72 episodes

There’s the Mormon history you do know … and the Mormon history you don’t. Join Lindsay Hansen Park (Year of Polygamy) and historian Bryan Buchanan as they dig into all aspects of Mormonism’s astonishing 200-year past—uncovering the little-known stories that chronicle how a six-person church grew into a multi-billion-dollar religion.

Sunstone Mormon History Podcast Sunstone

    • Education
    • 4.7 • 295 Ratings

There’s the Mormon history you do know … and the Mormon history you don’t. Join Lindsay Hansen Park (Year of Polygamy) and historian Bryan Buchanan as they dig into all aspects of Mormonism’s astonishing 200-year past—uncovering the little-known stories that chronicle how a six-person church grew into a multi-billion-dollar religion.

    Episode 1: The Creation

    Episode 1: The Creation

    Join Sunstone's Lindsay Hansen Park and Benchmark Books' Bryan Buchanan as they discuss the origins of the creation story in Mormonism, and the tensions between science and Mormonism.

     

    Listen to this episode here.

     

    Additional resources and information about topics discussed in this episode:
    "The 1911 Evolution Controversy at Brigham Young University" (Gary J. Bergera) http://signaturebookslibrary.org/the-1911-evolution-controversy-at-brigham-young-university/
    The B. H. Roberts/Joseph Fielding Smith/James E. Talmage Affair (Richard Sherlock and Jeffrey E. Keller) http://signaturebookslibrary.org/the-b-h-robertsjoseph-fielding-smithjames-e-talmage-affair/
    Seers, Savants, and Evolution: The Uncomfortable Interface (Duane E. Jeffery) http://signaturebookslibrary.org/seers-savants-and-evolution-the-uncomfortable-interface/

    • 49 min
    Episode 2: The First Mother in Israel

    Episode 2: The First Mother in Israel

    Lindsay and Bryan discuss the life of Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of Joseph Smith Jr. This episode features special guests Tim Coray and Carol Lynn Pearson reading as Lucy Mack Smith.

    Listen to this episode here.

     

    Additional resources and information about topics discussed in this episode:
    “Lucy's Image: A Recently Discovered Photograph of Lucy Mack Smith” (Ronald E. Romig and Lachlan Mackay) https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1078&context=mormonhistory
    Lucy Mack Smith’s general conference address (original minutes) https://catalog.lds.org/assets/06b8dd6e-b6aa-4dae-8916-9a04c6d1abc2/0/11
    Lucy’s Book (online) http://signaturebookslibrary.org/lucys-book/
    Lucy’s Book (hard copy, out of print)—order from Benchmark Books www.benchmarkbooks.com
    Etching of Lucy Mack Smith (Frederick Piercy, from Route from Liverpool to Great Salt Lake Valley) Church History Digital Catalog | Assets

    Conflict in the Quorum: Orson Pratt, Brigham Young, Joseph Smith (Gary James Bergera)—purchase from Benchmark Books http://www.benchmarkbooks.com

    Sources Used to Compile the Lucy Mack Smith History (Sharalyn D. Howcroft, from Foundational Texts of Mormonism):

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Episode 3: The Smith Family

    Episode 3: The Smith Family

    In this episode, Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park discuss the sisters of Joseph Smith. Joined by historian Christopher C. Smith, this episode explores the lives of members of the Smith family and how Mormonism impacted their stories.

    Listen to this episode here 

    Additional resources and information about topics discussed in this episode:

    The Sword of Laban: Joseph Smith, Jr. and the Dissociated Mind (William D. Morain)—purchase from Benchmark Books http://www.benchmarkbooks.com
    “Joseph Smith's Boyhood Operation: An 1813 Surgical Success” (LeRoy S. Wirthlin) https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/joseph-smiths-boyhood-operation-1813-surgical-success
    United by Faith: The Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith Family (chapters on Sophronia, Katharine and Lucy)—order from Benchmark Bookswww.benchmarkbooks.com
    Joseph Smith’s Accounts of the First Vision (Joseph Smith Papers) https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/articles/primary-accounts-of-first-vision
    Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (Richard L. Bushman)—order from Benchmark Books www.benchmarkbooks.com

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Episode 4: Magic and Mormonism

    Episode 4: Magic and Mormonism

    Did early Mormons once dabble in the occult? This episode explores Joseph Smith's fascination with magical practices, including animal sacrifice and seer stones. Join hosts Lindsay Hansen Park and Bryan Buchanan as they discuss early Mormonism and the Magic World View with acclaimed Mormon historians D. Michael Quinn and Christopher C. Smith.

    Listen to this episode here.

    Additional resources and information about topics discussed in this episode:
    documentary on Mark Hofmann https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbnw57x4vjA&list=PL2J4pOVStq7iJEK2OFEeG0MuU3GqiZ6j2&index=21&t=17s
    Salamander Letter (Mark Hofmann) https://karriehiggins.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/salamanderletterfrontandback.jpg
    Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (D. Michael Quinn)—purchase from Benchmark Books www.benchmarkbooks.com
     

     

    • 1 hr 53 min
    Episode 5: History of the Scriptures

    Episode 5: History of the Scriptures

    Did Joseph Smith write or translate the Book of Mormon? Who was involved? Is it true a magic toad and a bloody ghost helped bring forth scripture? Tune into the Sunstone History Podcast as Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park discuss the history of Mormon scriptures with Brian Hales, Sarah Stone, Kalani Tonga, Christopher C. Smith, and Sheldon Kent

     

    Listen to this episode here.

