Sally Gordon and Jan Shipps on the Mountain Meadows Massacre

“At Mountain Meadows, competing visions of the American Kingdom of God met head on.” So states a new article by esteemed historians Sarah Barringer Gordon and Jan Shipps in their new article, “Fatal Convergence in the Kingdom of God: The Mountain Meadows Massacre in American History,” Journal of the Early Republic (link here). This is…

Is the World Wide Enough?: SHEAR Takes on “Hamilton”

It took two years, but my children finally became addicted to the Hamilton soundtrack. I played it for them on the way to the waterpark a couple Saturdays ago and they have wanted to listen to nothing else since. It seemed fitting, then, that the most recent issue of Journal of the Early Republic has a roundtable…

LDS Church Distances Itself from Boy Scouts: Some Thoughts

Today it was announced that the LDS Church would stop using using the Boy Scouts of America’s Varsity and Venturing programs, which are designed for 14- to 18-year-old young men. While they will still enroll younger boys, between 8 and 13, in the Cub and Boy Scouts, this is a big move. (You can read…

Article Highlight: Barry Joyce on Mormon Sacralization of Mesoamerican Space

A couple weeks ago I highlighted Laurie Maffly-Kipp’s presidential address which appeared in the recent issue of Journal of Mormon History. That issue also featured another article I wanted to highlight: Barry A. Joyce’s “The Temple and the Rock: James W. Leseur and the Synchronization of Sacred Space in the American Southwest.” Joyce is an…

Repealing the Johnson Amendment and the Meanings of Religious Liberty

Most of the attention yesterday, May 4th, was on the congressional vote repealing the Affordable Care Act. With good reason. But just up the road from the Capitol, President Donald Trump also signed his thirty-fourth executive order. Titled “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty,” the order counseled the Department of the Treasury not to pursue…

Chronicling Modern Mormonism Through Comics

Last week my employer, Sam Houston State University, hosted a book talk that featured American hero John Lewis. Known for his Civil Rights activism, Lewis recently co-authored a trilogy that documented the fight for racial equality. Titled March, the series was different than your typical political memoir: it was a comic book. The trilogy has been…

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…