JWHA Independence 2015

I really didn’t get a vacation this year. Work has just been too hectic, which is good in that it means I still have a job, but which makes it difficult to get away. I missed MHA, and also missed my usual early August trip to Utah. So I started to eyeball the John Whitmer Historical Association Conference in Independence as a way to help make up for all my hard work earlier in the year. Plus I have a new car (a Mazda 3–a thing of beauty) and I wanted to take it out on a road trip. So I made the arrangements, and here I am at the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Independence, Missouri. I hope the Second Coming comes while I’m here so it will save me the trip.

The ride down was uneventful, except for all the construction I had to negotiate. I ate at the Maid-Rite in Des Moines, as is my wont (Maid-Rite dates back to 1925–their specialty is loose meat hamburgers, the real old fashioned way). For dinner, Robin Jensen, Ben Park, Mike McKay and Gerit Dirkmaat went to Kansas City Joe’s, the famous barbecue place in a garage (it was simply outstanding, and pretty much worth the trip all by itself. Somewhere I imagine Mark Brown is shaking his fist to the heavens and cursing me.)

Anyway, I’m opening up this thread for all things JWHA for the next couple of days. Please feel free to post your stories, session notes, close encounters with Restoration Royalty, or whatever below.


  1. Kevin Barney says:

    The opening plenary was by Diane Burke on slaveholders, Mormons and contested settlement in Western Missouri. Basically she gave a context for the violent reaction the western Missourians had towards the Mormons. To us today it looks entirely irrational, and in fact it was irrational. But you have to understand where they were at.

    Most of the talk was a very detailed accounting of the slave holding culture of Missouri. Missouri attracted slaveholders of limited means. Slave holdings were usually very limited there; less than 20 per family. But the percentage of slave holding families was much greater than in the deep south, which tended more towards large plantations with limited ownership. In Missouri a much greater effort was towards food production rather than just cash crops. Less heavy labor in the south, no overseers, owners often worked alongside their slaves. They were more flexible in the use of their slaves (hired them out, used them as craftsmen). These families had all sorts of apprehensions. They were worried about slave rebellions. They worried about the resettlement of Indians right on their border. They worried about abolitionists trying to fracture their way of life. They worried about threats both from outside and from within.

    She talked about slave resistance. Running away usually did not good; easily caught. Abolitionists only a help if you managed to make it to a free state. Types of slave resistance: theft, work slowdowns, running away specifically at harvest time, etc. Since slaves there were more intimate with their masters, they knew their personalities and could often leverage that knowledge to improve their situation.

    Phenomenon of “abroad marriages” among slaves. Usually too closely related on the same farm to marry, so the men were allowed to marry women from other farms. Typically would travel there Saturday night to stay with their wives and return for work Monday morning.

    Nat Turner’s 1831 rebellion–dozens of white people killed. Just shortly before the Mormons came.

    The Mormons unwittingly tapped into their deepest fears. A LOT of them came, buying up large tracts of land–to be worked without slave labor. Assumed to be anti-slavery simply from where they were coming from, whether or not they in fact were. Religious talk about helpfing the Indians on their borders. The Mormons could not have presented themselves as a bigger boogeyman to the Missourians if they tried.

    Fascinating quote from Missouri Senator Atchison to Jefferson Davis (when he was Secretary of War): “We intent to ‘Mormonize’ the abolitionists.”

  2. Thanks, Kevin. That opening plenary sounds really interesting.

  3. Kevin Barney says:

    The opening plenary is on the Printer’s Manuscript, with Robin Jensen chairing (he’s introducing it right now, talking about the JSP publication). Talking about their joint press conference. (Unusual to have a plenary start at 7:30 a.m., but that’s the only slot they had available, and it’s fine by me as I’m an early riser anyway.) Three speakers: Ron Romig, Dick Howard and Royal Skousen.

    Ron up first. Getting JSP volume into print; process started over 20 years ago. Seer stone publicized. CoC has two seer stones, associated with the Whitmers (probably acquired in 1930s to 1950s), also a rectangular one. CoC archives has an 1834 Anthon letter about Martin Harris. LDS Church received Caractors doc from Whitmer family in 1903. CoC has a nice collection of Book of Mormons; Royal came and examined every one of them minutely. One in poor condition believed to have belonged to Lucy Mack Smith. 2d ed. in 1837 Kirtland. 1840 ed. printed in Nauvoo. Original ms. ended up in Nauvoo House cornerstone; P stayed with Oliver and passed through David Whitmer. Cornerstone opened in 1882 by Lewis Bidamon. At that time a lot of LDS travelling through Nauvoo, and he would hand out pages as gifts, so most of it ended up in LDS hands. P from Oliver to David Whitmer, then to George Schweich. He approached Joseph F. Smith, who wouldn’t buy it; what do we need that for, we have the book in print? So he sold it to JS III at a reduced price (had asked $10,000, sold for a little over $2,000). Over years stayed in a bank vault in Kansas City area, would come out about once a decade at RLDS conference times. Stack of loose pages, often cut apart, had to be reassembled. RLDS began to make available to scholars: microfilm, “copyflow.”

