Thursday, March 29, 2018

2018 Global Mormon Studies Conference - Challenges and Opportunities for Studying Global Mormonism Video Posted

Claremont Graduate University recently posted a video of the panel Challenges and Opportunities for Studying Global Mormonism, which occurred as part of the 2018 Global Mormon Studies Conference from March 9-10. I participated in this panel along with several other scholars, such as Henri Gooren and Caroline Kline, to discuss opportunities and challenges for studying global Mormonism. There were many other scholars who provided excellent presentations regarding their research. These videos can be accessed on the Claremont Graduate University YouTube channel, which is located here.

See below for the Challenges and Opportunities for Studying Global Mormonism Video.


Kenny said...

The church just announced the open house and dedication of the Rome Italy Temple, but I am confused on the dedication part. It says the temple will be dedication on Sunday March 10 through Sunday March 17 next year

A week long dedication or dedication on both Sundays to allow more to participate in person? I've never heard of this happening for this long. There used to be weekend long dedications but never a whole week. Very interesting.

Grant Emery said...

It seems clear that Church leadership consensus is that Rome is intended to be a religious headquarters for Mormonism. Of course, this is likely due to the proximity to the Vatican (otherwise, other European capitals are more prominent for Mormonism's purposes). As I look at the photos of the site on the most recent Mormon Newsroom post, the scope of this project continues to impress me. The size of the stake center is so large for a European meetinghouse! And the (olive?) trees stationed at four places in the piazza (interestingly, replacing the standardized statues that were in the initial rendering) help create a uniqueness in Rome's sense of place. I highly suspect that area headquarters will be relocated to Rome, whether by the creation of a new Mediterranean Area or a relocation from Frankfurt. It is clear that no expense was spared in this particular project.

James Anderson said...

Two foreign MTC's to be shuttered.

Rome Italy Temple will be dedicated in 11 months, have an extended series of dedication sessions, story is linked below the article above

Grant Emery said...

WOW! The closing of the two MTCs makes me wonder what's going on. I feel like so much news has broken lately. It's almost like President Nelson had all of these ideas of what to do when he finally became prophet.

Of course, this is likely due to the decreased number of missionaries, which can now be served by fewer MTCs. I wonder whether the missionaries who would have been trained in Spain or Chile will attend the Provo MTC or (more likely, in my opinion) the Mexico MTC.

It does make me wonder, however, whether this also signals a shift towards even more centralization. President Nelson is supportive of a unified Church, if his policies and talks indicate anything.

John Pack Lambert said...

The history of missionary training is interesting to say the least. Counts of missionaries through history are off because so many local missionaries called locally existed.

The trend over the last few years seems to have been making a few MTCs bigger instead of making more. There are economies of scale. The new Ghana MTC has allowed all missionaries heading to the Africa West Area to be trained there.

The Chile MTC seems to have been small scale and only trained nationals of Chile so this seems to be heading to more training by destination than point of origin.

The Spain MTC was the training point for parts of Eastern Europe. It is hard to say what this will bring.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

On a smaller scale of news...

Browning, Montana recently got a new branch.

This interests me because it's on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation, and I'd recently been pondering what genealogy and temple work had been done for the Native Tribes of Montana.

More especially, I'd been considering the Salish and Kootenai Tribes who once dwelled on or near my homeland of the Bitterroot Valley.

One interesting aside is that the Salish-Kootenai were peaceful farmers who relied on the Bitterroot and Camas Flowers for their sustenance (the Kootenai name actually translates as "People of the Kamas Flower"). Another is that one of their traditional enemies were the Blood Indian Tribe, who were traditionally more nomadic and warlike.

The description of these sets of tribes to me (one a peaceful group who cultivated the land, another nomadic and bloodthirsty) just screams to me as a remnant of the Nephites and Lamanites. Especially the fact that the Salish, once they learned of the "Black Robes" (Catholic Jesuit Missionaries), actually sent away for them all the way to Missouri to have them come back and convert them to Christianity. The Catholic Church obliged, and built St. Mary's Mission in Stevensville (my hometown) specifically for the Indians.

I have a feeling that these people want the Fullness of the Gospel and their Temple Work done (if it hasn't been already), since they received a portion of it in life. I've actually been doing some research lately to make sure this work is done (through the appropriate channels). Any insights or suggestions from those familiar with submitting Native American records would be appreciated.,_Montana

Eduardo said...

Chileans will be able to go to neighboring Peru or Argentina, or in the cases of those called to Brazil or English-speaking, like some I have known from Angol, would go directly to Sao Paulo or Provo, or potentially London or Japan...
Does this bring the total number of MTCs down to 13?
I hope with 2 temples as of 2018 (October) Chile will grow in active strength and add at least 2 more temples in the next decade.
If you look at Antofogasta or Calama or Iquique in the north, or Temuco, Valdivia or Puerto Montt down south central, or Punta Arenas at the extreme, all these regions are very far from any temples and have justifications to qualify for their own temples.
Interesting note about Chile: the last five years has brought a high number of immigrants, which has posed issues of curbing those numbers. I would hope that increased numbers of diversity in Chile would help the Church grow. By default the reduction of a Santiago MTC will help many more of that country adapt to foreign and international understanding and development.

Christopher Nicholson said...

There's no mention of cultural celebrations for the Concepcion, Barranquilla, or Rome temples. Do you think they aren't doing these anymore, or that it was just an oversight? Certainly it seems unusual to annonce dedications this far in advance so I hope as we get closer they'll say something about cultural celebrations. I thought they were a beautiful innovation by President Hinckley and would be upset to see them go. I hope that President Nelson's idea of unity doesn't include downplaying the diversity of our various beautiful cultures.

