The Sacrament Prayers

Yesterday as I sat in church listening to boys offer those prayers on bread and water, it struck me forcibly that they were Nephite literature, from their golden age. What poignant readings they must have been for those eyewitness parents who watched children “not” remember Him and drift through doubt, skepticism and finally, unbelief. Even as literary objects alone, they seem a slice of joy and pain.

Fed Funding for Documentary Editing Projects about to be Cut by Nearly an Order of Magnitude.

This will have massive effects on ongoing projects.

NHPRC grants impact sheets are now available on the SAA’s website at:

If you have a stake in the use of historical records please take a moment to phone or fax a congress person on the House Appropriations Committee (see the above link).

Association for Documentary Editing Workshop Notice

Take note:
Dear Colleagues,

The deadline for application is JULY 15!

The Association for Documentary Editing, with funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, will present a workshop before the ADE annual meeting. It will be held from noon, Tuesday, 18 October, to noon, Thursday, 20 October.

This workshop will help project directors and senior editors learn about the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). Using a combination of presentations, case studies, discussion, and hands-on practice, we’ll consider what the TEI is, how it might enhance both documentary editions under way and those already in print, and what kinds of value it adds for editors and readers. We’ll also discuss practical workflow issues, staffing and training questions, publication tools, and how to interact effectively with digitization vendors and services. Participants will come away with a broad understanding of how the TEI works, how to begin planning digitization, and where to go to learn more. No technical knowledge is assumed.

A fee of $100 is due upon acceptance. Attendance is limited to 12. The instructors will be Julia Flanders and Syd Bauman, of the Brown Women Writers Project.

For applications and further information, see the ADE website (

Beth Luey

Summertime and Recycling: 2nd, John Johnson and Loss of Faith

Return to Kirtland (or a post about it from 2010).

John Johnson harbored Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon (Joseph in the house, Rigdon in a nearby cabin) for a time in Hiram, Ohio when the “translation” of the scriptures was in progress. A number of important old families in the region (as old as it got on the frontier) had also joined the Church, but then lost faith for various reasons. Johnson however, did not. Instead he stood by Smith and Rigdon, doing what he could to further the progress of the work, accepting Smith’s revelatory claims and providing for his needs on the strength of those beliefs. But Johnson became embroiled in the Kirtland financial boom/bust whose causes seem clear today, but were faith rending for many. David Boruchoff writes:

In religion, as in love, the burden of disillusion is most difficult to bear when it results, not from doubt as to the preeminence of one’s objectives and aspirations, but instead from the sense that one cannot achieve them. Hope is a terrible thing to lose, particularly when one still believes in the necessity of ideals left in abeyance, perhaps never to be realized.[1]

The watch I wear claims that it is water resistant to 200m. While I have done a little fish watching, I’ve certainly never gone to 600 feet. That is a cold dark world where sunlight never penetrates. The pressure is immense and highly specialized equipment would be needed to assist such a dive. Even then, it’s not safe. I’ve wondered about Johnson’s dive and why it came to that – reaching the limits of his faith. While some family members remained in or rejoined Mormonism, I wonder what John would have thought had he stayed the course.[2]

[1] “New Spain, New England, and the New Jerusalem.” Early American Literature. 43/1 (2008):5.

[2] For Kirtland see the last two chapters of Mark L. Staker’s Hearken, O Ye People. (Kofford, 2010).

Bushman Symposium live blog

Missed Givens. Mauss talking on reversal of retrenchment. Thinks motivation for reversal (see Angel and Beehive) is increased political visibility.

Whittaker on British infusion 19th cent. Infused leadership. Reverse infusion (lots of returning missionaries). Wants to look Brits and ideologies. (iPad sorry) critiques of godbeites. Did John Taylors Brit background make veer away from BY united order?

Music art arch. All Brit strains. Welch music. Boy scouts.
Major studies of Jesus (Talmage) influenced by outdated Victorian studies which insulated from higher crit. Brit influence may have slowed down the internationalism of church.