    1991 Royal came to see the ms., had devoted ten years of work. Brought his chess clock, gave himself three minutes per page, that’s all he would have time for. Very dedicated, very meticulous. He came back the following year, spent at least two weeks. RLDS then made color photographs. Very high quality. Took film to SLC. Took three days just to process and print. Royal arranged for RLDS to have a set, and he kept a set to work on the ms.

    Q. what about paper? Same as O? Same as Caractors? Robert Espinoza of BYU came out; paper not related, all unique. 1997 arrangement made between LDS and CoC to preserve. Ink not water soluble, so could be washed to get dirt out of the paper bond. Old paper made out of rags, so like washing old clothes. Dried, encapsulated in mylar. Held in a display box.

    When it was time to take ms. to SLC, Ron had the job. Not good parking, Walked down the street being frequently asked for handouts from panhandlers.

    Microfilm exchange. Available from mid-70s. That format not entirely adequate. Royal publishes transcript. Critical text project has been 28 years now. Yale edition. Now JSP publication.

  4. Kevin Barney says:

    Now Dick Howard on cooperation between LDS and RLDS on historical sources. Will focus on 1974. Previous RLDS Church Historian was Ray Davies (? Not sure I got the name right). A brilliant man, became a scholar over time. He began to modernize things, got a microfilm camera, hired interns (early 60s). Hired Dick as his assistant historian (had been a public school teacher). Made it open to the public; no longer a private library only. Sought to modernize archives. Had been fighting Australians for 30 years; a seasoned jouster with LDS missionaries; had an antipathy towards anything LDS. New Mormon History; a new interest in sources in archives (read, “chaos”). Back then New Mormon History seemed a threat to traditional RLDS understandings. Davies wanted sound history, but to promote the faith, not to take away from. Dick took over. Allowed Bob Matthews in (previously had been denied). JS Bible ms. microflimed so Bob could pursue his study. Dick visited LDS archives at invitation of Earl Olsen. Dick literally drooled; had document envy. Wondered how could he get some of these rich strangers in the RLDS Archives without anyone else noticing? Told supervisor it would be valuable to pursue cooperation with LDS. Arranged a meeting with 1P Oct. 31, 1968. Came to a general understanding. (RLDS back then called it “the church in Utah”). Was in best interest of both organizations. Nov. 8, Dick and Earl met in Denver airport, formed an agreement. LDS to provide following: photos of O. 35 mm microfilm, Book of Revelations, Far West Record, EAG, DHC, records of members. RLDS to provide to LDS microfilm: BoM ms. JST ms. JS Bible, Book of John Whitmer, Book of Commandments, letters of Joseph Smith. They both signed. Earl took original, Dick left with the carbon. Returned home with high hopes. RLDS 1P chose to wait for action by David O. McKay. Authorized not until SWK on May 28, 1974. Why did 5-1/2 years have to pass? Then he realized Leonard Arrington was now Church Historian, saw the value of this. Earl wrote him a letter with news of the approval. LDS Church generosity had extended to other items. Met with 1P. Agreement reduced to writing. Exchange scheduled for November 20th later that year. Reviewed microfilm, terms of agreement. A sense of goodwill. Signed the agreement. Led to a new period of friendship and mutual respect. RLDS got ten films, only gave five: a coup! The Lord works in mysterious ways. The end.

  5. Dick Howard was phenomenal. Both facing ting and hilarious.

  6. Kevin Barney says:

    Royal up now. Will talk about P and why more than just another copy. Critical text project since 1988. FARMS. In 2001 brought into BYU. Housed under Maxwell Institute; in 2014 moved to BYU Studies. To restore independence of project. Have arranged for ebook versions to be copublished by BYU Studies and Interpreter. JSP publication. Two important things: Color photos of ms. with facsimile transcript (based on his 2001 transcript, converted to JSP system). Other aspect is P is earliest extant text for 72% of BoM. O only 28%. LDS has 25%, Wilford Wood family has 2%. Fragments scattered elsewhere. UoU has half a leaf.

