Why you should subscribe to Dialogue

You’re interested in Mormon studies and in literature, personal essays and great content…. and you’re also a cheap sort. Solution: Dialogue is currently offering a free sample issue to those who have never subscribed, or who haven’t for two years. See here — it’s a terrific offer and a chance to read today’s best independent journal of Mormon thought. Additionally, those BCC readers interested in the free issue will receive a green discount card in their copy for any new reader wanting to subscribe, for a $25 introduction gift subscription offer.

BCC has been partnered with Dialogue for about nine months now. We’re really pleased with the depth of thought and quality of sentiment we’ve found in our new friends, and we’re honored to be affiliated with them. Kathleen’s latest is just one of many wonderful posts. I hope you’ll take the time to check out Dialogue and experience it for yourselves.


  1. Kevin Barney says:

    What he said.

    Dialogue has a booth here at MHA, and the new issue is hot off the presses.

  2. Seth R. says:


    I’m tempted.

    But I already waste enough time reading the bloggernacle …

  3. Jared E. says:

    Seth R.,
    I’d take Dialogue over the bloggernacle anyday…

  4. Aaron Brown says:

    Dialogue looks really good on the coffee table. It’s smaller than Sunstone or the Ensign, so when you lay it one top of the other two magazines, and the hometeachers come over, they can see that your religious interests run the gamut, and they’ll have trouble pigeonholing you.

    Of course, there’s still the question of whether you lay the current Sunstone between the Dialogue and the Ensign, or if you put Sunstone underneath the Ensign. I’m sure the difference gives some profound signal as to the nature of one’s religious commitments, but I’m not sure what it is.

    These are little dramas and dilemmas that everyone should experience, however. Subscribe to Dialogue!

    Aaron B

  5. Actually Aaron, it is the Ensign, Atlantic, Science News and Dialague. No Sunstone for me.

  6. Kimball L. Hunt says:

    Aaron Brown, congrats on your DaVinci Code bestseller. I hear it’s a quick read!

  7. Seth R. says:


    I for one like hearing myself “talk.”

    I can’t help it if you don’t.

  8. Aaron Brown says:

    But Stapley, where do you put your copy of Human Events?

    Aaron B

  9. Hmm. But if I subscribe to Dialogue, I’d probably be excluded from being able to teach at BYU (tic). And as is typical with most home teachers, they are less interested in Dialogue than in whether or not I subscribe to Golf Digest.

    My in-laws were involved in Dialogue in the early days, but they’ve distanced themselves in recent decades. They aren’t open about the reasons, but I think there was a period where they got uncomfortable with the direction and figured that it wasn’t good for them to be so closely associated.

  10. queno,
    if you aren’t joking about your BYU reference, read Dialogue and you’ll see it regularly has articles written by BYU faculty who are employed by BYU both before and after they write for Dialogue (and/or presumably receive their own subscription, or read it in its prominent location in the periodicals room in the library, or in the law school library, etc., or buy it at the BYU bookstore, etc.).

  11. #9

    Hmm. But if I subscribe to Dialogue, I’d probably be excluded from being able to teach at BYU (tic).

    Isn’t that sad?

  12. it would be sad, and embarassing, Hellmut, if true, but its demonstrably not true. But, I suppose it’s still sad, and embarassing, that Queno either thinks its true or thinks it cool to say what he said.

  13. I am sure that you are right, Jim. There must be dozens of BYU faculty who subscribe to Dialogue.

    On the other hand, I have been told by one BYU professor that a political theorist did not pass the general authority interview for failing to promise to never publish in Dialogue and Sunstone.

    Of course, that’s hearsay. I was not present during the interview, neither was the person who told me. Nonetheless, that such accounts cannot be categorically excluded as implausible is not a good sign.

  14. Rumors are nasty business. Many professors and administrators at BYU subscribe and do contribute. Many do not. Same is true for BYU students and grad students. Most of the libraries on campus do. Same goes for BYU-Hawaii and Idaho. Often I sign release forms so that the journal articles can be used in classroom study in several of the departments.

    There will always be those with negative opinions trying to push their own agenda on others however they can, and that is unfortunate.

