Dimensions of Faith: A Mormon Studies Reader


Dimensions of Faith: A Mormon Studies Reader



In the brief time between when the alarm clock rings and the start of the day, we usually cherish those few extra moments of warmth in the sheets. However, soon enough we’re happy to be up and about, exploring the world around us. Similarly with religious studies, we may cling to the comforts of the past—what we find familiar in our faith—but then curiosity and conscience pull us to new revelations and sources of knowledge.

In these seventeen articles on things Mormon—prominent people, religious experience, memory, media, literature, and investigative theory—there is an obvious respect for the past and simultaneous desire to get to the bottom of things, to test the boundaries of knowledge. For instance, Jonathan Stapley and Kristine Wright look at the history of ritual healing within Mormonism, including the use of magic handkerchiefs and blessings performed by women. Matthew Bowman’s essay on “A Mormon Bigfoot” looks at the story retold in Sunday school and elsewhere about an early Church apostle who saw the biblical Cain. Brian Stuy examines Church President Wilford Woodruff’s account of the American founding fathers reaching from beyond the grave—a summons the prophet responded favorably to—requesting temple baptisms on their behalf. Unknown to Woodruff, this ordinance had been performed the year before. And Kathleen Flake looks at how the First Vision and other founding narratives were not emphasized in the Church until the twentieth century.

Other contributors include Gary James Bergera, Martha Bradley, Newell Bringhurst, Samuel Brown, Claudia Bushman, Brian Cannon, Douglas Davies, Rebecca de Schweinitz, Lawrence Foster, Reinhold Hill, and Jacob Olmstead.



Publication Date



Signature Books


Salt Lake City


Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Mormon church, history, religion, doctrines


Mormon Studies


Introduction -- Biography. The private versus public David O. McKay: profile of a complex personality / Newell G. Bringhurst -- Sex and prophetic power: a comparison of John Humphrey Noyes, founder of the Oneida community, with Joseph Smith Jr., the Mormon prophet / Lawrence Foster -- Theory. Building community: the fundamentalist Mormon concept of space / Martha Bradley -- Mormon studies in a European setting / Douglas J. Davies -- Experience. Wilford Woodruff's vision of the signers of the Declaration of Independence / Brian H. Stuy -- "Congenial to almost every shade of radicalism": the Delaware Valley and the success of early Mormonism / Stephen Fleming -- A Mormon Bigfoot: David Patten's Cain and the conception of evil in LDS folklore / Matthew Bowman -- The forms of Mormon ritual healing to 1847 / Jonathan A. Stapley and Kristine Wright -- Memory. A uniform and common recollection: Joseph Smith's legacy, polygamy, and public memory, 1852-2002 / Stephen Taysom -- Replacing memory: Latter-day Saint use of historical monuments and narrative in the early twentieth century / Kathleen Flake -- Media/literature. The translator and the ghostwriter: Joseph Smith and W.W. Phelps / Samuel Brown -- "Scandalous film": the campaign to suppress anti-Mormon motion pictures, 1911-12 / Brian Q. Cannon and Jacob W. Olmstead -- Buckeye's laments: two early insider exposes of Mormon polygamy and their authorship / Gary James Bergera -- God's chosen people: Mormon representations of Judaism and the Jewish other in holocaust literature / Reinhold R. Hill -- Preaching the gospel of church and sex: Mormon women's fiction in the Young Woman's Journal / Rebecca de Schweinitz -- Edward Tullidge and the women of Mormondom / Claudia Bushman

Dimensions of Faith: A Mormon Studies Reader