    Skousen project: 606 new readings. 216 from O, 187 from P, 88 from both (typesetter errors), 2 from copies of title page. Some differ in meaning; most don’t affect meaning. We don’t have original title page, but five copies of it. P has two errors different from the other four: whether word “of” should be there. Goes with the other four.

    O completed end of June 1829. OC starts to copy August 1829. Not one big copying session, produced pages as needed for typesetter. P not the printers ms. for 1/6 of text (Helaman 13 to end of Mormon printer used O, P never went into the print shop). Shows John Gilbert’s punctuation marks about 1/3 of time. 2/3 of time he does punctuation and typesetting on the fly. Quite a feat. P also marked up thoroughly by JS for his editing of the text in 1837 in heavy black ink (which to who, mostly grammatical changes). 1837 set to type from 1830, no P.

    1st page of P shown. Bottom 1-1/2 lines. 1923 photos show a little bit more of the missing part. Shows examples of immediate corrections, and JS corrections made for second edition. Shows a printer mark, made in pencil, not ink (this one was to mark a paragraph).

    All errors in P preserved; it’s a transcription. There are interpretations, though.

    In several cases, typesetter allowed to take pages home. Puts in KJ punctuation in 2 Nephi. Used black ink. Gilbert finds errors, corrects on his own.

    Missing at least first chapter, and perhaps first part of second chapter of Mosiah. OC trying to figure out how to make the connection between Words and Mosiah. Makes chapter 3 into 1. Starts in middle of things, no book preface, begins with the wrong guy–Benjamin, not Mosiah. 116 pages not only had Book of Lehi, but first part of Mosiah, too.

  7. Thank you so much for doing this, Kevin. I had plans to go to JWHA, but, at the last minute, could not.

  8. Kevin, This is great. Thanks. John Whitmer’s one of the best conferences.

  9. Kevin Barney says:

    Unknown scribe 2 is a good speller. Almost as good as Gilbert. Doesn’t think it was a Smith or Whitmer. (Hyrum a terrible speller.)

    Chapter numbers. Word dictated by JS, but no numbers. They got off in numbering, so typesetter corrected.

    P being produced bit by bit. Can deduce from an OC letter where they were on November 8. About a month ahead of the typesetter.

    Lined the text, punch holes in it, tie with yarn or thread. But Gilbert cut it apart at print shop. They later pinned the paper back together; stains in ms. from iron in the pins.

    Why did one section of O never make it into print shop? Probably falling behind with copy work, hasn’t been any problems, we’ll just use O. May have taken P with them when they went to Canada in response to Abner Cole publishing pirated pages. Tried to get copyright in Canada to protect BoM from Cole (Skousen’s theory: wasn’t to sell copyright). Not successful, didn’t get a Canadian copyright.

    Corrects chess clock story: was 7 minutes, not 3. Had borrowed from LDS member in area; when he died, wife sent Royal the chess clock.

    Robert Espinoza is Catholic; I hadn’t known that. He later said his work on the BoM was the most thrilling work he ever did.

  10. Kevin Barney says:

    He liked the coming together of LDS and RLDS out of a love of the book. It’s not just “our” book or “their” book, but for whole world.

  11. Kevin Barney says:

    JWHA has its own vibe. It’s smaller, so it feels more intimate, almost like an extended family reunion. It’s definitely graying. I just turned 57, and I’m bringing the average age down quite a bit…

  12. Kevin Barney says:

    Now concurrent sessions. I hate having to make all these decisions. But I’m going to start with Alex Baugh, “The Adam-ondi-Ahman Revelation: Historical and Textual Analysis of D&C 116.

    In LDS D&C through Orson Pratt. In JST Joseph may have received some info on homeland of Adam there, although not in text itself. In Book of Commandments and Revelations a sample of pure language. Name of God in pure language: Awman. Son of God The Son Awman. March 1832. Phelps incorporates Son Ahman into BoC (now D&C 78) in lieu of JC being influenced by this. Second Lecture on Faith talks about this. Phelps includes Adam-ondi-Ahman poem in Messenger and Advocate, included in a hymnal; in our green hymnal now. (Was included in Emma’s 1835 hymnal.)

    1835 1st ed. of D&C 3 (now 107) talks about Adam-ondi-Ahman. This material included in a blessing Joseph gave his father, word for word.

