Early National Systems: Millennial Hope, II. William Miller.

Joseph Smith seems wedged in the creases of nineteenth-century Protestant worldviews in any number of ways. From Election to Scripture, to Millennial aspiration, he separated, combined, and “synergized” a vibrant world that respected a deep tie between science, such as it was, and a fractured system of religious beliefs that overlay a diverse and growing marketplace of ideas and economies. Smith interacted, mostly at a distance, with the lights of his day and one of those was William Miller. Shaken from a Deistic picture of God’s interaction with the world by what he, as a eighteen-year-old captain in the war of 1812, saw as divine intervention, Miller began a religious journey of devotion and disappointment. That journey turned out to be a microcosm that portended the larger society’s gradual descent from optimism to a grudging acceptance of lesser purpose.
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Early National Systems: Millennial Hope, I

Many Americans in antebellum times saw their nation as an engine for the bright future of biblical end times. Ranging from Henry Clay’s practical and even semi-realistic “American System”[1] to social engineering designed to hurry Christ’s return to earth, it was characteristic of the age that even non-believers saw the idea as a comfortable metaphor for the destiny of what they considered a political example to the world. Modern Americans seem far from such notions, but there are pockets of American society where those nineteenth-century ideas persuade and guide the minds of dedicated souls, Mormons among them.
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Joseph Smith Papers Newsletter: Number 1.

To have a look at the first newsletter for the JSPP, click through.

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).

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