MHA Snowbird 2016

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OK, I’m opening up a thread for discussion of all things MHA during its 2016 conference at the Cliff Lodge, Snowbird Ski resort, in the mountains just east of Salt Lake City.

I flew out this morning without incident. I was going to take a shuttle here, but then my son, who lives in SLC, decided he could slip away from work to take me. On the way here we stopped for lunch at In-N-Out Burger–my very first time. (Good stuff! And I especially appreciate their simple menu.) I’m in my hotel room as I type this, I’ve registered for the conference, and I’m now thinking about going to the outdoor pool and hot tub for a bit. I will unfortunately miss the opening reception and Lower Lights concert this evening due to a family commitment, but starting tomorrow it’s two full days of Mormon history action. Please share your thoughts, experiences, reviews of sessions, or whatever here. Let the games begin!

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Kevin Barney says:

    Well, I did go to the outdoor pool area. I decided the ambient temperature was a little cool for the pool itself (although lots of kids were having a ball there), but the hot tub was great, especially among the mountains still with traces of snow on them.

  2. Kevin, Here’s hoping you and all the other attendees, especially the new ones, have a great time.

  3. Kevin Barney says:

    So what’s on tap over the next two days? I’m glad you asked. Below are the general sessions/activities I will be attending:

    – Opening Plenary: Fenella Cannell of the London School of Economics on “Mormon Practice: An Anthropologist’s Perspective.”

    – Membership Luncheon: Roundtable on “Global Practice: Perspectives on Mormon Diversity.”

    – Awards Banquet.

    – Smith-Pettit Lecture. Grant Wacker of Duke Divinity School: “Reckoning with History: Richard Bushman, George Marsden, and the Art of Biography.”

    – Presidential Banquet. Laurie Maffly-Kipp: “The Clock and the Compass: Mormon History in Motion.”

    – Closing Reception.

  4. Kevin Barney says:

    Thanks, Gary! I’m looking forward to it.

  5. Kevin Barney says:

    Now the hard part: the concurrent sessions. I always hate having to decide from among so many interesting sessions. Historically there have usually been offered six presentations at a time, but this year there are eight at a time! How is one possibly to choose from among so much goodness? It’s like picking your favorite child. Anyway, here is what I am thinking preliminarily, for the six concurrent sessions, but reserving the right to change my mind upon a whim:

    1. Sacred Books, Solemn Rites: Text, Ritual, and Cosmos in Mormon History–or Priesthood Policy and Practice in Africa and Latin America (game time decision).

    2. Mormon Pilgrimages to the Holy Lands (if I can resist the rock star allure of The Council of Fifty Minutes: An Initial Scholarly Appraisal).

    3. The Granite Mountain Records Vault–or Fundamentalist Mormon Apostolic United Brethren. (I’m leaning towards the former since I saw Joe Jessop present on this subject at JWHA already [very interesting]).

    4. Joseph Smith, Josephine Lyon, and the Puzzles of Nauvoo Polyandry. (I have to go to this one, as my oldest sister married a direct descendant of Josephine Lyon, so if she is in fact a daughter of Joseph Smith, that means I have nieces and nephews who are descendants of Joseph Smith via Sylvia Sessions Lyon!)

    5. Ezra Taft Benson and the Rise of American Conservatism after 1960.

    6. This one is the hardest call for me. It’s either The Legal World of Early and Contemporary Mormonism, Mormonism and World Leaders, or Teaching Mormon History: Pedagogy Workshop. Again, a game time decision.

    Which sessions are you planning on attending? Presenters, here’s your chance to pique the interest of and sway the audience towards your sessions!

  6. Kevin Barney says:

    *Josephine Fisher.

  7. Jealous. Not going to make it this year. Looking forward to your comments.

  8. Kevin Barney says:

    Elder Snow just sauntered by, followed by Ben Park and Chris Jones. It’s getting real…

  9. Kevin Barney says:

    Not Mormon history related exactly, but since I have a live thread going I thought I would post this here. at Meridian Magazing Ronald P. Millett doubles down on the common Mormon claim/belief that Jesus Christ was born on April 6, 1 B.C., based primarily on statements by GAs, here:

    http://ldsmag.com/samuel-and-nephi-talmage-and-kimball-testimony-of-christian-calendars-in-the-new-and-old-worlds/

    He is wrong. I stand by my previous take on this issue here at BCC, to the effect that we don’t know the date and the year was probably some time between 4 and 7 B.C.:

    https://bycommonconsent.com/2010/12/19/when-was-jesus-born/

  10. Kevin Barney says:

    Opening Plenary time. Announced over 540 in attendance, from all over the country and several other countries. Thanks to Program Co-Chairs Melissa Inouye and Ben Park.

    Fenella Cannell is in London. Presentation is recorded; Q&A will be sort of live (if that doesn’t work), there is a taped Q&A. Topic: Mormon Practice: An Anthropologist’s Perspective.

