LAWRENCE FOSTER is a professor of American history at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and author of Religion and Sexuality, which won the Mormon History Association's "Best Book Award." His second book, Women, Family, and Utopia, discusses Mormon women's reactions to plural marriage and explores the changing role of Mormon women.
Why the Prophet is a Puzzle: The Challenges of Using Psychological Perspectives to Understand the Character and Motivation of Joseph Smith, Jr.
Articles/Essays – Volume 53, No. 2
Dialogue 53.2 (Summer 2020): 1–35
This article will explore how one of the most open-ended psychological interpretations of Smith’s prophetic leadership and motivation might contribute to better understanding the trajectory of this extraordinarily talented and conflicted individual whose life has so deeply impacted the religious movement he founded and, increasingly, the larger world.
A Little-Known Defense of Polygamy from the Mormon Press in 1842
Articles/Essays – Volume 9, No. 4
Dialogue 9.4 (Winter 1974): 21–34
Foster points out that in 1842 an unpublished pamphlet was written called “The Peace Maker” that expressed its support for polygamy. It is the first-known defense of polygamy before 1852.
An Ordered Love: Sex Roles and Sexuality in Victorian Utopiasâ€”the Shakers, the Mormons, and the Oneida Community
Articles/Essays – Volume 14, No. 4
Career Apostates: Reflections on the Works of Jerald and Sandra Tanner
Articles/Essays – Volume 17, No. 2
The Psychology of Religious Genius: Joseph Smith and the Origins of New Religious Movements
Articles/Essays – Volume 26, No. 4
Dialogue 26.4 (Winter 1993): 1–22
The analysis that follos is an admittedly speculative personal reflection on elements that need to be kept in mind in understanding the psychological dynamics of Joseph Smith’s creativity.
New Paradigms for Understanding Mormonism and Mormon History
Articles/Essays – Volume 29, No. 3
Sex and Prophetic Power: A Comparison of John Humphrey Noyes with Joseph Smith, Jr.
Articles/Essays – Volume 31, No. 4
Plural Marriage, Singular Lives: In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith by Todd Compton
Articles/Essays – Volume 33, No. 1