Sunstone Mormon History Podcast

Sunstone

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.

All Episodes

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/ …

Feb 2019

49 min 31 sec

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 …

Mar 2019

1 hr 11 min

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 …

Mar 2019

1 hr 18 min

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 …

Apr 2019

1 hr 53 min

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. …

Apr 2019

1 hr 46 min

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 …

May 2019

1 hr 13 min

Not every woman in early Mormonism was obedient, submissive, nor compliant. Who were these “huffy” women? Join Bryan Buchanan, Lindsay Hansen Park, Christopher C. Smith, and Maxine Hanks as they discuss the “Bad Girls” of early Mormon history. Listen to this episode here.  Additional resources and information about topics discussed in this episode: “‘Seizing Sacred …

May 2019

1 hr 4 min

How was the Book of Mormon created? Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park explore different approaches to the Book of Mormon with historians Sheldon Kent and Christopher C. Smith. Listen to this Episode here. Additional resources and information about topics discussed in this episode: Manuscript Found: The Complete Original “Spaulding Manuscript” Manuscript Found | Religious Studies …

Jun 2019

31 min 53 sec

The Mormon movement was seeded in New York and spread throughout the United States. Why New York? How did the geography surrounding Mormonism impact the doctrine, culture, and belief? How did white settler narratives impact the Book of Mormon? Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park explore these ideas with help from Mormon scholars Cristina Rosetti …

Jun 2019

50 min 24 sec

Exactly how was Christ’s Priesthood restored in the mind of Latter-day Saints? That question isn’t easily answered. Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park bring on Mormon historians Dan Vogel and Christopher C. Smith to give it a try. Listen to this episode here.

Jul 2019

1 hr 11 min

What attracted women to the early Mormon church? Podcast hosts Lindsay Hansen Park and Bryan Buchanan dig into this question and ask historians Brittany Chapman Nash and Christopher C. Smith to help shed light on who these early Mormon women converts were. Special thanks to Grace Pool and TheBurningBosom and Sister Jensen on Youtube.   …

Jul 2019

1 hr 5 min

Mormonism’s earliest converts weren’t always the straight-laced, pious pioneers we sometimes remember them as. As this episode will demonstrate, early Kirtland was a wild, wild time. Join Lindsay Hansen Park and Bryan Buchanan as they talk about early ecstatic Kirtland, the Smith entheogenic theory with Bryce Blakenagel, and the Morley Farm. Listen to this episode …

Aug 2019

53 min 20 sec

Mormonism isn’t always known for its diversity, especially in its beginnings on the edge of the frontier. This episode will discuss some of the early black Latter-day Saints who joined the movement with help from Mica McGriggs, Darius Gray, and Christopher C. Smith. Listen to this episode here.

Aug 2019

34 min 39 sec

What’s the deal with the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible? In this episode, Bryan, Lindsay, and Christopher explore what Joseph Smith did and what he might have been trying to accomplish when he attempted his own translation of the Old and New Testaments. Listen to this episode here. 

Sep 2019

31 min 10 sec

There’s a lot to be said about the Mormon “health code,” the Word of Wisdom. Tune in to hear Lindsay Hansen Park, Bryan Buchanan and Christopher C. Smith join with researchers and historians Clair Barrus and Joe Geisner to better understand the history of Mormonism’s most talked about commandment, er, revelation, er, suggestion. You get …

Sep 2019

1 hr 30 min

There’s nothing quite like the Kirtland temple and the history can explain why. Check out the latest episode with Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park as they speak to temple curators and groundskeepers Seth Bryant and Tom Kimball about why the Kirtland Temple is so special. Listen to this episode here.

Oct 2019

56 min 40 sec

Missouri would be a tough time for Mormons and Gentiles alike. How did the conflict get started? How did violence change the landscape of Zion? Check out this episode with Bryan Buchanan, Lindsay Hansen Park and Christopher C. Smith about Zion’s Camp and more. Listen to this episode here.