    Worked on Roman Catholicism. Interested in how people define Christianity around the world. Has studied Mormons in this light in NY and Utah for 16 years. This paper is a chapter of a book she is writing: Book of Remembrance: Mormon Sacred Kinship in America.

    Final hour of a block in NY: Relief Society. Ruth, a long time convert to the Church, has been set apart as a counselor. A widow, having lost her husband six years earlier. Those who grew up in the church provide harmony for the hymn. Several holding copies of the Ensign.

    Ruth has to teach the lesson with very little notice; been 20 years since she did it. Bases on DHO article in Ensign on Miracles. Invites her daughters to the meeting. How many of you believe in miracles? She was bitter about her husband’s cancer; angry with God, didn’t get it. Everyone in the room listened attentively. D&C 42:48. She hoped for a miraculous cure for her husband. He died anyway. But a different kind of miracle took place; she was healed of her anger towards God.

    Sisters in class tell their own stories about miracles. Greatest miracle a change of heart.

    Ruth expected a spiritual experience in the temple. Her husband Angus an extraordinary man. Wouldn’t go to church unless his girls gave a talk. Didn’t feel he needed the church. Angus couldn’t give up smoking. Did not join the church. But right at the end of his life, had spiritual dreams and experiences. Mother appeared to him. He told her she could do all the LDS rituals for him; do what ever you want to do. He wanted to walk hand through hand with her through eternity. He never talked about God before.

  11. Kevin Barney says:

    One of Ruth’s daughters talked about Plato’s Cave, how we are like that in our perceptions.

    Another sister sin the NY RS lesson aid she saw Angus all dressed in white. Last year finally went to the temple. She smelled fresh fish while in the temple. Didn’t dawn on her until leaving that her father had been a passionate fisherman, and that he had been with her. (Another sister joked that when she smelled cigar smoke she’d know her father was with her.)

    Talks about distinctions between Terrestrial and Celestial glory. Lists seem to be clear and complete, but situations can be more complex than the lists suggests.

    Telestial kingdom not the same as Hell. Technically one who has an opportunity to join but refuses in this life cannot achieve CK, although Ruth doesn’t accept this.

  12. Kevin Barney says:

    Sisters didn’t believe only Mormons would be in highest heaven. “If Mother Theresa doesn’t make it surely I won’t make it!”

    Doctrinally those not born in the church have the same chance at exaltation as those baptized at 8 and married in the temple.

    Mormon universalism in tension with the idea that Mormonism holds the singular truth.

    If a Mormon missionary calls on Mother Theresa in the Spirit World and she still doesn’t want to be Mormon, what do we do then?

    Living personal revelation sometimes comes into conflict with cold, hierarchical practice.

    Comparison with early Mormonism at time of JS.

    Intercessory prayers in various traditions. Reduce gap between laity and clergy.

  13. A quick note during the plenary session. The African American tour yesterday was exceptional. The coverage in the SLTrib is good, but just covers the first two sites, Fort Douglas and the Salt Lake City Cemetery. We also visited Calvary Baptist, the DUP Museum, Trinity AME, and Union Cemetery, where a number of early black pioneers are buried. We heard presentations from retired UofU history professor Ron Coleman, Darius Gray, Margaret Young, Rev. France Davis, DUP president Maurine Smith, Paul Reeve, AME Pastor Nurjhan Govan, and Professor Wilford Samuels of the English Department at UofU. It was informative, and it was delightful to meet the presenters, and to visit with the people on the tour.

  14. Kevin Barney says:

    Sacred Books, Solemn Rites. Room is absolutely packed; I’m sitting on the floor.

    Kathleen Flake up first, “There is no end to priesthood: Nauvoo’s marital sealings in light of the BoA.” She starts out talking about the concept of power. All around us. Having the form of godliness, but denying the *power* thereof. No one had the power to save him; knowledge had not been restored. Power preoocupied JS throughout his life.

    Mormonism starts with concil in heaven–a power struggle. Existential; everywhere. All over the BoM.

    Three questions: What is that power? How do you get it? How do you use it without blowing up the lab?

    Going fast through first two quickly to focus on third.

    1. “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Godness. What God does. Who he is and what he does. God is sovereign. Can engender in others the quality of life he possesses.

    2. How do you get it? Through a ritual. (JS a ritual genius.) D&C 20. Sanctification not absence of something, but presence of something: holiness. The temple; development of sealing rights (more than simple marriage. Temple high, holy, but also everyday, integrated into practice. Sealing language account. “commanding in the name of the Lord all those powers to concentrate in you and through your posterity forever…that through this order he may be glorified….let immortality and eternal life henceforth be sealed upon your heads forever and ever.” Holy Progenitors. Eternal marriage is God’s marriage.

