Event: Salt Lake Symposium 2011

What I Learned From Editing Gentry

While editing and updating Leland Gentry’s uperb 1965 PhD dissertation on the Mormon War in Missouri, I kept Gentry’s text largely intact but included addenda at the end of each chapter. In these, I considered: the background of the phrase “nits make lice” in indian massacres, showing demonization of minorities in Jacksonian america; whether Joseph …

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Disappearing

This personal essay follows two threads, one being the story of a day laborer high-rise window cleaner, the author, the other being Elizabeth Smart’s story. The essay explores visibility and connection (or the lack thereof) between people, and recounts both an encounter with Brian David Mitchell in the mountains and an encounter with Elizabeth Smart …

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The Impact Of Wonder On Religious And Intimate Life

Wonder is excited by encounters with the unexpected, when we yield to “a sudden decentering of the self” (Bulkeley). Experiences of wonder spark both intense religious experiences and profound relationship connections. in both arenas—the intimately spiritual and the intimately social—when we are stunned, dazed, breathtaken, overwhelmed, consumed, or astonished, we feel yearnings to explore, to …

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Flunking Sainthood

For her forthcoming memoir, Flunking Sainthood, Jana Riess tackled twelve different spiritual practices in a quest to become more saintly, including fasting, fixed-hour prayer, gratitude, Sabbathkeeping, and generosity. although she began with great plans for success (“Really, how hard could that be?” she asked at the start of her saintmaking year), she found to her …

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Jon McNaughton, Mormon Artist/ Right-Wing Propagandist

Mormon painter Jon McNaughton is one of the most popular and commercially successful artists in the United States. His religious and patriotic paintings have sold widely, and YouTube videos of two of his most popular paintings have each been seen by more than 3,000,000 viewers. But McNaughton’s art is also controversial because of the overt …

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Further Light And Knowledge

This paper analyzes esoteric ways of knowing in Mormonism to illuminate how particular LDS women have synthesized, supplemented, or replaced Mormonism with elements of twenty-first century New Spirituality. The New Spirituality is the current generalized spiritual milieu in the United States: dynamic, competitive, flexible, and hybrid—an inclusive category that can cover the wide range of …

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Mormons And Maternal Culture

Motherhood and homemaking receive a lot of lip service within Mormon culture, but when women use the internet (and other venues) to descant on their lived experience with this noble calling, people do not hesitate to ridicule domestic minutiae, sneer at discussions of poop, and condescend to crafters. This reaction to the nuts-and-bolts of child-rearing …

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