The Problem With History Classes”

Michael Conway, writing for The Atlantic, has some excellent observations on “[s]ingle-perspective narratives” in historiography, which he claims “do students a gross disservice.” Conway, using the recent controversy over the movie Selma‘s portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson and other films on historical figures as his catalyst, explains the perils of boiling down history into reductionistic … Read more

Follow-Up Statements from Brian Hales and Don Bradley

Brian Hales (right) and Don Bradley (left) at Pioneer Bookstore in Provo, Utah discussing their research on Joseph Smith’s polygamy (March 2013).  Last week I criticized Jeremy Runnells, who has no academic qualifications in Mormon history, for hypocritically accusing Brian Hales of being an “amateur” when it comes to research on Joseph Smith’s polygamy. In response … Read more

Five Responses to Grant Palmer

Anselmus und die Schlange (1913) by Edmund Schaefer. [This post is partly a response to this post at Rational Faiths.] Grant Palmer is an ex-Mormon author who is best known for his 2002 book An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins. It’s a popular book amongst the ex- and anti-Mormon crowd, and you’ll see it frequently quoted by … Read more

Drink Deep: Resources on Early Mormon Plural Marriage

Look, we can’t kid ourselves or others by pretending this never happened. It happened, but there’s no reason to freak out about it. The early Mormon practice of plural marriage is one of the most controversial legacies of Mormonism. Understandably, many people, including members of the Church, are often troubled by what they hear are … Read more