Essay on the need to honor the individual in the hospital

I coauthored an essay with Zackary Berger on the problem with the industrial look and feel of the modern hospital and some ideas about how to make hospitals better able to protect their patients’ sense of self. The essay was published today in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Mormonism’s Abandoned Race Policy

In this post at Huffington Post, I argue that the question of whether Mormon leaders will offer an official apology for the pre-1978 policy of racial exclusion is about more than race.

“Language of Heaven” essay now published

SSRN hosts the published version of the paper in which I introduce some of the ideas from my current project on Mormon history, a treatment of what sacred translation meant for founder Joseph Smith and his early followers. The print copy is available in the Journal of Mormon History 38:1 (Summer 2012): 51-71.

Response to bad science in Science

In this piece at Huffington Post, I describe the severe methodological problems with a group of studies published in Science magazine, one of the top two journals in general science.

On Mormon temple secrecy

In a piece for Huffington Post, I begin a response to John Sweeney’s attempt to construct Mormons as a cult in a recent documentary.

Huffington Post on Baptism for the Dead

Today, the Huffington Post published my piece on the Mormon practice of baptism for the dead.

Diagnosing History

In this guest post at Religion in American History, I describe the relationships between my work as a physician, medical researcher, and historian.

Contextualizing early Mormon beliefs

In Heaven tried not only to think through the big problem of explaining death but also to make sense of early Mormonism for outsiders. In this post on the Oxford UP blog, I contextualize two of the beliefs currently circulating in the media.

Five Best on Mormonism

Featured in the Wall Street Journal weekend books section, my column on the Five Best Books on Mormonism.

Review of David Holland’s Sacred Borders

Review of David F. Holland, Sacred Borders: Continuing Revelation and Canonical Restraint in Early America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. 275pp. + index

Sacred Borders represents a rigorous and compelling consideration of traditions about the state of the biblical canon in American religion. For bookish Latter-day Saints, this volume will provide much-needed context for early Mormon beliefs about their open canon as well as a subtle and sympathetic view of both sides of the debate over the closed canon. While the style is highly accessible, given the complexity of the subject matter a reader may benefit from having digested a book like Brooks Holifield’s Theology in America (Yale 2005) or perhaps the survey by Jon Butler, Grant Wacker, and Randall Balmer, Religion in American Life (Oxford 2003). Many of Holland’s arguments will make more sense when the reader recognizes some of the actors, concepts, and traditions involved. Even so, I believe that Sacred Borders will be useful even to non-specialist audiences. I apologize that this review is as long as it is: the length of the review reflects the extensive insights of the book as well as the scope of the topic it treats. For expository clarity, I have divided the review into three sections. (more…)

Banner image is of Mount Mkinwartsveri (Kazbek), with the Church of St. Mary foreground left, image © Samuel Brown 2000