Preaching in Antebellum America: An Example.

As some of you may know, I am fascinated by Protestant preaching in the decades prior to the Civil War in America. This partly stems from my book project, now nearing publication, A Textual Study of the Funeral Sermons of Joseph Smith. Mormon preaching in Joseph Smith’s time was often modeled on Protestant forms, but there were important exceptions. Much of Joseph Smith’s preaching was the result of the way church government evolved over time. But I won’t digress to that. Funeral sermons in Protestantism during the period often took place in the home of the deceased. This was often true even in the special case of preachers themselves, especially those in smaller interior churches.
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Wilford Woodruff: The Way Home. Part 5–Brigham.

July 24th 1844 I Called at the Prophets office but no one at home. I then took steem Boat for Albany and found on board Elders O. Hyde and O Pratt and sister Sayers. I was truly pleased to meet with these friends. We rode to Albany and Troy. 166 mile. We there took rail cars for Buffaloo. At Schenactady we Joined Elders B Young H. C. Kimball and L. Wight making six of our quorum to accompany each other home. We rode all night.

25th We continued our Journey all day in the cars. Arived at Buffalo in the evening being 365 miles from Troy in 24 hours. Expenses of travelling and sundry articles from Westfield to Detroit $32.20.
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Wilford Woodruff: The Way Home. Part 4–My Father’s House

July 19th 1844 I borrowed $10 dollars of Br Bickford of Boston & gave my note for it and $5 dollars of Brother Wingate & gave my note for that. I received $12 dollars from Br John Hardy for 6 Books of T & S & $9 dollars for Books that Br Phelps sold for me. The above money is paid.

Br Reuben Hedlock address in Liverpool is 36 Chapel st. J. Hardy is 91 Commercial st Boston. I had a present of a Coat from sister Jones of Boston.

Br Samuel Dam wished me to send him all the Times and seasons Bound and the covenants & Book of mormon & he will pay the money. He spoke of Bying a lot of me. I spent the night at 57 Temple st.
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Wilford Woodruff: The Way Home. Part 3–Coming to Grips

July 18th 1844 Elders O. Hyde H. C. Kimball and O. Pratt arived in the City also President B. Young. We met together. Had some Council. I wrote a letter to the Prophet, advising the Elders who have families in Nauvoo to go immediately to them & for all the authorities of the Church to assemble at Nauvoo for a council, by order of the quorum of the Twelve Wilford Woodruff Clerk B. Young President After which Elder O. Hyde and myself accompanied Sister Voice to take tea with a sister who was attending to a house near the state house fronting the Common.

We walked all over the house & took a view of the furniture. It could not have Cost much less than one hundred thousand dollars to have furnished it.
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Wilford Woodruff: The Way Home. Part 2–Rumors.

13th (Prophet)(Patriarch) We obtained information this morning from quincy as late as June 29th. The Govonor had made Quincy his head Quarters for he could neither trust the people or Melitia in that region of Country. Had made a Proclamation to the citizens of the State, would protect either Party against an attact. The mormons had done all that Could be required of them. Still their appears to be a disposition of the people & troops to try to destroy Nauvoo. The Govonor acknowledges the death of the Prophet and Patriarch to be a wanton murder.
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“Learn How to Live and How to Die”

This is a reboot from way back—In honor of my friend, Quentin Bates—Godspeed old boy

Much of Joseph Smith’s preaching about death was meant to compel his listeners to faith. Over the years of my own life I have seen death. Even if you don’t experience death as it was in the early 19th century, if you live long enough, you will see it impact your life.

I have buried a son, a brother, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and unrelated friends. Looking at death as inevitable has become a routine matter. But what is it for us survivors? It is first and foremost, loss. Whatever theology one subscribes to, or to no theology at all, this is the universal fact. The dead don’t come back. You don’t find him or her sleeping in their bed the next morning after the funeral.

They are gone.
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James Adams. Part 3. Conference. Textual Landmarks.

[Cross posted from By Common Consent]

Part 1 is here, part 2, here.

As you watch General Conference this weekend, appreciate it for some of the textual certainties. And you never know what you may hear.
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