As some know, Kris and I have worked together for the past couple of years doing research on Mormon healing. Our earliest work has focused on the liturgical aspects of Mormon healing, but we intend to eventually get to medical science as well. We recently found out that our paper, “‘They Shall Be Made Whole’: A History of Baptism for Health,” has been accepted by the Journal of Mormon History. We also just finished up our next paper, “The Forms and the Power: The Development of Mormon Ritual Healing to 1847” and are looking forward to seeing what the editors say about it. I think they are both exciting papers, but now it is on to the next thing.
Our last paper on the development of the Mormon healing liturgy to 1847 set the foundation for much of the rest of our work. It includes the various rituals that Mormons have used for healing throughout its existence and, most importantly for our next manuscript, contextualizes and narrates the beginning of female ritual healing in Mormonism. Our next paper will continue that history to the end of the practice in the mid-twentieth century. We have loads of previously unpublished source materials and are excited to get cracking.
The way Kris and I typically do things is to gather our source material in a “source file.” These files include the text of the reference organized chronologically. Each reference is numbered and includes full bibliographic citation. We read over these source files separately and then together (which is where a lot of great ideas come to fruition) and then we sketch an outline and divvy up writing duties.
I just finished updating our source file on female ritual healing (it is a monster). Instead of printing it out and having it spirally bound, I thought I would just upload it to a print-on-demand service and have it hard bound (it didn’t cost too much more than having it done at Kinko’s). The only 8.5×11 hardback that the service I used offers is what is called “casewrap binding.” This is frequently the binding of textbooks and is full color. So, quick in dirty, I wallowed in my Mormon history geekery. I could have done a better job if I had spent more time on it, but I wanted to get that thing ordered.
We still have at least one more trip to the archives before we finish this manuscript. And we have a long list of materials that we will be begging for at the Church History Department.
Those that thought the history of Mormon healing was already written are in for some surprises.