Losing the Context — Preaching in Early Mormonism

The institution of Mormonism has generally prized parts of, or all of Joseph Smith’s literary production. Joseph wrote little himself, seeing that as a kind of separate duty, tasked nearly exclusively to more capable hands. When a document-driven history began to emerge in the late 1830s, Joseph was a driving force, but rarely a contributor beyond supplying those relevant documents.
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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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Those Old Chestnuts

Thinking on Dotterer.

If the world is conceived in a pluralistic fashion, the case for theological finitism is complete. If we think of God as a Person who stands in moral relation with other persons, then even if we assume those other persons are God’s creatures, it is impossible to hold that he is omnipotent and at the same time perfectly good. The notion of omnipotence is in itself logically unobjectionable. But if he is omnipotent, he is either malevolent or non-moral.
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An 1830 Healing

Late accounts of early Mormon events can be problematic, but sometimes compelling. Here is one passed along to the Church Historian in October 1857. You’ll notice the name of a tragic figure in the report, though she is not the central figure in the story:
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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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Association for Documentary Editing–35th Annual Meetings


If you are attending the 35th Annual Meeting of the Association for Documentary Editing in Ann Arbor and have not yet made your hotel reservation, you are encouraged to do so TODAY, in order to receive special conference rates, which start at $119.00. The Sheraton prefers online reservations (https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/ADG06A ), but you may also reserve by calling 1-888-627-7098 (if you call, be sure to mention that you are attending the Annual Meeting of the Association for Documentary Editing).
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“Neo — Anything That Has A Beginning Will Have An Ending” — Mr. Smith (Summer Review)

While browsing the Millennial Star I came across this thing from an amateur missionary-philosopher. This is 1882 and shows how far theological drift had come from Joseph Smith among the rank and file. I think you might have heard parts of this in a mid-20th century general conference address. It demonstrates a bit of “lived theology” if you will. Anyway, I liked it for that and some other reasons — see the title. Enjoy. And Think: The Matrix.

Man is a noble being; created in the image of his Maker, endowed with faculties divine, eternal. He is born to live for ever. Not limited with his present knowledge, not shackled by surrounding circumstances, not bound to earth by the laws that govern inanimate matter.

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Position Announcement for the U. S. Grant Papers Project

Position Description

Position Title: Publications Editor
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Mormon History Association Conference June 7-8.

I’ll be at MHA next week. You should come too. I promise to wear “WVS” on my name tag. For the program and sundries, click here.