Old Timey Blessings

An ancestor, James Whitehead Taylor, converted to Mormonism in Britain during the initial Mormon mission in 1837. He stayed in Britain for well over a decade following that, acting as a missionary himself and finally emigrating to Utah in the 1850s. Taylor was a stalwart, though never a polygamist. After coming to Utah, he received a Patriarchal Blessing. Like so many at the time, it seems cut from the same cloth as those early revelations to the Whitmer boys: they all said basically the same thing (no, Whitehead Taylor’s blessing wasn’t a copy of the Whitmer revelations–but it was very like the others in that particular blessing book kept by the church historian’s office). The Historian was charged with keeping copies of the blessings and the church considered them official documents from the beginning. Joseph Smith Sr.’s earliest blessings were kept and preserved.
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Joseph F. Smith and Archibald Forbes: Critique and Praise.

Joseph F. Smith was a unique personality for a number of reasons. The object of Smith family envy/hope he rose to church leadership early in life. Largely self-educated, he took much of his religious learning from textual sources. Perhaps this hints at the reasons for his response to a visiting lecturer. And the contrasting response from fellow counselor, George Q. Cannon:
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John Goddard (1924-2013) RIP

John Goddard:

1. Adventurer

2. Documentarian

3. Philanthropist

4. Mormon
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Joseph Smith, Sermons, and Lived Religion

From the late colonial period to the time of Joseph Smith, important forces were at work that changed the nature of preaching. Most sermons in the late colonial period were read. Whether from small briefs carried into a pulpit, scribbled notes on a quarter sheet of foolscap, or carefully fleshed out thoughts in tempered script, preachers expanded from their notes or read word for word, but in general followed a written pre-planned text. There is a paper trail there.[1]

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Journal of Priddy Meeks

Early Mormon Priddy Meeks was a Lobelia Doctor and his reminiscences are filled with fascinating medical opinions and experiences as well as much of early Utah pioneer life. You can now find a copy at boap.org: The Journal of Priddy Meeks. Enjoy.

James Adams. Part 2. Aspects of the Sermon.

[Cross posted from By Common Consent.]

For part 1, see here.

The late summer and early fall of 1843 was not a healthy time in Nauvoo. Philadelphia had yellow fever in the summer (and it emptied the town) and Nauvoo had malaria. If you could survive a year, the general weakness would usually subside and you had a good chance of staying alive. But the eldery and the very young had a more guarded prognosis. Often, malaria teamed up with pneumonia or cholera or some other bug to take out even the robust. In James Adams’ case, cholera got the blame for his August 11 demise:
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James Adams, a Remarkable Mormon, and the Subject of a Remarkable Sermon. Part 1. Introduction.

[Crossposted from By Common Consent]

Joseph Smith was an intensely loyal family man and that attachment was mirrored in Church structure. Family members played important roles in the LDS hierarchy. His father was a member of the Church presidency for a period and also served as the first “patriarch.”[1] His brothers held prominent Church offices. He continued to mourn the loss of older brother Alvin, 20 years later. His wife led the women of the Church in the formal women’s organization, the Nauvoo Female Relief Society.[2]
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Elizabeth Ann Whitney (1800-1882)

I’m on vacation for a few days, but I can’t resist sharing this note.

At boap.org many of you know we keep a collection of autobiographies and journals of people connected in some way (as contemporaries) to Joseph Smith. At the present time, we have only a short selection from Elizabeth Whitney, wife of Newel K. Whitney. The Whitney’s were among the early converts to Mormonism in Kirtland, Ohio. Elizabeth left a rather extensive reminiscence of her years in Mormonism and we are going to include it in the collection as we (I mostly now) get time to put it there. But to start with, I wanted to give you some flavor of the Woman. Below I insert her very touching opening salvo in her “Women’s Exponent” series in 1878. Take note of her final paragraph. I give you Elizabeth Ann Whitney.
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The Evolution of Wasatch Front Units, part 1.

A recent post on individual life trajectory got me thinking about the same thing in regard to LDS church units. Specifically, the dynamics of Wasatch Front wards and stakes. The populations of these units trend in response to real estate, employment and age structures in a complex dance that has some equilibria, but those equilibria are subject to intrusions from outside the system.
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John Pack, part 2.5

This is not the next part in the series, I just wanted to let you know that we put up a portion of John Pack’s autobiography/journal on boap.org here It’s an interesting, if short, reminiscence which gives Pack’s patriarchal blessing from Joseph Smith, Sr. among other things. Those acquainted with upper division temple liturgy will find something there too, as well as “adoption.” Note that Pack’s first wife, Julia, is also represented.

The Return of Lorenzo Barnes: Don’t Leave My Bones Far From Home

In the spirit of rehashing old ground (former posts), I offer you the following on Lorenzo Barnes. Barnes was an Ohio period convert to Mormonism and a perennial missionary for the Church from that time until his death in late 1842 while in missionary service in England. Barnes’ was in some sense a kind of ordinary Mormon, not one who found place among central Church leadership. Barnes’ personal life is largely unknown, but a budding romance caught the eye of several, including Wilford Woodruff who kept track Barnes’ lost love in order to reminisce.

As far as this post is concerned, Lorenzo Barnes is in the spotlight because Joseph Smith offered memorial remarks in his behalf when the news of Barnes’ death reach Nauvoo and hence Barnes gets a chapter in our book. The sermon drives Lorenzo’s history — after his death! Take a look at our first post about Lorenzo:

Lorenzo Barnes

Joseph Smith’s Dispensational Transition: Elias to Elijah to Messiah

[A prerequisite to understanding this post is a solid reading of its base text here.]

In Joseph Smith’s “first” King Follett discourse (March 10, 1844) he codifies a bit of Mormonism that had been fluttering around its edges from the beginning: the transition from beginning the movement to fleshing it out. There are many ways this plays out between 1820 and 1844. As Pete Crawley astutely observed: Read more of this post

Praise to the Man

On the 166th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s death.
William Wines Phelps’ pean to Joseph Smith:

August, 1844.
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Maturity. The Evolution of Man.

This evening I was sitting in a small recording studio, listening to a friend’s daughter deliver a vocal recital. During the (very skilled and moving) performance, I began to look around the room a bit, seeing other friends, relatives and siblings of the performer and some who I did not know. That, and the music inspired in me a rather melancholy feeling about evolution. Not the kind that is associated with Darwin however.
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A Year’s Worth! Thanks!

So boap.org’s blog has been up and running for a year (in honor of the anniversary, we changed themes). I’ve really enjoyed doing a little thinking out loud. Some stats from WordPress for the last 12 months:

Total views: 17,659

Busiest day: Tuesday, March 16, 2010

465 comments

92 posts

Ok, so it’s nothing compared to many other LDS-related blogs. But I think it’s cool. Thanks to all of you who have looked in and especially to the people who have commented. I hope you found it worth some of your time. And if it wasn’t, well you know what Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein II said about loving Bloody Mary……

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