2023 John Whitmer Historical Conference – Call for Papers

JWHA 2023 Conference Call for Papers

September 21-24

Fredericksburg, Texas

“Restoration Tales from Texas Dust”

Led by independent Apostle Lyman Wight, a number of early Latter Day Saints departed from their homes with the letters “GTT” (Gone to Texas). They were headed to the independent Republic of Texas on a colonizing mission and searching out a homeland for the Latter Day Restoration. These sturdy pioneers included many who became ancestors for thousands now found in Restoration movements. 

The Wight Colony dissolved with his passing in 1858. The remnants scattered throughout the country, from Bandea County, Texas, to San Bernardino, California, to villages on lands east and west of the Missouri River. But the sacrifices of these Texas pioneers live on in their descendants. The building of a new temple in Independence by the Community of Christ memorialized the Wightite temple built in Zodiac, Texas. Many of the descendants of the Wightite colony took their places in the leading quorums of Restoration movements in Missouri and built chapels throughout the Texas Hill Country.

The pioneering spirit of these Texas settlers lives on in the diversity of the Restoration today. In the decades following, Priesthood ordination was extended to include men of African ancestry in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and women and LGBTQ+ members in the Community of Christ. Global expansion among all branches of the Restoration generated a growing awareness of cultural differences and complex questions surrounding contextualization of the gospel.

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Kate Holbrook (1972-2022)

KateKate Holbrook (born January 13, 1972) died August 20, 2022, her mortal life ended by a rare cancer of the eye that threatened for a decade before taking her from us over the course of the last year. We are utterly bereft, and we are also filled with the joy of her existence. Kate was born in Santa Barbara, California, in the desperate confusion of the early 1970s, to Kathleen Stewart and Robert Holbrook. Kate was raised by her mother and her grandmother, Belle Fillmore Stewart, in Provo, Utah. After serving a Church mission to Samara Russia and graduating from Brigham Young University, she moved to Boston because she’d loved a rainy afternoon spent there when she was 13. There she worked at Boston University, graduated from Harvard Divinity School with a Master of Theological Studies, and began a doctorate in Religious Studies at Boston University. She also met and married Sam Brown. In their middle 30s they realized that they were at heart mountain people and returned to Utah. They are the proud parents of three wonderful children: Amelia, Lucia, and Persephone Holbrook-Brown. In Utah, Kate completed her PhD (remotely) and started her career as an historian of Latter-day Saint women, employed by the Church History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She edited and/or wrote many books, articles, and other expressions of her careful thought and warm caring. She paid special attention in her scholarship to the relationships between food and religious community. Kate lived with abiding passion and care. She read voraciously and with great sympathy. In the last year of her mortal course, she fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting Kenya, driven by her childhood reading of Out of Africa. Her entire being sparkled with the possibilities of literature, including the stories of East Africa and Karen Blixen.

Kate loved Jesus with her whole heart. There wasn’t a part of her that didn’t breathe God and Gospel. She was honored to lead teams to tell the story of the Latter-day Saints to outsiders and the stories of women to her fellow Saints. As she contemplated her passage from mortality with great sadness, it was not because she lacked confidence in the reality of an afterlife. Instead, she mourned her physical absence from the mortal lives of her beloveds. She held in her hands and her heart both the certainty that death is not the end of us and the terrible tragedy of mortality cut short.

Her father and her grandmother (beside countless generations of the ancestors she honored with her scholarly work) preceded her in death. The others remain, hallowed by her memory and her abiding presence. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, August 27 at 11am at the Bonneville Stake Center, 1535 Bonneview Drive in Salt Lake City. A viewing will be held the evening before from 5–7pm at the Larkin mortuary at 260 E South Temple in Salt Lake City. Kate loved flowers the way she loved food, viscerally. However, she asks that instead of giving flowers, well-intended friends donate to the Kate Holbrook Endowed Scholarship Fund at BYU for primary caregivers of young children pursuing graduate work in the humanities: https://kateholbrook.org/scholarship

For those unable to attend, services will be streamed via Zoom. Please visit Kate’s obituary page at http://www.larkincares.com for further information.