Oct 2019

45 min 7 sec

Joseph Smith’s Book of Abraham project was just the tip of the capstone when it came to his engagement on Egyptian lore and artifacts. Join Lindsay, Bryan and Christopher as they discuss the Book of Abraham translation and Joseph Smith’s fascination with ancient antiquity. Listen to this episode here.

Nov 2019

42 min 37 sec

The history of polygamy is long and discursive so we try to break it down for you in this two-part episode. Listen to Lindsay and Bryan give an overview of Mormon polygamy and discuss the history of its origins to today. This episode also features and interview with Randy Barlow, an expert on priesthood authority …

Dec 2019

1 hr 59 min

The history of polygamy is long and discursive so we try to break it down for you in this two-part episode. Listen to Lindsay and Bryan give an overview of Mormon polygamy and discuss the history of its origins to today. This is part two in the series and discusses the history of the modern …

Jan 2020

37 min 55 sec

If you think safety is expensive, try… creating a bank? Things were just getting good in Kirtland until the Saints tried their hands at banking, or anti-banking. Join Lindsay and Bryan as they talk about the Kirtland Safety Society and how the attempt to form a Mormon bank didn’t turn out so well. Listen to …

Feb 2020

44 min 52 sec

Emma Smith has long remained an important, and sometimes controversial figure in Mormon history. Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park are joined by Emma’s biographer, Linda King Newell to learn more about this fascinating woman. This episode also features historian Christopher C. Smith. Listen to this episode here. 

Feb 2020

1 hr 21 min

Join Lindsay and Bryan as they record from the Visitor’s Center in Kirtland, Ohio about some of the hidden histories and impacts of the Kirtland period on Mormonism. Listen to this episode here. 

May 2020

46 min 46 sec

In the last episode of season one, Lindsay and Bryan wrap up the Kirtland period and head to Missouri.

Sep 2020

36 min 20 sec

Welcome back to the Sunstone Mormon History podcast! We start off season two in beautiful Nauvoo, Illinois where Lindsay and Bryan show how early Mormonism begins to shift and grow into a religion, more peculiar than ever.

Sep 2020

31 min 53 sec

How do you secure your eternal salvation? Join Lindsay and Bryan as they discuss the sacred and little-known, Book of the Law of the Lord, and how it became a place to record the name of the faithful.

Oct 2020

51 min 47 sec

If you want to go to heaven, look no further than a one-way ticket straight to the Celestial Kingdom. The only catch is… you have to marry Brigham Young. Join Bryan and Lindsay as they begin to discuss the practice of plural marriage in Nauvoo.

Oct 2020

1 hr

He was a man of many talents, some say too many. So who was John C. Bennett, the villain in the Mormon story? Join Lindsay and Bryan as they dig into the life of one of the most notorious anti-Mormons of all time.

Nov 2020

58 min 18 sec

In this episode, Bryan and Lindsay discuss the many wives of Joseph Smith in early Nauvoo.

Dec 2020

52 min 53 sec

Bryan and Lindsay continue their dive into the messiness of Nauvoo polygamy.

Dec 2020

1 hr 20 min

The Nauvoo period and the last few years of Joseph Smith’s life shaped Mormon doctrine in some remarkable ways. Lindsay and Bryan discuss the theological developments that came from this time period including baptism for the dead, the temple endowment and the garment.

Jan 2

1 hr 19 min

Ever wonder about how prominent Mormon church leaders got their start? Lindsay and Bryan discuss the experiences of John D. Lee and Bathsheba W.B. Smith in Nauvoo, before they made a name for themselves.

Jan 15

1 hr 16 min

Mormon temples are often steeped in mystery and intrigue for outsiders. Join Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park as they dive into the fascinating history behind the development of temple rituals.

Jan 30

44 min 20 sec

Last episode, we talked about the development of the Mormon temple in the Nauvoo era. As the Saints move to Utah, the temple ceremony and structure slowly changes. In part two of our temple development series, Bryan and Lindsay discuss what the temple was like in the early Utah period of Mormonism.

Feb 12

52 min 12 sec

In part three of our temple development episodes, Bryan and Lindsay discuss the changes to the LDS temples in the 20th century. From garment pattern alterations to less oaths and penalties, a lot has happened to the Mormon temple practices in the last century.

