Sociology and Behavior | BYU Studies

Sociology and Behavior

Turning Freud Upside Down 2: More Gospel Perspectives on Psychotherapy's Fundamental Problems

Editor Lane Fischer, Editor Aaron P. Jackson,
An increasing number of psychotherapists reject traditional psychology’s marginalization of religion. As in the original Turning Freud Upside Down , this second volume looks to Christ’s gospel for direction. With a gospel perspective, the authors have questioned some of psychotherapy’s standard assumptions and have proposed features that should be found in gospel-compatible psychotherapy. “As I... Read more

Turning Freud Upside Down: Gospel Perspectives on Psychotherapy's Fundamental Problems

Editor Lane Fischer, Editor Doris R. Dant, Editor Aaron P. Jackson,
Latter-day Saints often worry about psychotherapy negatively affecting their souls—for good reason. Even religious therapists may promote anti-gospel principles. This hazard is particularly extreme when therapists are unaware of their practicing assumptions. Now counselors—and their clients—can go to Turning Freud Upside Down for a gospel corrective to that problem. No mere Freud basher, this... Read more

To Make True Latter–day Saints: Mormon Recreation in the Progressive Era

Author Richard I. Kimball,
Historians have used a variety of touchstones to describe the Mormon experience—polygamy, communal associations, and corporatization among others—but none has provided a long-term, large-scale, interpretation of Mormon leisure and recreation. Focusing on the period of 1890 to 1940, Richard Ian Kimball describes the most significant changes that occurred in Latter-day Saint recreation practices... Read more

John Tullidge: Utah's First Music Critic

John Tullidge's pedantic and sometimes scathing musical criticisms may seem out of place in pioneer Utah. Although music had played a role in the early Latter-day Saint community, its purpose was mainly for enjoyment. Tullidge, on the other hand, called for excellence in both selection and performance. His first review, written only days after he had crossed the plains with the pioneers, was met... Read more

The Lost Commandments: The Sacred Rites of Hospitality

Hospitality refers to the relationship between a host and a guest. It is a sacred duty that demonstrates how the host and guest should treat each other; people in both roles have certain reciprocal responsibilities. The setting is also important. In most cases, hospitality takes place in the host's dwelling; the host offers his home as a haven. However, hospitality is much more than an evening... Read more

Probing the High Prevalence of Polygyny in St. George, 1861–1880: An Introduction

This is the introduction to a trilogy of articles that interpret and map the unusually high incidence of polygamy (or polygyny, the proper term) that characterized St. George, Utah, from its founding in 1861 through the federal census of 1880. Polygamy was practiced by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the 1840s to 1890. The first, and most theoretical, of the three... Read more

Strange Ramblings: The Ideal and Practice of Sermons in Early Mormonism

People who attended meetings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during its first seventy years heard many sermons preached (fig. 1). But the sermons often seemed different from those heard in Protestant and Catholic congregations. For the Saints, this was further evidence that Mormonism was not tied to a professional clergy, but, like primitive Christianity, allowed wide... Read more

Demographic Limits of Nineteenth-Century Mormon Polygyny

*This article is being offered free as a courtesy to as it was footnoted in an expanded Gospel Topic on their site. What percentage of nineteenth-century Mormons practiced polygyny? Estimates of the answer have evolved as have the methods of posing the question. The authors use a simple demographic model to derive mathematical limits on polygyny prevalence. These limits provide benchmarks... Read more

Congruence and Control

While congruency as a way of behaving has received wide acceptance, many criticize it as (a) giving way to license, (b) not allowing for change, and (c) not really being practical. If we can recognize that congruence is not the only value we hold, perhaps we can respond to a range of feeling stemming from a more complex value system. Simple, impulsive behaviors may not represent the range of... Read more

Economic Policy: National, Institutional, and Individual Issues

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Moral Choices and Their Outcomes

Karl G. Maeser, the first president of Brigham Young University, once said, "I have been asked what I mean by word of honor. I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls—walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground—there is a possibility that in some way or another I may be able to escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me... Read more

Mapping the Extent of Plural Marriage in St. George, 1861–1880

*This article is being offered free as a courtesy to as it was footnoted in an expanded Gospel Topic on their site. This article is one of a set on the practice of polygamy in St. George, Utah, from 1861 to 1880. It asks why polygamy rates in that Mormon settlement exceed the demographic limits produced by Bitton and Lambson in their article "Demographic Limits of Nineteenth-Century... Read more

