Cutting Edge Latter-day Saint Research, November 2023

Phillips, Tommy M., Jennifer R. Smith, Alice C. Long, Brandan E. Wheeler, Loren D. Marks, Michael Goodman, Trevan Hatch, and Sterling K. Wall. “Family Home Evening as a Model for Promoting Family Health.” International Journal of Latest Research in Humanities and Social Science (IJLRHSS) Volume 06 – Issue 11, 2023

Abstract: One hundred thirty-seven married members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with children participated in a study of Family Home Evening and its relation to family well-being. Results support previous research suggesting that regular family-level rituals and sacred practices benefit families, marriages, and parent-child relationships. While this study’s results cannot demonstrate any sort of causal link, they do provide very strong correlational evidence in support of the power and value of regular family-level routines, rituals, and sacred practices, as seen in LDS observance of FHE. Implications for the full universe of families are discussed.

Sorrell, Sydney A., G. Tyler Lefevor, and Connor O. Berg. ““Like Little Knives, Stabbing Me”: The Impact of Microaggressions on LGBTQ+ Teens and Their Parents in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (2023).

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) teens raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (CJCLDS) experience microaggressions in their religious contexts. Active Latter-Day Saint parents of LGBTQ+ teens also face microaggressions in their religious environments, despite not holding an LGBTQ+ identity. We examined the impacts of microaggressions and the coping strategies used by 19 dyads of LGBTQ+ teens and their Latter-Day Saints (LDS) parents to understand how current microaggression and minority stress theories map on to their experiences. Participants described feelings of anger, sadness, fear, disgust, and surprise as well as increases in relationship conflict due to microaggressions. Both parents and teens described religious doubt, disengagement from religion, and feelings of dis-belonging and disillusionment because of microaggressions. These findings may provide insight into the ways that minority stressors threaten the health and faith of LGBTQ+ teens and their families. Finally, participants reported using a range of coping strategies to buffer against the effects microaggressions, including social support, emotion-focused, problem-focused, meaning-making, and faith-based approaches to coping. Overall, parents and teens reported similar impacts and ways of coping with microaggressions, demonstrating how minority stress process may be at play on a family-systems level in the CJCLDS.

Miller, Taylor-Grey, and Derek Christian Haderlie. “Evil and Embodiment: Towards a Latter-day Saint Non-Identity Theodicy.” Religious Studies (Forthcoming). 

We offer an account of the metaphysics of persons rooted in Latter-day saint scripture that vindicates the essentiality of origins. We then give theological support for the claim that prospects for the success of God’s soul making project are bound up in God creating particular persons. We observe that these persons would not have existed were it not for the occurrence of a variety of evils (of even the worst kinds), and we conclude that Latter-day saint theology has the resources to endorse a strong soul-making non-identity theodicy. We then introduce two complications for this account rooted in the problem of horrendous evils. First, horrendous evils threaten to undermine our confidence that God is good to each created person within the context of their life. And second, horrendous evils raise concerns about the value of persons whose existence depends on the occurrence of those evils. We may wonder whether those whose existence depends on the occurrence of horrendous evils are valuable enough to motivate God’s allowance of those evils. We show that by attending to important structural features of a post-mortem, pre-eschatological state called the spirit world, Latter-day Saints can ameliorate these concerns about horrendous evils.

King, Farina. Diné Dóó Gáamalii: Navajo Latter-Day Saint Experiences in the Twentieth Century. University Press of Kansas, 2023.

Already reviewed by our own Chad Nielsen.

Manning, Alan, and Nicole Amare. “Mark Twain’s Early Contributions to Fantasy and Science Fiction and “Mormon” Narratives of Reconciliation.” The Mark Twain Annual 21 (2023): 40-60.

Mark Twain is best known in popular culture as the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It is somewhat less widely known that he wrote on the leading edge of the writing genre we now know as Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF). He stands with Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne, and H. G. Wells as one of the early developers of basic themes that are with us still: time travel, political dystopia, alternative history, future history, ESP, alien/demonic visitation, travel to alien worlds, and world-altering inventions. Twain likewise had fictional alignments with Latter-day Saint theology, including the theme of reconciliation through transcendence. Transcendent reconciliation is thus the driving force behind the general plot strategy of the most successful examples of Latter-day Saint fantasy/sci-fi and Twain’s writings as well.

Gardner, Brant A. Engraven Upon Plates, Printed Upon Paper: Textual and Narrative Structures of the Book of Mormon. Greg Kofford Books, 2023.

In Engraven Upon Plates, Printed Upon Paper: Textual and Narrative Structures of the Book of Mormon, author Brant A Gardner delves into the intriguing layers of composition and historical context of the Book of Mormon. While taking seriously the implications for what it means for this book of scripture to be a translation of an ancient record written by historical persons, Gardner explores the translation process of the Book of Mormon, analyzing three compositional layers: the nineteenth-century text, the Nephite Book of Mormon, and the Nephite writers and their sources. This work contributes to a deeper understanding of the origins and compositional history of the Book of Mormon, without aiming to serve as an apologetic defense.

Fiet, James O. “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint Doctrine and Entrepreneurship.” In Religious Doctrines and their Influence on Entrepreneurship, pp. 47-54. Cham: Springer Nature Switzerland, 2023.

5 comments for “Cutting Edge Latter-day Saint Research, November 2023

  1. Regarding FHE – I was working in youth corrections in the early 80’s and way back then I read (not written by members) that doing something once a week with your children as a family reduces the likelihood of them being delinquent by a huge margin. It was an “ah ha” moment for me. For my 5 kids we did traditional FHE when they were young and needed to learn the “gospel” and when they got older we switched to just doing fun stuff together weekly. They are all adults now and we are still close to each other and get along very well. I cant help but think that our FHE had a lot to do with this based on what I read in the 80’s. Side note… my parents did FHE but it was not traditional but just activities together and my siblings and I are still close and married and in the church etc.

  2. Very much looking forward to the Miller and Haderlie theodicy article. It may be a little ghoulish, but I usually enjoy reading theodicy.

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