    Thanks to all of you ‘brave’ souls that do subscribe and are taking me up on this free offer. It will be all of you that become the greatest influence on those driven by fear and the new pioneers in the continuing quest for open dialogue.
    Lori -Managing Director: Dialogue Foundation

  15. Kevin Barney says:

    When I worked as a teaching assistant for Kent Brown, he was one of the chairs of the BYU Religious Studies Center, so he had a particularly nice office with wooden book shelves lining one wall. I well remember a prominent section filled with past issues of Dialogue. But that was a long time ago.

  16. Nate Oman says:

    Great offer. Take them up on it. I had a Sunstone subscription for a while, but decided to drop it and spend my money on the Economist instead. I like Dialogue though…

  17. Kevin Barney says:

    Nate, in the next issue of Dialogue (not the one that is hot off the presses, but the next one after that), there will appear two of the responses from your Open Letter to Dialogue post at T&S. I know, because mine is one of the responses they are going to print. I just cleared the page proof with Lavina yesterday.

    (In the printed version, they have me calling you “Nathan.” That was an editing change; I wasn’t actually so formal in the original thread.)

  18. The newest issue- hot off the presses- also has a long open letter to Nate Oman from Robert Rees, former editor of Dialogue. It’s very good. It will be posted on our website in the next day or two along with the entire Table of Contents for the new issue.

    I’ve received 19 requests from this post so far for free issues. I’d like to reach 50. Pass the word around. The enclosed ‘green card’ has a great offer you won’t find anywhere else.


  19. I guess the “(tic)” — Internet for “tongue-in-cheek” — notation in my post was completely missed by certain readers. I guess I should have put it in bold, or in blinking red lights.

    Yes, I know that BYU professors regularly write for Dialogue.

    Yes, I know that the whole BYU fetish for sneering at Sunstone/Dialogue is SO 20th-century. Although, since it *is* BYU, after all, there are departments still stuck in at least the late-1980s and early-1990s who disapprove (I have relatives serving as faculty members, staff members, and I’ve had at least one discussion with BYU about teaching there).

    Yes, I know Sunstone and Dialogue are two different publications and that traditional emnity directed at Sunstone by TBMs is not directed at Dialogue. I have family members who used to be involved in the publication of Dialogue, so I’ve read maybe half of the past 40 years’ worth, although due to space limitations, I don’t own any myself. Dialogue is a great publication. I heart Dialogue. I’ve used its material for priesthood lessons (in true disclosure, I admit that I don’t always reference my sources).

    Everyone jumped on the BYU comment (tic) and missed the stereotype about home teacher magazine interests? Guess the ‘nacle (or at least jim and lori) has no sense of humor these days. Either that, or is the first rule of Dialogue, “don’t joke about Dialogue?” Maybe I should have preferenced my joke with a Packer reference; then you would have gotten it.


  20. [And since I’m working with only an hour of sleep today, I will disclose that I intended to use “preceded” instead of “preferenced”. I think I was trying to say something like “precede” and “reference” and got “preference”. As if Packer and Dialogue would have anything to do with a girls’ choice dance. Although, that would be an interesting article, I imagine.]

  21. Queuno, I think most people just didn’t know what (tic) means. I sure didn’t.

  22. Steve Evans says:

    unless TIC is followed immediately by TAC, I think it’s safe to say that we are like totally not going to get it.

  23. Sorry, I figured that anyone who spent considerable time blogging would know basic Internet lingo. This wasn’t supposed to be rocket science.

    [Oh, but wait — you don’t often find rocket scientists or Internet junkies normally trolling Mormon group blogs. Sorry, I get it now. :) They’re normally trying to take down SCO.]

    By the way, :) is a smiley-face. Didn’t mean to confuse. :)

    Anyway, in 2002 this following post appeared on aarp.org:


    So, my grandma learned these before the ‘Nacle? Ugh.

    Here’s a handy, exhaustive reference: http://www.netlingo.com

  24. John Taber says:

    I’m taking you up on this offer, but . . .

    There will always be those with negative opinions trying to push their own agenda on others however they can, and that is unfortunate.

    It has been my experience, especially in recent years, that those who have an axe to grid are very over-represented in Dialogue. In fact, it seems that any one of the so-called “September Six” (or any other “martyr” excommunicated for apostasy) can get whatever they want published, without even a review for grammar. I hope this pattern does not persist.