    Historical background to D&C 116. May 1838. Wants Saints to go up north to homestead, get land for free for now until surveyed and comes up for sale. Name shortened to Diahman. In Daviess County.

    JS creates the Adam-ondi-Ahman stake. Third stake in the Church. His uncle John Smith called as SP.

    Gentiles obviously don’t accept this belief. Contributes to 1838 hostilities and Mormon War.

    BY dedicated a site for a temple there. Probably in the public square area. Lamar Barrett put a post there; still there today.

  13. Kevin Barney says:

    Jumping to Utah period. Some editorial changes made to the text. Orson Pratt looking for additional material for D&C, chooses this text. Only like 37 words; shortest in D&C. Shows the textual history starting with JS Scriptory Book.

    Was there really an Adamic altar there? Answer is no. Robinson’s words changed by Roberts to JS first person. Believed to be a Nephitish altar (North American Indians), not an Adamic altar. Concept got garbled. Physical structure cant’t survive for 6,000 years. Prophet identified Tower Hill as location where Adam offered sacrifice. Contemporaries drew wrong conclusion about the altar then visible.

    Land sales coming up; led to forced removal of the Mormons. John Cravens purchased much of the original town site, established Cravensville.

    How did Mormons get ownership? Wilford Wood. He purchased first lot, 38.12 acres, on June 27, 1944 (100th anniversary of the martyrdom). In 60s and 70s Church acquired 900 acres. Begin calling service missionaries to make property beautiful.

    Ray Matheny did field work. Tower Hill a Native American burial mound of the Hoewell culgture during later Woodland period (500-1,000 A.D.)

    Joe Christensen, Sheldon Child current GAs that oversee the sight. As of 2000 LDS holdings up to 3,489 acres, almost six square miles. Bought some more just a couple of weeks ago.

    Canonization of revelation led to wide interest.

  14. Kevin Barney says:

    Jean Addams on the LDS return to Jackson County. (Has written about the Temple Lot, the first to return there.) Temple Lot formally returned in 1867 (informal had started some time before). Specific mission to obtain Temple Lot dedicated in 1831. RLDS comes back in 1887 (hopefully I heard that number right). In 1899 Joseph F. Smith reminded Saints of a fund to purchase temple lot land. Three months later, Lorenzo Snow said time to return to Jackson County much nearer than many supposed. In 1899 BY jr. met with leader of Temple Lot. In 1900 two elders of the Church of Christ arrive in SLC to meet 1P. To ascertain if a delegation of LDS, RLDS and Temple Lot could cooperate in building the prophecied temple. Met again. George Q. Cannon pointed out church looking for a favorable opportunity to buy land in Jackson County. LDS Church determined they would not participate in the proposed conference. The catalyst that led the Church to physically return to Jackson County.

    1900, mission offices moved to Kansas City. Writes that during coming century Saints will return to this land. LDS presence here to be reestablished.

    First LDS branch in 1897 in Independence, with Creator (sp?) as president.

    Quiet search for property near temple lot begun by church agents. Wanted to avoid speculation and people jacking up prices. LDS church fund for such purposes had been established.

    In 1907 mission home and office moved from Kansas City to Independence. Begins printing the new Liahona for US missions in Independence. Required a staff of individuals. Church sent men and their families to meet those needs.

    Danielson contracted for 17 acres to build a factory here; a means of bringing and supporting more LDS members. Convinced Joseph F. Smith of desirability of such a project. Stated publicly no particular effort would be made to bring LDS to this place. Church of Temple Lot immediately disputed that claim.

  15. Is John Hamer there? If so, tell him I said Hi.

  16. Kevin Barney says:

    A two-story 80×100′ building to be constructed for plow manufacture, Danielson already brought his family from Logan. Dedication ceremony for the factory building. 1908 began optimistically, but business issues created problems; LDS Church became more and more involved, increased its role in management and direction. Sales were dragging. Apostle Reynolds Smith (?) put in charge of the project. Appealed to restoration of Jackson County project in trying to sell plows to LDS farmers. Didn’t work; Church closed facility in 1911.

    Zion’s Printing and Publishing had better luck, open for 36 years, but closed in 1951.

  17. Kevin Barney says:

    John is chairing the very session I’m sitting in right now.

  18. Kevin Barney says:

    Now I’m in the polygamy session. It will be Joseph Jessop on developments in the Allred faction, and Eric Rogers on implications of polygamy dissidents seeking fellowship in mainstream Mormonism. Eric is now giving some basic context on the history of Mormon polygamy. Emergence of fundamentalist movement. In 1933 HJG issues the “final manifesto”–will cooperate with law enforcement to prosecute polygamy. Pursuit and prosecution of fundamentalists in intermountain west. 1953 was the Short Creek Raid; devastated the fundamentalist community.

