A Gorgeous Essay

I’ll leave to colleagues with better organizational skills the provision of a methodical review of the latest Dialogue, which arrived in my mailbox today.
I just want to praise “Joseph Smith: Lost and Found,” a gorgeous essay from Jane Barnes, one of the key writers for the Helen Whitney documentary. Jane, a lapsed Episcopalian with Buddhist and post-theological spiritual leanings, provides one of the most sympathetic and thoughtful views of Mormonism by an outsider I have read in a long time. She captures what Harold Bloom was after, and does it much more clearly than he. She also knows her stuff–when I spoke with her at length a year or so ago, she clearly had mastered a substantial portion of the scholarship on Mormonism. I’m delighted that the Dialogue crew was able to provide a forum for her moving and delightful essay, a view of ourselves from a highly sympathetic observer. Her enthusiasm for the young Joseph is infectious, her sense of his insight into the great tragicomedy of life refreshing.


  1. I did some pre-interviews with Jane for the documentary, and she was wonderful to talk to. A great lady.

  2. Thanks for the heads-up.

  3. For those of us without Dialogue subscriptions, any suggestions on how to get a copy of this essay?

  4. Kevin Barney says:

    Thanks for letting us know about it, I’ll look forward to reading it when my issue arrives.

    Mark B., I have a suggestion–subscribe! (heh.)

  5. Sam, this is such a cruel tease for us out here in the hinterlands, waiting for our copies to arrive with the Pony Express!

  6. http://dialoguejournal.metapress.com/link.asp?id=y0406hgj54t26642 should take you where you can subscribe or buy the article. I think.

  7. Can’t afford it, Kevin. See Sideblog, Item: Mazel Tov.

  8. Mark B, congrats on the new life in your family.
    Perhaps the Dialogue powers that be can read this post and stick her essay on the website?

  9. Mark, mazel tov!
    In celebration, may I buy you a subscription as a gift?

  10. Kevin Barney says:

    What a wonderful gesture, Stirling! Mazel tov indeed.

  11. Thanks all. I’m not really that hard up. :-) But, send me an email at mebutler (at) nyc (dot) rr (dot) com if you’d like, Stirling, and I’ll send you my address. It may be a while before I respond–I’m off to Calgary tomorrow.

  12. Couldn’t agree more. Just read it last night. “Joseph Smith: Lost and Found” was a gorgeous essay!!

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