    1852 “I seal upon you the blessings of thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers, and exaltations, together with the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Language from Orson Pratt’s The Seer.) Applies language of God to a human couple.

  15. Kevin Barney says:

    3. How is it exercised without blowing up the lab?

    Narrative and ritual is what makes religion. Idea of deification in everyday life of his believers; no small feat.

    The BoA is that story that tells us what these rites mean. Three moments in Abraham’s life he tells us about. Taken from land, something, theophany in ch. 3. Abraham father of faithful, but in Mormon canon a narrative of power. Does not have a child, so does not have rights of a father.

  16. Kevin Barney says:

    Abraham 3, all the stuff people give us a hard time about, Kolob, etc. We don’t know what to do with it, either. God saying that thing I gave you, this is what it looks like, this is how it works. (Not a scientific claim, a narrative claim, a story.) When you look at a picture of a galaxy, what do you see? degrees of light, motion, etc. Priesthood is a kinship priesthood; this is how the power operaties. Orson Pratt’s diagram. Pratt’s picture is more rigid, cannot encompass Joseph’s image.

    (BTW, Sam Brown just sat on the floor next to me.)

  17. Kevin Barney says:

    Jonathan Stapley, Mormon Ordination: Texts, Powers and Priesthoods. (Obviously J is a fellow BCC blogger.)

    Text of ordination found in Moroni repeated in Articles and Covenants of OC. They follow this text. We read them in a presentist way.

    In 1830 priesthood an eccesiastical office. OC married to BoM, but JS not. He includes Deacon, but doesn’t stop there. Bishops, HP’s Bishops, Patriarch, Seventy, Apostle. (Today we might have a problem with how they were ordained; authority implicit, not explicit back then.)

    AP and MP revealed. Editors start redacting revelations; old revelations now read in new ways.

    1835 D&C crystalizes the textual tradition of JS’s revelations (despite Joseph ignoring it).

    In Nauvoo, we have lineal priesthood, adoption, temple liturgy. 1842: new liturgy, new cosmology, new priesthood. Materializing heaven.

    If JS lived today, he would love the internet (the networks, social media, like his network of heaven.) Participating in the temple liturgy did not give you any ecclesiastical position; gave you the priesthood of heaven. By end of the 19th century this usage falls by wayside.

    Cosmological preisthood (i.e., temple priesthood). Focused on 1835 D&C text. In late 19th century new meanings to terms like ordain and set apart. Some believe you had to be ordained to priesthood first before a particular office; others thought office a conferral itself of priesthood.

  18. Kevin Barney says:

    In 1902 JFS brings new pattern; can’t get unanimity of quorum. Plurality of practice. But JFS changes ordination procedure of temple to conform to new way. But then he dies. 2d edition of Gospel Principles says either way is fine. They then revert to old way of doing things.

    Leaders don’t like to distribute ritual texts. But young missionaries can’t do anything. so they have to put ritual texts in. They use the old one. But some leaders committed to new JFS way, such as JET and BRM, who say have to confer priesthood first (the new way).

    Cosmological priesthood required women to remain coherent. But under new way, priesthood is conferred and exists outside of priesthood office, so now to remain coherence you have to exclude women, not include them.

    Elder Oaks conceded male and female exercise priesthood authority–cosmological priesthood.

  19. Mary Bradford says:

    This is the first time that no one has tried to get me to participate in MHA–so sad!

  20. Clark Goble says:

    Confusion between “cosmological priesthood” and offices still reigns. (Oaks tried to clarify it last year in that one conference talk but I’m not sure he came close to resolving all the confusion)

  21. Kevin Barney says:

    Ryan Tobler, “Keeping the Books of Life: Rituals and Recording in Early Mormonism.”

    Studying baptism for dead, became intrigued by two letters from JS now canonized in D&C. Low point for prophet. 1842 revelation letters attempt to regulate baptism for dead, introduced in 1839. Taken up with great enthusiasm by saints in Nauvoo. Touched a chord; death very close.

    Different angle; process of record keeping. Tells us what really matters to the people. Idea of a Recorder. Rituals and records became essential to LDS faith.

    Record keeping convention in 18th century, wide spread practice of inscribing family records in biblical texts. An abundant source for genealogical research. Eng of 19th century book makers took note and put forms for this recording in their Bibles.

    “Inscribed in the Lamb’s book of life.” Potent symbol. LDS families did the same.

  22. Kevin Barney says:

    Book of the Law of the Lord to record noble deeds of his friends, testaments recorded objectively, in paper and ink. Writing in the bound book a formal, solemn act. Joseph’s developing conception of book of life.

    First letter–a recorder to be present. Second letter a week after that, reflecting on theology. Seems to be some relation between Book of the Law of the Lord and recordkeeping in general and for baptism for the dead. Sacramentalism extended to other saving ordinances.

    Human records, but true Book of Life kept in heaven. LDS to be God’s bookkeepers.

