A. E. Cannon University of Utah Press, 2011 Library of Congress PZ7.C17135Ch 2011
Charlotte’s Rose—justifiably back in print—tells the story of a young Welsh girl, Charlotte Edwards, who, soon after her mother dies, sails with her father from England to the United States to become part of a company of Mormon handcart pioneers—emigrants with no horses or oxen who themselves pulled the heavy carts filled with their belongings. These were arduous journeys. While on the Mormon Trail, Charlotte befriends a young mother who later dies in childbirth. Though only 12 years old, Charlotte assumes responsibility for the infant and carries her to Utah. Over the course of their journey together, Charlotte becomes deeply attached to the baby she calls Rose, which makes Charlotte’s choice at the novel’s end particularly poignant.
The author, A. E. Cannon, is adept at creating vivid, multifaceted, believable characters and has crafted a story of pioneers that will seem relevant to today’s young people. The reader will quickly be drawn into the story as Charlotte struggles to navigate the trials of an adolescent moving into adulthood. Although this is a book about Mormon pioneers, it is in fact about the larger American experience of immigration—a drama still unfolding today—and Charlotte’s coming-of-age journey will resonate with readers young and old.
Christianity figured prominently in the imperial and colonial exploitation and dispossession of indigenous peoples worldwide, yet many indigenous people embrace Christian faith as part of their cultural and ethnic identities. A Chosen People, a Promised Land gets to the heart of this contradiction by exploring how Native Hawaiian members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (more commonly known as Mormons) understand and negotiate their place in this quintessentially American religion.
Mormon missionaries arrived in Hawai‘i in 1850, a mere twenty years after Joseph Smith founded the church. Hokulani K. Aikau traces how Native Hawaiians became integrated into the religious doctrine of the church as a “chosen people”—even at a time when exclusionary racial policies regarding black members of the church were being codified. Aikau shows how Hawaiians and other Polynesian saints came to be considered chosen and how they were able to use their venerated status toward their own spiritual, cultural, and pragmatic ends.
Using the words of Native Hawaiian Latter-Day Saints to illuminate the intersections of race, colonization, and religion, A Chosen People, a Promised Land examines Polynesian Mormon articulations of faith and identity within a larger political context of self-determination.
The first ten lectures in Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Series are here collected in one volume. The series, established by one of the twentieth-century West's most distinguished historians, Leonard Arrington, has become a leading forum for prominent historians to address topics related to Mormon history. The first lecturer was Arrington himself. He was followed by Richard Lyman Bushman, Richard E. Bennett, Howard R. Lamar, Claudia L. Bushman, Kenneth W. Godfrey, Jan Shipps, Donald Worster, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and F. Ross Peterson. Utah State University hosts the Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Series. The University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives houses the Arrington collection. The state's land grant university began collecting records very early, and in the 1960s became a major depository for Utah and Mormon records. Leonard and his wife Grace joined the USU faculty and family in 1946, and the Arringtons and their colleagues worked to collect original diaries, journals, letters, and photographs.
Charismatic and a polished public speaker, LDS President David O. McKay instilled devotion in church members around the globe. An avowed optimist, he maintained a lifelong “faith in mankind; they are God’s children.” His desire to share the Mormon gospel coincided with a deep need to protect the church from outside social pressures, leading him to adopt a nuanced yet politically conservative public image. Though his genial personality aided him in unifying church leadership, McKay’s dislike of interpersonal conflict allowed strong-willed colleagues to sometimes overshadow him. He personally disagreed with apostle Ezra Taft Benson’s advocacy for the right-wing John Birch Society, while allowing Benson and others to promote an extremely conservative political agenda in religious settings.
Similar hesitancy existed in McKay’s failure to lift the priesthood and temple ban against black Mormons. Governing during the height of the Civil Rights movement, he never fully reconciled his belief in human spiritual equality with the racial tensions of his era. The voice of his dedicated secretary Clare Middlemiss often guides the diary’s narratives, revealing not only the personal musings of the church prophet but tracking the birth and development of the modern LDS Church as a social, political, and economic entity.
