Antebellum Liberty vs. Mormon Individuality

I put this one up a couple of years ago, but I want to revisit it in light of some current discussion on Mormonism and politics. Patrick Mason’s recent article in Church and State (summer 2011) 53:349-375, made me wonder again about our presentist impositions.

In a 1990 article, Gregory Schneider observed,

Early versions of republicanism conceived of liberty and rights as belonging to the people taken as a whole in opposition to the power and interests of rulers. Liberty was, first of all, public and political, not private and individual. Hence, there could be no legitimate opposition between individual liberties and the common good of the people in the republic. Those who place their private interests above the common good were diseased tissue in the body politic, and might be subjected to harsh remedies. Unity in the cause of the common good, then, sometimes required an oppressive conformity.[1]

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Does Doctrine follow Practice?

I suppose the title is a bit misleading. What I really want to know is how circumstance plays into Church doctrinal interpretation and emphasis. I think it’s a two-way street. I’m really interested in what I see (and I know this may be uncomfortable in some quarters) as overlaid forces in Mormonism during the 1845-60 period that seem, at least in my view, to make a fundamental difference in how Church leaders saw religious cosmology/cosmogony. Previously planted seeds grew in robust new ways. In particular, something like this:
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D&C 107. Part 1: Background.

Section 107 of the LDS Doctrine and Covenants is often quoted as fundamental in determining succession in the presidency of the church (indeed, it was so quoted in the post martyrdom conference of August 1844). It plays a role in outlining the organizational structure of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as some other parts of the post-Joseph Smith Mormon diaspora. The focus of D&C 107 is priesthood structure and church government. It is a remarkable document for many reasons and I will not try to cover each aspect of the text in these posts.
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Uh Oh. Foreordination.

Foreordination is an interesting doctrine. What are its boundaries? Its nuances?
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Joseph Smith’s “David Doctrine” and King Follett I.

As a preacher, Joseph Smith could be adventurous in his interpretations of scripture. In many cases, these interpretations have been impressed on the spiritual engrams of Mormonism.

But in his “first” King Follett funeral sermon Joseph does a very curious thing: he exchanges homiletic objects.
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Joseph Smith and the Taxonomy of Intelligence(s), part 4. Text and Context for the King Follett Discourse

You should be righteous, and read parts one, two and three, first. You will at least need to read part three.

The two most important reporters of KFD2 were Thomas Bullock and William Clayton. In the construction of a critical text for KFD2, one important piece of information that the manuscripts of Bullock and Clayton give are their failure points. That is, the points where they failed to tell us what was said. In the other extant reports, this information can often only be inferred by reference to other texts. Bullock and Clayton show us their failures by adding a “-” a dash at certain points. Bullock in particular apparently tried to keep up with the speaker, but when he fell far enough behind, he left a – and then continued with what was currently being said. Some dashes of course may mean other things. For example, a pause by the speaker from fatigue. When the early editors of the Joseph Smith speeches worked them over, they often treated the dashes as commas or periods, or simply ignored them.
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Joseph Smith and the Taxonomy of Intelligence(s), Part 3.

In this part (click for parts one and two) we give three short excerpts from the critical text[1] for the King Follett Discourse, (in the book it receives the designation, “KFD2″). Here we are looking at lines 163-166, then lines 172 to 176, followed by lines 180 to 184. There is some variation from the actual critical text, because of the limitations of HTML. Some of the actual critical text appears in over/under style in cases where there are multiple witnesses who do not precisely agree.[2] In the version that appears here, instead of over/under text, the form is overunder in succession rather than simultaneous display of text above and text below. Further, there is a color coding employed which shows the source of the text. There is some clear-texting here, but not much.
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