Of the major U.S. religions, the LDS Church is the only one whose top leader serves until he dies. That wasn’t an issue in the 19th century when medicine rarely prolonged life after a serious illness. But today, researcher Gregory Prince says that as Church presidents live longer, they’re more likely to experience age-related conditions like dementia. It’s something he explores in a forthcoming article, and Tuesday, he joins us to explain what this “gerontocracy” means for the future of Mormonism.
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought turns 50 this year. To honor this legendary Mormon publication, I’ve collected from various Exponent bloggers some thoughts about Dialogue‘s role in their lives and about Dialoguearticles that have particularly impacted them. MayDialogue continue on for another 50 years… and many, many more after that.
April Young Bennett:
While researching background information for a Relief Society lesson, I read Jessie L. Embry’s 1982 Dialogue article, “Grain Storage: The Balance of Power Between Priesthood Authority and Relief Society Autonomy“. It was such an eye-opener for me! The article presents compelling evidence that Emmeline Wells and her counselors did not choose to sell several decades of grain storage to the United States government, but rather had their grain storage program sold out from under them by priesthood leaders without their knowledge, something I had not read before in either church published or independent histories. Daughters in my Kingdom, for example, says “the Relief Society sold 200,000 bushels to the United States government.”
Dialogue and the Dangerous, Beautiful Possibilities of Mormon Literature by Michael Austin
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought turns 50 this year. This is important for a lot of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with Mormon literature. But some of the reasons have a lot to do with Mormon literature, perhaps the most important being that the advent of Dialogue fifty years ago fundamentally altered the possibility space in which Mormon literature could occur.
This happened in two ways. In the first place, Dialogue was the first venue that regularly discussed Mormon literature as an academic discipline. During its first twelve years, Dialogue published four special issues devoted to Mormon literature (here, here, here, and here), the last one being the proceedings of the inaugural meeting of the Association for Mormon Letters—an organization that was created largely by Dialogue’s earliest contributors.
To understand the significance of this, we have to imagine a world without blogs, e-mail, comment sections, Amazon, or Wikipedia.