Update on Working Papers in Mormon Studies

With some additional planning, we have got things moving forward for the Working Papers in Mormon Studies meetings. So far, the schedule includes a paper on earliest Mormon record keeping, portions of biographies of Brigham Young and Parley Pratt, possibly a treatment of modern Asian-American Mormon women, and a variety of other topics. We’re putting the e-mailing list into order and starting to think more seriously about scheduling details.

We will start in April, then take May off for MHA, then back in June. In July, we will try to take advantage of travel plans to have two sessions led by out-of-towners, then none in August to decompress schedules some. Then, depending on how things are working out, we’ll either settle into monthly or bimonthly meetings.

We are leaning toward Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, starting at 8pm. We hope this will minimize impact on families, date nights, and the like. To be added to the mailing list, email admin DOT wp @SIGN splendidsun DOT com. Though we seem to be scheduled through Thanksgiving, we continue to welcome new presenters and papers. We are also open to ideas for improvement. Our goals are to build community and further improve the quality of scholarship on Mormon Studies.


  1. I have read the Parley P Pratt biography multiple times and also a couple of the Brigham Young biographies. I have found some of the best information from Brigham Young comes from his journal entries. If only they were more accessible…

  2. Mike, I presume that you mean the Pratt autobiography? Brigham Young’s early diaries are available on microfilm at the LDS Archives. His 1857 diary kept by scribes was published by the University of Utah press and has been reproduced on their digital archives. Collier published what some have called his best office diary (1858-1863, Book D) a couple of years ago.

  3. Yes I did mean the autobiography. Are the Brigham Young diaries available to anyone, or do you need special permission to view them? I have an entry that I would like to look up. I believe it was in 1847, but I do not know the date off the top of my head.

  4. BY’s early diaries are open for anyone. I don’t know about the 1847 diaries (if there was one).

  5. Excellent. I will track down the time period and try to make a trip out of it. The entry that I would like to read about has been quoted many times.

    In this entry Brigham Young either sees the Prophet Joseph Smith in vision or in a dream several times in one night. The Prophet tells him to “tell the brethren to get the spirit” over and over again. One time I heard a little more of the Journal entry. It changed the whole meaning of the passage. That is what makes me curious as to what the entire passage says.

  6. Just to clarify, I’m talking about Matt Grow’s coauthored biography of Parley Pratt and John Turner’s biography of Brigham Young.

  7. Mike, that vision was in relation to the “Law of Adoption,” and you can access the account in either the “Manuscript History” or “Journal History,” both of which are publicly available.

  8. J. Stapley, I am really surprised. The “Law of Adoption” is exactly what I am talking about. I have never met anyone that would know that.

    I would say that a good percentage of the people that I associate with are LDS. There are only 4 or 5 people that I know that I could have a conversation with about something like the “Law of Adoption”. Most LDS people will immediately change the subject if you start to talk about something not in a primary manual. I they do listen, and you explain it to them, they look at you like your an apostate. It is really bizarre to me that people don’t know these things about “our” religion.

    Is anyone on here an expert about Eliza R Snow? I have a couple theories (I will keep them to myself) and would like to ask someone some questions.

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