Lowell Bennion, Sterling McMurrin, and Obert Tanner were colleagues whose lives often intertwined. All professors at the University of Utah, these three scholars addressed issues and events of their time; each influenced the thought and culture of Mormonism, helping to institute a period of intellectual life and social activism. In Conscience and Community multiple scholars, family members, and others look at the private and public aspects of three lives and examine the roles they played in shaping their communities inside and out of their university and church.
Lowell Bennion was founding director of the LDS Institute of Religion and professor of sociology at the University of Utah. He established multiple community service entities. Sterling McMurrin was distinguished professor of philosophy and history, dean of the graduate school, and former commissioner of education under JFK. He dismissed dogma and doctrine as barriers to a search for moral and spiritual understanding. Obert Tanner, also of the university’s Philosophy Department, excelled in teaching and business and became especially well known for philanthropy. The lives and work of these three men reveal the tensions between faith and reason, conscience and obedience. Their stories speak to us today because their concerns remain our concerns: racial justice, women’s equality, gay rights, and the meaning of integrity and conscience.
In Contemporary Mormon Pageantry, theater scholar Megan Sanborn Jones looks at Mormon pageants, outdoor theatrical productions that celebrate church theology, reenact church history, and bring to life stories from the Book of Mormon. She examines four annual pageants in the United States-the Hill Cumorah Pageant in upstate New York, the Manti Pageant in Utah, the Nauvoo Pageant in Illinois, and the Mesa Easter Pageant in Arizona. The nature and extravagance of the pageants vary by location, with some live orchestras, dancing, and hundreds of costumed performers, mostly local church members. Based on deep historical research and enhanced by the author's interviews with pageant producers and cast members as well as the author's own experiences as a participant-observer, the book reveals the strategies by which these pageants resurrect the Mormon past on stage. Jones analyzes the place of the productions within the American theatrical landscape and draws connections between the Latter-day Saints theology of the redemption of the dead and Mormon pageantry in the three related sites of sacred space, participation, and spectatorship. Using a combination of religious and performance theory, Jones demonstrates that Mormon pageantry is a rich and complex site of engagement between theater, theology, and praxis that explores the saving power of performance.
Contemporary Mormonism is the first collection of sociological essays to focus exclusively on Mormons. Featuring the work of the major scholars conducting social science research on Mormons today, this volume offers refreshing new perspectives not only on Mormonism but also on the nature of successful religious movements, secularization and assimilation, church growth, patriarchy and gender roles, and other topics. This first paperback edition includes a new introduction assessing the current state of Mormon scholarship and the effect of the globalization of the LDS Church on scholarly research about Mormonism.
Determining what is and what is not Mormon doctrine is a difficult endeavor. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints embraces four books of scripture as its canon, but also believes the church is led by a living prophet. Additions to the canon have been rare since the death of church founder Joseph Smith. Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth church president, said that if the prophet ever contradicts canon, canon prevails. On the other hand, Ezra Taft Benson, the church’s thirteenth president, said that the living prophet’s words are more important than cannon. Such messages create no shortage of confusion among church members.
The question “What is doctrine?” opens the door for theologians and historians to wrestle over the answer, and to do so thoughtfully and insightfully. In Continuing Revelation, editor Bryan Buchanan has compiled essays that seek greater understanding about what doctrine is and why it matters.
The Challenge of Defining LDS Doctrine, by Loyd Isao Ericson • LDS Theology and the Omnis: The Dangers of Theological Speculation, by David H. Bailey • Crawling out of the Primordial Soup: A Step toward the Emergence of an LDS Theology Compatible with Organic Evolution, by Steven L. Peck • “To Destroy the Agency of Man”: The War in Heaven in LDS Thought, by Boyd Petersen • Three Sub-Degrees in the Celestial Kingdom?, by Shannon P. Flynn • Heavenly Mother: The Mother of All Women, by Blaire Ostler • Mormonism and the Problem of Heterodoxy, by Kelli D. Potter • Women at the Gates of Mortality: Relief Society Birth and Death Rituals, by Susanna Morrill • “Shake Off the Dust of Thy Feet”: The Rise and Fall of Mormon Ritual Cursing, by Samuel R. Weber • “Satan Mourns Naked Upon the Earth: Locating Mormon Possession and Exorcism Rituals in the American Religious Landscape, 1830–1977, by Stephen C. Taysom