The Daily Beast: Inside the Secret Facebook War For Mormon Hearts and Minds. “The project was called MormonAds, and it was a brief but perhaps unprecedented experiment in targeted religious dissuasion. In four months at the end of 2017, the project targeted more than 5,000 practicing Mormons with messages painstakingly crafted to serve as gentle introductions to the messier elements of LDS history that were glossed over within the church. All the names and email addresses for the campaign came from disillusioned ex-Mormons.”
Salt Lake Tribune: A Utah historian is building a database of every black person who joined the Mormon church before 1930. “Some Mormons know the stories of Elijah Able, the faith’s first black elder, or Jane Manning James, an early black pioneer, but few, if any, have heard of hundreds of other African-American Latter-day Saints — members such as Freda Lucretia Magee Beaulieu, Elijah Banks or Julia Miller Lamb. Their devotion and courage in the church’s founding and growth years have largely been lost to Mormonism’s collective memory, making them all but invisible in the mostly white church. That, however, is about to change.”
Salt Lake Tribune: Coming soon to Mormon genealogical database: records of gay couples and same-sex parents. “Three years ago this month, the U.S. Supreme Court made gay marriage legal in every state, but the LDS Church still hasn’t listed same-sex couples in its massive genealogy databank. Not surprising, perhaps, given the Utah-based faith’s opposition to same-sex marriage. But change is coming to the genealogy resource — and soon.”
Deseret News: New Missionary Database finds early Church missionaries in your family tree. “The Missionary Database is a new service from the Church History Department and FamilySearch that helps members of the Church discover early Church missionaries in their family tree. The experience is made up of two parts: Church History’s Early Mormon Missionaries database, which allows members to search through records of early missionaries, and the FamilySearch.org missionary campaign, which automatically matches missionaries from the database to the family trees of those who log in.”
Now available: a database of early Mormon missionaries. “The database…features the names of 41,000 men and women who served full-time proselytizing missions for the church in 36 countries worldwide from 1830 through 1930, with links to thousands of sources in the Church History Library.”
Under development a digital database of early Mormon polygamous marriages.
“[Kathleen] Flake, Richard Lyman Bushman Professor of Mormon Studies, is concentrating her research on the small town of Nauvoo, Illinois from 1842 to 1852, a decade that included some of Mormonism’s first plural marriages. At the time, both the public at large and many within the church itself were opposed to the practice, which the church officially banned in 1890. Working with U.Va.’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, where she is a 2014-16 faculty fellow, Flake has begun cataloguing every plural marriage undertaken in that period, using genealogies kept by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Early Mormon Marriage database will include basic identifying information about each participant and as much relational information as possible, to shed light on how each member of the community was connected and what motivated their unions.”