Something wonderful with long-lasting effect on Mormonism began in 1966 with the publication of the inaugural issue of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Beginning as a dream made into reality by five friends at Stanford University, Dialogue went on to become in the days before the Internet “the” go-to source for the best thinking on Mormonism, especially for LDS students and intellectuals who wanted so much to bring their scholarship into conversation with their faith. Along its storied career, Dialogue has published many pivotal articles that have helped shape Mormonism in the past half-century, along with providing an early outlet for great writing and art of all sorts, including personal essay, sermons, fiction, poetry, and visual arts.
In this episode, the first of two parts, one of Dialogue’s founders, Frances Lee Menlove, an early Dialogue editor, Robert Rees, and the author of an award-winning series of histories of the journal, Devery Anderson, join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon to explore Dialogue’s history and impact, its aspirations and how they have and have not been met, some of the key moments in its history, as well as assessments of its importance within the LDS community. Dialogue is, in many ways, the foundation upon which today’s podcasting and flourishing online discussions about Mormonism are built. It’s history is compelling, with many ups and downs involving the interplay between church leaders and the journal’s decision makers, its finances and reputation. Ultimately it is a triumphant story, and we are pleased to offer you this short taste.
Following this episode, we will then focus in Part 2 on Dialogue’s present and future.
A day-long celebration of Dialogue’s Jubilee year will be held on 30 September at Utah Valley University. We encourage all of you to click on this link to learn more about its various offerings! We hope to see many of you at this wonderful event!
Devery S. Anderson, “A History of Dialogue, Part One: The Early Years, 1965-1971,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 32, no. 2 (Summer 1999)
Devery S. Anderson, “A History of Dialogue, Part Two: Struggle toward Maturity, 1971-1982,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 33, no. 2 (Summer 2000)
Devery S. Anderson, “A History of Dialogue, Part Three: ‘Coming of Age’ in Utah, 1982-1987,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 35, no. 2 (Summer 2002)
Devery S. Anderson, “A History of Dialogue, Part Four: A Tale in Two Cities, 1987-1992,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 41, no. 3 (Autumn 2008)
Frances Lee Menlove, The Challenge of Honesty: Essays for Latter-day Saints by Frances Lee Menlove (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2013)
Just wanted to chime in and say that my Uncle, Wesley Johnson, is still alive and though his health has declined somewhat over the last decade, his mind is as sharp as ever. Truly one of the most intelligent people I know. In fact, I credit him with getting me over the hump in finishing my own dissertation. Just thought you’d like to know, in case you weren’t aware.
Hi Rob, Neat to hear of your connection with Wes–and how he helped with the dissertation process. It’s one I know too well. So wrenching to get through it.
I knew Wes was alive and well from his speaking at Sunstone this August. Thanks for checking in, though. I’m not sure we’ll add another episode on Dialogue besides this one and the one on the present and future, but I’ll keep Wes in mind if we do.