Mormon News, January 19–23

In the News

Cartoon by Thomas Nast depicting the Roman Church and the LDS Church as un-American lizards. ca. after 1867.

A Canadian court ruled that the name “Mormon” cannot be used by a polygamist sect there because of the confusion the use of the name created between the polygamists and the Salt Lake City-based church. The British Columbia denomination run by Winston Blackmore, just across the border from Idaho, was also forbidden from using “Latter-day Saints,” according to the BC Supreme Court decision. The LDS Church has successfully sued in Germany and other locations to protect its Mormon label, which creates difficulties for those churches that trace their origin to Joseph Smith and accept his teachings (including polygamy), believe in the Book of Mormon as scripture, and yet cannot call themselves LDS or Mormon.

On the Blogs

The Juvenile Instructor has a good post by Edje Jeter looking at 19th century cartoons that incorporated the Salt Lake Tabernacle as a symbol of Mormonism. Today the temple is the building most identified with the church, but since it was not completed until 1893 and the tabernacle was finished in 1867, the tabernacle was the symbol cartoonists used to lampoon the church (see the accompanying cartoon where the tabernacle morphed into a turtle).

Mette Ivie Harrison, guest blogging at Flunking Sainthood, asked if there is a place for secular Mormons. She explained that her daughter no longer believes in God. Like many members, she never had a spiritual experience or felt the presence of God in her life. Harrison concluded that “my daughter is not the only Mormon kid who grew up without a sense of spirituality, and plenty of adults experience the absence of God. Stretching our version of Mormonism to include them would be good for all of us. We could learn something about what spirituality really is, and about love and service. Maybe we need them as much as we think they need us.”

 Happening at Signature

As something new for 2015, I hope to include a small tidbit each week about goings-on at Signature Books—the status of manuscripts, conferences we are attending, and accomplishments by authors and staff.

Our production manager, Jason Francis, is just finishing the typesetting for Mormonism Unvailed, an annotated reprint of Eber D. Howe’s important 1834 book on Mormonism. The annotation is provided by Dan Vogel. The book will go to press in about three weeks and be available in March in hardcover and on Kindle. Jason is also teaching a design class in the Department of Visual Art and Design this semester at Weber State University, filling in for his former professor Larry Clarkson, who is on sabbatical.

News update by John Hatch, acquisitions editor