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Extended 2012 MHA deadline, Nov. 1. Submit!!

8 Oct

Call for Papers (Updated with Extended Deadline)

2012 Mormon History Association Conference

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

“Mormonism In Its Expanding Global Context: Invitations to New Interpretations and Understanding

The 47th annual conference of the Mormon History Association will be held a month later than usual – June 28-July 1, 2012 at the MacEwan Conference and Events Centre at the University of Calgary. The year 2012 marks the 125th anniversary of the establishment of the first Mormon settlement on Lee’s Creek (later Cardston) in southern Alberta by Charles Ora Card. Furthermore, July 1, 2012 will mark the 145th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Originally established in 1875 as Fort Calgary by the Northwest Mounted Police, Calgary has become a thriving metropolitan center to many of Canada’s most successful oil, gas and transportation businesses. So come celebrate with us!

Building upon last year’s theme of global transformations, we intend to capitalize on Calgary’s dynamic setting to invite papers that interpret the Restoration Movement in fresh, new ways. Canada is a richly diverse and cosmopolitan nation and as such beckons the immigration of new viewpoints on Mormon history. International studies of the Mormon experience and comparative studies with other faiths and their environments are encouraged; we also invite research that considers changing perspectives. For instance, how have media and the new era of electronic digitalization influenced the print culture of Mormon history and historical research? What influence has internationalization had on church structures and local memberships as well as interpreting our histories? To what extent has U.S. politics defined the internal understanding of Mormonism? How might various disciplinary lenses such as lived religion, theology, praxis, gender, race and ethnicity shape and reshape our understanding of the Mormon past? Beyond the standard North American perspective, how have local cultures, challenging economics, and national politics affected our interpretations?

The intersection of Canadian and Mormon history also begs scholarly inquiry. For example, how did the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881 impact Mormon migration to Alberta? What unique legal and social challenges did Mormon polygamy encounter in Canada? How does the current debate in the Supreme Court of Canada over plural marriage challenge historical interpretations? How have the Restoration Movements developed in Canada? What of the challenges of secularization?

While we encourage presentations related to the conference theme, we also welcome high-quality proposals related to any and all aspects of Mormon/Restoration history. As a Program Committee we invite proposals for panels as well as individual papers. Innovative formats will also be considered. Please send an abstract of each paper (no more than 300 words) plus a short CV (no longer than two pages) as well as suggestions for session chairs and respondents. Previously published papers will not be considered. Young scholars are especially encouraged to participate. Generous donors have offered to pay travel expenses for some undergraduate and graduate students whose proposals are accepted. Student proposals should include estimated expenses if applying for a travel grant.

The deadline for proposals has been extended to November 1, 2011. Proposals should be sent by email to If necessary, hard copies of proposals can be sent to Richard Bennett, 370D Joseph Smith Building, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be made by December 31, 2011. Additional instructions and information are available on the MHA website at


Mormon Women Project Salon, November 5

30 Sep

I feel extremely privileged to be part of the Mormon Women Project, a website created to showcase individual Mormon women’s stories of faith. The MWP is much more than just a website, though. It’s a network of women. I have met and made many meaningful connections with incredible women by conducting interviews and by meeting with the other members of the staff. 

I joined the project when I desperately needed to devote myself to a Mormon cause, to experience and contribute to the power of my people. And it was exactly the sort of cause I had been seeking. Neylan McBaine, the project’s founder and editor, had begun to do something I had wanted to do for years–document the stories of Mormon women in a way that would highlight their diversity and that would show them engaging with the world in important ways, in ways that are influenced by their Mormonism. And this is what I love most about the project. These women are not pigeonholed according to how they enact an institutional feminine ideal. They are allowed to be fully themselves–daughters of God on their own paths of faith, paths that test and challenge them but that do not destroy their belief. These women are all powerful forces for good in their own spheres of influence.

The MWP is also a nonprofit organization that sponsors a yearly salon, an intellectually and spiritually edifying evening where remarkable women gather to discuss issues pertinent to women. This year’s salon “Crafting A Deliberate Life: Making Choices That Are Purposeful, Personal and Powerful” features prominent Mormon women–Emma Lou Thayne and Kate Holbrook, to name a couple–and will be held in downtown SLC at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Please register and come support these women, and check out the website. This is worldwide women’s religious history in the making!


Live blogging the Relief Society General broadcast

24 Sep

President Julie Beck: Pattern of discipleship in the ancient church.
Early LDS church–women were economic supporters of men as missionaries and early church members.

Authority to teach.

Preparation of saints for temple fulness–>RS
Red brick store–select society, choice, virtuous, and holy
I hope my granddaughters treasure the temple, make covenants there.

Patterns of discipleship that are applied globally on a local level.

Mental, physical, spiritual illness. War, hunger, natural disaster. Addiction, insufficient education.

Trials can bleach the bones of faith and discipleship. RS gives relief. Through RS, discipleship is expanded and work with Christ.

Sisterhood and protection.

a magazine for girls based on “moral truth”

23 Sep

So, my mom just sent me this link. It’s from a woman who plans to start a magazine for girls. Here is how she describes it.

