Mormon News, May 25–29

In the News

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles will receive hospice care after it was announced Friday that his thyroid cancer has spread aggressively and is terminal. The ninety-two-year-old apostle no Mormon Newslonger attends quorum meetings. Perry has been a member of the quorum for over forty years and is second only to Boyd K. Packer in seniority. Recent announcements by church public affairs about LDS leaders’ health come after increased calls for more transparency about the aging hierarchy.

The Mormon History Association celebrates its 50th annual conference next week in Provo, Utah, June 4–7. The gathering will explore several facets of the Latter Day Saint tradition; MHA president Laurel Thatcher Ulrich released a glimpse of her presidential address taken from her forthcoming book, A House Full of Females: Mormon Diaries, 1835–1870. Signature Books will be on site with a table in the book room—if you are in attendance please stop by and say hi!

A letter from Hugh B. Brown to a friend surfaced this week that showcases the apostle’s sensitivity to doubt and faith struggles. Brown confessed that he too has “known the darkness, fogginess, and chill of the valley which lies between illuminated peaks of faith and confidence, and that only the memory of the hilltops along the road over which I have come coupled with the somewhat misty vision of others still ahead has given me the courage to plod on.” The poetic letter is an anthem for faith and belief. Hugh B. Brown’s progressive style and advocacy for race equality sometimes put him at odds with his peers and, as a result, he was removed from the First Presidency in 1970 by new church president Joseph Fielding Smith. Brown passed away in 1975.

In Books

Doug Gibson of the Standard-Examiner interviewed Dan Vogel this week about his recent edition of Mormonism Unvailed. The book, long considered the first “anti-Mormon book,” by E. D. Howe remains important to historians for its inclusion of Ezra Booth’s letters and affidavits by the Smith family’s New York neighbors. Vogel also explains the misspelling of unvailed and other details about the book. Mormonism Unvailed is available now in hardcover and Kindle editions.

The Mormon studies community is buzzing about a forthcoming project by historian Ardis Parshall, tentatively titled She Shall Be an Ensign, a history of the church told through the lives of its women. After Parshall announced a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds, it quickly garnered attention on blogs and Facebook and now has hundreds of supporters. Parshall runs the popular Keepapitchinin blog and is a former LDS Church History Library employee.

News update by John Hatch, acquisitions editor