Q&a Mauss.. Is this latest development a continuation of dialectic of Angel? Mauss: oscillating phenom.
Whittaker. Can’t hear.
Mauss. Underlying reasons for excoms in 90s? Great variety of reasons too much anger in victims”. Mauss had 4 diff encounters with leaders no probes. Sense that church leaders felt some response was nec. Following Arrington era.

I hate spelling correct.

Mauss question on bom musical notes taxi ads remarkable turn.

Quest on Hoffman -catalyst of church recoil from intellectuals. Mauss says it was an increment for retrenchment.

How did internationalization effect dealing with tensions.

How much respectability has the church received? Not much problem is, we are too new. Keep up present tack. Camps attack Mormons – evangelicals- secularists. Second one is new and diff. From what other movements faced in former times.

Heading down to McLachlan on Mormonism and Romanticism.
Crappy connection here in basement so updates slow.

McLachlan. Teaches Phil of religion. Morm structural similarities to romantics. Hegel etc – Bushman on the roads 9 points. Cool. Get you in Trouble in North Carolina. Richards “creed”

Two restorations. Rational-camp bells. JS is romantic. BoM theology diff from king follett? Most discussers of bom wrong. Verma .. He brings the words you bring the meaning. Compare to Lehi’s Phil. Very interesting. Fall much better than innocence. Compare to wizard of oz Kansas monochrome. Kant reworks Verma. Sublime vs order.
Schelling – unity and individuality. Evolves to human freedom. God becomes community. Consciousness requires other. Secret of love. He’ll is the place where you blame everyone else for your own problems.

Ben Huff. Enlightenment. Reaction to abuses of religion. Secular millennium. Also enlightenment a forerunner to Mormonism. Counterpoint to reformers as forerunners. Enlightenment critique of authority. Luther we are like horses that either ridden by god or the devil. Enlightenment offered critique of moral authoritarianism of reformers. Kant, Mill law is above God?

(aside by me… Luther sounds sort of like 2Ne9?)

Some questions about Bushman’s 9 points. Think responder missed point even though Claudia Bushman was there.

Staying for Ben Park. Then I’ve got to leave by order of the Queen.

Ben: On Dependence of JS on Thomas Dick (ala Brodie).

Young scholars owe Bushman.

Rigid linear development of thought. Historians have used simplistic categories. Hide suble divergences. Notions of intellectual dependence important. Focus on this. Dick is an example. Hope to posit better framework. Kirtland publishing Dick. Dick provides some rational defense for theosis and other stuff. Language used in Dick. Brooke uses Dick, Ramsey, etc. To show Rigdon as vanguard for spirits, etc. Ignore or embrace Dick? All or nothing is wrong way to think. Interpreting and contextualizing requires sublety. Most historians now agree that Mormonism is best thought of as sitting in the cultural sea. But we must avoid a framework where JS is central and cultural trends only important where they appear to contact JS.

More important is idea of how both Dick and JS were responding to say enlightenment erosion of faith,say.

Ben preaches the word on how Mormon Studies must move ahead. Be equally hesitant about all or nothing thing. Mormon theology must understand the intellectual air of the era first. Then examine the parallels and divergences. Missing a lot. He’s reading too fast.

Steve Fleming on Neoplatonism and early Mormonism. But I can’t stay.

Ha! Charles Randall quotes from JS but not really 🙂 See my recent post at BCC on mythic JS. Hehe.

Got to leave. Dang.

Summertime and Recycling: 1st, Rodney Stark.

Summertime and the livin’ is easy. That is, recycling posts time! First installment: Rodney Stark.

I saw this the other day at and had, well, not a chuckle, because I think there is some kind of tragedy lurking, but a starkness in vision (if you will):

The first [reason for the decline of “mainline” Protestantism] is modernist theology. The theology that prevailed in the mainline churches changed dramatically [from post Civil war times]. If you take Paul Tillich’s view of God, in which God is essentially something imaginary, then why do you bother to hold a church service in the first place? If there’s nothing there to pray to, why do it?

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