The Ebb and Flow of Mormonism in Scotland, 1840–1900

The story of Mormonism in Scotland actually begins in Canada—not surprisingly when one realizes that for thousands of expatriate Scots in the nineteenth century, Canada was a second homeland. Two Scotsmen, Alexander Wright of Banffshire and Samuel Mulliner of Midlothian, had settled in Upper Canada (now known as Ontario) in the mid-1830s and shortly thereafter they were converted to the Mormon... Read more

Laying Up Treasure: Mormons in the Marketplace

The national profile of Mormons has increased in recent years, and the spotlight on the Mormon way of doing business is no exception. Latter-day Saints are known to be generous with their money and time. Mormons are by no means alone among Christians in the view that an abundance of earthly possessions can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on the way wealth is viewed and used. Mormons... Read more

The Fourth Great Awakening and the Political Realignment of the 1990s

Anti-Mormonism, a strange shadow of Mormonism, is itself a social phenomenon. In 1992 the Encyclopedia of Mormonism noted that no comprehensive history of anti-Mormonism has yet been published. Even if such a history had been published, it would need considerable periodic updating because of the changing activity of anti-Mormons. I have argued elsewhere that the 1982 film The God Makers marked... Read more

Brigham Young on the Social Order

In our mind's eye we can see Brigham Young stepping to the pulpit. He often preaches about the proper social order. What role should women and men have in an ideal society? What should be the function of work, education, and recreation? His views are not simply Christian homily. Born in upstate New York in 1801, Brigham Young is a child of America's "golden age of community experiments" and a... Read more

What We Are

We human beings have little comprehension of what we are. The difficulty is not that we are ignorant. It's that we are self-deceiving. We systematically keep ourselves from understanding ourselves. We don't do this deliberately. In order to do it deliberately we would, as Jean-Paul Sartre once wrote, have to "know the truth very exactly in order to conceal it [from ourselves] more carefully."... Read more

Some Positive Functions of War

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Effects of College Education on the Religious Involvement of Latter-day Saints

Mormonism fosters education. LDS theology views life essentially as an educational process. Mortality is seen as a probationary state, a period of learning and testing. Knowledge and mastery of both self and environment through obedience to divine law is the basis of eternal progression. Thus in Mormon dogma education not only helps man in this life, it also assists him in his quest to achieve... Read more

"A Plea for the Horse": George Q. Cannon's Concern for Animal Welfare in Nineteenth-Century America

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Reading Habits of Church-Active LDS Women

Reading research about members of the LDS church is scarce. While scattered and fragmentary data exist from unpublished studies, little has been made available to public view. These studies cover diverse subjects such as reading skills of missionaries, readability levels of Church materials and scripture, description-evaluations of Church literacy projects, family scripture reading practices,... Read more

The Social Origins of the Kirtland Mormons

Early in the spring of 1831, members of a new religious movement entered Ohio's scenic Western Reserve and settled in the town of Kirtland. They came, men, women, and children, in every conceivable manner, some with horses, oxen, and vehicles rough and rude, while others had walked all or part of the distance. The future "City of the Saints" appeared like one besieged. Every available house, shop... Read more

American Teen-Agers of the 1960's—Our Despair or Hope?

Presidential address delivered at the National Council on Family Relations annual meeting, Miami, Florida, October 1964. Author was dean of the College of Family Living at BYU at the time the address was reprinted in BYU Studies. Teen-agers of the 1960's are growing up in the midst of the greatest scientific breakthrough in history. Such areas as education, employment, goals, values, and morality... Read more

The Consequential Dimension of Mormon Religiosity

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Comment on C. Terry Warner's "What We Are"

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Religious Attitudes in the World of Humphry Clinker

If the social or political historian were to step across the corridor and ask his friend in the English Department what early novel might be especially rich in data for his study of eighteenth-century English life, his colleague might well end up naming Tobias Smollett's Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771). Untroubled by plot (practically speaking, the novel has none), unconcerned with sentiment... Read more

Mormon Poor Relief: A Social Welfare Interlude

There has been considerable scholarship about the law of consecration in the early days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and about the more recent Church welfare plan, but there has been relatively little written about Mormon welfare in the period roughly between 1850 and 1930. Many of the early pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley faced starvation, so President Brigham Young... Read more