  25. [Darn it. Your blogging software interpreted my emoticon smiley face — a colon followed by a dash followed by a closed parenthesis — into a cute picture of an actual smiley. Oh well. So I guess that joke will fall flat also. ]

  26. Queno-Sorry I missed the tic. I have been accused of lacking a sense of humor by certain teenagers that surround me. Your critique is probably accurate. Thanks for the info sites. I don’t blog much though as you can tell. I was tired when I responded and just back from MHA and on a flight I thought I was going to die on… twin prop plane, lots of turbulence.

    John-I would be interested to know which issue is lacking in good grammar? I think you are wrong in your assessment of the way things are chosen for publication. They have to be written well. Our peer review editors and board members don’t include anyone who has been excmmunicated last I checked so I doubt that ‘group’ you mention has received favoritism for publication of their papers in the journal. Fairness and balance for an open dialogue of all issues has always been the goal. I hope you will enjoy the issue I send you. Let me know is you see more grammar problems and if so, we may need to recruit you for copy editing.

  27. Kimball L. Hunt says:


    I, no kidding, thought by your “(tic)” you’d meant some sort of humorously affected nervous-tic. Sorta like lol* Inspector Drefus gets when he starts getting exasperated in the Pink Panther movies!
    *Lol: of course, “laughter.” Echoic of the gagging sound made when someone laughs so hard as to become spasmatic. In which case it’s best to insert a pencil between the teeth to guard against the person so afflicted’s swallowing the tongue.

  28. I always thought ‘lol’ meant lots of love…hmmm.

  29. Kimball L. Hunt says:

    Well, Robert:

    Actually, in volxxxix No2 p173 there’s a split infinitive the second paragraph from the top, lol. (Just kidding — but I am about to read your lettre there to mista Oman.)

  30. Kimball L. Hunt says:

    & wlol: whole lota lovin

  31. John Taber says:

    Let’s put it this way: If D. Michael Quinn or Lavina Fielding Anderson were to scribble a grocery list on a piece of paper and accidentially submit it, it would be published in the next issue.

    It isn’t grammar per se that has been a problem, it’s been a matter of giving some key people a free pass without reviewing content, construction, etc. Quinn’s more recent contributions have been sloppy to say the least – he’s repeated himself within essays, put together very weak arguments, etc. but it seems like what he sent in was typed up and published intact.

    “Fairness and balance . . . has always been the goal”? It certainly once was, but it hasn’t been for a long time. It seems that the more critical Anderson or a few other key people are, the more likely they will be published without scrutiny.

    It seems like the norm (and for longer than thirteen years, but has greatly intenstified since) is that someone who has been such a good friend couldn’t possibly have erred. If they’ve faced discipline in the Church then it is the Church that has erred. I, personally, have no need for the “apostate of the month” articles that have been all to prevalent of late. But we’ll see what there is to come. I’m hopeful that Dialogue can recover.

  32. Jonathan Green says:

    Queno, I read (tic) the same way Kimball did, and I actually think it’s funnier that way–as a reference to the outward sign of someone neurotically obsessed with remaining employable by BYU–so I will continue to read it that way.

  33. John- It does help when you are critical to be specific. I am glad you clarified your grammar comment. Now as for your comment “apostate of the month articles”: could you please explain?? I don’t believe that Lavina has had anything published in Dialogue since 1988 and Quinn since 2001. Who are you referring to of late that has been published in Dialogue that you don’t approve of?

  34. Kevin Barney says:

    Lori, maybe it’s just as well that United kicked me off the flight to Casper for weight restrictions and I had to rent a car and drive the leg of the trip from Denver. I was wondering what the flight from Denver to Casper would be like; it doesn’t sound very pleasant. The drive was actually quite nice.

  35. Levi Peterson says:


    I hope you won’t judge Dialogue on basis of Lavina Fielding Anderson and Michael Quinn alone. It is true the journal has occasionally published their work, but not lately. In the meantime, there are many, many other authors whom I hope you will want to take into account. In keeping with Dialogue’s attempt to represent all sides of an issue, its authors represent a variety of points of view on the Church. I recommend that you take a look at an online article on chiasmus in the Book of Mormon by Boyd and Farrell Edwards Dialogue Paperless, e-Paper # 1, April 30, 2006. This article is fully faith promoting. We will publish a print condensation of it in our fall issue of Dialogue. The fact is that Dialogue frequently publishes faith-promoting articles and essays. I would be happy to publish even more of them.

