Broader Dialogue

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Emma Lou Thayne passed away on December 6, 2014, and in honor of this great poet and author, we presents her writings from within Dialogue’s pages:

Where Can I Turn for Peace?“a personal essay from Fall 2006: “Here in the baffling conundrums of politics and power, we can offer sustenance of heart and means. I can do more than grieve over death and destruction. I can love my country by caring enough to keep informed to all sides and expressing my views.”

Things Happen” a poem from Summer 1990.

How Much for the Earth? A Suite of Poems: About Time for Considering” from Winter 1984.

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Editor, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought

I have read with interest Stan Larson’s article, “Another Look at Joseph Smith’s First Vision” in volume 47, issue #2 (summer 2014). I commend Larson’s research, thoughtful analysis and writing. I do have some negative comments, however. The first concerns Larson’s words on archival practice on page 41: “Because we know that the missing pages were kept in the office safe of Joseph Fielding Smith, it is unlikely that the leaves were removed simply in accordance with the archival practice of separating collections based upon content (italics mine). While Larson is probably correct that this practice could not be the only reason for the separation, he errs that this practice was or is an archival practice. One of the primary archival principles is that of provenance. Provenance requires that materials be organized by the creator; materials are not separated from other materials coming from the same creator, regardless of how diverse the subject matter (italics mine). Librarians usually organize by subject matter; archivists do not.

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Editor Kristine Haglund discusses “What the “Mormon Moment” Actually Accomplished” over at Slate:

“For Mormons, the recent spasm of media attention to church founder Joseph Smith’s polygamy was the stuff of century-old nightmares—painful evidence that, even after 100 years of performing conservative American-ness so cheerfully that it can appear paradoxically creepy, Mormons are still perceived as strange and secretive. News outlets seemed downright eager to put “Mormon” and “polygamy” together in headlines, and many publications repeated the not-entirely-accurate assertion that Smith’s multiple marriages—possibly as many as 40, one to a girl of 14, and some to women married to other men—were being acknowledged by Mormon leaders “for the first time.” Such stories rehashed the narrative that has framed the American relationship with Mormonism since its beginnings, one of estrangement and persecution followed by difficult, halting steps toward assimilation. Polygamy is always at the center of this narrative, despite the fact that Mormons have now not practiced polygamy for almost twice as long as they did practice it.”

Click in for the full article.

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Latest Content

By Review Editor [Cross-posted to In Medias Res and By Common Consent]

Seeking the Promised Land: Mormons and American Politics is a superb work of social science. David Campbell, John Green, and Quin Monson make exhaustive use of numerous recent surveys conducted by the Pew Forum and Gallup, and a half-dozen surveys which they designed themselves, to produce about as detailed and revealing a look at the political preferences and peculiarities of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in America as probably any group of scholars ever could. While some of the information which the authors make use of has already been reported in American Grace (a blockbuster in the sociology of religion in America which Campbell co-authored with Robert Putnam), here that information is packaged alongside numerous historic observations and other scholarly insights, resulting in something which stands entirely on its own. Of course, as with any academic study that depends largely upon survey research and the self-reporting of those interviewed, the compiled results need to be recognized for what they are: namely, the best conclusions that correlational and regression analysis allows. Still, I think it is fair to say that just as all serious discussions of actual religious practices and behaviors in the U.S. need to take Putnam and Campbell’s work into consideration, this book by Campbell, Green, and Monson is indisputably the new starting point for all serious conversations about American Mormons and politics from here on out.

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This new Dialogue podcast features BYU Professor Craig Harline, whose primary field is European religious history. From the Miller-Eccles website: “Dr. Harline has published a number of historically-based books that have been popular with readers and are held in high regard by critics (see below). Most recently he has turned his narrative skills to writing a memoir of his mission to Belgium in the 1970s.

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The newest Dialogue podcast features Professor Adam S. Miller who spoke on his recent book, Letters to a Young Mormon, published by BYU’s Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at the recent Miller Eccles lecture. From the site: “Adam wrote the book as a way of expressing his Mormon philosophy in a style that would make sense to young adults, but it would be a mistake to conclude the essays are simple minded—they are sophisticated, insightful pieces that will resonate with Mormons whether they are 17 or 71.”

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enns-coversCross-posted at By Common Consent

Peter Enns is an evangelical Christian and a Bible scholar—two identity markers that’ve raised a few conflicts for him. Which really is too bad, because he seems like a pretty faithful, intelligent, funny guy. At least, he seems like that based on this faithful, intelligent, and funny book he just wrote about the Bible. It’s called The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It.

I think a lot of Mormons could really benefit from Enns’s experience.

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johnson As one of the founders of Dialogue, Wes Johnson has a unique view of the journal and what it has been and what it has become. He sits down with Brandt Malone to discuss it’s history and his part in that history in the newest Dialogue podcast.

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Valerie Hudson headlines the newest Dialogue podcast in her stop at the Miller Eccles group. There she discusses her new book Sex and World Peace (co-authored by Valerie Hudson, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Mary Caprioli and Chad Emmett). From the Miller Eccles site: “(this book) unsettles a variety of assumptions in political and security discourse, demonstrating that the security of women is a vital factor in the security of the state and its incidence of conflict and war. Much of the data underlying Dr. Hudson’s research comes from the WomanStats Project, a research and database project housed at BYU that ‘seeks to collect detailed statistical data on the status of women around the world, and to connect that data with data on the security of states.’ This database has the most comprehensive compilation of information on the status of women in the world.”

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Crossposted at By Common Consent

women at churchWomen at Church: Magnifying LDS Women’s Local Impact (released today) appears at a tense moment for LDS church members with regard to gender issues. Some members have advocated for ordaining women to the priesthood while others have asserted that manifesting dissatisfaction with the status quo is inappropriate. As for author Neylan McBaine, she loves being a Mormon woman. But she also believes “there is much more we can do to see, hear, and include women at church” (xiii). Situated between these two poles without disrespect to either, her book has two main goals: First, to identify and acknowledge the real pain felt by some LDS women, and second, to offer solutions to provide a more fulfilling church experience for them—solutions that fit within the Church’s current administrative framework.

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When I heard that Professor Givens had embarked on a work of “Mormon Theology” I was more than a little skeptical. Not that it hasn’t been done before. That isn’t the problem. It’s just that theology, as James Faulconer has written, is something that just doesn’t seem to fit Mormonism. However, when I got my greedy little hands on Givens’ book, I was pleased to see that it is a work of theological heritage. In Givens’ words: “I am here tracing what I regard as the essential contours of Mormon thought as it developed from Joseph Smith to the present, not pretending to address the many tributaries in and out of Mormonism’s main currents.”(x)

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Current Issue

Volume 47, No. 4 Winter 2014
Dialogue, a Journal of Mormon Thought


 

 

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