Job Posting: Church History & Doctrine Professorial CFS Track

Religious Education and the Department of Church History & Doctrine at BYU

Job Title: Church History & Doctrine Professorial CFS Track
Job Classification: CFS-Professorial
Required Degree: PhD
Posting close date: January 10, 2022
Start date of this position: July 1, 2022

See here for details.

The Twelve Days of Awesome Christmas Sale from BCC Press

The number twelve has special significance for Christmas. And for Mormons. We have Twelve Apostles, Twelve Tribes, Twelve Days of Christmas. Good things, it seems, always come in units of twelve.

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Leaf Raking and Window Washing

This post is from BCC Blogger Emerita Christina Taber-Kewene

I am running through my Vinyasa moves, stretching out my muscles before I hit the pavement for the one run I allow myself each week. My husband is sprawled on the couch, sleepily scrolling through messages on his phone. “The boys have a service project this morning: leaf raking.”

“Did you just find out or did you know about this all week and forget to tell me?” Both are entirely possible scenarios. 

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Announcing Two New Series from BCC Press

If you haven’t heard from BCC Press in a while, it is probably because we are up to something big. And, indeed we are. And today we proudly unveil something big. Really big.

For much of the 2020, we have been developing plans for two new book series that we hope will become important contributions to Mormon Studies. The series are highly interrelated, but also distinct in important ways.

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Call for Applications: 2020 Latter-day Saint Theology Seminar

The 7th Annual Summer Seminar on Latter-day Saint Theology

“A Wrestle Before God: Reading Enos 1”

Université Bordeaux Montaigne, Bordeaux, France
June 22–July 4, 2020

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An Altar Under Crossed Stars

Thanks to Calvin Burke for sharing this very personal story.

** All identifying details have been changed to protect privacy. I loved this boy too much to tell you or anyone else who he is. You will never find him; don’t even try.

The problem is, when he smiles, he knocks stars out of the sky. [Read more…]



From Embrace to Erase
Friday and Saturday, October 25-26, 2019
Hunter Conference Center
Southern Utah University
Cedar City, Utah

The “Mormon” moniker has become a symbol of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ changing organizational norms, shifting identity, technological innovations, and these factors’ reflection in media studies. To wit, the church has entered into a period of renewed international media coverage and attention by scholars, especially since the beginning of church prophet Russell M. Nelson’s presidency in January 2018. [Read more…]

Call for Syllabi on Latter-day Saint Arts


The Center for Latter-day Saint Arts is offering awards for the preparation of syllabi for college courses on any aspect of Latter-day Saint arts including visual art, music, theater, literature, and film, as well as architecture, design, dance, animation, and so forth.  The award for a fully developed syllabus is $2,000, and for segments of a course from $500 to $1,000, depending on length and complexity.

The full course syllabi should include all aspects of a one-quarter or one-semester course: [Read more…]

AML 2019 Call for Papers

Association for Mormon Letters

Annual Conference 2019

Call for Papers

“Looking Outward: California & the World”

Berkeley, California.  Since its inception in 1976, the Association for Mormon Letters (AML) has defined “Mormon Letters” in the broadest terms. In 1969, M. Ephraim Hatch first provided the definition of Mormon Art as “art which is created by Mormons, art which is created for Mormons, or art which is created about Mormons.” Despite that inclusive definition, the debate over how to define Mormon Letters has been ongoing. Now in its fifth decade, the AML is interested in looking outward. In a spirit of growth and maturation, the AML issues a call for papers that explore the Mormon experience outside of Utah and outside of the United States. [Read more…]

Research Grants for Global Mormon Studies

The Mormon Studies program at Claremont Graduate University is funding research grants for people studying global Mormonism.

While they will be accepting proposals for the next few months, they will be giving preference to proposals received by the end of October.  Their hope is to see significant progress on funded projects by April 2019.  They are interested in helping to fund projects that are already underway, as well as new projects.

Please see the call for proposals here (https://mormonstudies.cgu.edu/center-global-mormon-studies/claremont-mormon-studies-research-grant/)  and contact Caroline Kline if you have any questions.