  23. Kevin Barney says:

    Robin Jensen has a few thoughts. “Shall be a record kept among you” overly quoted by historians.

    Mormon archive, not as a thing but as an historic process. Sacred rites document in or by sacred books.

    J’s paper looks at phrasing of ordinances and how it changes. Most have spent little time thinking of these as spoken texts. Text and practice affects world view of leaders and members.

    Ryan’s paper points to archives, both institutional and familial. Process of institution and record keeping process. A manifestation of lived religion.

  24. Kevin Barney says:

    Now Mormon Pilgrimages to (the) Holy Land(s).

    First Mason Allred, Dr. Hirschell and Mr. Hyde: Restorationism, Descendancy, and Orson Hyde’s Shifting Jewish Identity.

    Orson Hyde seemed to think for a short time that he might actually be of Jewish heritage. Felt genealogically linked, whether by blood or adoption. Prophet declared him to be of the House of Judah. Idea came both from Smith’s blessings but also Hyde’s own creation. No extant evidence for a patriarchal blessing linking him to Judah.

    The mental concept came face to face with actual Jews, he became thoroughly anglicized American,. Ideas had been idealized and romanticized.

    Two opposing ideas appear in Hyde’s writings. Despite ambiguous sentiments in early letters, actually being abroad in unfamiliar cultures made him long for his own homeland and culture. Led to a sense of distance and even frustration when he realized his deep American nationalism. “I am an American.” Simply wanted to return again in safety to a civilized life. Constant war and conflict among lesser tribes; hundreds killed every day.

    Even bordered on anti-Semitism at times: said many Jews care nothing for Jerusalem and care only for money. (A common European sentiment.)

    Lamented strong and deep-rooted prejudices of Jews against Christianity.

    “I am not a Jew, neither am I the son of the Jew.”

  25. Attending a session on biography. John Hatch is a Lorenzo Snow expert. He just explained in detail that the couplet “As man now is…” is from Brigham Young, not Lorenzo Snow. He is talking about the place of women in biography, and how reducing women to stereotypes does violence to their memory. We need to share the lives of minorities and women.

    As a matter of trivia, if you put together the publications of all the attendees of this session, it would constitute a decently-sized library.

  26. Kevin Barney says:

    Brett Dowdle, Promised Gatherings to Promised Lands: Mormon Gatherings, Early Zionism, and Orson Hyde’s 1840 Mission to Jerusalem.

    Discussion of the mission reinvigorated the concept of “gathering” which had started to wane.

    Jews had begun looking to Palestine for a possible migratory destination. Welcoming policies for them. Mid-19th century millenarianism favored such immigration.

    References to restoration and gathering of Jews scattered among Mormon texts. Maintained a Jewish return to Jerusalem was integral to the second coming.

    This atmosphere encouraged Orson Hyde in his mission. Other factors as well. Two days after baptism a blessing seemed to suggest he would go from synagogue to synagogue.

    JS told him he had a great work to perform among the Jews. To be a watchman unto the house of Israel.

    Most motivating experience was a vision Hyde had in early 1840. Intended to visit major Jewish centers, culminating in Holy Land. (London, Amsterdam, Constantinople.) Didn’t explain how it would contribute to gathering of the Jews. Whether Hyde himself originally saw his mission to assist in the gathering, that was his purpose when he actually went.

    As interest increased in Jews gathering to Jerusalem, Missouri problems led to temporary abandonment of gathering to Missouri.

  27. Kevin Barney says:

    Hyde asked questions about gathering. Should converted Jews gather? Smith encouraged Jews to gather to Jerusalem, but Jews who converted to Mormonism should gather to Nauvoo.

    Many Saints hoped the visit would spur an immediate gathering of the Jews; did’nt happen.

  28. Kevin Barney says:

    Amber Taylor (Brandeis), A Great Trek to Zion, Manifestations, Movements, and Meanings of the LDS Presence in the Holy Land, 1841-1989.

    (Mentioned Brandeis profs encouraged the topic; Mormons seem skittish about it.)

    LDS engagement with middle east has led to a downplaying of Jewish chosenness.

    Howard W. Hunter “We do not take sides” can be read as a rejection of ETB and LeGrande Richards who were vigorous cheerleaders for Israel.

    Talks about Mauss, All Abraham’s Children.

    Notion of Mormon “peoplehood” became increasingly metaphorical, not tied to a particular place.

    Experiencing of those actually living, studying and working in Israel has led to a more complex and less Jewish-centric view of the region. Increased scrutiny of Israel and sympathy for the Palestinian cause.

    Church transformed from an almost ethnic group to a universal religion.

  29. Kevin Barney says:

    Benson and Richards thought the time had arrived for extensive missionary attention to the Jews. But that hasn’t worked out. Helps leaders become more empathetic among Palestinians.