    I appreciate your colorful metaphor about publishing submissions scribbled on a grocery list. Your point is, of course, that we accept shoddy work from authors like Anderson and Quinn. I’ve never heard Anderson accused of shoddy scholarship before. Certainly, I’ve never seen any. As for Quinn, he has something of a congenial reputation among the editors of journals other than Dialogue for packing his scholarship with excess documentation. But Quinn is also recognized as a senior scholar in his subject matter.

    I trust you are aware that Hugh Nibley is frequently accused of shoddy documentation. Even his loyal supporters will sometimes grant that. But no one discounts the importance of Hugh Nibley’s work. He represents the pinnacle of scholarship written in defense of the Church and its doctrines and practices.

    At any rate, I enjoyed your comment.


  36. Kevin, I went from Salt Lake right to Casper on Delta Skywest. When I got to the airport they offered us free tickets to get off the plane because of weight issues too. I had to go but I knew I was in trouble. Levi was with me so I had an illusion of safety…sort of. At least I would not die alone. On the way home, Cheney was flying in to do the commencement at his high school so that flight was delayed as air space shuts down for him. People were upset about missing connections. Molly was sweet holding my hand assuring me our plane had done this many times and survived. I felt like I was in a dryer getting tossed around. At one point, I closed my eyes to pray to the weather Gods and I swear the plane flipped over! All in all- I should have driven. I just wish these MHA conferences could be in larger cities-easier to get to. Nauvoo will be another trauma…and probably nothing over a 2 star hotel in town.

  37. John Taber says:

    Well, Brother Peterson, thank you. You may not remember it, but we actually met once, almost ten years ago.

    Those were just examples. I’ve never personally subscribed to Dialogue but I grew up with it. When I was at BYU I tried to keep up with it, but I gradually lost track. Since I came back to Delaware four years ago I’ve had a chance to look at it again when I’ve visited my parents’ house. There have been, as always, wonderful things to be found from time to time. I will say, though, that I’ve been relatively disappointed, not only in terms of the angle that contributions have taken as of late, but also in the overall quality.

    But while I say I’ve been disappointed, that doesn’t mean I’ve given up – it’s just been harder to maintain my interest. I’m taking on this offer in hopes that things will get better. It’s not that I think members have no business discussing these sorts of things outside church – there will always need to be a place where LDS-related things can be discussed outside the reach of Church correlation, and/or beyond what’s available “wherever LDS books are sold”. That’s why there’s Sunstone, that’s why there’s Dialogue, that’s why there’s SRM and the Bloggernacle.

    But with that, I see a need to be careful in doing so because the glue that keeps us together as a community should be interest in the Church and its culture (whatever that is), as opposed to well, opposition to them, or trying to draw one against the other. As part of that we each need to recognize that no two of us see everything in “Mormon thought” the same way, and so there is no need for any of us to disparage another for seeing things differently.

    To put it succinctly: there are no “Signaturi”; there are no “Ignoranti”; we are all to a certain extent both “Iron Rods” and “Liahonas”. (My sister came up with the latter part of that as the logical conclusion of Richard Poll’s Iron Rod/Liahona dichotomy, when she was all of six.)

  38. Kevin Barney says:

    Lori, Nauvoo will indeed be a challenge. I’m not sure what they’ll recommend for how to get there; maybe a flight into St. Louis and a drive from there. No matter how you do it, the last leg of the trip will need to be by car. (I live near Chicago and will just drive. It is about five hours from here.)

    And the accomodations are definitely not multiple stars. I usually stay at the Nauvoo Family Motel. Anyway, we’ve got a couple of years to figure all of that out.

  39. Aaron Brown says:

    Over the last few years, I have witnessed, and sometimes participated in, various online discussions about Sunstone and Dialogue, including whether they are worth subscribing to, whether or not they are well edited, whether their content manifests certain ideological biases, what percentage of their articles folks tend to agree or disagree with, whether one should subscribe to them, given some of their content, etc., etc., etc.

