Mormon studies

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Mormon studies is the interdisciplinary academic study of the beliefs, practices, history and culture of those known by the term Mormon and denominations belonging to the Latter Day Saint movement whose members do not generally go by the term "Mormon". The Latter Day Saint movement includes not only The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) but also the Community of Christ (CoC) and other groups, as well as those falling under the umbrella of Fundamentalist Mormonism.

Selected sub-disciplines

Apologetics and counter-apologetics

Academic works within Mormon studies don't typically take positions for or against faith claims, although the author's personal standpoint of belief might influence their study.[1] Nonetheless, some scholars' studies of Mormonism are primarily apologetic, either pro- or counter- LDS faith claims.

Since 2012, the principal academic journal of pro-Mormon apologetics has been Interpreter; prior to 2012, it had been FARMS Review under the same editorial leadership.[2] Counter-Mormon apologetics of a particular faith community are generally classed with that communities' apologetics; scholarly criticisms of a more secular nature—at least those not veering into anti-Mormonism—nonetheless are often classed within Mormon studies.

International Mormon studies

Mormon studies is predominantly historical and a branch of American studies—yet, because of growth trends, more than half of the movement's adherents live outside the U.S., making it a subset of Latin American studies, Pacific studies, Canadian studies, and European studies, as well. In addition to general historians, scholars with expertise in such fields as social anthropology and women's studies contribute or concentrate in Mormon studies as well. Mormon studies academics often present their researches not only at standard academic forums but at more broadly popular gatherings—whether devotional, socially activist, or of some other nature. Likewise, some who are not trained academically in history or another social science, conduct and present Mormon-studies research of note.

Also there are 19th-century converts to Mormonism from outside the U.S. who did not emigrate to the gathering place of the Mormon corridor. (A 2010 work, Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia, terms this group the Ungathered.)

The primary journals for international Mormon studies are Dialogue journal[3] and, since 2008, the IJMS.


Awards for writing or service in the field of Mormon studies are presented annually by scholarly societies. The Mormon History Association (MHA) and the John Whitmer Historical Association (JWHA) each present annual awards for various categories within Mormon history, such as books, biographies, documentary history, journal articles, and lifetime achievement.[4][5] The MHA also gives awards for theses and student papers.[4] The Utah State Historical Society (USHS), which frequently engages Mormon history, also presents awards for books, articles, and student papers.[6] Literary awards are presented by the Association for Mormon Letters, often awarding Mormon publications in biography, criticism, and special categories. Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought honors the best contributions to its journal[7] and Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture awards the best article submitted by a woman.[8]

Universities also present awards. The University of Utah gives the Juanita Brooks Prize in Mormon Studies[9][10] and offers a Mormon Studies Fellowship.[11] Utah State University's Evans Biography Awards focus on biographies significant to "Mormon Country".[12] Student writing competitions are held by Utah State University,[13] the MHA,[4] and the JWHA.[14] BYU Religious Education presents annual awards to its faculty for teaching, research, and service, as well as books in the categories of Church History or Ancient Scripture.[15][16]

Academic programs


Denominationally affiliated

Other institutions

Print resources

Multi-volume document compilations

Brief reference works



The following primarily publish books on Mormon studies:

Several publishers within the devotional religious market also occasionally publish in Mormon studies, including the LDS publishers Cedar Fort, Inc., Covenant Communications, and Deseret Book (which is owned by the LDS Church), as well as Herald House (which is owned by the Community of Christ).

In addition, certain general book publishers or university presses have also published significant Mormon studies. These include:

Selected list of past scholars

Individuals from a variety of cultural or philosophical standpoints produced prolific Mormon-themed research, scholarship, or their popularization, in an era now past. Then, beginning in the decade of the 2000s, Mormon studies finally came into its own as an independent field of study when the sub-discipline became featured by then at a few academic institutions in the Western United States.

Some of the individuals with recognized expertise in the field are listed below. In consideration of space, members of Latter Day Saint movement denominations' overall leadership are not included. (Dallin H. Oaks is listed for work he published prior his becoming a member of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve.)