    BYU academic work with DSS. Jerusalem Center also serves as evidence of commitment to middle east. Neutral stance vis-a-vis the conflict contributes to positive relations with Arab States.

  30. Devery Anderson on biography writing, using the example of his Willard Richards biography. Discussion of appropriate level of detail, fictionalized biography, personal involvement with the subject matter. Does the biographer need to like his subject? No. But he needs to know him.

    Jon Sillito on B.H. Roberts and biography. An abundance of detail does not simplify the process of writing biography. Church History Library and its digital collections are a great resource, access to certain documents can be slow. The library will be closed later this year for several months. Recommends Peggy Fletcher-Stack article earlier this year on archives access.

  31. Kevin Barney says:

    Granite Mountain Records Vault. When you go in there today it’s almost like its own community.

    Tours available? A strict no.

    No Xfiles action or anything like that.

    In 1961 church began project to build the new records archive.

    In early years church good at record creation, but struggled with preservation.

    1866 Church built Church Historian’s Office at 44 East South Temple. More than an office for record creation by clerks; intended for preservation of records also.

    At times church tried to follow archival science practices, at others they lagged, but efforts generally acceptable.

    Genealogical records. Started with 200 volumes.

    Ideas about climate control, humidity, etc. took time to take hold.

    Microfilm resulted in a sea change. Not in common use generally until 1960s. Ernst Koehler urged church to get involved. Church bought a camera in 1939 for $200 some dollars. First foray into microfilm.

    They would go in to libraries with deteriorating records, would microfilm for free, give them a copy and keep a copy. A no brainer. 1966 144,000 rolls.

    Became concerned about environmental control. Also fear of losing records to war. WWII, then cold war.

  32. Kevin Barney says:

    Design reqs:

    1. win 25 miles of SLC
    2. 30,00 sf expandable to 58,000.
    3. Stable air temp 65-72 and 40-50% relative humidity.
    4. under 250 feet of overburden of rock and soil.
    5. available water, sewer, power situatied to minimize upfront and ongoing costs.

  33. Kevin Barney says:

    Nelson Clayton key figure. GGson of William Clayton. Civil engineer. Lived in Little Cottonwood canyon.

    Church looked at several sites.

    Somewhat timidly Clayton suggested Little Cottonwood Canyon. Where granite for SL temple quarried. Geology really distinctive. Most mountainous geology in Utah is heavily fractured rock; in Little Cottonwood, it was igneous rock. Has fractures in it, but the slabs are enormous, 35-45 feet thick. They did test boring, drilled into mountain ten feet at a time. Measured where fractures were. Most core samples ten feet long. Norad built around then, only six inches. So they acquired the site.

    They drilled holes in shape they wanted, a lot in center, then blasted out.

    Neighbors were very tolerant of all the explosions. Used machinery to haul out the debris. About ten feet every two days.

    650 feet in they found water. Created a temporary dam. At first were going to use for construction water. Then decided to build a permanent reservoir. Has been the key resource allowing microfilm process for decades.

    They would weld in plates and bond concrete. Has served remarkably well for over 50 years.

    JRC wanted to come and see the site. He was weak, but quite enjoyed it. Died three weeks later. Completed in December 1963.

    Church the archive of last resort for many collections. Hired professionals, state of the art standards, very rigorous.

  34. Kevin Barney says:

    Vault operations.

    Originally thought there would only be six to eight employees. Over 200 employees in three shifts.

    Good preservation is about access. Microfilm has changed over years; now a more permanent type. Now microfiche as well before things became electronic. A company built six prototypes, all a little different, none worked very well. Church bought them and rebuilt them. Could copy a microfilm in 60 seconds.

    Iconic cabinets of microfilm, row after row.

    December 11, 2014 last microfilm processed, almost 2.5MM rolls.

    Now capturing records in the field is digital. Lower barrier for million of genealogists around the world. New distribution strategies.

    Started dabbled in digitizing microfiilms at the vault. Very slow, very tedious. Came up with a substantial new system. Became operational in 2006, did 20MM records, unheard of. Last year did 308MM.

    Every aspect of the Church program today creates a digital record.

    16 gig flash drive, holds 300 pictures.

    GC takes 200 gigs for one session; = 16 flash bites. An entire conference 225 flash drives.

    Need a much more sophisticated system.

    Digital preservation: when you make a copy you can make a perfect copy.

  35. Kevin Barney says:

    In May of 2009 difficult discussion. Vault has served us well. Now what? Let it die, invent a new life? Decided the latter. Bring it to point to become a digital repository. 2013 started a massive project to gut and rebuild the whole facility–while it stayed operationsl.

    Converted a third of storage space to digital preservation.

  36. You’re a super hero, Kevin. Great to see you.

  37. Kevin Barney says:

    Digital and electronic introduces a whole new world of complexity. So yes, they have a plan for refreshing tech and keeping it active and live.

