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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended November 24, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Sent on Mormon-News: 07Dec00

By Rosemary Pollock

Why Jan Shipps Is Leading Scholar of Mormon History

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- Jan Shipps is a leading scholar of Mormon history. Her first book, Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition, is still in print after 15 years and is required reading in some college courses. Editor Liz Dulany writes, "It will be a popular book among Mormons and scholars in religious history, as well as in sociology of religion and Western history." What makes Shipps such an expert on Mormonism when she isn't a Mormon herself? She calls herself and "inside-outsider" that allows her a sensitivity to the LDS leadership. She has a good 40 year working relationship with Mormon leaders and wants to keep it that way.

Recently, a delicate balancing act over Church-owned photographs of its temples was the cause of a delay in the publication of her new book, Sojourner in the Promised Land: Forty Years Among the Mormons. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints public affairs department refused to grant permission to the University of Illinois Press to use the Church-owned photograph of the Salt Lake City temple on the dust jacket of Shipps' new book. She refers to it as "the dust-jacket dust-up." "This is just one more example of the tightrope I've been walking for 40 years." Shipps complied and publication was delayed from November to January.

Shipps will interweave her own history of Mormon-watching with 16 essays on Mormon history and culture. More than half of the chapters are new and some have been revised and republished. She sees the collection as an ethnography, because "it reflects the four decades I lived as a sojourner in Zion, going back and forth to the place the Saints call the Promised Land."

Shipps maintains a firm affiliation with the United Methodist Church, although her abiding passion is Mormonism.

Source: Jan Shipps: Gentle Gentile among the Mormans Publishers Weekly pgS15 20Nov00 A2 By Jana Riess;


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See also:
Sojourner in the Promised Land
More about Jan Shipp's "Sojourner in the Promised Land: 40 Years Among the Mormons" at

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