19th-century compilers of Mormon histories or essays

Opening "modern," 20th-century field

Selected list of current scholars

Of preeminence

By interdisciplines

International Mormonism

English professors, successful local or national authors, journalists

Trained historians

Specialists in women's studies

Other specialists

See also


  1. Bushman argues that the historian's personal thinking guides and filters their work. Richard Bushman (1992). "Faithful History". In George D. Smith. Faithful History: Essays on Writing Mormon History. Signature Books. pp. 4–7. ISBN 1-56085-007-8. Retrieved 2015-03-23. Our sense of relevance, our assumptions about human motivation and social causation, and the moral we wish readers to draw from the story—what we think is good and bad for society—all influence the outcome. ... One might think that their [Mormon historians'] religious convictions, their deepest personal commitments, would pervade their writing. But in my experience, religious faith has little influence on Mormon historians for an obvious reason: we are not simply Mormons but also middle-class Americans trained for the most part in secular institutions. 
    Note: This is a reprint of Richard Bushman (Winter 1969). "Faithful History" (PDF). Dialogue. 4 (4): 11–28. 
  2. Peterson, Daniel C. (December 14, 2012), "The Role of Apologetics in Mormon Studies",, retrieved 2013-09-04  — Note: this is a reprint of Peterson's August 2012 FAIR speech "Of 'Mormon Studies' and Apologetics".
  3. Mauss, Armand L. (2007), Blasi, Anthony J., ed., "The Emergence of Mormon Studies in the Social Sciences", American Sociology of Religion: Histories, Brill Publishers, 13: 121–150 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "MHA Awards". Mormon History Association. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  5. "Awards". John Whitmer Historical Association. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  6. "NEWS: Utah State History Announces 2013 Annual Awards". Utah Cultural Alliance: Unifying Utah's Cultural Community. September 17, 2013. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  7. "Dialogue’s Best of 2011 Awards". Dialogue Foundation. June 1, 2012. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  8. "The Ruth M. Stephens Article Prize". Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  9. Brian Passey (November 22, 2014). "New book collects Juanita Brooks Lectures". The Spectrum. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  10. "Juanita Brooks Prize in Mormon Studies". The University of Utah Press. J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  11. "Humanities Fellowships: Mormon Studies Fellowship". Tanner Humanities Center. College of Humanities, University of Utah. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  12. "Evans Biography Awards". Mountain West Center for Regional Studies. Utah State University. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  13. "Arrington Writing Awards Open to Utah College Students". Utah State Today. Utah State University. September 11, 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  14. "Scholarships". John Whitmer Historical Association. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  15. "Faculty and Staff". BYU Religious Education Review: 29. Fall 2013. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 
  16. "Faculty and Staff". BYU Religious Education Review: 29. Fall 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 
  17. Brutsch, Rachel (February 15, 2012), California graduate university takes academic approach to Mormonism, Deseret News 
  18. "Mormon Studies Initiative - Keeping Our Shoulder to the Wheel". Tanner Humanities Center. The University of Utah. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  19. Tyler Olsen (September 30, 2014). "Religion Studies Program Helps Students Gain Understanding". The Daily Utah Chronicle. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  20. Benjamin Wood (August 14, 2013). "University of Utah to offer course in literary qualities of Book of Mormon". Deseret News. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  21. Peggy Fletcher Stack (October 15, 2012), "U. of Virginia’s Bushman honor gives Mormon studies another boost", The Salt Lake Tribune, Following Faith, retrieved 2013-10-30 
  22. Gerry Avant (May 1, 2015). "President Uchtdorf speaks at inaugural John A. Widtsoe Symposium at USC". LDS Church News. Retrieved 2015-05-30. 
  23. Craig L. Blomberg (2012). "Mormon-Evangelical Dialogue". Religious Educator. 13 (1). Retrieved 2015-02-02. 
  24. Robert L. Millet (Fall 2012). "The Mormon-Evangelical Dialogue". Evangelical Interfaith Dialogue. Retrieved 2015-02-02. 
  25. Jensen, Emily W. (October 28, 2009). "Today in the Bloggernacle: a fun, creative Halloween". Mormon Times. 
  26. Gary James Bergera (Spring 2003). ""The Commencement of Great Things": The Origins, Scope, and Achievement of the Journal History of the Church". Mormon Historical Studies. 4 (1): 23. Retrieved 2015-01-07. 
  27. "Cowboy Apostle". Signature Books. September 2009. Retrieved 2015-01-07. 
  28. Gerrit van Dyk. "Advanced Research". Mormon Studies. Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Retrieved 2015-01-07. 
  29. Jonathan Stapley (June 6, 2006). "Digital Mormon Studies". By Common Consent. Retrieved 2015-01-07. 
  30. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. "Fairleigh Dickinson University Press". Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  31. Benjamin Park (October 25, 2013). "Announcing The Mormon Studies Series from Fairleigh Dickinson University Press". Retrieved 2015-03-05. 
  32. "Biography". Retrieved August 27, 2010. 
  33. Israelsen-Hartley, Sara (December 5, 2009). "BYU professors: Glenn Beck doesn't speak for all Mormons". Deseret News. 
  34. "Biography". Leonard J. Arrington Papers. Utah State University Libraries. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  35. "2002 Lifetime Achievement Award". John Whitmer Historical Association. 2002. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 

Further reading

News articles
Journal articles
Other studies
Online journals

External links

Programs, organizations, and events
On-line resources