    Church has never stored gold bullion at the vault, but the other vault in the canyon has and so people get confused.

    They’ve often wondered whether they have the ark of the covenant in their collection; there’s a lot there!

    Do they have interactions with other faiths on these issues? Yes, they do. CoC, for example. Catholics, Lutherans, Jewish groups, collaborate on specific projects.

    (This by the way was an intensely interesting session. Lot of pictures, and just really well done. I found it fascinating.)

  38. All of us not in attendance appreciate the tasty morsels.

  39. Kevin Barney says:

    The Awards Banquet is in the books. For a list of the winners, go to the Juvenile Instructor blog.

  40. At the Mormon Women’s History Initiative Team breakfast, listening to Alice Faulkner Birch, current Relief Society President of the Genesis Group. What a remarkable event, both visiting with the attendees and listening to this presentation. The topic is black Mormon women’s history, the story of Jane Elizabeth Manning James, the experience of being a black Mormon woman, Sistas in Zion, cultural changes, the Genesis Choir, the wide and vital role of the Genesis Relief Society president, and much more. “Black women are proving that we can do amazing things for the church and in the church.” Hard-hitting discussion of racism in the Church, thoughts about why she remains, her testimony of the gospel. Remarkable presentation.

  41. Kevin Barney says:

    Amy T, thanks so much for that (and for all your contributions on the thread).

  42. Kevin Barney says:

    Smith-Pettit Lecture. Grant Wacker, Reckoning with History: Richard Bushman, George Marsden, and the Art of Biography.

    Honored to be here. Fun to be in Utah.They should put a fence around the entire state and call it a national park. Looked at previous lectures; intimidating.

    How he got interested in LDS. Was teaching Reid Nielsen. Was going to miss a class-wife having surgery. When he got home that night, there was a casserole with a note saying Love, Reid and {wife’s name}. Decided this was a tradition he needed to learn more about.

    Premise behind this talk is historians learn more from models than textbooks. Bottom up. Watch the masters work and pay attention to what they do and how they do it.

    Focus on Bushman and Marsden for three reasons. Among brightest stars of past half century. Both have mentored a legion of doctoral students. Among most distinguished historians of Mormon and Evangelical traditions. Insiders, but with a critical eye. Will focus on Joseph Smith and Jonathan Edwards. Would have found each other abhorrent, but shared distinction of being world religious leaders.

    Edwards a staunch Calvinist, Western Mass. Marsden’s study in Yale 2003 the definitive biography.

    Both bios highly acclaimed. To be sure, some had criticisms, but overall monumental achievements.

    Wants to use these books as a lens to examine working methods.

  43. Kevin Barney says:

    Not going to try to take these masters down a notch or two as is current fashion.

    Big stories on a large canvas, but meticulous attention to the details of the craft.

    Key word in his title is “reckoning.” Shades of meaning. Counting. Most fundamental, but humblest. Roll of raw data. Just shuffling raw data makes for deadly reading, but must account for who what when and where. They immediately thank the generations of scholars before them. Though they draw mainly on literary texts, they also draw from basic facts. Example is Bushman commenting on power of physical environment to shape experience. Data cannot be taken at face value. Evolving memory of JS’s first vision.

    How then to manage it? Thousands of pages of primary and secondary sources. Biographer must select data in order to target certain issues. How to avoid cherry picking just to prove their point? Shine flashlight on selves to make clear their own experiences influence their choices.

    Writing a comprehensive treatment limits this problem, but does not avoid it. Where does the story line lie? Sense of multiple personalities. Often difficult to find the person behind the monument. With Joseph’s realization he’s a prophet, the “rearrangement of memory began.”

    Silence too is a form of evidence as well.

    Strategic cloaking; the deliberate elision of evidence.

    Second definition: interpret. What do these facts mean? From doing to hearing. Good conversations require a delicate ear. Listening to the past is like a foreign language. Have to be immersed in it.

  44. Kevin Barney says:

    Four arguments in Bushman’s book. 1. Centrality of family. JS Sr. a failure, but seemed to realize Joseph had redeemed his life. 2. How can it be? A large American who came from nowhere. Less than two years schooling, socially marginal. How could he write BoM? 3. Weaves in contemporary developments. Can’t be reduced, but not independent either. 4. Mormons rode tides of their age, but also turned world upside down. Sought to see face of God, knowing full well that they never could.

    Marsden: angular religious movements have more influence than we realize. Calvinists never sailed very long in smooth water. So much effort put into recognizing the worthlessness of one’s efforts.

    Taking the long view. Remind us of the power of hte individual in propitious moments.

    Third definition of reckoning: evaluating. Take a stand. Good? Bad? Some of both?

    They leave little doubt about evaluation. Left world a better place. How could this be (slaves, wives)? Evaluate in their times, and places not ours. Don’t simply judge past for having an outlook not our own. But need unflinching honesty; no pedestals. JS sensitive to insults, could not stand to be crossed. Both airbrush here or there, but know the risks. Honesty essential; but then comes charity.

