Thursday, June 23, 2011

Richard Bushman: 'Golden Age' of Mormon history

Excerpts of At symposium honoring birthday, Bushman says now is 'golden age' of Mormon historical scholarship By Emily W. Jensen, For Mormon Times

"I believe we are in a golden age of Mormon history," Richard Bushman said, rattling off the sponsors for the symposium: Church History Department, Mormon Historic Sites 

"What do these institutional sponsorships mean?" Bushman asked. "It means that Mormon historical scholarship is not confined to scholars alone; it has an organic connection to the community. Church, university and private foundations support this work. It means that as people care about history, they want to preserve and explore."
Additionally, Bushman explained that "we are in a golden age because of independent inquiry where scholarship is no longer judged by its partisan conclusions, but by its accuracy and insight."
Church leaders, scholars and young minds are combining to tell more accurate history, Bushman said.
"We do not need to conceal our history," he said. "It will be more convincing, more engaging and more true if we tell it as it is. Historians thrive when they are free to pursue their own truth."
As examples, Bushman cited the recent Mountain Meadows Massacre book, the Joseph Smith Papers Project and the participation of church historian and recorder Elder Marlin K. Jensen and assistant church historian Richard E. Turley in various history associations.
"We have the training, the smarts and the moxie," Bushman said. "Mormon scholars are doing fine."
To see the video from other scholars honoring Bushman's legacy, go to YouTube for part one and part two.

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