Gnesileah said...

Matt, great job on the panel! You certainly know your stuff.

The Japan and Korea MTCs both closed in the late 2000s. I suspect that these closures, with the Chile and Spain closures, are part of a recommendation from the Missionary Department and Missionary Executive Committee to further consolidate resources, to respond to changing mission needs elsewhere.

Gnesileah said...

I am worried that the youth cultural celebrations held before temple dedications and rededications have been scuttled. Yes, Jordan River is having one, but that was planned from last year. Concepcion and Barranquilla are having special youth devotionals instead. Those will be special spiritual experiences for the youth, sure, but would the devotionals allow the same type of spiritual experiences the youth could gain from participating in a unique cultural celebration? President Hinckley started the practice with the dedication of the Accra Ghana Temple in 2004. Every temple dedication or rededication since then has had one (Draper and Oquirrh Mountain had a combined celebration between sandwiched between the two dedications). Houston doesn't have one planned, but understandably since it is a low-key affair following restoration caused by flooding. President Monson repeatedly said he was a big fan of these cultural celebrations. Maybe there are liability or monetary reasons for ending the practice? Much we don't know, but I for one will miss them.

Gnesileah said...

A woman in my ward is from the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation (containing two tribes: Gros Ventre and Assiniboine) in Montana. When I was the family history consultant, she shared with me the huge amount of work she had done on documenting the history of her tribe, and the subsequent temple work that was completed for nearly the entire historic tribal membership, insofar as the records went back (circa mid to late 1800s). She had several spiritual experiences during that period that involved long-dead tribal chiefs appearing to her in dreams, and correcting misinformation in her records, and providing the names of missing children to certain families. Pretty remarkable.

I think the best way we can facilitate the temple work for other tribes, is to help get the names and relationships entered into FamilySearch. I work for a federal agency that has in its possession all the Indian Allotment Schedules for the 19 Federally-recognized tribes in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. These handwritten schedules were created by government agents 100 years ago to parcel out tribal lands to individual tribal members, and include entire families and their relationships to other tribal members. A hugely valuable resource to anyone researching tribal genealogies. We want to digitize and preserve these fragile records, and I worked with FamilySearch about getting them scanned and indexed. FamilySearch was totally on board, and it would have been completely free to us, but unfortunately our attorneys shot it down on a technicality. So now (this week actually), we signed an agreement with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to digitize these records (you don't even want to know the cost). Eventually, these images will be available online for the public to research.

Gnesileah said...

With regards to President Nelson's upcoming international trip, someone earlier asked if this would be the first visit to India by a President of the Church. President Hinckley visited New Delhi in 2005, during his around-the-world trip, which included the dedication of the Aba Nigeria Temple.

Nathanial said...

Eduardo, the MTC in England is in Preston. It is on the same campus as the temple. I had the pleasure of going there to serve in the England Manchester Mission. Preston is in that mission. I believe there was an MTC type facility at one time in London.

Eduardo said...

Yeah, thanks for the correction. Preston changed a few things. How far a drive is Preston from London or Glasgow? Probably helps the Scottish and Irish get there easier. Although it ought to be difficult for the Irish either way.

Nathanial said...

I am not sure how far away they are, but England is about the size of Utah if I remember correctly. Your original point is still valid.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...


Thanks! That is actually very helpful. I'm really glad to come across someone with experience with Native American records.

Indexing and getting some of these records imaged and recorded and on Family Search was kind of what I had in mind.

Like your Native friend, I've had some spiritual experiences of my own that have lead me to want to get this work done.

I appreciate you working to get those handwritten schedules done. I'm sure that will be invaluable once it's finished.

I did some additional research, and I think where I need to start is with St. Mary's Mission in my hometown, and with the List of Chiefs they have there.

I do have a couple of questions, though:

1. Does the Church only accept primary sources, or secondary sources as well?
I came across a book that compiled the records from St. Mary's:
"The baptism, marriage, and death records from St. Mary's for the 1866-1891 period have survived and provide a window on the Bitterroot Valley and the Salish Indian community during that period. This book provides an English translation of the St. Mary's records and family histories of many of the Indian families mentioned in the documents."
I was considering donating this book to the Family History Dept, if that would help.

2. If the Primary source is necessary for Name Extraction, what is the process for getting those records imaged? Would I contact the Family History Dept and have them contact St. Mary's Mission to request to copy the original records, or would it be simpler to contact the Catholic Mission myself and ask that they submit the records to the LDS Church? (heck, I'll go photograph/scan the records myself if that helps the process along) ;)

Thanks again for your insights and experience with this.

Gnesileah said...


Sorry for my delay! If you are citing sources in FamilySearch for name entries, you should include the best available source for your data, and optionally any additional sources as appropriate. When the best source available is a secondary source, it's okay to cite. Other researchers can correct inaccurate data from better sources as they become available.

With regards to donating secondary source records to FamilySearch, I am not sure of their policies and processes, but I would think that if the records contain names and information not available elsewhere within their holdings, that they would be interested.

To get the records digitized, check with FamilySearch first to see if they have any teams currently in Montana and if they have any suggestions on how to work with St. Mary's Mission to acquire their permission to scan the records or how to go about donating copies of the records directly to FamilySearch.

So glad you are taking the initiative to make these records wore widely available. Good luck!