UVU Mormon Studies Conference

Utah Valley University will be hosting its 2018 Mormon Studies conference, “Between Heaven and Earth,” on the 22nd and 23rd of February in room 511 of the Classroom Building. Find the schedule of events here. Our own Steven Peck will be delivering the Eugene England Lecture. For those of you not near Orem, a livestream will be available at the link above.

A Note On BCC Editorial Practices 

By Common Consent has long thrived as a community where our bloggers may post on any topic they choose, at any time.

On occasion, our bloggers either seek out or offer feedback on each other’s posts. Yesterday, both bloggers and readers expressed concerns about one post, “The Longest, Hardest Calling.”  We decided to take the post offline temporarily and work through concerns and suggested edits.  We hope to bring the post back up soon.  [UPDATE 6pm EST: It’s back up.]

We are committed to providing a forum for the broad Mormon community to engage in faithful, respectful and thoughtful dialogue about all aspects of the Church.

Richard Bushman at Benchmark Books

In conjunction with the new Festschrift, To Be Learned is Good: Essays on Faith and Scholarship in Honor of Richard Lyman Bushman, edited by Spencer Fluhman, Kathleen Flake, and Jed Woodworth, Benchmark Books in Salt Lake City will be hosting an evening with Bushman and several of the editors and contributors to the volume. This event will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 17. Find more information at Benchmark’s website, or at the Facebook event page.

Mormonism as Sound and Medium

A brief seminar brings the disciplines of sound studies and media studies to Mormonism.

Media studies scholarship, broadly conceived, and Mormonism intersect more and more, as is evident by John Durham Peters’ article, “Recording beyond the Grave: Joseph Smith’s Celestial Bookkeeping” in Critical Inquiry (2016), or J. B. Haws’ The Mormon Image in the American Mind: Fifty Years of Public Perception (2013). Much of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’sA House Full of Females (2017) makes use of media prominent in Mormon culture such as the diary and the quilt. Tona Hangen and Julie Allen consistently focus their work on media technologies as well. [Read more…]

Quick Note About Nov. 5

screen-shot-2015-11-06-at-11-00-03-amThis November 5th marks the anniversary of the Church policy regarding LGBT members.  We’ll be posting some thoughts and experiences from guests.  Thanks, and we hope you have a good weekend.

Introducing Jared Cook

We’re pleased to announce that Jared Cook (aka JKC) has joined BCC as our newest permablogger. Go revisit his great “Endowment and Eucharist” series, check out his author page, and then bid him a hearty welcome in the comments!

Mother’s Day 2014 -2016

This post was written by long-time BCC friend and bloggernacle participant Theric.


Mother’s Day is fraught. Just make a search right here at BCC and see. And it’s been rough for a long, long time. As part of my current calling, I’ve been in charge of planning sacrament meeting on Mother’s Day since 2014. I relished the opportunity. To me, Mother’s Day is an obvious opportunity to celebrate one of the most unique (for now) Mormon doctrines: our Mother in heaven. My thought was we start with women in the scriptures and, by year three, we straight-out do Heavenly Mother. It hasn’t quite worked that way. [Read more…]

Church Historian’s Press releases George Q. Cannon journal online

The original GQ.

The original GQ.

This morning, the Church Historian’s Press (CHP) announced the online publication of George Q. Cannon’s diaries, 1855–1875. Along with the online publication of The First Fifty Years of Relief Society, this represents a major new era for church publication efforts. The George Q. Cannon (GQC) diaries are significant for many reasons, and have already been used to produce the Gospel Topics essay on the Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage and Jed Woodworth used them for his “Revelations in Context” essay entitled “The Messenger and the Manifesto,” both high priority reading. The CHP is also soliciting feedback about how these materials are being used and what they can do to make content more helpful and accessible.

Regular contributors WVS and J. Stapley discuss the news below:
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New Permablogger: Emily Grover

groverprofile We’re extremely excited to welcome Emily Grover aboard as our newest permablogger. She’s a talented writer and an amazing person. It just goes to show you that good things can come out of Rexburg after all. All hail Emily!

New Permablogger: Ashmae

We’re very pleased to welcome Ashmae Hoiland aboard as the newest member of the BCC family. She’s a creative, thoughtful person, abuzz with exciting ideas—see her recently completed Kickstarter, We Brave Women, and the website collecting her art. On the basis of her two excellent guest posts (here and here), we expect many good things to come.

