Amici Curiae Brief Against Trump’s Immigration Order

I am pasting below the news release for an amici curiae brief that I was honored to be part of. You can find the brief, and more information, here. _________________________________ A group of 19 scholars of Mormon history have filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit attacking President Trump’s…

Review: Spencer McBride, PULPIT & NATION

If the mark of a good book is it provides lots of intriguing material, fascinating characters, and much to debate, then Spencer McBride’s Pulpit & Nation: Clergymen and the Politics of Revolutionary America (University of Virginia Press, 2017) is a good book. In an age where the traditional trajectories of religion and politics seem in transition,…

Trump’s Ethnic Nationalism, at STARTING POINTS

Today I had an article that traces the intellectual(?) genealogy of Trump’s ethnic nationalism throughout American history. It appeared in Starting Points, an excellent new online journal sponsored by the University of Missouri’s Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy. This was especially thrilling because I spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow with the institute. Here is…

The Awkward Image of the Pro-Trumpian Religious Right

Don Peay, founder of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, is a Provo businessman who has a message for Mormons who failed to support Trump’s 2016 campaign: it is time to repent. “The people who did not get behind Trump,” he explained to the Utah County Republican Women,“probably need to look at themselves in the mirror and…

William Law’s Amazing (and Suspect) Diary

One of the most fascinating figures during Mormonism’s Nauvoo sojourn is William Law. Joseph Smith made him a counselor in the First Presidency during that period, making him one of the most powerful men in the city. He was also one of the most noteworthy individuals who objected to Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy. His…

REVIEW: Richard Van Wagoner, Natural Born Seer

Prior to his untimely death, Richard S. Van Wagoner was a prolific and respected amateur historian of the LDS faith. Besides an excellent biography of Sidney Rigdon, he also authored a well-received history of Mormon polygamy. It was therefore justified when the Smith-Pettit Foundation tapped him to write the first of a three-part biography of…

CFP: Toward a Conversation on Book of Mormon Studies

Some good friends of mine are launching a new conference and organization, so please check out the details. Here is a poster, and I’ve pasted the text from this pdf file below that. Academic study of the Book of Mormon has never been more promising than at present. Royal Skousen’s work on producing a critical text…

The Modern Mormon Athletic Image

Mormons have always held a precarious yet consistent place in America’s sports culture. Danny Ainge, Steve Young, Ty Detmer, and, most recently, Jimmer Fredette are among those have captured the nation’s popular imagination at various moments in the past four decades with their college accomplishments and, at least in the first two cases, professional success. (Still…

Book News: “American Nationalisms” Now Has a Home

When I was a graduate student at the University of Cambridge, I often walked past the Cambridge University Press bookstore that was directly in front of Kings College Chapel. They always had the “recent releases” on display, and I spent many hours skimming through their pages. I dreamt that one day I might add my…