Today on the Talk Mormonism podcast I am joined by Konden Smith Hansen, professor of religious studies at the University of Arizona. Konden specializes in American Religious History, with a particular expertise in Mormon Studies. He’s also the author of Frontier Religion: Mormons in America and co-editor of a recently published book titled The Reed Smoot Hearings: The Investigation of a Mormon Senator and the Transformation of an American Religion, available through the University of Utah Press.
In this episode, Dr. Smith Hansen and I will discuss one of the most impactful events in Mormon history: the Reed Smoot senate hearings. The hearings have come to be seen by scholars as the catalyst that resulted in a tamed Mormonism-it forced leaders like Reed Smoot and Joseph F. Smith to conform the Mormon identity by making it more in tune with mainstream Protestantism. The Mormonism born out of the Reed Smoot hearings was a faith free of its most distinctive and divisive practices-things like polygamy and theocratic rule. The U.S. senate was left to try and determine whether this form of Mormonism represented by Smoot, Smith, and other Mormon leaders, was an act or the truth.
You can find Dr. Smith Hansen's latest book at the following link: