Cutting Edge Latter-day Saint Research, August 2023

A monthly piece summarizing all recent, peer-reviewed scholarly articles and books published on Latter-day Saints. 

Bushman, Richard Lyman. Joseph Smith’s Gold Plates: A Cultural History. Oxford University Press, 2023.

  • The venerable Richard Bushman’s latest; a cultural history on the golden plates as artifacts. He’s been working on this for years. “Bushman examines how the plates have been imagined by both believers and critics—and by treasure-seekers, novelists, artists, scholars, and others—from Smith’s first encounter with them to the present. Why have they been remembered, and how have they been used? And why do they remain objects of fascination to this day?”

Fenton, Elizabeth. “The Book of Mormon and Book History.” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 32 (2023): 74-96.

  • It’s paywalled, so it’s hard to know what it’s about. 

Oman, Nathan B. “Property and the Latter-day Saint Tradition.” William & Mary Law School Research Paper No. Forthcoming (2023).

  • Theological and historical exploration of Mormon perceptions of property and their ambiguities.  

Oman, Nathan B. “‘A Welding Link of Some Kind’: A Minimalist Theology of Same-Sex Marriage Sealings.” Nathan B. Oman, Law and the Restoration: Law and Latter-day Saint History, Thought, and Scripture (Salt Lake City, Utah: Kofford Books, Forthcoming) (2023).

  • Theological exploration of the possibility of same-sex sealings. “This essay canvases the history of Latter-day Saint sealing rules and practices and argues that when viewed in their entirety, it is difficult to map these practices on to a particular model of family structure.”

Hardy, Grant. The Annotated Book of Mormon. Oxford University Press, 2023.

  • The latest entry in academic Book of Mormon studies from the also venerable Grant Hardy. “The first fully annotated, academic edition of the Book of Mormon.” Looking forward to being able to thumb through this. 

Coyne, Sarah M., Megan Gale, Jane Shawcroft, Emilie Davis, and Chenae Christensen-Duerden. “Plastic piety: A mixed-methods study of the connection between religiosity, cosmetic surgery, and body image.” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 15, no. 3 (2023).

  • Qualitative (128 interviews) and quantitative (N=1,333 survey) study on attitude towards plastic surgery among Latter-day Saints.”For Study 1, religion was a common theme in participants’ responses—though many participants felt religiosity did not motivate their decision either way. Some participants felt that God approved of the procedure, while others felt cognitive dissonance related to religious teachings and beliefs and their decision to have cosmetic surgery. For Study 2, religious salience and attachment to God predicted lower levels of cosmetic surgery, though this result differed according to income and gender. Cosmetic enhancements were more common among those who bought into the concept of costly grace.”