Category: From the Desk Co-posts

Women of the Hebrew Bible

In a culture that is often male-centric, it can sometimes be easy to overlook women in the scriptures. While very few are mentioned by name in the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants, the Bible has many women…

George D. Watt’s Journey

I’ve heard it said before that Leroy Anderson was America’s best-known forgotten composer. It could likewise be said that George D. Watt is Mormonism’s best-known forgotten reporter.  In a recent interview at From the Desk, Kurt Manwaring discussed why Watt…

On Winter Quarters

Sometimes called the “Valley Forge of Mormondom”, Winter Quarters was the primary (thought not exclusive) location that Latter-day Saints in the United States of America lived between their forced exodus from Nauvoo and their efforts to move westward to the…

The Book of Abraham Book

I once had a teacher who loved to say that: “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.”  To some degree, this is not infrequently the case when it comes to studying issues in the history of…

Of Brigham and Bridger

Jim Bridger and Brigham Young are two very important people in the Euro-American colonization of the American west. Their relationship with each other, however, was complicated. Kurt Manwaring recently discussed that relationship with Jerry Enzler in connection with Enzler’s biography,…

Translating the Kinderhook Plates

The Kinderhook plates provide an interesting incident in Church History that provide an interesting test case for how Joseph Smith approached translation.  What are these plates?  What can we learn about Joseph Smith from the incident?  Well, Mark Ashurst-McGee and…

Peace and Zion

For me, one of the most beautiful concepts in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the idea of Zion. Yet, to achieve that ideal, we are going to have to think and act radically differently than we…

Brian and Laura Hales on Polygamy

‘Tis the season … to talk about polygamy, apparently.  Kurt Manwaring recently sat down with Brian and Laura Hales for a question and answer session about polygamy.  They have spent decades researching and writing about plural marriage (past and present),…

Brittany Chapman Nash on Polygamy

We’re coming up on one of the most dreaded lessons of the Sunday School cycle—no, not reviewing the law of chastity with teenagers, the lesson that includes D&C 132 (the revelation on plural marriage).  Polygamy is a topic in the…

Terryl Givens on Eugene England

In general, the people who are in a position to be most influential in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been official Church leaders.  That’s not always the case, however, since there are a number of members…

Archeology, Ceramics, and the Smith Family in Tunbridge

In addition to written records, people leave behind traces of their material lives that can tell us much about who they were.  In a recent interview with Kurt Manwaring, Mark Staker (a Master Curator for the Church History Department’s Historic…

Historical Mindset for Mormons, 101

While studying in a scientific field, two major ideas were drilled into me that have been fairly helpful in interpreting history.  First is the belief that nothing can ever truly be proved, only that things can be disproved.  If something…

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Joseph Smith’s presidential campaign has been an area of interest for several years now (particularly since the release of the Council of Fifty minutes), and Spencer W. McBride’s recently-published Joseph Smith for President: The Prophet, the Assassins, and the Fight…