Summer Review: Albert Brisbane — Joseph Smith and Eschatology

Another Oldie.

This post has been sitting around for a while, has something to do with Joseph Smith’s sermons, and in particular funeral sermons, because it poses some questions on the idea of community and eschatology, and I don’t have time to work on it more right now, so here it is.

Mormon communal adventures of the 19th century played out against a range of American civil experimentation. A major difference was the underlying eschatology of Mormonism.

Joseph Smith pushed (via revelations like Doctrine and Covenants 42) the idea of community into the lives of early Mormons, but he also pushed it into the afterlife (an early version of this is D&C 78:6 – later versions were based on sealing). Echoing Swedenborg (by coincidence rather than intent it seems) he infused doctrine with community and family. Read more of this post

Some additions to BoAP.org

We have added a few items to the website:

First, a couple of what I would characterize as Joseph Smith tract sermons. These are Times and Seasons editorials. I’ve been rather suspicious of these items and I’m still not sure of their value as JS documents, but I’ve come to the grudging conclusion that the particular entries we’ve added are JS productions. We’ve had an April 1, 1842 up for years and I would say that I’m somewhat more leery of it than the ones we’ve recently added. My new proverb, Approval is not the same as Production, applies to the April 1 entry, but it clearly does contain ideas from JS, though not I think, his dictation. The new entries may be somewhat closer to the mark. Time will perhaps tell.

Tract sermons were big business in the antebellum period and I think these qualify. Anyway, have fun reading there. You will find these in the Parallel Joseph under 1842. They are new entries in May and June I believe.

We have added a few more items to the Early Saints compilation, the most notable being the Joseph C. Kingsbury diaries/memoirs. These are merely links to the diary images but the script is very readable and the Nauvoo period is fun, especially the polygamy bits.

There you have it. By the way, if you have any typescripts of journals for individuals that were contemporary Mormons of Joseph Smith, we want to put them up for reading. You can email us at boap (at) boap (dot) org.

Sermons, Their Impact and Joseph Smith

No, not a Mother’s Day post. Just some thinking out loud here. Ignore without peril.

Preaching in America during the long eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and more especially the antebellum period, makes a fascinating study (says I). Gauging the impact of those sermons among listeners and downstream is especially interesting. However, doing that can be challenging and requires considerable detective work especially in considering immediate impact. Ideally, there would be surveys to consult, reported interviews with listeners and so on. But those instruments were not really known in the sense that we use them today. There are a few items that can give us a peek at what people thought about their preachers. However, with one or two exceptions, these are not massive contemporary collections of data. Instead, we have personal accounts in diaries, memoirs, and the like. Pursuing such things for the occasional brief comment on one or another preacher can consume years and those discoveries rarely cluster around one particular minister. Given all the surviving texts of early American sermons it is rather startling how little we know about how they were received.[1]
Read more of this post

Charles Wesley and His Sermons: Newport’s Critical Edition

Charles Wesley (1707-1788) was a cofounder with his brother John of the Methodist movement within the Church of England. Historiographically playing second fiddle, he nevertheless exercised considerable influence within Methodism and over his brother during his life. However, Charles remained loyal to the Church while John moved in the direction of independence. Both brothers were ubiquitous preachers, giving thousands of sermons in churches, halls and often the open air. The Wesley’s heritage has been written about since their own era to ours and among that corpus exists critical editions of their sermons.
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Printing Joseph Smith’s Sermons – Redux In Two Parts

Going back in time again to last year. The process of generating imprints of Joseph Smith’s sermons is a complex one and to me, fascinating for several reasons. The source critical issues are important and I do address them in the book, but the point of this (repeat) post is the process of getting them into print. In any case, I hope you find the issues as interesting as I do. Still working on chapter 6. It turned out to be more complex than I imagined. Enjoy!

Parallel Joseph History

Printing the Sermons of Joseph Smith

Jonathan Grimshaw Redux

The first of the review posts.

An unsung hero of Mormon history: Jon Grimshaw. Grimshaw was born in England and converted to Mormonism in the early 1850s. Honest, respected by the people who knew him best for his solid integrity, he embraced Mormonism with the typical enthusiasm we all hear about in oft repeated conversion stories of the period. For our purposes, his story is important because of the research time I put into it, just to have the proper glossary entry in the book! No, seriously, he is a fascinating man and I believe the same is true for his wife, though as usual, we know less about her.
Read more of this post

Joseph Smith, the Tapestry of Mormon Doctrine and Franklin D. Richards

Post Nauvoo Mormonism consisted of several branchings. For the most part only the Utah bound church had embraced the full spectrum of Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo expansions of doctrine. These branchings mostly faded with time, with the Community of Christ being the other major survivor from the period. The CoC, from the time of its founding as the “reorganization” gradually distanced itself from most Nauvoo doctrines.
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“Learn How to Live and How to Die”

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.
Read more of this post

What did Joseph Smith’s Sermons Mean to Latter-day Saints?

What did Joseph Smith’s sermons mean to the Mormons? This is a large question, and one I will not answer in any comprehensive way in this post. Moreover the conclusions given here are just generalities. (The reality here is a spectrum, not a strict set of categories.) But a part of the answer lies in the idea of temporal distance. Read more of this post

Make a Critical Text!

Want a fun little exercise? Try taking a few of the summaries of addresses given at the recent conference like here for example, and here for example, there are several others, and try reconstructing what was actually said. Or at least try to give some guarantee that you can give a few of the exact spoken words (no fair using transcripts or video/audio!). Then compare your careful pains taking work with the online video or audio or your own recordings. Miss anything important? Oh, by the way, if you happen to have actually seen and heard the addresses, perhaps even close up in the conference center, how well does your reconstruction match the sensory experience of the address(es)? Good luck!

Albert Brisbane – Joseph Smith and Eschatology

This post has been sitting around for a while, has something to do with Joseph Smith’s sermons, and in particular funeral sermons, because it poses some questions on the idea of community and eschatology, and I don’t have time to work on it more right now, so here it is.

Mormon communal adventures of the 19th century played out against a range of American civil experimentation. A major difference was the underlying eschatology of Mormonism.

Joseph Smith pushed (via revelations like Doctrine and Covenants 42) the idea of community into the lives of early Mormons, but he also pushed it into the afterlife (an early version of this is D&C 78:6 – later versions were based on sealing). Echoing Swedenborg (by coincidence rather than intent it seems) he infused doctrine with community and family. Read more of this post

A Note on Some Additions at boap.org – Church President’s Sermons

Since I’m not doing anything on the book at present, I wanted to tell you all that there is now a collection of sermons from other LDS church presidents besides Joseph Smith at boap.org. We have some from all but Thomas Monson up now. It’s certainly not a complete corpus, but there is a lot there. I think these are sermons of church presidents, while they held the office, not previous to that time. As I said, the collection is not complete by any stretch. You can find them by going to boap.org, the link is on the home page. You can Google search it or you can use your browser to text search individual presidents. The Hinckley collection is very small. Besides, we may end up removing the post-1971 stuff in any case.

If you have a request for something that is missing, I’ll try and get it added.

-WVS

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