    Someday we will meet in heaven the people we write about, and when we do we will have to look them in the eye and account for ourselves.

  45. Kevin Barney says:

    JS in Liberty asked Emma whether being cast into prison made him less worthy of her.

    Past believers wrestled with terrible things just as we do today.

    Both are masters of old fashioned narrative; tell a good story. Richard credits Claudia’s editing.

    Bushman hooks us. Josiah Quincy told JS he had too much power to trust with. JS says in another person’s hands that would be so; I’m the only person in the world it would be safe to trust it with.

    Wit keeps both books from turning into a slog. McClellin has, per JS, “more learning than sense.”

    Eagle eye for perfect quote. The rough stone quote was perfect.

    What said above a professional historian’s code of conduct.

    Here’s where it gets complicated. Christian historians know there is more to the task. Not talking about compartmentalizing task, but self consciously try to combine history and their faith. Believer historians.

    Fifth meaning: discerning. A redemptive force greater than teh context in which placed. Sacred traces. Clues about where history is going.

    Identifying God’s hand is tricky. Both authors understand this.

    In RSR, Bushman intimates that divine revelation most plausible explanation. How can a gaggle of ignorant farms become a nation, a kingdom?

    Boundaries between heaven and earth fades. Transcendent literal, mundane heavenly.

    Do non-Mormon readers have to embrace Bushman’s posture in order to appreciate the book? He doesn’t know.

    Never place a period where God has placed a comma (United Church of Christ motto)

  46. Kevin Barney says:

    Closing:

    Discerning. The moral gravitas of these people informs our thinking but also judge our days. Educate our minds but also correct our hearts.

    Art of biography becomes an instrument of grace. Finis.

  47. Grant Wacker’s lecture was phenomenal.

  48. And I second the power of the MWHIT breakfast keynote. Such a wonderful model of how to move beyond the racist past through honesty, testimony, commitment, and community. God speed to Alice and her people.

  49. Kevin Barney says:

    How did he apply concept of discerning in his work on Billy Graham? A terrible preacher, but most effective. What happened after he preached. He stood there stone silent and say “Come. Commit your life to Christ.” And they did. What was going on? By any rational calculation this should not have happened.

  50. Kevin Barney says:

    Richard asked if it’s hard to be a believer in a secular historian? Implication is it sometimes feels hard for Richard. Answer, yes it is sometimes hard. What worries him is when he gets too comfortable. He teaches in a divinity school and a secular department.

    “Long after Christianity is dead and gone, the United Methodist Church will still be flourishing.”

    Is reading like a novel a potential criticism? Some think so. But there’s place for both.

    Agree with Sam; Grant’s lecture was fantastic. Will no doubt be published in JMH.

  51. Kevin Barney says:

    Was JS the biological father of Josephine Lyon?

    Don Bradley, the historical evidence. (Brian and Don both practiced Zerogamy while doing the research for Brian’s books. Both have since remedied that condition.)

    The Fate of Madame La Tour (anti book). A pseudonym for Sarah Lawrence. Lots of disaffected literature about polygamy. Pseudonyms, abbreviations, initials only, very common in this literature. Almost like a puzzle for the reader.

    Figuring out how these sources factor in to JS’s polygamy requires detective work.

    Sylvia Sessions Lyon. In 1838 Sylvia married to Windsor P. Lyon. In 1843 Joseph married Sylvia as well. Were the relationships concurrent (Polyandrous) or sequential (Polygynous)?

    Did JS have sexual relationships with plural wives? Was polyandry apparent or “real”?

    Specifically, did JS and Sylvia have a sexual relationship? Who did Sylvia and family members believe had fathered her child?

    Previously used sources on this question. Josephine’s affidavit 1915. Sylvia told her on her deathbed that Josephine was Joseph’s child. Said don’t make too public, might arouse unpleasant curiosity.

  52. Kevin Barney says:

    Probably meant in a literal, not a spiritual sense. Secrecy surrounding it suggests this. Josephine’s sister present when Sylvia told Josephine this, so clear what she intended.

    Question of reliability. How do we know Sylvia didn’t just make this up? Sylvia identified as a plural wife of JS in various sources. Sylvia never promoted herself as such in a public way. Suggests authenticity.

    Several people referred to Josephine as a daughter of Joseph. (Running out of time so went through this more quickly than I could catch.)

    Wilhelm Wyl, Mormon Portraits, 1886. Mr. WA. had once employed a woman to do his domestic sewing for him. She said when in Nauvoo a young girl. She put her eye to keyhole to witness transaction between Joseph and Mrs. Ford while Mr. Ford was gone on business.