    Split within fundamentalist community in 1951. Musser (Short Creek) and Barlow (SLC). Musser appoints Allred. Rest of priesthood council unhappy with Rulon Allred. Releases old council, appoints new one. New council becomes Apostolic United Brethren (AUB). Old council becomes FLDS, led today by Warren Jeffs.

    Primarily FLDS impacted by 1953 raid, but psychological impact on all fundamentalists. Rulon gets a tip his property in Murray going to be raided, so he scatters his families (and others) to the wind: all over the west, including Montana. Pinesdale Montana, 1961. 640 acres ranch for sale by a man who happened to be LDS. Showed a picture of the ranch house that was there.

    Mark E. Petersen not viewed well by fundamentalist community.

    Montana Fundamentalists were active in the Corvallis, Montana LDS Ward (1961-63). They wanted access to the temple, so needed to be active in church and get a TR. Didn’t disclose their plural marriages. Lots of leaders in that community secretly practiced plural marriage; some of their best members. Guy who sold property became suspicious, went to bishop, then SP, they said they were good members don’t worry. So he went to SLC and talked to MEP. He came and ex’ed like half the ward, created significant tensions. One of his instructions was not to be friends, not to have business interactions. (Some chose despite this counsel to maintain friendships.)

    Joe (who grew up in that tension during the 1980s). Led to a negative view of LDS Church; like an older bully brother. Templegate. Former secret service officer from Nixon administration joins AUB, colorful character. He invites two leaders to go to temple in Seattle after hours, walked them through the temple. Joe’s father was one fo the AUB apostles that went through there. That kind of stuff doesn’t stay quiet; it starts to get out. Local LDS SP and bishops got wind of it. Story became bigger as retold. Went from an unsancitoned tour to taking garments, doing endowments, etc.

  19. Kevin Barney says:

    Movement between communities also created various tensions. AUB man converted to LDS, married a woman, then returned to Pinedale; his wife refused to go with him. Devastating to her and the children.

    No animosity; just accepted some doctrines that were anathema to LDS. Only way to do that is if you firmly believe it. Have to admire that kind of courage.

    Succession history of AUB (Allred). Joe was a grandson of Allred; his dad had 26 children. When Joe went to public school he was shocked to find people had only one wife. He joined LDS 22 years ago; he and wife have four children.

    He grew up with a very specific set of doctrines drilled into them. Taught the seniority doctrine. Lorin Woolley considered the head of the priesthood. Set up the Council of Friends (1920). 7 of them. Had more keys than Q12, but set up in similar way. So when Woolley died, Broadbent next; seven or eight months later he died. Would next be Barlow or Musser? Leads to 1951 split. Keys go to Rulon Allred. Killed in 1977 by a LeBaron wife. His brother Owen Allred becomes head of the priesthood. Everything’s ok in the AUB group. For the most part has maintained a fairly sane polygamous footing compared to other groups. Not led by one man but a council; harder to steer off track.

    In 2005 Owen appoints his successor, LaMoine Jensen. Marvin Jessop and LaMoine; per seniority doctrine supposed to be Marvin, but a potential question mark about the day they were ordained. Owent doesn’t tell anybody but one witness. Marvin finds out six months later through second hand sources. Starts to leak out. Marvin calls Owen, who admits to the truth of it. Owen pleads with him not to start your own group. Marvin says not hurt so much for being passed over as for not being told. Fulls his weight behind LaMoine.

    AUB starts to go down a little bit different road under LaMoine, contrary to the way Joe grew up and what they taught previously. 1981 revelation on the endowment. Owen thinks temples defiled from LDS 1978 revelation, so they decide to start doing their own temple work, unlike prior practice of secreting themselves into LDS temples.

    Start the doctrine of introduction, in order to make it before Jesus Christ, you have to be introduced to your head of the priesthood, then introduced to previous head of the priesthood, back to BY, then JS, who will introduce you to JC. So line of authority starts to become very important. Starts to lead to a one-man rule situation. But doesn’t take so well in Montana, which is very free thinking (a “Montality”). A different mentality. Tends to be independent. Marvin starts to buck this system; getting a little “Short Creeky.” Pinesdale start calling SLC Jensen Creek, and SLC starts to call Pinedale rogue.

