An Interview with Adam Miller, “Letters to a Young Mormon” (Episode 39)

Adam S. Miller is a professor of philosophy at Collin College in McKinney, Texas. He and his wife, Gwen, have three children. He serves as the director of the Mormon Theology Seminar and he is the author of five books. Included in that group is Rube Goldberg Machines: Essays in Mormon Theology, which you can learn more about by going way back and listening to episode 4 of The Mormon Book Review. Today we are going to be discussing his newest book, Letters to a Young Mormon, published by the Maxwell Institute. 


In this interview Adam and Kirk discuss sin, scripture, and for whom this book was written. 


Letters to a Young Mormon


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An Interview with Mark Staker, “Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations” (Episode 38)

Mark Staker was awarded a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Florida in 1992. Since then he has worked in the Church History Department of the LDS Church. He began as a curator at the Church History Museum and currently is Lead Curator in the Historic Sites Division. Mark was honored with the J. Talmage Jones Award of Excellence for an outstanding article in Mormon History by the Mormon History Association and awarded the Best Book Award from both the John Whitmer Historical Association and the Mormon History Association. His work in historic sites restorations has been formally honored by the American Institute of Architects and the Cleveland Restoration Society & Preservation Resource Center. He is married to Kimberly L. Staker and they are the parents of seven children

In this interview Kirk and Mark discuss how Mormons and non-Mormons played into Joseph Smith's original vision for The Kirtland Safety Society, the impact of the "First Vision", and the influence of Black Pete on early Mormonism. 

Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith's Ohio Revelations 
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An Interview with Craig Livingston, “From Above and Below: The Mormon Embrace of Revolution, 1840-1940″ (Episode 37)

Craig Livingston has taught history at Lone Star College—Montgomery, located 25 miles north of Houston, Texas, since the campus opened in 1995.  In 1991 he obtained his master's degree in history from Brigham Young University.  In 1992 Craig matriculated in Philadelphia in Temple University’s Center for Force and Diplomacy.  In 2002 he was awarded a Ph.D. in history. Craig was born in Utah in 1959 but grew up in the homeland of his parents, Los Angeles, California.  After graduating from high school in 1978, Craig went to Sweden for 2 years as a missionary.  When he returned he continued his studies at BYU.  Having enrolled in the ROTC, Craig received a commission in the US Army upon graduation in 1985.  Craig served 3 years in the 25th Division.  His qualifications included Airborne and Ranger training. Craig is married to Jennifer Parrish of Pocatello, Idaho.  Craig and his wife have a 22-year old son and 2 daughters aged 15 and 14.  The family loves Texas. Craig's interests are diverse.  He plays the bagpipe, writes, and works out.  He also founded Lord Stirling's Fifes and Drums. Currently, Craig is getting the campus ready to remember the approaching 100th anniversary of World War I.

In this interview Kirk and Craig discuss Mormons and their relationship to revolution. Including, how the Mormon pioneers responded to the European revolutions of the 1800s and how Mormons viewed World War I and the hope of creating a one world government. 

From Above and Below: The Mormon Embrace of Revolution, 1840-1940


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A New Direction for 2014

As we move into 2014 The Mormon Book Review will no longer be officially affiliated with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University. This was a mutually agreed upon decision by both parties and we wish the best for all of our friends at the Maxwell Institute as we enter into the new year. 

Because we are again an independent show we would ask that you make a donation to the site if you like what we do here. Donations help greatly as we keep these shows coming to you month after month. However, even if you cannot donate (or you just do not want to donate) we still appreciate you listening. Regardless of donation level, everyone is welcome here. 

You can continue following/subscribing to The Mormon Book Review on our pre-MI page  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast?id=574226101

Thank you for all for your continued support. It does make a difference. 



Interview with Matthew Godfrey, “Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 2, July 1831–January 1833″ (Episode 36)

Matthew C. Godfrey is managing historian of The Joseph Smith Papers and co-editor of volumes in the Documents series. He holds a PhD in American and public history from Washington State University. Before joining the project, he worked for eight years at Historical Research Associates, a historical and archaeological consulting firm headquartered in Missoula, Montana, serving as president of the company from 2008 to 2010. He is the author ofReligion, Politics, and Sugar: The Mormon Church, the Federal Government, and the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, 1907-1921, which was a co-winner of the Mormon History Association’s Smith-Pettit Award for Best First Book. He has also published articles in Agricultural History and Pacific Northwest Quarterly and has presented papers at conferences of the Mormon History Association, the National Council on Public History, the American Society for Environmental History, and the Western History Association, among other organizations.

In episode 36 of The Mormon Book Review, Matthew Godfrey joins Kirk Caudle to discuss The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents Volume 2, July 1831–January 1833. Godfrey details the early establishment of the city of Zion and letters that Joseph Smith sent to wife Emma. He reflects on the personal side of the prophet and provides his own opinion on Smith’s early leadership style. Godfrey also provides a brief update on the upcoming publication of the Council of Fifty minutes.