“I’m starting a magazine for teenage girls based on standards and values. It will be less air-brushed, less fake, less celebrity drama and more real, more inclusive, more empowering. Oh, believe me–there will still be articles about what your lip-gloss color says about your personality, but there will also be articles about being (and becoming) the amazing women they are and were always meant to be.

“There will be no mixed messages about modesty and sexuality and how those ideas play into self-worth and personal esteem. We will talk about education and dating and family life and health and beauty and fashion. But we’ll talk about the hard things too–drugs and sex and suicide–as these are things today’s teens are dealing with (whether you want to admit it or not). But we’ll talk about them within the context of moral truth.”

Good on you, Krista Maurer, for trying to offer something uplifting to young women, something that teaches them to honor themselves and their bodies and helps them appreciate who they are and who they can become. Looking at the beginnings of a project like this make me realize what a challenging job LDS Young Women’s leaders have and how difficult it is to be both frank–treating the issues that you know young women will encounter–and spiritually uplifting–teaching them to try to rise above the fog of their youth and popular culture and strive for something more. Any move in that direction is good. This sort of counterculture is good. Way to enter the fray.

Pauline reflections

8 Aug

I have been reading Paul’s epistles as entire literary units, rather than half-heartedly plucking a verse or chapter here and there. I have been astounded by each epistle’s thematic coherence and by thematic continuities among the epistles. The epistle to the Hebrews was the first I read in this way.

Reflection 1: I loved the transformation of the high priest’s office into the office of Jesus Christ. As the high priest, Christ replaced stale legalism with a new covenant, one that was not built on the performance of particular rites but upon the “better testament” of Christ’s blood: “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (9:11-12). Continue reading

Photo of Native American Woman by Marion Stark Gaines, 1900.

4 Jul

Available in the Marion Stark Gaines Photograph Collection in the Billups-Garth Archives at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, Columbus, Mississippi.

CFP: Women and Creativity, Nov. 3-5, 2011, BYU

11 Jun

Thanks to Rachel Cope for passing this along!


Brigham Young University

Women’s Studies

Invites proposals for the conference:


Conference date: November 3-5, 2011

Throughout history, women have strived to demonstrate their ability to create lasting literary or artistic works, to find new ways of expressing themselves, to better our world through valuable research and innovative thinking. This inter-disciplinary conference seeks to examine issues related broadly to women and creativity and to bring together faculty and advanced students interested in sharing research on women in the arts, literature and sciences.  We invite proposals from literature, visual and performing arts, philosophy, religion, law, social studies, anthropology, sciences, and public health. Continue reading

Fallen and Renewed

7 Jun

I wrote this in February, posted it, and took it down. It was infinitely too personal at the time. Somehow, it isn’t anymore. I can accept God’s will for me and the closeness with God to which I am being called.

Turmoil perhaps best describes the state of mind I am in. Some days I feel as though my head is screwed on upside down or oblique to my spine. I gratefully took refuge at home after a traumatic two and a half years that challenged some of my core beliefs (albeit quirky ones; I won’t regale you with details here) and opened me up to new avenues of thought and belief. After the first year of divinity school I felt completely deconstructed with no reliable tools with which to put myself back together again.

My existential angst has once again intensified with a strange twist. I have been considering going on an LDS mission. Continue reading

Habits of Being: Mormon Women’s Material Culture by Exponent II at Sunstone

12 May

Cross-posted at Exponent II.

Exponent II is organizing an exhibit of Mormon women’s material culture for this year’s Sunstone Symposium to be held at Weber State University, August 3-6. The exhibit, Habits of Being: Mormon Women’s Material Culture will feature a photo-display of artifacts bequeathed to modern women by their female ancestors, accompanied by a short, 250 to 500-word essay describing the artifact and its significance. We plan to publish the essays in a small booklet and, if we receive too many responses to display, possibly online as well.

So much of women’s history is encoded in women’s possessions and creations, yet the stories of these items often go untold because they are not deemed to be as important as the events of institutional and world histories. Through this exhibit, we would like to explore how Mormon women today interact with their ancestral, religious, and material pasts. What does this interaction teach us about Mormon womanhood, past or present? What is the wisdom that has been imparted through material things and the stories women tell about them? We hope that the exhibit will open a conversation about how we use artifacts to define ourselves as women, to preserve past meanings and ways of being, and to create new meanings and ways of being. If anything, this is an opportunity for you to explore your own spiritual and material history and to contribute to Mormon women’s history.

If you have an artifact and story to tell, you are invited to participate!  Please comment below and/or email for further details about deadlines and what exactly we would need from you.

Random Procrastination Post

24 Apr

Something seen: Sacred Heart of Mary.

Something read: “Hills Like White Elephants”–my favorite Hemingway story.

Some things heard: Sad, sweet folkies. Kim Taylor, “Fruit of My Labor”; Nanci Griffith, “Once in a Very Blue Moon”; Eva Cassidy, “Songbird”; Adrianne, “10,000 Stones.”