    Higher law of chastity. You cannot have sexual relations with husband or wife unless for express purpose of having a child. Once out of child bearing years, no more sex. In Pinesdale they follow official word of Council with a however…

  20. Kevin Barney says:

    This has happened in last ten years, since 2005.

    Schools of the Prophets; secret cheerleading meetings, chants, etc. in SLC.

    Now fast forward to last year. 2014 Marvin had a stroke, his brother died, LaMoine bedridden. Will seniority doctrine still work? Top three going pretty quick. LaMoine appoints Lynn Compton, no. 4 in line, to be new leader, so gone around Marvin again. Also appoints Compton’s successor, so reached beyond the grave. Doesn’t go over too well. Is it revelation ori is it politicking? Joe argued they would have to come out with a revelation, and lo and behold, that’s what happened.

    Stacks the newly appointed council members, from seven friends to 12. One from Montana doesn’t like that. Rosemary Williams from My Five Wives makes sexual abuse allegations against her father who was Lynn Thompson, who at first denied it. Lynn receives a revelation he doesn’t have to stand trial. He gets a revelation revealing the memory saying he didn’t touch her breasts but her “chest area”. Jokes in Montana about “don’t touch my area.” Claims now of at least a dozen women (only two public). So sexual absue allegations hitting the top and rocking the waves.

    So AUB splitting along loyalist and dissident lines. Looks like ship might be going down. For all intents and purposes, Pinesdale and Utah are split (Utah loyalists, Pinesdale dissidents). Divorce papers just not signed yet.

  21. Kevin Barney says:

    What do you do if you’re in Pinesdale and have a montality? AUB not a church, just a group. Many Mormon fundamentalists joined the Church up there. No longer seeking temple access. Changes have led to communities to some degree coming back together. A flood of dissidents exploring entry to LDS Church. To be baptized, 1P approval required. Can be good experiences, but still challenging.

    Some newer bishops didn’t know history, so no preconceived notions. Has led to more open attitudes.

    Some are ‘divorcing’ (actual if legal wife, spiritual if non-legal wife) to join the Church. Used to have to leave Pinesdale to join, but no longer the policy. Hard to leave, because they live United Order, so no equity in their houses.

  22. Regarding your 8:04 comment and Adam’s alter–Benjamin F. Johnson, an early member of the church, writes of his lot of land in Adam-ondi-Ahman in “My life’s review”:

    “When, after a few days, the Prophet accompanied us to this spot, and pointed out those rocks as the ones of which Adam built an altar and offered sacrifice upon this spot, where he stood and blessed the multitude of his children, when they called him Michael, and where he will again sit as the Ancient of Days, then I was not envious of anyone’s choice for a city lot in Adam-ondi-Ahman.”

    So it sounds like Joseph is saying that the rocks there had previously made up Adam’s altar, at least according to Johnson’s recollection of the event.

  23. Kevin Barney says:

    Over lunch four speakers presented on Illinois Governor Thomas Ford. I didn’t bring my laptop (because, you know, lunch) so I wasn’t able to live blog it and I didn’t take notes. Ford was a lawyer with a lawyer’s penchant for seeing both sides of an issue, and at the time many Illinoisans on all three sides of the Mormon issue in Hancock County (Mormons, old settlers and new settlers) found him weak and ineffective. It’s quite possible that the Carthage attack was timed when Ford was in Nauvoo with the hope that the Mormons would actually kill Ford. Ford relied on the “honor” of the Carthage Greys, but his trust in concepts of honor was misplaced. His reputation has recovered among historians since, and he did save the State from financial ruin, but that accomplishment was overshadowed by the Mormon issue. His first forays to Hancock County seemed to teach him he couldn’t trust his ability to command the militia, and so he was completely ineffective during the Nauvoo War of 1845, when he basically did nothing. Sort of a rough gist of some of the comments made during the luncheon.

  24. Kevin Barney says:

    Scott Esplin on Preserving a Common History: Property Transactions in Nauvoo and Independence between LDS and RLDS Churches.

    LDS and RLDS/CoC overcame decades of disagreement and distrust to pursue common goals of preserving history.

    Conflicts between BY and Emma over property in Nauvoo–questions of ownership. Lucy warned Emma “Creditors will come forward and use up all the property there is.” Words were prophetic.

    Over two decades, Smiths and RLDS gained a foothold in Nauvoo properties.

    Negotiating the Nauvoo temple lot.Wood competing with RLDS. Portion of temple lot came up for sale. Wood succeeded in acquiring before RLDS presiding bishop could.

