Book Announcement: God and the IRS

I’m thrilled to announce that my book God and the IRS: Accommodating Religious Practice in United States Tax Law (New York: Cambridge UP, 2018) has just been published and is available for your reading pleasure.

As background to the book, the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment (as well as the jurisprudence courts have used to interpret and apply the Religion Clauses) have a sometimes-complicated interplay. Because the law sometimes imposes on individuals’ ability to practice their religion, the government can sometimes accommodate their religious practice, exempting religious individuals from generally-applicable laws. At the same time, though, in general, the law can’t favor religion over non-religion; as a result, sometimes religious people can’t get an exemption from the generally-applicable law. A lot of religious litigation turns on where, in a given situation, the line between permissible and impermissible accommodation falls. [Read more…]

Church Updates Abuse Policies

At the close of business today, the Church updated its advice document, “Preventing and Responding to Abuse.”  As described by the Deseret News, the major changes are the following language:

• “Members should never be encouraged to remain in a home or situation that is abusive or unsafe.”

• “When a member of a stake presidency or bishopric or another assigned leader meets with a child, youth, or woman, he or she should ask a parent or another adult to be in an adjoining room, foyer, or hall. If the person being interviewed desires, another adult may be invited to participate in the interview. Leaders should avoid all circumstances that could be misunderstood.”

• “Church leaders should never disregard a report of abuse or counsel a member not to report criminal activity to law enforcement personnel.”

• “At least two adults must be present on all church-sponsored activities attended by youth or children.”

These are important changes, and I welcome them.  (I wish they had been explicitly stated decades ago, and there’s a lot further to go, but as an initial sign of serious commitment to change, I’ll take it.)   [Read more…]

Reminder: Church History Symposium tomorrow and Friday

Just a quick reminder: the 2018 LDS Church History Symposium is happening tomorrow at BYU and Friday at the Conference Center in Salt Lake. The topic—“Financing Faith: The Intersection of Business and Religion”—looks fascinating, and there are a host of great people presenting.

Also, I’m presenting Thursday at 1:00 in room 2265 of the BYU Conference Center (“Brigham Young vs. the Bureau of Internal Revenue“). I’ve got some pretty cool slides to accompany the presentation. If you’re in town and available, I’d love to see you then!

Certain Women: Zion Art Society exhibition in Salt Lake City and Provo, March 2 – May 5.

Today’s guest post comes from Eric Biggart of the Zion Art Society.
 promotional

Two years ago, the Zion Art Society launched as a way to bridge the gap between the thousands of inspiring LDS artists and potentially millions of LDS art collectors. We have all been consoled to beautify Zion, and we hoped to bring original art into the homes of members across the world. In the years since, we have held two art exhibitions, and international competition, and started a arts-focused podcast, Mormon Visual Culture.

[Read more…]

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.

Announcement: Church History Symposium 2018

This semester, I’m teaching a course on not-for-profit corporations. Today’s class deals with the duties of charitable trustees and board members to invest the organization’s money responsibly.

The class is at least tangentially related to this year’s Church History Symposium, to be held on March 1 at the Conference Center at BYU and March 2 at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake. This year’s symposium is entitled “Business, Wealth, Enterprise, and Debt: The Economic Side of Mormon History, 1830–1930.” [Read more…]

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.

Welcome Carolyn Homer!

Carolyn Homer portrait by the Golden Gate bridgeBCC extends its warmest welcome to new Permablogger Carolyn Homer! As the non-priesthood holder presiding at the welcome, I now have the opportunity to open our Carolyn testimony meeting by roasting Carolyn bearing my own testimony of Carolyn’s many virtues.

I first met Carolyn at a Stake Relief Society Super Saturday activity, where we fatefully chose the same session from a menu of parallel speaker tracks. The session we chose was a town hall discussion of issues around women’s roles in the church, hosted by a member of the stake presidency. Pop some popcorn, you know I wouldn’t miss that! And of course Carolyn felt the same way. (Y’all should try churching in a Blue State–that session was real, and it was spectacular.)

[Read more…]

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…]

Eighteenth Annual UVU Mormon Studies Conference

Courtesy of Dialogue editor Boyd Petersen, here is the program for the Eighteenth Annual UVU Mormon Studies Conference, on the topic of “Multicultural Mormonism: Religious Cohesion in a New Era of Diversity.” It will be held from 29-31 March on the fifth floor the UVU Classroom Building at Utah Valley University in Orem, UT.

[Read more…]

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!

Divine Intervention in the Zion’s Camp Expedition

We’re pleased to announce this talk by Dr. Matthew C. Godfrey, General Editor and Managing Historian of the Joseph Smith Papers, in the Assembly Hall at 7pm on Thursday, 23 June. Here is Dr. Godfrey’s description of his talk:

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have had a complicated relationship with the Camp of Israel expedition, more commonly known as Zion’s Camp. On its face, the expedition appears to have failed in its goals—that of redeeming Zion, or helping the Saints regain their Jackson County, Missouri, lands. Therefore, church members have often looked for ways to depict the expedition as a success. The lands may not have been obtained, some say, but it was a proving ground for future leaders. The group may have been disbanded without ever entering Jackson County, others state, but the entire expedition gave Joseph Smith an opportunity to showcase his leadership skills to individuals who had never met him before or who had only a casual acquaintance with him.