Buy the Book here:

Listen to this episode:

on the Maxwell Institute website here

An Interview with Gerrit Dirkmaat, “Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 1, July 1828-1831 (Episode 35)

Gerrit Dirkmaat is a historian working as an editor ofThe Joseph Smith Papers volumes. He received his PhD in 2010 from the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he studied nineteenth-century American expansionism and foreign relations. His dissertation was titled “Enemies Foreign and Domestic: US Relations with Mormons in the US Empire in North America, 1844–1854.” He served as the senior assistant editor of Diplomatic History from 2003 to 2009. He joined the Joseph Smith Papers project in 2010 and has since served as a historian/editor onJournals Vol. 2Documents Vol. 1, and as the lead volume editor of Documents Vol. 3, which will be published in 2014. He is currently serving as an editor for the first volume in the Administrative series. He is the coauthor, along with Michael Hubbard MacKay, of the forthcoming book from the Maxwell Institute Press, tentatively titled Joseph the Seer: The Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon.

In episode 35 of the Mormon Book Review, Kirk Caudle discusses Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 1, July 1828-1831with the book’s coeditor Gerrit Dirkmaat. In this interview Dirkmaat talks about the earliest revelations of Joseph Smith and provides key historical background information concerning Doctrine and Covenants sections 19, 25, and 41.

Buy The Book Here:

The Joseph Smith Papers: Documents: July 1828 - June 1831

Listen to this interview here:

on the Maxwell Institute Website

An Interview with Merina Smith, “Revelation, Resistance, and Mormon Polygamy” (Episode 34)

Merina Smith graduated from the University of Colorado, raised five children, and then returned to graduate school to earn a PhD from the University of California at San Diego in 2011. She currently researches and writes as an independent historian. She resides in San Diego with her husband, legal scholar Steven Smith.

In episode 34 of the Mormon Book Review, Kirk Caudle discusses the book Revelation, Resistance, and Mormon Polygamy: The Introduction and Implementation of the Principle, 1830-1853"  with author Merina Smith. Smith situates Joseph Smith’s conception of marriage within wider 19th-century views of Christian marriage and explores some differences between Nauvoo polygamy and Utah polygamy.


Listen to this interview on the Maxwell Institute website by:
 clicking here. 

An Interview with Quincy D. Newell, “New Perspectives in Mormon Studies” (Episode 33)

Quincy D. Newell is an associate professor specializing in religion and the American West at the University of Wyoming. In addition to coediting New Perspectives, she authored Constructing Lives at Mission San Francisco: Native Californians and Hispanic Colonists, 1776-1821She also serves on the advisory board of the Maxwell Institute’s Mormon Studies Review.

In this episode Kirk Caudle discusses New Perspectives in Mormon Studies: Creating and Crossing Boundaries with the book’s coeditor, Quincy D. Newell. Newell discusses the genesis of this collection of essays, definitions of “Mormon studies,” how she became involved in Mormon studies, and what non-Mormon scholars add to the conversation. Newell’s own work has focused largely on the experiences of nineteenth-century nonwhite Mormons, so she also reflects on the significance of Jane James in Mormon history

Listen to this episode on the Maxwell Institute website here

An Interview with Steven Peck, “A Short Stay in Hell” (Episode 32)

Peck is an evolutionary ecologist who teaches History and Philosophy of Science and Bioethics at Brigham Young University. He has published articles in American Naturalist, Newsweek, Evolution, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Biological Theory, Agriculture and Human Values, Biology & Philosophy, and edited a volume on environmental stewardship. His other books and short stories include The Scholar of Moab (Torrey House Press), and a young adult novel about warrior squirrels called Rifts of Ryme (Cedar Fort Press). Earlier this week, Peck announced that A Short Stay in Hell has been picked up by indie film director David Spaltro for a film adaptation (see here ).

Episode 32 of The Mormon Book Review features author and evolutionary ecologist, Steven Peck, talking about his existentialist horror novella A Short Stay in Hell. Kirk Caudle explores Peck’s thoughts on exploring other faith traditions, how to find religious truth through fictional literature, and the dizzying vastness of eternity.

Listen to the interview on the Maxwell Institute website.


An Interview with Richard Bushman, “Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (Episode 31)

Richard Bushman is a Gouverneur Morris Professor of History emeritus at Columbia University. He served as the visiting Howard W. Hunter Visiting chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University from 2008-2011. He was co-general editor of the Joseph Papers until 2012. He currently chairs the board of directors for the Mormon Scholars Foundation, and with his wife Claudia, is the Church History adviser for the North American North East Area. He is the author of many books including: Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism (University of Illinois, 1984), Building the Kingdom: A History of Mormons in America (Oxford, 2001), and Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2008).

In this episode host Kirk Caudle talks with author Richard L. Bushman about the continuing relevance of the book, the religious world of Joseph Smith, and nineteenth-century Christian expectations for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Listen to the interview here on the Maxwell Institute website.