    As of 1952 LDS had all temple land except corner lot. Purchase of Catholic properties for $100,000 left only a small parcel they didn’t own. RLDS owned. Not available for any $$, but might be available for trade for Independence temple property. LDS anxious, which RLDS used to get four properties. Apparently some assurance that temple lot in Nauvoo would not immediately be rebuilt. So cooperation between the faiths, but tensions still high. Paved way for construction of temples by both faiths.

    Nauvoo became a battleground between the two faiths over their shared story. Utah church gained substantial land in Nauvoo.

    No major additions or improvements to Nauvoo for several years.

    As faiths grew further apart, enabled more cooperation.

  25. Kevin Barney says:

    Relations have moved from confrontation to cooperation. Proximity in Nauvoo fostered compromises.

  26. Clark Goble says:

    Out of curiosity, is cooperation tied to how literally various end times prophecies are seen? Admittedly that applies less in Nauvoo. Seems like especially with older generation of LDS the idea of a return to Ohio/Missouri still a guiding principle.

  27. Kevin Barney says:

    I petered out on the blogging yesterday afternoon, but I’ll try to do a little bit more this morning before the bus tour today. First up is a session that appears to be focused on the Gospel Topics essays, particularly those on polygamy and race.

  28. Kevin Barney says:

    First up is Matt Harris, professor of History at Colorado State University in Pueblo, on “The LDS Church’s Official Statement on Race and the Priesthood.” Published in 2013. Working on a book “Blacks in the LDS Church since WWII.”

    One of 11 essays published over past two and a half years, more to come.

    On December 6, 2013 Church posted essay on race in the priesthood. DN announcement restrained, almost cryptic; SL Tribune much more open about it. Part of ongoing series of Gospel Topics Essays. Part of an aggressive effort by Church to prevent members from leaving the faith by providing more transparency. A reaction to the Internet.

    A wave of unflattering news coverage, more and more members leaving the faith, feeling betrayed by what they find online. Attempts to downplay controversial aspects of history were backfiring, badly.

    First systematic effort of Church itself to confront its critics headlong. Official go to sources for these topics.

    Arguably the Race essay is the most controversial of them all.

    McKay liberalizations on policy. Barriers to the Church’s mission to take the Gospel to the world. Race mixing in Brazil. SWK agonized over stark reality Brazlians could not attend the temple they worked so hard for.

    Authors identify BY as behind the ban, human, not divine will. Condemned its former racial teachings. Acknowledged some men ordained during time of JS.

    But essay has problems. No apologies. Fails to confront some prior racialist doctrines, characterizing them as merely opinions of prior leaders. Downplays authoritative status of prior race positions.

    Doesn’t confront whiteness in BoM.

    Omits the three most important publications on subject (Bush, Bringhurst, Mauss), and many others. Ignores virtually every major work published on subject. That notwithstanding, extremely important development. Trying to walk a difficult line between transparency and protecting prior leaders from accusations of doctrinal error. “Don’t know why” to racism of BY’s era. First time laid at the feet of someone than JS.

    Reactions decidedly mixed. Darius Gray called it a marvelous document of clarity and sensitivity. Should be used by Mormon leaders. Cathy Stokes said “Hallelujah.” Current head of Genesis Group praised for renouncing silliness. Others lamented it did not admit wrongdoing or apologize for the ban (Darron Smith). Institutional amnesia regarding the ban and the hurt it has caused. Without an apology, no true healing can be found. You can’t repent of something you refuse to acknowledge as a sin. Gina Colvin: They need an apology, they deserve an apology.

    Bushman: written as an historian, not as a theological piece.

    Marvin Perkins: Saints need to understand skin color and curses as well as they do the 1V.

    Concerns over limited publication; most Mormons don’t even know it exists and refuse to believe such a thing. A church teacher released for “teaching from unauthorized sources.” Many refuse to believe they are official.

  29. Kevin Barney says:

    Essays will make way into LDS classrooms and curriculum, but it will take time. Leaders realize members might not be prepared for such candidness.

    Former bishop wonders whether he may have hurt people in the past over this. What else will be disavowed by the 1P tomorrow? Concerns about future repudiations. Where do we draw the line between prophet and man? This is why Church is proceeding cautiously in publication of these essays. Internet is pushing leaders into corners they would rather not go. Can’t wait too long.

  30. Kevin Barney says:

    Now Newell Bringhurst on the polygamy essays (there are three of them). He has followed the posting of these essays with more than passing interest. First appeared in December 2013 (Utah period, Kirtland and Nauvoo, post-Manifesto). He applauds the Church for its forthrightness.

