Journal 52:1 | BYU Studies

Journal 52:1

Volume 52:1 (2013)
In BYU Studies Quarterly 52:1, Jeffrey Walker gives a history of habeas corpus law in the United States and Joseph Smith's use of that law to defend himself against those who sought his imprisonment. Thomas Griffiths discusses how true disciples of Christ can effectively participate in politics by keep priorities straight and respecting opposing views. Lisa Tait shows that in 1890s Utah, Mormon...Read more

Habeas Corpus in Early Nineteenth-Century Mormonism: Joseph Smith's Legal Bulwark for Personal Freedom

*This article is being offered free as a courtesy to lds.org as it was footnoted in a Newsroom post on their site. After Joseph Smith's incarceration in Liberty Jail in Liberty, Missouri, in 1838-1839, Smith believed that he would not survive another imprisonment. It was in fact his jailing in Illinois that ended in his murder in 1844. This paper explores Smith's use of writs of habeas corpus to... Read more

The 1890s Mormon Culture of Letters and the Post-Manifesto Marriage Crisis: A New Approach to Home Literature

*This article is being offered free as a courtesy to lds.org as it was footnoted in an expanded Gospel Topic on their site. In 1890, Mormon polygamy officially came to an end. This upheaval in the community led to the creation of a distinctive culture of letters, known then and now as Home Literature. It was written primarily for young women but by older women, particularly Susa Young Gates,... Read more

A Mormon Approach to Politics

Can true disciples of Christ practice politics in today's contentious climate? Properly understood, politics should be pursued to satisfy our passion for justice, which comes from God. But because politics involves power, it can pose risk to a person's spiritual welfare. The answer is to engage in politics in a way that keeps priorities right, knowing that the restored gospel is the primary... Read more

Two Early Missionaries in Hawaii: Mercy Partridge Whitney and Edward Partridge Jr.

Mercy Partridge Whitney was one of the first Protestant (Congregational) missionaries in Hawaii, arriving in 1820 with her husband, Samuel, and serving there until her death in 1872. In 1854 she received a visit from her nephew, Edward Partridge Jr., who was also serving a mission, but for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The two disagreed on many points of doctrine, including... Read more

Faith and Same-Gender Attraction: A Look at Ty Mansfield's Voices of Hope

People who experience same-sex attraction need not necessarily find themselves at odds with Christianity and with Mormonism in particular. Nineteen people give very personal reports in Ty Mansfield's book Voices of Hope, discussing their social, emotional, and spiritual lives. The book is not a review of case histories or clinical data of same-gender attraction, but rather lived experience of... Read more

Brigham Young, Pioneer Prophet

John G. Turner, an assistant professor of religious studies at George Mason University, used a novelist's convention by beginning his scholarly biography of Brigham Young near the end of the story. The opening paragraphs take the reader to St. George in 1877 and the dedication of Utah's first temple with the author summarizing Young's sermon. From the St. George Temple dedication, the author... Read more

The Book of Mormon: A Biography

There is something of a paradox prevalent in academic religious studies: in order to consider a community and its traditions objectively, one should not be a member of that community; yet the only way to understand fully and appreciate and therefore faithfully report about the community is to be a member. Many times this contradiction leads to the unfortunate situation where "outsiders" do not... Read more

Joseph Smith, Jesus, and Satanic Opposition: Atonement, Evil, and the Mormon Vision

Douglas J. Davies is one of the most insightful and prolific scholars of Mormonism working today. He is a professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Durham, UK. Two of his earlier studies— The Mormon Culture of Salvation (2000) and An Introduction to Mormonism (2003)—analyze foundational aspects of Mormonism from an engaging academic synthesis of history, religious... Read more

Shakers, Mormons, and Religious Worlds: Conflicting Visions, Contested Boundaries

In Shakers, Mormons, and Religious Worlds, Stephen Taysom, an assistant professor of religious studies at Cleveland State University, has written an intriguing and theoretically rich monograph that compares Shaker and Mormon approaches to religious identity formation and boundary maintenance. Although Shakerism dwindled as a religious movement in the twentieth century, Shakers and Latter-day... Read more

Exhibiting Mormonism: The Latter-day Saints and the 1893 Chicago World's Fair

"There is a natural and overwhelming curiosity to know what manner of creature a real live flesh and blood Mormon is," wrote an 1893 reporter for the Chicago Daily Tribune, quoted by Reid Neilson in his study of the participation by the LDS Church at the 1893 Chicago fair (131). Neilson is a scholar of Mormon religious history and current managing director of the Church History Department of The... Read more

Sacred Symbols: Finding Meaning in Rites, Rituals, and Ordinances

The power and viability of symbolism is often lost on the American psyche and also finds mixed reception by American LDS audiences. It is as if the essential pragmatism of the American spirit militates against the very appearance of ambiguity in all its forms. Symbolism and metaphor comprise the tools-in-trade of skillful meaning making and the explication of profound truths in both word and... Read more

Between Pulpit and Pew: The Supernatural World in Mormon History and Folklore

In an address to a joint meeting of the Utah Historical Society and the Folklore Society of Utah in 1991, folklorist William A. Wilson applauded the two organizations for their cooperation over the previous twenty years and then urged even greater cooperation between history and folklore in Utah over the next twenty years. Between Pulpit and Pew serves as one benchmark for measuring just how... Read more

The Tree of Life: From Eden to Eternity

One of humankind's most sacred and abiding symbols is the tree of life. From earliest recorded religious belief, that singular image encompassed the sense of our humanity, rooted deeply in this earthly life with branches stretching outward, heavenward, in hope of the divine. From the Garden of Eden to Lehi's dream, tree of life imagery is particularly evocative within Mormonism, and many... Read more

And Should We Die . . .: The Cane Creek Mormon Massacre

Donald R. Curtis, a Kentucky native, has a passion for early Church history, particularly in Kentucky and the South. Curtis's work has been featured in publications such as The Kentucky Encyclopedia and the Kentucky Explorer. In this book, Curtis presents the account of the lesser-known massacre in Mormon history at Cane Creek, Tennessee. The Cane Creek Mormon Massacre gives a detailed account... Read more

A Firm Foundation: Church Organization and Administration

While A Firm Foundation as a whole will appeal mainly to Church scholars and those interested in organizational theory, each of its individual articles offers an important synthesis of information for those who are interested in a particular topic. For example, a musician researching the history of the hymnbook would be interested in Michael Hicks's article "How to Make (and Unmake) a Mormon... Read more

The Man Behind the Discourse: A Biography of King Follett

Joann Mortensen, a third great-granddaughter of King and Louisa Follett, has long been involved in documenting the lives of her ancestors. Her book, The Man Behind the Discourse, is the first published biography of King Follett, the man whose funeral sermon became known as one of the Prophet Joseph Smith's greatest discourses. Mortensen has structured the book to be accessible to a wide audience... Read more

No Weapon Shall Prosper: New Light on Sensitive Issues

No Weapon Shall Prosper is a valuable resource for those who are curious about, or even troubled by, some of the less discussed or more controversial aspects of Mormonism. The Internet has allowed anti-Mormon arguments to gain greater ground, and this book respectfully but unapologetically responds to such arguments. In a concluding chapter at the end of the book, Millet notes that despite all of... Read more