Dialogue 40/1 (Spring 2007)

The latest Dialogue just hit my mailbox. I believe Kristine is going to offer some personal comments on the various essays once she gets her copy (since I’m in Chicago and she’s in Boston, it will probably take at least a couple of more days to arrive there). In the meantime, I wanted to provide for you the Table of Contents so that you could get a taste for what is in this issue. Subscription information is available here. In my view, everyone in the Bloggernacle should be a subscriber to Dialogue, and at least some in the Bloggernacle should be contributing (whether substantive studies, personal essays, fiction, poetry, reviews or art).


Appreciation for Francis Menlove
An Issue Reflecting Balance
Kirk Hagen’s Accomplishment
Natural vs. Supernatural
What is FARMS Afraid Of?
Ashurst-McGee Replies to Vogel
A Founder Bows Out


The Theology of Desire, Part I
by Cetti Cherniak pg. 1

Loose in the Stacks: A Half-Century with the Utah War and Its Legacy
by William P. MacKinnon pg. 43

The 1948 Secret Marriage of Louis J Barlow: Origins of FLDS Placement Marriage
by Marianne T. Watson pg. 83


My Mission Decision
by Henry L. Miles pg. 138

Changing Faiths Gave My Sons Hope
by Ann Johnson pg. 152


The Nature of Comets
by Sigrid Olsen pg. 158

Where We Lay Our Scene
by Shawn P. Bailey pg. 162


by Ken Raines pg. 175

Snowshoe Song
by Caleb Warnock pg. 176

Poetry on the ‘fridge door Simon
by Peter Eggertsen pg. 178

by Marilyn Bushman-Carlton pg. 180

by Mark Bennion pg. 182

Where Are the Horses?
by Stanton Harris Hall pg. 184


Remembering Gene and His Generation, a review of Proving Contraries: A Collection of Writings in Honor of Eugene England
by R. John Williams pg. 185

Choices, Consequences, and Grace, a review of Richard Dutcher’s, God’s Army 2: States of Grace
by Samuel Brown pg. 188

A Woman of Influence a review of Carol Cornwall Madsen’s, An Advocate for Women: The Public Life of Emmeline B. Wells
by Deborah Farmer Kris pg. 191

Colonizing the Frontier between Faith and Doubt, a review of Levi S. Peterson’s, A Rascal by Nature, A Christian by Yearning: A Mormon Autobiography
by Michael Austin pg. 194

An Inside View of Polygamy in the Midwest, a review of Vickie Cleverley Speek’s, “God Has Made Us a Kingdom”: James Strang and the Midwest Mormons
by Bill Shepard pg. 196




  1. I’ve only gotten through the letters and I thought Mark’s response to Vogel was excellent. I thought Reese’s response to your letter was a bit over the top. Wanting the LDS Chruch to behave like the CoC (where top thinkers don’t really believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet (see last issue)) is pretty much a non-starter.

  2. Still haven’t received my copy yet. What did Mark have to say?

  3. Kevin Barney says:

    J., yeah, I got a chuckle from Bill Russell’s letter. He seemed to be taking me as having made a more expansive statement than I intended. I simply pointed out that he shouldn’t complain about the FR’s reviews of Vogel’s book when no such reviews had at that time appeared. Now that one has appeared, he is more than welcome to take specific issue with it if he likes. To denounce non-existent FR reviews a priori struck me as pretty irresponsible.

    I stand by my view that FARMS is not a monolith. For instance, I agree with Russell WRT the reviews of Compton, which I did not care for. OTOH, I disagree with his complaints regarding Grant Palmer; on that topic, I agree with Davis Bitton, James Allen et al. Grant is a very nice, gentle man, and I wish him well personally. But I find the notion that he is one of our greatest historians, leading us out of the darkness of historical obscurity, to be absolutely ludicrous. We have a whole collegium of real, hard core historians of Mormonism, many actually non-LDS themselves. People would be much better served reading the real stuff than Grant’s naive popularization.

  4. Mark was responding Vogel’s accusation that he isn’t being fair in his conclusions about the Smiths’ contemporary perspectives on Moroni in the early years (i.e., Angle vs. treasure guardian). Mark briefly explains why he is fair using the spectacles/Urim and Thumim transition as a similar analysis.

    Kevin, right on.

  5. Kevin Barney says:

    Sam, Mark responded to Vogel’s claim that the word “angel” is anachronistic to the 1823 setting, by pointing out that, while there were both profane treasure guardian and more religious motifs in Moroni’s visit, the involvement of God and indeed the word “angel” itself are attested in the earliest sources we have, including Jesse Smith’s antagonistic 1829 letter.

  6. Steve Evans says:

    On a completely non-FARMing note, I’d point out that Motley Vision’s SP Bailey did an outstanding job with his piece of fiction…

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    Thanks for pointing that out, Steve; I didn’t recognize the connection at first. Congrats, SP.

  8. Aha, this is the substance of Mark’s Mormon Historical Studies piece. Having spent some quality time with early Mormon angelology recently, I’m inclined to agree with Mark, though with the caveat that modern Mormon angelology is not exactly the same as early Mormon angelology.

    As far as Palmer’s book goes, O, Kevin, thou hast spoken true words. I often find myself unhappy with certain aspects of the FARMS polylith, but as far as Palmer’s book, it’s hard to feel bad about polemical responses to it.

  9. Hmmmm… My first post (yet to be posted) of “History 101” is on Emmeline Wells- perhaps I should reconsider…

  10. Steve Evans says:

    Tracy, carry on! I think you’ll find that for almost every topic under the sun, someone’s already done a dissertation or two….

