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Scholars & Saints: The University of Virginia Mormon Studies Podcast
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Scholars & Saints: The University of Virginia Mormon Studies Podcast

Author: Stephen Betts

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On Scholars & Saints we'll explore some of the most pressing issues and cutting-edge methods in Mormon Studies, and put them in conversation with scholarship from the discipline of Religious Studies. You might be wondering, what is Mormon Studies? Mormon Studies refers to the broad interdisciplinary efforts of scholars both within and outside the Latter Day Saint tradition to understand the religion founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1830. Mormonism includes well known branches like the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as hundreds more.
4 Episodes
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The body has always played a central role in Latter-day Saint religious experience: touching, seeing, building, walking, sweating, and even bleeding sculpt the ways Latter-day Saints think about God, the world, and themselves. From the Gold Plates, to the Mormon Trail, to the Salt Lake Temple, Latter-day Saints mark and interpret space in ways that have profound implications for history and memory. Today I speak with Professor Sara Patterson about her recent book, Pioneers in the Attic: Place and Memory Along the Mormon Trail, published by Oxford University Press. 
From the early days of Joseph Smith’s religious movement, Mormons have creatively navigated tensions with American culture and government through political activity. In 1844, Joseph Smith ran for president and even sent out missionaries to campaign for him. In the early 20th century, Apostle Reed Smoot served in the US Senate for many years. Decades later, Apostle Ezra Taft Benson would serve as US Secretary of Agriculture under President Eisenhower. In recent years Harry Reid, a Democrat, served as Senate Majority Leader, and in 2012 Mitt Romney was selected by the Republican National Committee as the Republican candidate for president. Today I speak with Professor David Campbell and Professor Kathleen Flake about Latter-day Saints, American Politics, and the 2020 presidential election. 
In this episode, Quincy Newell joins me to talk about her book Your Sister in the Gospel: The Life of Jane Manning James, a Nineteenth-Century Black Mormon. We explore how Jane James's experiences shed light on race, gender, and religion in the American West of the 19th century.
We explore Mormon ideas about the end of the world. In his recent book, Terrible Revolution: Latter-day Saints and the American Apocalypse, Christopher James Blythe argues that Latter-day Saint apocalyptic prophecy has changed over time. What began as the expectation of an imminent apocalypse in early Mormonism changed in the early 20th century as Latter-day Saints in the United States returned from isolation in the Rocky Mountains to become culturally American again. Dr. Blythe reveals how change and adaptation have been driven by tensions between lay and official prophecy and the relationship between church and nation.
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