Latter-day Lore

Mormon Folklore Studies

Latter-day Lore gathers nearly thirty seminal works in Mormon folklore scholarship from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century to the present in order to highlight the depth, breadth, and richness of that scholarship. This examination of LDS folklore studies reveals theoretical, methodological, and topical shifts that also reflect shifts in the field at large. Areas for future research are also suggested.
The thorough introduction by the volume editors elucidates the major influences, tensions, and questions shaping the study of Mormon folklore. The book is divided into six parts according to major thematic and topical patterns. The extensive introductory essays preceding each of the six parts provide invaluable historical, cultural, and theoretical contexts to frame the studies that follow: society, symbols, and landscape of regional culture; formative customs and traditions; the sacred and the supernatural; pioneers, heroes, and the historical imagination; humor; and the international contexts of Mormon folklore.
While exploring the ground that scholars have covered over the past century, Eliason and Mould also illuminate those areas of LDS folklore that have been understudied, exposing fertile areas for future research. Providing the most up-to-date and comprehensive survey of Mormon folklore studies available, Latter-day Lore is an indispensible resource for students, scholars, and readers interested in folklore, Mormon studies, anthropology, sociology, literature, and religious studies.

Eric A. Eliason is a professor of English at Brigham Young University and the chaplain for the 1st Battalion 19th Special Forces of the Utah National Guard. He is the author of The J. Golden Kimball Stories and Mormons and Mormonism: An Introduction to an American World Religion.
Tom Mould is an associate professor of anthropology and director of PERCS, the Program for Ethnographic Research and Community Studies at Elon University. He is the author of Choctaw Tales, Choctaw Prophecy: A Legacy of the Future and Still, the Small Voice: Narrative, Personal Revelation, and the Mormon Folk Tradition.

Table of Contents:
Introduction: The Three Nephites and the History of Mormon Folklore Studies, Eric A. Eliason and Tom Mould

Part I/Mormondom as Regional Culture: Society, Symbols, and Landscape
1. Utah Mormons, Richard Dorson
2. The Mormon Landscape: Definition of an Image in the American West, Richard V. Francaviglia
3. The Beehive in Utah Folk Art, Hal Cannon
4. Hay Derricks of the Great Basin and Upper Snake River Valley Addendum, Austin E. Fife and James M. Fife
5. Mormon Gravestones: A Folk Expression of Identity and Belief, Carol Edison

Part II/Making Mormons: Formative Customs and Traditions
6. A Mormon from the Cradle to the Grave, Austin E. and Alta Fife
7. Now that I’ve Kissed the Ground You Walk On: A Look at Gender in Creative Date Invitations, Kristi Bell Young
8. Made in Heaven: Marriage Confirmation Narratives Among Mormons, George H. Schoemaker
9. Nameways in Latter-day Saint History, Custom, and Folklore, Eric A. Eliason
10. The Beehive Buffet, Anne F. Hatch

Part III/The Sacred and the Supernatural
11. Early Mormon “Magic”: Insights from Folklore and from Literature, David A. Allred
12. Freeways, Parking Lots, and Ice Cream Stands: The Three Nephites in Contemporary Society, William A. Wilson
13. Transformations of Power: Mormon Women’s Visionary Narratives, Margaret K. Brady
14. Narratives of Personal Revelation among Latter-day Saints, Tom Mould
15. The Great and Dreadful Day: Mormon Folklore of the Apocalypse, Susan Peterson

Part IV/Pioneers, Heroes, and the Historical Imagination
16. Fate and the Persecutors of Joseph Smith: Transmutations of an American Myth, Richard C. Poulsen
17. Pioneers and Recapitulation in Mormon Popular Historical Expression, Eric Alden Eliason
18. Orrin Porter Rockwell: The Modern Samson, Gustive O. Larson
19. The Ballad of the “Mountain Meadows Massacre”, J. Barre Toelken
20. Portraits in Song: Gleanings from the Brigham Young Folk Song Cycle, Jill Terry Rudy

Part V/Humor
21. As the Saints Go Marching By: Modern Jokelore Concerning Mormons, Jan Harold Brunvand
22. Sanpete County Humor: The Tales and the Tellers, Edward A. Geary
23. For Time and Eternity: BYU Coed Jokes and the Seriousness of Mormon Humor, Steve Siporin
24. Hierarch and Mule-skinner: A Selection from Mormon Country, Wallace Stegner

Part VI/Beyond Deseret: Mormon Folklore in an International Context
25. On Being Human: The Folklore of Mormon Missionaries, William A. Wilson
26. Gringo Jeringo: Anglo Mormon Missionary Culture in Bolivia, David Knowlton
27. “Of Course, in Guatemala, Bananas are Better”: Exotic and Familiar Eating Experiences of Mormon Missionaries, Jill Terry Rudy
28. Mormonism, the Maori, and Cultural Authenticity, Grant Underwood
List of Contributors
Sources of Previously Published Chapters

Praise and Reviews:
“I applaud the editors for their work! It is certainly about time that someone has finally edited an anthology of Mormon folklore scholarship. The articles chosen for the volume are both fascinating to read and useful pedagogically since they represent the work of many well-respected folklore scholars.”—Leonard Norman Primiano, Cabrini College

“I am completely enamored of this book! It is not only an excellent compilation of key essays over the course of Mormon folklore studies, but it also contributes much in the way of original interpretation and commentary. This book will become a trusted reference and standard in the fields of Mormon folklore, religious studies, and folkloristics.”—Elaine Thatcher, coeditor of Cowboy Poets and Cowboy Poetry

“A volume that will surely be the definitive reference work in the field….Here is a textbook-worthy (both in terms of scope and sheer heft) anthology of writings on folklore subjects. The topics are fascinating; the research is careful and detailed.”—Association of Mormon Letters

“Perfectly executed for the benefit of scholars and lay readers alike—without question it’s the definitive book on the field of Mormon folklore studies.”—Book Notes, Mormon Studies Review

“These six hundred pages of Latter-Day Lore make up an impressive collection of scholarship that may be suitable to university studies, as well as to lay readers interested in the subject. …Latter-Day Lore is a valuable base for continuing studies to examine the place of folklore in Mormon culture and identity.”—Utah Historical Quarterly

“At long last, Mormon folklore is finally being given the rigorous, thoughtful, insightful, and complex treatment that it deserves.”—Western Folklore