Name: Rachel Cope, PhD (American History – women and religion – Syracuse University)
Title: Assistant Professor, Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University
Favorite Sources: Female Spiritual/conversion narratives/memoirs
When we assume that history is only about institutions and male leaders, we miss a large part of the story. I love learning about the lives – recognizing the import of the lived religious experiences – of a variety of people. As a historian, I have discovered that the power and meaning of Mormonism is found within and woven throughout memoirs written by believers. Indeed, considering the experiences of women as well as men expands and completes an important narrative.
Narratives and memoirs can be found in various locations, both manuscript sources and print materials. Two Examples that are easily accessible include: Lucy Mack Smith’s History at the Joseph Smith Papers Website, and the Book of Abraham Project’s repository of journals, biographies and autobiographies.