[Read more…]

Announcing Evening with JSPP Editors Dec. 3

We are excited to pass along the following announcement from Benchmark Books in Salt Lake City:

EVENING WITH THE EDITORS

We are excited to announce that Andrew H. Hedges, Alex D. Smith, and Brent Rogers will be at Benchmark Books, 3269 S. Main St., Ste. 250, Salt Lake City, UT 84115 on Thursday, December 3, to discuss the latest volume of the Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Volume 3: May 1843–June 1844 (published by the Church Historian’s Press). They will be here from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.—speaking at 6:00—and will answer questions and sign books before and after that time. We hope you will be able to make that night but, if not, we can mail signed copies or hold them here at the store for pick-up. [Read more…]

Protectionism and Policy Failure

In defense of the church’s alarming policy change toward the children of gay unions, an article has been circulating.  Unfortunately, it makes some fairly ridiculous assertions. [Read more…]

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.

Subscribe to the BCC Weekly Intelligencer

BCCKnopeWe’re excited to announce the (beta) launch of the BCC Weekly Intelligencer newsletter, which shall distil upon your inbox as the dews of heaven. Each week, we’ll send you a fresh batch of By Common Consent posts, along with stuff we’re reading around the web. It’ll be a grab bag of our favorite comments, LDS news, tweets from #TwitterStake, upcoming events, and who knows what else.

Sounds good, right? You need this in your life. Subscribe here, and share with a friend.

Pioneer Day Family Hike (Local mini-Pilgrimage)

Ensign Peak, Salt Lake City, Utah (source: http://tinyurl.com/pkja58a)

Ensign Peak, Salt Lake City, Utah (source: http://tinyurl.com/pkja58a)

Last year the Mormon Society of St. James hosted a local “mini-pilgrimage” in Utah, hiking the last section of the Dominguez-Escalante trail, ending at the commemorative cross in Spanish Fork canyon, the farthest point north that the Spanish company ventured in 1776. [Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

Announcement: LDS Friends & Foes Rendezvous

This coming weekend is General Conference. You probably already know about that. But did you also know that there is also a bloggernacle-oriented get together, put together by long-time BCC BFF, J. Max Wilson? That’s right–it’s the first ever “LDS Friends & Foes Rendezvous,” which is intended to be a “recurring event hosted semiannually around LDS General Conference weekend in April and October.”
[Read more…]

Announcing The Mormon Studies Series from Fairleigh Dickinson University Press

FDU

(Cross-posted at Juvenile Instructor.)

Did you hear? Mormon studies is so hot right now. This semester witnessed the start of the Richard Lyman Bushman Chair in Mormon Studies at the University of Virginia (held by Kathleen Flake), next month will see the innaugural issue of the newly re-launched Mormon Studies Review (be very, very excited), and several new and exciting books are about to hit the shelves. And all this on top of the other Mormon studies programs that have been launched and the flood of excellent books that have been published in the last few years.

And now, there is a new book series at an unexpected university press. [Read more…]

Power in Prayer

Unfortunate Brothers: Korea's Reunification Dilemma, directed by Dodge Billingsley of Combat Films & Research

Unfortunate Brothers: Korea’s Reunification Dilemma, directed by Dodge Billingsley of Combat Films & Research

The excellent and moving documentary “Unfortunate Brothers: Korea’s Reunification Dilemma” will be screening at Westminster College in Salt Lake City on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 7:00 pm. There will be a Q & A following the film with the director, an expert from the film, and a member of the National Unification Advisory council. Admission is free, doors open at 6:30pm. This is the ninth original documentary created for the “Beyond the Border” series produced by Combat Films & Research for the David M. Kennedy Center at Brigham Young University, and the first program focusing on Korea. It will also air on September 30, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. on KBYU-11.
[Read more…]

UVU Conference Reminder: The Expanded Canon, April 4-5, 2013

uvulogo_overThis week, Utah Valley University plays host to what promises to be a fascinating conference on Mormonism’s scriptural canon. Five reasons you should attend: [Read more…]

Some Results from the BCC 2013 Reader Survey

Reader SurveyA heartfelt thanks to everyone who completed our reader survey a couple of weeks ago. Some of you have asked to see the results, and while we want to keep the verbatims confidential, we’ll share what we can.

BCC readers are an incredibly diverse bunch. We received well over 200 responses to our survey, from 14 countries and 36 states (and maybe more), and each response was different. For instance, some of you think we’re too lax with our comment moderation, some of you think we exercise unrighteous dominion. Lots of readers love Blair’s book reviews, but one guy can’t stand them. But the most common response was that BCC is great. (Thank you, and we agree.)

When we saw several similar responses to a question, we noted it, and here are some of the most common responses:

[Read more…]

By Common Consent Reader Survey: 2013

Reader Survey2013 has thus far been one of introspection for the By Common Consent permabloggers. We’re deep into discussions about the direction of the blog (editorially and otherwise), and are thinking of how we can best edify and grow the bloggernacle community.

Please help us by filling out a short survey. It’s only six questions, and is completely anonymous and confidential (and you can skip any you don’t feel comfortable answering). Be as specific or as general with your responses as you like.

The survey is here. Thanks so much!

 

Mark yer Calendars: Women and the LDS Church Aug 24-25

Kate Holbrook and Matt Bowman have organized what looks to be a fantastic conference on women and the LDS Church for this August. The keynote will be the inimitable Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

The Tanner Humanities Center website has the details.

Conference is open to the public, no pre-registration required. You might want to get there early, as I suspect it will be packed.

Boston-area Fireside this Saturday

For those in the Boston area needing a spiritual boost before the traditional Saturday evening water inspection this weekend, I will be delivering a devotional fireside at the Cambridge Stake building at 6pm, called “The Faith of a Reader.”[1]

View the flier
[Read more…]

Scholar of Moab wins AML Award for best novel published in 2011

Congratulations to one of BCC’s own!!

(click to enlarge)

What the Cool Kids Are All Doing

Historian/Writer, Church History Department

Job Description
The Church History Department seeks a full-time historian/writer with the appropriate academic training, research and writing skills to contribute to major writing projects on the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [smb: female applicants encouraged]
[Read more…]