#ldsconf: Pay attention.

As we said last April, we’re not going to be providing live tweeting or open threads. We will, however, provide in-depth analysis and historical context, as well as provide an opportunity to discuss the ideas raised during the talks. Why are we doing this? A few reasons, all linked to the notion that General Conference is a sacred time. [Read more…]

Job Search: Executive Director of the Mormon History Association

The Mormon History Association is seeking qualified applicants for the independent-contractor position of Executive Director. The Executive Director serves as an officer and member of the MHA Board of Directors. The term is for three years with an annual review and may be renewed. The job is a substantial one, with some variability in workload over the course of the year. Compensation negotiable and commensurate with experience. We seek an energetic person with a commitment to the importance of Mormon history. Duties include the following:
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Elder L. Tom Perry, 1922-2015

We are saddened to learn that Elder L. Tom Perry has passed away.

MHA Preview: Notes toward Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s Presidential Address

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich has kindly shared with us a preview of her Presidential Address, “Runaway Wives 1840-60,” to be delivered next weekend at the Mormon History Association conference in Provo. In 1995, Ulrich joined the history department at Harvard University, where she is now 300th Anniversary University Professor. Register here for the conference if you haven’t already.

Abstract: In the nineteenth century, stories about wives fleeing the wrath of drunken or abusive husbands filled the pages of novels, divorce petitions, and temperance, health reform, and women’s rights literature. Similarly harrowing tales became a staple in anti-Mormon campaigns. One oft-repeated story claimed that in 1855 a hundred women, single and married, fled Utah with departing federal troops in order to escape the horrors of polygamy.   Situating Mormon and anti-Mormon stories within the large genre of runaway wife tales allows us to understand broader changes in nineteenth-century concepts of marriage, women’s rights, and the law.

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Congratulations to 2014 AML Winners Steve Peck and Michael Austin

Steve and Michael

BCC permas put their pants on just like the rest of you–one leg at a time. Except, once their pants are on, they take home top honors from the 2014 Association for Mormon Letters Conference. A hearty congratulations to Steve Peck for mopping the floor with the competition for the 2014 Short Fiction Award and Michael Austin for leaving the contenders for the 2014 Religious Nonfiction Award in the dust (and ashes)! Read on for their citations: [Read more…]


Through the end of today, BCC will match your charitable donation to Oxfam, up to a total of $1000. Let us know if you’re in. Email admin@byc_______ with the amount you have donated if you want to keep things private.

(In 2015, Oxfam will be part of a charitable drive here at BCC. More later . . .)

CFP: Biennial Faith and Knowledge Conference

FEBRUARY 27-28, 2015

The Faith and Knowledge Conference was established in 2006 to bring together LDS graduate students in religious studies and related disciplines in order to explore the interactions between religious faith and scholarship. During the past four conferences, students have shared their experiences in the church and the academy and the new ideas that have emerged as a result. Papers and conversations provided thought-provoking historical, exegetical, and theoretical insights and compelling models of how to reconcile one’s discipleship with scholarly discipline.
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Sunday AM Good-Luck-Matching-Yesterday’s-Sessions Thread

DAY 2, people! Or maybe Day 3? By President Uchtdorf’s reckoning, we’re heading into the fifth session of this General Conference. Happy Sunday morning.

Steve left a comment on WVS’s lovely post a few days ago that rang true: “I wonder if Conference hasn’t lost some of its power because of the ease for watching.”

With that in mind, if you’re sitting on a comfy sectional, or reclined in an easy chair, or propped up with pillows behind you and waffles in front of you, join us in making this session a “lean-forward” one. Take some notes. Share your thoughts out loud with those around you. Tweet. Leave comments here (though take note: we’re modding with a heavy hand this weekend, as you might have noticed yesterday. More on that here.)

If you’re just tuning in, yesterday’s session notes are here, here and PH session is here. There were some remarkable talks—Holland, Oaks, Esplin, Uchtdorf, Wong, Packer, Cook, Eyring, and Monson seemed to be especially impactful on our readers and #ldsconf tweeters. Here’s hoping that spirit continues today.

On with the live coverage!

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