    • 1 hr 46 min
    Episode 6: Bad Boys of Early Mormonism

    Episode 6: Bad Boys of Early Mormonism

    In early Mormonism, it was often hard to parse out the Saints from Scoundrels. Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park discuss some of the early "bad boys" in the Mormon movement including Hiram Page, Oliver Cowdery, William McLellin. This episode features commentary by historians Cheryl L. Bruno and Christopher C. Smith.

    Listen to this episode here.

    Additional resources and information about topics discussed in this episode:


    “Using DNA to Discover the Origins of Hiram Page, Witness to the Book of Mormon” (Gary Merrill) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/16noj_RBgUPc1pgFuGzp7sL8Gn3TvXNKr
    “Hiram Page”—master’s thesis (Bruce Stewart)
    https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6141&context=etd
    Oliver Cowdery: Scribe, Elder, Witness (John Welch/Larry Morris) https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=2239&index=1
    D&C 66 (in William McLellin’s handwriting) https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/revelation-29-october-1831-dc-66/
    The Journals of William E. McLellin 1831-1836 (Jan Shipps/John Welch) purchase from Benchmark Books www.benchmarkbooks.com
    The William E. McLellin Papers, 1854-1880 (Stan Larson/Samuel J. Passey) purchase from Benchmark Books www.benchmarkbooks.com

    William E. McLellin's Lost Manuscript (Mitchell K. Schaefer) purchase from Benchmark Books www.benchmarkbooks.com

    Differing Visions: Dissenters in Mormon History (Roger Launius/Linda Thatcher) purchase from Benchmark Books www.benchmarkbooks.com

    Southpark season 7, episode 12

    • 1 hr 13 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
295 Ratings

295 Ratings

Dax James ,

Incredible a life changer

I just discovered this podcast and cannot get enough. I am an active nuanced Mormon and feel like this podcast and the knowledge shared is a breath of fresh air. I did not love the Romney Jab in the second polygamy episode. I am Not the biggest Romney fan but I think taking a shot at him took me out of the podcast and lessened the experience of diving into the history.

Overall I cannot get enough. Huge Brian and Lindsay fan!

Josephd1994 ,

Well done, entertaining, good info

Here is my humble opinion on this podcast: I was born a church member, but do not believe the church to be true. (Ex-mormon I guess you could say.) I gave the podcast 5 stars because it is apparent that a lot of work goes into it and it is overall very enjoyable to listen to and contains good information. I do think it could be improved in one very specific way. The hosts (especially Lindsay) consistently moralize about people’s actions, which gives the podcast less legitimacy from a historical point of view. Sarcastic comments that allude to what terrible people certain historical figures are, how awful and archaic the culture of the time was, how dumb peoples beliefs were, how terrible their actions were etc. makes the presented information (which is overall rather good) less credible and invites the listener to be skeptical of whatever information is being presented. I also think it makes LDS listeners double down on their positions, and does the same for anti-LDS people, which is a less than ideal outcome for a history podcast about such a divisive topic. I do not think that it is up to the hosts to formulate moral conclusions from the information provided (even if the moral conclusions are widely accepted today.) This is of course, in my opinion. If the hosts wish to be biased and proud of it, that is fine and dandy, I just prefer an unbiased historical approach and believe it makes for a superior delivery of historical information. Thank you for putting so much effort into the podcast. I enjoy listening very much and hope you continue doing it far into the future. Respectfully, Joe PS. Brigham Young did have game, as well as a devilishly handsome smolder. 😏 PPS. More Carter Family songs for the music! Fits the feel very nicely.

457379puppies ,

Love the podcast, would like a deeper dive into historicity of BOM

The episodes have been really interesting so far. But I would love for someone to look at the Book of Mormon from a historical Biblical scholarship perspective and not just “there were translation errors from the KJB version of Isaiah in the BOM.”

The vast majority of Christians (and basically no Mormons) know enough about biblical history to understand that most of the Bible was never meant to be historical (unlike the Book of Mormon, which claims to be and clearly isn’t). I favor the thesis propounded by Michael Douglas Goulder and John Shelby Spong that the NT was written as liturgical texts for synagogue (the work of JD Crossan and the Jesus Seminar are also helpful), and most Jesus stories were parabolic in nature and interpreted literally only much later when most of the church was gentile rather than Jewish.

This has very big implications for the Book of Mormon! First of all, Mary’s virginity was an invention much later on that was meant to make a symbolic, theological claim (same with all the nativity stories- early Christian listeners to the texts knew these events had not happened). Interpreting the Isaiah text as referring to Jesus is universally dismissed by historians, and certainly no one interpreted it that way until Matthew made a very tenuous case for such an interpretation. There’s no way that Lehi or Nephi would know so much about Jesus before he was born, when these stories were invented decades after his death!

And the Sermon on the Mount was an invention of Matthew who was making the case that Jesus was a new Moses on a new mount with a new interpretation of the Torah. The beatitudes (in some form) are likely original to Jesus, but most of the rest was added later (no one was following Jesus around to record everything he said on a scroll!). So the BOM inherently assumes a completed NT and a Jesus who did and said exactly what was written in those books. Once you know the history of Biblical texts, a historical interpretation of the Book of Mormon becomes absurd, not just one rational argument among others. Unfortunately very few Mormon scholars have delved deeply into the creation of biblical texts. And many Christian scholars alike are loathe to accept that a strictly historical interpretation of the Bible is not tenable, and was never the intention of Biblical authors. I think this perspective is sorely lacking in Book of
Mormon scholarship.

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