    Quite frankly, I’ve always found these discussions rather beside the point. Personally, I would subscribe to both Sunstone and Dialogue regardless of the answer to most of these questions. Why? Because, for better or for worse, these are the journals with the most interesting content with respect to LDS doctrine, history and social issues. Whether or not I agree with this or that article or this or that editorial decision is really beside the point for me. I just can’t imagine intentionally foregoing the opportunity to stay “in the know” with respect to what thoughtful Mormons are discussing. Ergo, I have to subscribe to Sunstone and Dialogue.

    Honestly, I don’t even get to the other questions that seem to preoccupy everyone else.

    Aaron B

  40. I actually think that Aaron’s response above is about right. Despite their faults or lack of them, Sunstone and Dialogue are worth reading because that is where the important Mormon intellectualizing is happening. (I although I would hasten to add that I don’t think it is the only place that it is happening.)

    I wasn’t going to write anything in response to Rees’s Open Letter. I actually agreed with most of it, after I got over the you-ungrateful-young-whipper-snapper tone that was my first impression. Still, in the end I couldn’t help but write something in response. For those interested it is here

  41. Dear Nate (a gracious young whipper snapper) – I would have liked to read your response but when I click on the link it goes to a page which says-”’this account has been suspended and to contact the billing department”’
    Because I have been accused of lacking a sense of humor, perhaps someone should explain to me if this is a Freudian joke and what it means.

  42. Supergenius says:

    Lori, the joke’s on Nate.

  43. We have contacted our hosting service about the problem…In the mean time, imagine that I wrote something very thoughtful and measured in reply.

  44. Kimball L. Hunt says:

    Ya just can’t win.

    I went ‘n’ took Dialogue up on its “complimentary” offer. Which, I’m gonna assume, Dialogue offered me with with its COMPLIMENTS? ‘caus of my ineffable charms? lol. And now after reading Nate’s lettre contra Rob’s — contra Nate’s open lettre that was uh obviously subtly contra Rob’s/ Rob’s successors’ eras of editorship? Anyway, now I feel just awful ‘caus my answers to some future survey would only be furtherly skewing of Dialogue’s readership numbers towards the ranks of the um Disenchanted? So (just ruminating here) for Dialogue’s future subscriptions, I’d suggest . . .

    Rather than all the hassle of officially requiring folks submit recommends from their bishops to be able to subscribe . . . perhaps some kinda informal system or another of quasi letters-of-introduction could be put into place. For example, people do business according to membership/ standing in some kind of community of relationship family or being vouched for through connections with the same? And since those who would pass such muster couldn’t possibly know everyone else who’d be able to do so personally — maybe you could assign to all subscribers confidential signs? Sorta like baseball catchers/ coaches use?

  45. Kimball L. Hunt says:

    Well, when people limit themselves to their entering into contractual relationships with bonefide members in good standing of extended family or “the community,” it’s ‘caus there’s a low level of ethical behavior expected among folks gernerally. (And forget my “pass-signs” remark — where I was just trying to be funny at the expense of Free — or Accepted — Masonry.)

    But as I was sittin here ruminating to myself, I wondered: How DO institutions manage to counteract institutional drift down the generations? Grasping for analogical straws — How does the University of Chicago — does the London Economist manage, year after year, to champion Adam Smith over Marx? Huh? And, in the former case, garner so many Nobels in the process? Somebody must know.

    If the pool of independent Mormon studies scholars is going to generally skew to the “left”? — well, with also pockets of “revivalist” intellectuals at the opposite pole to thus position themselves even to the “right” of the institutional Church, as well? — How could it be encoded into some intellectual forum’s DNA to consistently put editorial boards in place that’d be right in the centerpoint of the community of Mormon Studies scholars at large? Or, for that matter, one left-of-center or right-of-center?

  46. Kimball L. Hunt says:

    (I forgot to type in a connecting paragraph where I say whenever there’s rival factions there’s gonna be a need to ascertain loyalties.)

  47. Nate-
    I was able to read your reponse to Rees today though I can see by the amount of posts that it has been up for a while. It is thoughtful and measured as you say. I liked it and the rest of the discussion that has followed.

    “Sunstone and Dialogue are worth reading because that is where the important Mormon intellectualizing is happening”. I know this is out of context but thanks for that comment, too.

    We hit my goal of getting at least 50 free offers from this thread. Thanks Bcc readers.
    wlol (whole lotta lovin), Lori

  48. 51 ;-)

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