Plague: The Mormon Opposition to Pornography, 1850s-1966

Mormons have called it a plague, a cursing, a disease, and the surest sign that the modern world loves to gaze at Gomorrah.  For several years, hardly a General conference, stake conference, or even Elder’s quorum meeting went by without at least a passing reference to pornography’s evils.  But pornography hasn’t always been around, and the Latter-day Saints have not always been fixated in destroying it.  At what point did Mormonism begin to conceptualize pornography as one of the greatest evils of our time?    Continue reading

A Cacophony of Events: Heroes, Villains, and Official Declaration #2

Margaret Young’s latest piece on Official Declaration #2 gives us a taste of the sheer complexity that (ought to) undergird any conversation on race in Mormonism. I have earlier noted that Young had ascribed change in Mormonism to the relationship activists had with church leadership.  Yesterday, she (quite rightly) responded by pointing out that for every voice on the inside of the Church hierarchy (and there were plenty), there were two voices for change on the outside. Continue reading

On Restrictions and Races: A Response

Since this material draws from documents in a forthcoming volume, most citations will not be included

It’s a topic that’s gaining steam in the press these days: is it appropriate for women to mobilize a public demonstration to show their discontent with current gender discourse?  Margaret Young has weighed in, suggesting that the proper way to address this is through personal conversations with leaders in power.  Tristan Call has kindly responded, arguing that she has failed to take into account the role of social movements and protest.

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The Long Night of Whiteness

For my book, Black Mormon: The Story of Elijah Ables, click here

Official Declaration #2 is often cast–in its most generous light–as the Church’s efforts to usher in a new era of racial pluralism and globalization.  President Kimball had long dreamed of “when all the world will be converted,” and this was merely the next step.  It speaks to what I call the dispensational interpretation of Official Declaration #2.  Because Peter received a vision to “take the gospel to the Gentiles,” we assume that Official Declaration #2 was merely another incarnation of that. The interpretation has become almost axiomatic.  Continue reading