A Survey of Dating and Marriage at BYU

In 2001, Norval Glenn and Elizabeth Marquardt conducted a study in which they concluded that "dating" has all but dissapeared from American college campuses." Their collected data, from 1,000 young women who were attending 4-year colleges or universities, showed that one third of the women had only gone on one or two dates during their time at school. Dating had been replaced by "hooking up,"... Read more

Response to Markova

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Striving to Live the Principle in Utah's First Temple City: A Snapshot of Polygamy in St. George, Utah, in June 1880

*This article is being offered free as a courtesy to as it was footnoted in an expanded Gospel Topic on their site. This article is one of a set on the practice of polygamy in the Mormon settlement of St. George, Utah, from 1861 to 1880. For years researchers have known that St. George had an unusually high percentage of its population living in polygamous households and have been... Read more

Toward a Social Science of Contemporary Mormondom

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Wandering On to Glory

In this essay, the author contrasts a journey with a commute. A journey involves none of the sameness or boredom of a commute. It is movement from point A to point B, pressing forward toward a goal or final destination in mind. It is Huckleberry Finn on the river, Frodo Baggins carrying the ring to Mordor, the Joads struggling toward an elusive California promised land. A commute, by contrast, is... Read more

Early Mormon and Shaker Visions of Sanctified Community

Polly Knight's health was failing as she and her family trudged toward western Missouri. Having accepted Joseph Smith Jr. as God's prophet on earth, the Knights left their Colesville, New York, farm and joined with other Mormon converts at Kirtland, Ohio, in 1831. Finding a brief respite there, they again set out, this time for the city of "Zion" that Joseph Smith said they would help build in... Read more

In Defense of Capitalism: Church Leaders on Property, Wealth, and the Economic Order

Capitalism, a system of free markets, free enterprise, and private control of property, is sometimes given credit only for being open to abuse. As it allows freedom of choice and action, it admits greed and oppression as well. Many people, including members of the Church, have mixed feelings about capitalism, their perception of abuses of the system coloring their view of the system itself. Some... Read more

Plural Marriage in St. George: A Summary and an Invitation

This is a short summary of three papers in this issue of BYU Studies Quarterly offering new insights into the importance of polygyny, or polygamy, in nineteenth-century Mormondom. The Bitton-Lambson article derives theoretical limits on the sustainability of polygyny, suggesting that, given the parameters observed in nineteenth-century Utah, a prevalence exceeding 15 to 20 percent of males and 25... Read more

Last Rites and the Dynamics of Mormon Liturgy

Jonathan Stapley tells the history of changes in death and burial practices by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In a significant departure from Protestant American culture, early Mormons could administer deathbed rituals of placing their hands on the dying, anointing them with oil, and dedicating them to God. In 1922, Church leaders instructed against that practice, but... Read more

The Influence of Traditional British Social Patterns on LDS Church Growth in Southwest Britain

Since the arrival of missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Britain in 1837, there have been three phases of Church growth. First was the period of rapid, even explosive, growth that peaked in 1868. During this time large numbers of British Saints emigrated to the United States. The second phase was characterized by relatively low rates of convert baptisms, which,... Read more

Light-Mindedness versus Lightheartedness: Conflicting Conceptions of Laughter among Latter-day Saints

These two scriptures illustrate the conflicting messages about laughter that exist not only in scripture but in the culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our interest in this subject was piqued by the comments of two Church members. The first, a temple sealer, remarked that anytime he laughs loudly he feels guilty because he believes such behavior is unrighteous and... Read more

Values of Christian Families: Do They Come from Unrecognized Idols?

The phrase family values has come to occupy a central role in political and religious discourse in America. Politicians endeavor to associate themselves with this expression, and some religious communities advocate family values as the cure to many of our nation's ills. Many Americans relate these values to a Judeo-Christian tradition, where there is supposedly a clear moral compass for raising... Read more

The Making of British Saints in Historical Perspective

On 19 July 1837, Heber C. Kimball and his companions arrived in Liverpool to establish the British Mission. The personal and institutional costs of this mission were monumental. Separation from loved ones, illness, and poverty seemed the common lot for the missionaries. Staffing the mission took many of the most influential leaders at a time when the Church was struggling against financial crisis... Read more