  11. No, Tracy! I wrote that review, and after reading Madson’s book I’m further convinced that Wells’ works should get attention and recognition whenever possible; she’s one of my heroes! Post, post, post — after your two-week sabbatical that is :)

  12. I *loved* Cetti Cherniak’s “The Theology of Desire” essay and eagerly await Part 2 in the next issue of Dialogue. She teases the earthy/physical/sexual in Mormonism and the way it interacts with the spiritual/holy in refreshing and exciting ways. After reading her essay (it’s long, took me three different sittings, but very rewarding) I felt like biting into a ripe peach, or running my fingers through warm soil, or inhaling the fragrance of a rose… anything that was “in the moment” and manifested both the physical and spiritual.

    Has Cherniak written any previous Dialogue articles? Anyone know anything about her?

  13. Kevin Barney says:

    According to the Contributor notes, she is a housewife in the midwest and studies theology at Notre Dame. So maybe our Melissa knows her.

    Our sacrament meeting theme was tithing. So all three talks were basically the same talk, given three times. Unless you’re willing to get into the kind of discussion that happened on Aaron’s recent thread, there is only so much an average Saint is going to be able to say about tithing.

    So I cracked open this latest Dialogue and did some reading. The William MacKinnon piece was interesting to me. I don’t feel as though I am knowledgeable in the Utah War. So here’s a kid who isn’t even Mormon, who in 1958 (my birth year) as a student at Yale writes an undergrad paper on that topic, and it turns into a 50-year research project. Not only do we learn basic information about the war, but it is also a personal account of his journey in learning about it himself. I would like to see a lot more of this sort of thing in Dialogue. The intellectual history is at least as interesting as the substantive history, if not more so in some cases.

    And I just this second finished Marianne Watson’s study of FLDS “placement” marriages. Whoa! Utterly fascinating. She focuses on a case from the 1940s in her own family, which showed the development in the line that would eventually become the FLDS Church from old-style Mormon polygamy, in which spouses were chosen by the parties themselves (with counel from family and priesthood leaders) to a trend towards a loss of freedom in marriage decisions, where for practical purposes the girl and her family didn’t have any choice at all. This eventually led to the practice of “reassignment” of wives and children to other husbands/fathers when a man was cut off from the church.

    Imagine coming home from church one day and being told that you are no longer John’s wife, but now you are David’s wife. Please report to his marital bed posthaste. Hard for us to fathom.

    This was totally fascinating to me. I’m only 3/4 through the issue, but I’ve really been enjoying this one.

  14. KB, that sounds quite traumatizing (if familiar from early polyandry). It would almost be easier to live something like Oneidan complex marriage rather than to move from pseudo-monogamy to pseudo-monogamy. No matter how much I revere our founders, my stars I’m glad I was born after polygamy had ended.

  15. Christopher Smith says:


    Thanks for the summary. I am very much looking forward to sitting down with this issue, especially the FLDS part. I’ve been getting Big Love on DVD, and it has my curiosity piqued. By the way, I just want to give you props. You don’t consider yourself a professional academic, yet you seem ten times more reasonable and better-informed (not to mention candid) than the average FARMS scholar. I am not a member of the church, but I read everything by you I come across, and always find it thought-provoking. I think your “eclectic” theory of Book of Mormon translation is the obvious route for those who want to make use of Hebraisms like “if…and” conditionals to bolster Book of Mormon historicity, but who aren’t blinding themselves to obvious 19th-century (especially KJV) sources and phraseology. Anyway, keep up the good work.

  16. Kevin Barney says:

    Christopher, Big Love fans (and I am one) will find a lot of interesting background in the FLDS article. (And thanks for the props; I greatly appreciate the kind words.)

  17. Levi Peterson says:

    It its winter 2005 issue (vol. 38, no. 4), Dialogue published an essay by Cetti Cherniak titled “Napoleon Dynamite, Priesthood Skills, and the Eschatology of the Non-Rational: A Nonwarranted Physiotheologic Analysis.”

  18. Melissa De Leon Mason says:

    Check out the Cherniak article on Napolean Dynamite that Levi mentions. It’s quite interesting. When it came out, we here at ND were puzzled, no one had ever met her. Apparently she does/did a summer study at ND. I hope she comes back, I’ve enjoyed her articles, this latest one in particular.

    Unfortunately, I’ve only skimmed through the rest of this issue, SOMEONE kidnapped our copy and took it to DC for the weekend.

  19. Matt T. — Thank you, and bon appetit.
    Melissa — I was at ND in summer ’04 and ’05 (under my married name — Cherniak is my maiden name). In ’04 I attended the South Bend ward (when I could get a ride), where the only person who seemed to take an interest in me was Ben Huff. In ’05 I attended a ward closer to my parents’ home. In ’06, I missed going to ND due to a death in the family, but — God willing — I’ll be there again this summer. Hope to meet you.

  20. RE: 15 & 16

    Kevin, kind words from me too. Great journal contributions and blog postings over the years. Your candidness is uncommon in the faithful scholar genre. You transcend the proof-text/hyper-reconciliation approach to the gospel. My questions about the gospel rarely depend on the nuances of Hebrew or Greek texts. But I appreciate your tacit assumption that there is room for discussion and revision even if the Journal of Discourses and Mormon Doctrine have already given us authoritative (and sometimes conflicting) answers.

    Your writings, among others, suggest to me a theological path that is not as neat and tidy (no Iron Rod), but that is quite tenable under scrutiny.


  21. Melissa De Leon Mason says:

    Cetti- Ah, that makes sense, I was away from ND in ’04. We’ll all look forward to meeting you this summer, we have a great group here that I think you’d enjoy talking with.

  22. Kevin Barney says:

    Thanks for making an appearance here, Cetti. Great article, BTW.

    And thanks, Anon, I’m grateful for the kind thoughts.