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 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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Wilford Woodruff: The Way Home, Part 1–The News

This is a series of five posts, which constitute excerpts from Wilford Woodruff’s journal beginning July 9, 1844 and covers the following month. Wilford hears rumors of the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, finally news from trusted friends of its truth. The apostles gather from their different locations in the east, and make their way home to Nauvoo. This is Wilford’s account of that time.

July 9th 1844 I left Scarboro in the morning in company with Father Carter & Elder M. Holmes & rode to Portland, & dined with Ezra Carter & made preperations to take the steam boat in the evening for Thomastown & fox Islands.

But about 2 oclok P.M. We obtained the Boston Times of July 9th Containing the solumn & awful information of the Death of President Joseph Smith the Prophet Seer & Revelator of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Also the Death of Hiram Smith his brother the Patriarch of Said Church. They were shot dead in Cartha[ge] jail by a company of anti mormons & a guard that Governor Ford placed over them 200 men American citizens painted like indians.
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Documents 1 of JSP in Leather

A leather-bound collector’s edition of Documents Volume 1 of the Joseph Smith Papers series is almost ready to be released – it should be available beginning of July. They are expensive, but beautiful editions if you go in for that sort of thing.

If you are interested and aren’t on the mailing list, you can contact Stephanie Ogden at the Salt Lake City Deseret Book Store (801-328-8191).

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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LaJean Carruth Reveals the “Lost Sermons”

LaJean Carruth is an expert in nineteenth-century shorthand systems that played a role in Mormon note-keeping, particularly in the Utah period. (LaJean has also given us the heretofore unexpanded notes of the August 1844 succession meetings as well.) Given my own interest in Mormon sermon-making, I find her work absolutely fascinating. Moreover, it is not restricted to library rats like me: The Church History Library has done a wonderful service in providing us access to LaJean’s work. Here is an example http://eadview.lds.org/findingaid/viewer?pid=IE1772001&pds_handle=

Polygamy 101

I don’t really have anything new here, just pointing out my series of posts on D&C 132, starting here. Links to successor posts are in the headers. Have fun.

Book Update

So, I haven’t been able to work on the book much for the past couple of months, but I’m back working on the last chapter every day for an hour or so. Intro is more or less written, working on the genetic criticism. Need to proof it then format for the electronic version. I hope to have things wrapped up before the end of the year.

Charles W. Penrose and Adam-God

Joseph F. Smith noted the following in his journal p. 81, 1912.

“Our Father Adam by C. W. Penrose– Impt. Era, vol. 5– pages: 873 to 880-” Important for what it doesn’t say as well as what it does. Even more important is JFS’s notation.

Nauvoo Council of Fifty Minutes to be Published

The Council of Fifty was Joseph Smith’s attempt to set up a kind of preparatory government for the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. Up until now, the minutes, taken by council clerk William Clayton for the most part, have been unavailable for study. The minutes will now appear in the Administrative Records Series of the Joseph Smith Papers Project. This is a boon to historians of Mormonism and Religious Studies scholars who encounter Mormonism of the Joseph Smith period. I for one anxiously await the privilege of pursuing the minutes. Here is a portion of the press release by Church Historian, Steven E. Snow:

Regarding other plans in the Joseph Smith Papers Project, Elder Snow said a few days prior to this recent announcement that the First Presidency “has approved the Church History Department staff to use the Council of Fifty minutes as reference and footnote material in upcoming Joseph Smith Papers books and to eventually publish the minutes in full as a separate volume.”

Elder Snow explained that Joseph Smith established the Council of Fifty in March 1844.

“The minutes of the council meetings, which have heretofore not been available for research, provide a new window into Joseph’s prophetic view on government and the kingdom of God,” he said.

“Following Joseph’s death, the council continued to meet under Brigham Young’s leadership and played a key role in the planning for the trek west. Our historians have been working to prepare these important records for publication for some time. We plan to publish the Nauvoo minutes of the Council of Fifty in the Administrative Records Series of the Joseph Smith Papers.”

For the entire press release, see here.

Joseph Smith Papers: Documents Vol. 1 Launched.

The Joseph Smith Papers team has announced the publication of the first volume in the Documents series. This series will tread fascinating trails in uncovering/publicizing much of the material the heretofore has only grazed the desks of some historians. The editors of this volume, and those editorial groups yet to appear in the series have their work cut out for them. If this first volume is any indication of what is to come, it looks like a revolution in the way we will treat Joseph Smith in our devotional as well as historical literature. Go JSP!

The first volume in Documents is available for order now. Go over to josephsmithpapers.org and scroll down to the bottom right side of the page. And then, order one!

Succession Angst Circa 1849

The idea that leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would stay in the Joseph Smith Jr family was embedded in the minds of long time American Mormons. After all, they had lived this idea, from the Smith brothers involvement in all levels of leadership, to revelations that hinted at various sorts of primogeniture, ancient and modern. Royalty might have been a dirty word in early national America, but it’s a natural impulse attested in so many ways. Some early critics of the Nauvoo apostles tell a story of real confusion, worry, and wonder at how the royal family of Mormonism was to continue.
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“I Very Much Doubt Whether Another Gentile Ever Joins the Church”

The 25th anniversary of the organization of the little “Church of Christ” in 1830 New York saw the apostles who succeeded Joseph Smith building a new territory out of the wilderness of the west. A general conference convened on April 6th 1855 with Brigham Young presiding. The small tabernacle was overcrowded leaving thousands outdoors and a new Bowery was under construction, anticipated to hold 12,000.

One of the interesting developments of the meeting, aside from fascinating organizational matters, was the calling of new missionaries. But there was a difference: these newly called missionaries were headed out to seek the Jews around the world, not those pesky Gentiles. Fifty-three men were voted to take these new assignments to different parts of the world. One leader stated that the goal was to see the Jews return to the Holy Land and the House of Israel redeemed. As one might expect, Orson Hyde stood and related a portion of his own mission to the Holy Land and expressed his conviction that the Spirit of the Lord would rest down upon this mission to the House of Israel.
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Books and Printing and Mormons. Part 6.

Up until about a century ago, type was set (composed) by hand. This was an art. The type had to be set as the mirror image of the desired document for obvious geometrical reasons.
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Books and Printing and Mormons. Part 5.

Type is regularization/uniformization of handwriting. Handwriting samples are known from before 3,000BC. It is certain that nearly all instances of early writing are lost to the ravages of time and circumstance. Some of the more sturdy methods of recording early writing have survived because of accidental or purposeful preservation. Ancient texts by the ancient Sumerians and for the next two millennia or so, all texts were produced by hand in ink on papyrus, animal skins, on wet clay via wooden stylus, on metal sheets, and so on.
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