It has been a long time since I've posted a link and discussed an online essay, so here goes: Daniel C. Peterson's "Reflections and Reactions to Rough Stone Rolling and Related Matters," the Editor's Introduction to the current issue of the FARMS Review. Peterson touches on several of the reviews of RSR and Bushman's disappointment at how unwilling many of them were to treat the book as a serious scholarly biography. Others who at least granted that much nevertheless often took the view that no believing Mormon could write a scholarly biography of Joseph Smith.
Peterson does a fine job outlining the historiographical issues raised by these sorts of responses. Isn't it odd that believing Christians, who would never rule out their own ability to do good scholarship on Christian issues or historical figures, would nevertheless find Bushman's work unsatisfactory because he is a believing Mormon writing about a Mormon historical figure? You can read it yourself to get all the details, but it seems like much of this sort of response is a set of convenient but unsystematic arguments trotted out to marginalize Bushman's book (or other unwelcome scholarly treatments of disputed issues) but not applied to favored scholarly treatments or issues.
It's not like robots or computers can write history. If we're stuck with human authors, we're stuck with authors who hold a variety of human opinions. Isn't the point of graduate school, scholarly methods and canons, peer review, etc., to allow scholars (who are all humans, last time I checked) to nonetheless produce valid scholarship? Which is not to say such scholarly production is therefore infallible or persuasive or correct, just that it shouldn't be dismissed as somehow tainted just because the scholar that produced it holds opinions related to the subject of the book or article.
I'm sure you'll all want to go out and buy a copy of On the Road With Joseph Smith after reading Peterson's essay. I do.