Podcast #3 – History of Mormon Dance

In this podcast, Russell Stevenson and Kate Harline discuss an aspect of Mormon cultural art that is easy to overlook: dancing.   Though seemingly recreational, Mormon dance in fact highlights deeper issues in the development of Mormon identity: theologically, sexually, and even racially.  They analyze how Mormon dance has served as a cultural “contact zone” between the Mormon community and outsiders.  They also interview Katherine Winder, a full-time professional Mormon dancer from the Repertory Dance Theater of Salt Lake City.  She tells how she came to be a dancer, how her faith informs her art, and her touching experiences as a dance instructor in a leper colony in India.  Join us for this compelling exploration of the Mormon people have used dance both to celebrate and control their bodies over the past 180 years.

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Faith Crises: A Believer’s Guide

So you don’t  really care about Mormon history.  “People are people and the gospel is the gospel,” you say.  What’s the point? You have a lot of things on your plate. And whether Joseph Smith used a rock, some plates, or a pink kangaroo to translate the Book of Mormon, you read them, you love them, and you live by them.  What’s the point? Continue reading

First Book of the Week: Massacre at Mountain Meadows

Hi, my name is Russ.  Yes, this blog might be another one of the crowd.  But not if I have anything to say about it.

I just finished working at the Church History Library.  I handled Brigham Young’s diaries, documents, and letters on a daily basis. I do have an axe to grind (why else would people blog?).  I have no sympathy with either those who seek to tear the Church down or those who seek to cover our history up.  Most of all, I want the Saints to feel secure in studying their history.  It’s not scary, gutsy, or “apostate.” This is our story.  It’s there, and we can own it. I love our people in the great times and in the shameful times.  “The spirit of love casteth out all fear.”

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