Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Research and Writing Samples

Research and Writing Samples

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 01, 2011

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This blog, Keepapitchinin, is my outlet for some of the quirky or inspirational bits I come across in my research. While posts here are written for a popular audience, many of the best posts are researched with the same scholarly care that goes into my work for clients.

Posts hinting at my research skills:

The Smithsonian Institution, the Book of Mormon, and Another Legend That Will Not Die: I traced the origin and transmission of a recurring rumor to its source, and step by step through its early dissemination

Brigham Young and Father Victor Jouannealt: Evaluating Credibility of a Document: A stray line in an obituary links Brigham Young to a Catholic priest during the Nauvoo period. How can we evaluate the credibility of this claim when the priest is unknown in Mormon history?

The Case of the Missing Pioneer: The 1847 Vanguard company is the most studied pioneer group in history. So why does no one know what happened to one of its members, the carpenter who built the roadometer? The mystery has endured for decades, yet it took me only 45 minutes to solve the puzzle.

The Great Mormon Marijuana Myth: Maybe I shouldn’t be proud to have my name appear on hundreds of pro-pot blogs, but I am! Twenty-four hours after a reader brought to my attention a ludicrously garbled account of a supposed early 20th century Mormon involvement with marijuana, I had tracked the real story.

What George Washington Didn’t Say about Barack Obama in the Relief Society Magazine: A scurrilous election-season email draws on a spurious “revelation” given to George Washington, which has appeared surprisingly often in Mormon publications. Here is the “revelation,” tracked to its source.

Sarah Wheatcroft: Service for the Dead: Mormon and non-Mormon battled over the burial of a young Latter-day Saint in the early days of proselytizing in England. This post restores her name to the young Saint whose death helped to cement Mormon civil rights in one English neighborhood.

“For We Were There, Off the Shores of Kwajulane” [sic]: I trace another current faith-promoting rumor to its questionable origins.

A sampling of papers delivered at professional conferences:

“‘Our Lives Are Not Safe’: Armenian Latter-day Saints in the Genocide.” Mormon History Association, June 2014, San Antonio, Texas.

“Saim Abd al-Samid.” BYU Church History Symposium, March 2014, Salt Lake City, Utah.

“The Qmlbwpnygax Eujugec Have Not the Power to Ktgjie the Wzznlhmpygtg”: Codes and Ciphers in Mormon History. Mormon History Association, May 2006, Casper, Wyoming.

“‘Inexpressibly Shocked’: William Hooper Young and the Murder of Anna Pulitzer.” Mormon History Association, May 2004, Provo, Utah.

“Hatumai: Wizard of the Wasatch.” Utah State Historical Society, August 2002, Salt Lake City, Utah.

“‘This Splendid Outpouring of Welcome’: The Grand Army of the Republic Comes to Salt Lake City.” Utah State Historical Society, August 2001, Salt Lake City, Utah.

“Henri Edouard Desaules and the United Order of Kingston.” Communal Studies Association, September 1999, St. George, Utah.

A sampling of articles written for the Salt Lake Tribune as a regular history columnist:

When the Gas Lights Flickered


Hatchtown Dam Collapse

The Pink Lady

Grave Robbing, Abraham Lincoln, and Polygamy

For a listing of all posts that have appeared on Keepapitchinin, sorted into rough categories, see the Topical Guide.

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