Feb 26

50 min 30 sec

Ever wonder how the Mormon women’s Relief Society got started? The beginnings of the organization touted by the LDS as “the largest women’s organization in the world,” is fraught with conflict, drama and that pesky thing called spiritual wifery. Join Lindsay and Bryan as they discuss the history of the Relief Society in Nauvoo.

Mar 26

58 min 32 sec

William Clayton was the scribe of Joseph Smith and had arguably the best access to the dirty deets of church history, which is probably why his journals have become politically fraught in the Mormon historical community. Bryan and Lindsay explain how access to his diaries became so contested it ended in a long, drawn-out court …

Apr 9

50 min 31 sec

This is part-two of our curious case of the William Clayton diaries. In this episode, Bryan and Lindsay reveal the identity of Mr. X, the other important person to view William Clayton’s journals. Listen to Episode 36 first to get caught up on the story!

Apr 23

41 min 48 sec

After messing around for two episodes, Bryan and Lindsay finally discuss what William Clayton’s journals contain. From messy plural marriage to the nuts and bolts of the city, you can’t know about the history of Nauvoo without learning about William Clayton’s diaries.

May 7

52 min 34 sec

In this fascinating episode, Lindsay and Bryan discuss the origins and history of the Nauvoo Legion, with special guest and renowned Nauvoo historian, Benjamin Park.

May 21

1 hr 14 min

The assassination attempt on former Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs still remains a mystery to this day. Bryan and Lindsay go over the events, with the help of historian Christopher C. Smith, to decide who really pulled the trigger on Boggs that day. Was it the Mormons?

Jun 4

47 min 26 sec

For years a handful of polygamy deniers have published books and periodicals claiming that Joseph Smith never practiced polygamy and that it was a later invention of Brigham Young. In this episode, Bryan and Lindsay get into the literature, dive into the details and throw out the conspiracy theories and bad history leaps.

Jun 18

55 min 45 sec

Understanding the legal system of early Nauvoo helps give context for the tumultuous events facing Mormons in the 1840s. Lindsay and Bryan bring on legal expert John Dinger to sort out how the Mormons ran the Nauvoo municipal system and what that says about Mormon power.

Jul 2

38 min 59 sec

Two famed Mormon pioneers, Jacob and Jane helped shape Mormonism in a big way. But how much do you know about them? Join Lindsay and Bryan as they discuss what life was like for these two in Nauvoo. Featuring a bonus cameo by historian Christopher C. Smith who discusses another pioneer man that never got …

Jul 16

54 min 19 sec

Mormonism has a long and interesting history with Masonry. The beginnings of those connections are as fascinating as the history itself. In this episode, Lindsay and Bryan discuss the complicated origins of Mormonism’s relationship to the masons.

Jul 30

40 min 1 sec

While Mormonism was steamboats and celestial sealings over in Nauvoo, something else was afoot in old B-town. Bryan and Lindsay describe some of the lesser known Mormon settlements, including the Boston Mormons of the 1840s.

Aug 13

46 min 27 sec

A great majority of Latter-day Saints can trace their roots to immigrants who were part of the “Great gathering of Israel.” Immigration to Nauvoo was just the beginning, bringing thousands of Saints from all over Europe. They came by boat, wagon and steam. Join Lindsay and Bryan for a discussion of Nauvoo immigration and Joseph …

Aug 27

41 min 46 sec

He was the murderous, rough-and-tumble police chief in Nauvoo, but Hosea Stout was also a lot more than that. Join Lindsay and Bryan as they talk about the history of early Mormon leader Hosea Stout.

Sep 10

42 min 55 sec

How did Joseph Smith Jr.’s parents and their upbringings influence Mormonism? Join Lindsay and Bryan as they discuss the early cultures and ideas in New England that made an impact on the Smith family and Mormonism at large.

Sep 24

54 min 13 sec

As promised, join Bryan and Lindsay for their special session at the 2021 Sunstone Summer Symposium. They discuss some of their adventures digging up the history for the podcast and much more!

Oct 8

1 hr 11 min