Posted on Leave a comment

Race is a Touchy Subject #BlackHistoryMonth

As part of #BlackHistoryMonth, we continue our conversation with Margaret Young and she tells about her attempts to get her play about black Mormon Pioneer Jane Manning James televised, (don’t forget to check out part 1 of our conversation), but the project was quashed as some executives were concerned about the topic, despite Jane’s faithfulness to the end of her life.

Margaret also discusses ways she and her family have tried to combat racism in her life, including a disappointing experience with a seminary teacher.  She talks about her experiences learning about the lifting of the ban in 1978, and, when asked about what we can learn from Jane’s life, says

“I want Jane’s story to be certainly an example how far we still need to come.  If there are people who regard blacks as less than, their hearts must change.  Jane is an example of one who persevered through trials that we could hardly imagine, and did it through her relationship with God and praised God throughout.”

Listen in, and find out who we will be talking to next!

If you’re interested in a transcript, click here!  (You can also get one for your Kindle at!)

Posted on 1 Comment

“Is there no blessing for me?” #BlackHistoryMonth

Rick Bennett, Darius Gray, and Margaret Young

I’m excited to post our first podcast!  I interviewed Margaret Young, a professor of English and Literature at BYU on the life of black Mormon Pioneer Jane Manning James.  Listen to Margaret describe Jane’s conversion in Wilton, Connecticut, Jane’s travel by foot to Nauvoo, and her intimate relationship with every prophet from Joseph Smith through her death under President Wilford Woodruff.  Especially interesting is Jane’s unusual sealing to the Prophet Joseph.  It’s a truly inspiring tale, and I thank Margaret for sitting down with me to discuss Jane’s life.  I hope you’ll come back when I post part 2 of our discussion with Margaret about her experiences dealing with race.

Continue reading “Is there no blessing for me?” #BlackHistoryMonth

Posted on Leave a comment

Coming Soon: Gospel Tangents Podcast

For a long time, I’ve wanted to put together resources for those looking for good information on Mormon history.  As my New Years Resolution, I’m embarking on that goal now.  I’m in the process of starting a podcast, with the idea of putting together documentary films to more fully explain topics in Mormon History.

With February being Black History Month, I thought it might be interesting to talk to Margaret Young on black Mormon pioneers.  Margaret has done some wonderful work bringing to life the stories of Elijah Abel, Green Flake, Jane Manning James, and others, so I’ll try to highlight these stories over the coming weeks, months, and years.  Of course, I won’t limit to black LDS history.  Other topics I’m interesting in learning more about include the Mark Hoffman Bombings, the First Vision accounts, the Priesthood/temple ban, the evolution of priesthood, the succession crisis, the schism with RLDS and Strangite churches, and many other topics.  I’d like to talk about what you’re interested too.  What are your favorite Mormon history topics?

I’ve published these books under the name of Gospel Tangents.  Back in college a couple of friends wondered if Adam had a belly button.  (A belly button is essentially a scar from birth, and if Adam wasn’t born, would he have had a belly button?)  Anyway, there was a joke that this was the type of stuff you’d talk about in the hall, a sort of Gospel Tangents class–stuff that was interesting, but not necessary for salvation.  I’ve always remembered the joke, and that’s where the name came from.

So, I’m starting a podcast to talk about interesting Mormon History topics.  I plan to keep my interviews relatively short, say 10-30 minutes, and will try to raise funds to put together some more professional documentaries in the future.  Let me know what you are interested in! My first interview is with Margaret Young, and we will discuss the life of Jane Manning James, an early black Mormon pioneer who walked from Buffalo, New York, travelled to Nauvoo, and was good friends with Joseph and Emma Smith.  Margaret will fill us in on some more details and I’m sure you will find it really interesting!

I plan to post here as often as I can.  I also have my website, Gospel Tangents, and I hope you will like my page at Facebook to get other updates!

​Who else would you like me to interview?  What would you like to learn more about?  Do you have any questions for me?