Relief Society Organization Minutes

We got around to putting up the Nauvoo Relief Society organization minutes in the Parallel Joseph. It had an abbreviated version previously. The one up now has the text from Eliza R. Snow’s minute book. It’s missing some of the text, but has all the Joseph Smith material I think [Edit: the online text is now the complete Snow minutes for that meeting]. Go to the March 17, 1842 entry if you want to read. The naming debate is interesting. The Relief Society was parallel to a movement in Protestantism to expand the role of women in religion.

Lorenzo Snow and Oberlin College, part II

The second part of Lorenzo Snow’s letter (March 1836) to his sister Eliza Roxcy Snow shows a thoughtful disposition and some interesting assumptions about human behavior. It also suggests his respect for Eliza’s thinking. Read more of this post

Lorenzo Barnes – One of the Many – One of a Kind

Among the Charles Finney’s, Lyman Beecher’s, Alex Campbell’s and Joseph Smith’s of early American religion stood the nearly anonymous men and women who were followers or advocates. For the most part in this age of improvement, Americans seemed to be moving on from one idea to a better one, just as they moved from one place to another. But for the Mormons, a core of dedicated people made up a missionary cohort that converted the thousands who formed the Latter-day Saints into a history-making wedge of Americana.
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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

Lorenzo Snow – Mormonism and Oberlin College, part I.

The brilliant Lyman Beecher who held anti-slavery views (and whose children exceeded his own fame) was head of Lane Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1833. Beecher admitted a former slave to the school, which scandalized many residents of the city.

The following year, while Beecher was away from the school, rumors circulated that black and white students at the seminary were socializing on an equal footing. Mobs attacking the school became a real possiblity and the board of trustees immediately imposed what were essentially segregational rules. A large number of students decided to leave the school and eventually took up residence at Oberlin, Ohio and became part of the college there.

In the agreement that made the Lane students Oberlin students, color integration became a founding principle of Oberlin. It was in this environment that Lorenzo Snow (1814-1901) came to the school. 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!

Millions Shall Know

Last night in the general priesthood meeting of the LDS general conference, my oldest son and I were sitting down front in the conference center. For the “rest” song, we sang W. W. Phelps’ hymn into which he poured his own eloquent feelings (and perhaps a little regret for the past) about Joseph Smith. The phrase, “millions shall know Brother Joseph again” always gets me. I choke up and can’t finish the song. I wondered if my youngest son, in the Brazilian MTC, was listening to those words with me. I hope so. I wish him powerful testimony.