It is the foundational event of Mormonism–or at least that is what it became. Beginning in 1832, Joseph Smith began to publicly talk about a visionary experience he had in a grove of trees nearby his home in upstate New York. However, what he told audiences differed from year-to-year in what feels to be substantial detail. Is this evidence of rank fraud? Or, as his supporters say, does it indicate the natural human tendency to emphasize/omit details of a story based on one’s audience or perhaps his own changing understanding of the importance of certain theological principles. Brittany Nielson and I speak with LDS Church Historian Dr. Stephen Harper about his book, Joseph Smith’s First Vision: A Guide to the Historical Accounts. Harper currently works on the Joseph Smith Papers Project production team for the LDS Church.
In this podcast–recorded live at the Salt Lake City Public Library–Russell Stevenson hosts a panel discussion in which he along with three single Latter-day Saints (Ryan Fleming, Kylee Shields, and Lisa Benson) discuss not only the history of Mormon single identity but also struggles and benefits of being a single Latter-day Saint today. Given the marriage-centered Mormon narrative–both historically and theologically–single Saints invite Mormons to revise that narrative. We field questions from a live audience and address how single LDS can best relate to their married Mormon family members and acquaintances. Listen in for more!
In this episode, Russell Stevenson and Kate Harline explore Mormonism’s fascinating interactions with the environment and environmentalist thought. Unlike many Christian denominations, Mormonism has a mixed and complicated message, as it has endeavored to uphold its principles of stewardship over the material world while still navigating the American and world economy as a minority religious movement. Stop by for an engaging conversation about stewardship, industrialization, and the need for Mormons to rediscover their environment-centered theology.
In this podcast, Kate Kelly Harline takes on the role of interviewer and discusses Russell Stevenson (author of Black Mormon: The Story of Elijah Ables and author of the forthcoming, For the Cause of Righteousness: A Documentary History of Blacks and Mormonism, 1830-2013). We discuss the meaning and ramifications of the LDS Church’s new statement on “Race and the Priesthood.” Obviously, we present this perspective from the perspective of historical analysis. Towards the end of my recent interview on RadioWest, one of my co-hosts specifically distanced himself from that perspective, and I respect his right to do so. However, as the statement was an historical statement, we have little choice but to employ historical methods in assessing it–even if it does not fit neatly into talking points or agendas. We trace the origins, course, and trajectory of the Saints’ relationship with the black community and racial exclusion. Tune in for the conversation at the Mormon History Guy podcast.