    Three questions: What info did the Church address? What did they overlook or fail to acknowledge? How did individuals both within and without react?

    First posted just days after Utah’s polygamy law declared unconstitutional (Brown case). Relationship between timing of these events unclear.

    Carefully written and thoroughly documented. First focues on 1847 to 1890.

    Recites benefits of the practice. Children born to believing families, all women could be married if they wanted, economic support, etc.

    Debunked some myths. Some large families, but 2/3 only two wives.

    Ten months later, published subsequent essays. JS took 30 to 40 wives, brought most truested followers into practice. Married some young women, like Helen Mar Kimball. Polyandry, Attitude of Emma. Not informed of many of them. OT restorationsim. Strong Mormon sense of millenarianism. D&C 132. Part of larger revelation on eternal marriage.

  31. Kevin Barney says:

    132 had stern warnings directed at Emma. Law of Sarah.

    Third was Manifesto–late 19th and early 20th century. A process rather than a single event. Ultimately 1890 manifesto led to end of practice.

    Antipolygamy crusades, launched in 1860s and reached peak in 1880s. Men fled to underground, leaving women to fend for themselves. Polygamous settlements in Canada and Mexico. Supreme Court decision upholding Edmunds-Tucker Act was the event that gave rise to the Manifesto. Did not of itself stop the practice. Many rank and file LDS were not ready for it to come to an end. Many Church leaders simply believed it suspended such marriages termorarily. Had sacrificed so much for it, hard to imagine a world without it. Some apostles continued to approve.

    Set stage for second manifesto of 1904 by JFS. Explicitly prohibitory, threated with excommunication. Led to fundamentalist movements.

    Each has a sense of incompleteness. What did they overlook or fail to address? Each played down importance polygamy played in ideas of exaltation and godhood. Polygamy was more than just an option, it was an essential prerequisite for the highest degree of glory.

    Also ignored was widespread Mormon belief it was a form of eugenics, raising up a righteous seed to the Lord, LDS the literal descendants of the House of Israel.

  32. Kevin Barney says:

    LDS a quasi-ethnic group.

    The KIrtland and Nauvoo document raises many questions about Joseph’s practice. Implies subsequent to 1843 revelation. First wife Fannie Alger a full decade earlier. Majority prior to that date. Also before that date persuaded others to take plural wives.

    Exact number unknown. Footnote says between 30 and 40. Also buries number of polyandrous (12-14). Neglects to mention that ten, almost a third, were teenagers.

    Third essay neglects to mention Mormon quest for Utah statehood.

    Every church president up through HJG was or had been a practicing polygamist. Third and final manifesto, loyalty oaths.

    How did people respond? Media attention. Paul Reeve characterized Utah essay as an important step forward. Jana Riess characterized as a brief but reflectively frank document, but scoled the church for taking so long to do it, previous downplaying, even denying.

    Other essays more controversial. Media had fun with its headlines (“It’s Official! Mormon Founder Had up to 40 Wives!”). Jana characterizes as bombshells. Reactions would be akin to five stages of grief.

    Fellow blogger Emily Jensen. JS presented as a practically perfect father. Taking already married women and teenagers was not the church I grew up with, the JS I loved.

    Posting of the essays represents a turning point for LDS Church as it strives for greater openness. Many Mormons are not even aware of them, many reject them. Anonymously written, not signed by church leaders. Prompted Elder Snow to speak out and declare that they are all authorized, approved by the presiding brethren of the Church. Many will be surprised, he acknowledged, but this info is now included in S&I curriculum. There is no reason not to use the essays. We owe it to the rising generation to provide good, reliable info.

  33. Kevin Barney says:

    Q&A: How does disavowing polygamy mesh with continued use of D&C and multiple sealings in heaven? They didn’t deal with that in the essay.

    1920 becomes kind of the transition date from LDS to fundamentalism. Musser ex’ed around 1921.

    Did church consult contemporary historians? Yes. They enlisted outside historians to write preliminary document, then put a group together to revise and edit, then pushed up for scrutiny by leaders, then final edited version authorized by 1P.

  34. Kevin Barney says:

    One audience member has heard a claim that someone had hacked into lds.org and put up the essays.

    Information all on the internet before the essays. Church paid Google for these essays to come up first in searches, so LDS spin will show up in student work.

  35. Clark Goble says:

    Thanks for this Kevin. Very interesting.