    How if at all can this story be used? Who is Mr. WA? There is not Mr. and Mrs. Ford. But details suggest Mr. Ford = Windsor Lyon. Often made trips to St. Louis for business. Other elements of the story fit. Joseph borrowed money from Sylvia; domestic servants in the house.

  53. Kevin Barney says:

    Names of children under 8 per census in the household.

    Mr. WA–the Walker Brothers. David Walker.

    1860 census in Utah. Phebe Ann Rodeback in a small town near the Walker brothers–in same ward.

    Potentially an eye witness to the sexual relationship.

  54. I’m in the session on contested memories of the Missouri conflict. It’s being covered nicely on Twitter, so just a note. I recently consulted a number of Missouri county histories, and read through the 1880s-1890s accounts of the war, many of them proud of the Missourians who had fought in the war, but one or two sympathetic to the Saints. With those in mind, it’s good to hear David Grua’s exploration of documents,
    Brent Rogers on gendered memory, and I’m looking forward to Andrea Radke-Moss’s presentation.

  55. Kevin Barney says:

    Ugo Perego, the scientific evidence.

    Crowning of 15 years working on this case. White paper posted on line with background to study.

    Background on genetic tools.

    Not all cases can be examined (infants died, don’t know where buried).

    Previous cases examined based on Y chromosome.

    Five out of seven cases of paternity resolved through Y chromosome analysis.

    Only two of JS children we know of had biological descendants that live to today.

    Can’t get a DNA sample from JS. But known male descendants provide a sufficient control.

    Josephine a problem. Being a girl, did not inherit a Y chromosome.

    That’s why it took so long. Started working on it in 2000. Didn’t have technology.

    Go back 150 years, no direct sampling, creates issues. But the more we wait, the more we lose valuable individuals that can provide their samples. Lose 50% every generation.

    Josephine if his daughter would have had about 50% of her autosomal DNA from Joseph. Every generation the autosomal evidence becomes slimmer. And as you go down generations it becomes a probability; you can’t assume the same percentage every generation.

  56. Kevin Barney says:

    Reconstructed DNA signature of Josephine and her husband John Fisher. First step. But couldn’t go past Josephine at that time.

    Looked at smaller parts of DNA that were more conservative.

    There is a biological connection between Smith and Lyon. But other connections between Hyrum SMith family and Lyon family that came to Utah. Seemed to be no way to know.

    Better data, better understanding. 2015 chart based on 6,000 pairs of relatives.

    Smith grid and Lyon grid presented. Tests conducted by various genetic companies using same technology from illumina for government testing.

    Evidence very shallow and very broad.

    One table compares JS and Hyrum Smith descendants to use as a control.

    Did same thing with Lyons v. other Lyons as a control. Confirms claimed descendants are actual descendants.

    0 DNA shared between JS family and Lyon family.

    Josephine is most likely not JS’s daughter, no DNA shared. But, is she a Lyon?

    Conclusion is was Windsor’s daughter, not Joseph’s daughter.

  57. Andrea R-M. Violence against women in Missouri preserved most notably in PPPratt’s Majesty in Chains story of Joseph Smith in Richmond Jail. “Silence ye fiends…” The violence as a backdrop to and possible cause of the Mtn Meadows Massacre. (All late memory.) Transmitted memories of Missouri trauma also transgressive memory. Purpose of discussing this: retrieve collective memory for dealing with present, changed circumstances.

    Steven Harper on memory. Declarative memory, rearrangement of memory, consolidation of memory: forming of memory over time. Groups form memories like individuals do. Storage, selection, and use of memory. Recommends being more conscious of how memory forms.

  58. Kevin Barney says:

    Brian Hales, “Four Interpretations of Josephine Lyon’s Paternity.”

    Had believed that Josephine was Joseph’s daughter. So had to rearrange his views on this.

    1. One interpretation is sealed only for eternity in a nonsexual relationship. But how to understand Sylvia’s deathbed statement? Phebe Clark believed declaration applied equally to her.

    2. Practiced polyandry. Windsor absent for several weeks after impregnated Sylvia, cohabited for several weeks only with Joseph, leading Sylvia to conclusion that Joseph was the father. Possible for women to be pregnant for a period and not know it. If a woman becomes pregnant after relations with two men, she will almost always point to the more desirable as father.

  59. Kevin Barney says:

    3. Separation from Windsor and subsequent sealing to Joseph. Common or frontier (not “legal”) divorce was common at that time.

    4. Sylvia in confusion or transgression.

    Much of available evidence contradictory, incomplete or inconclusive. Will depend on which evidence you privilege. Need additional historical information to fully discern the relationship.

  60. Kevin Barney says:

    ETB and the Rise of American Conservatism after 1960.

    Newell Bringhurst, ETB’s Quest for the U.S. Presidency.

    40 years since his first MHA in St. George UT.

    Four decades before Mitt ran, ETB sought the highest office. 1960 his term as Ike’s Secretary of Agriculture ended. Could have gone back to Utah and resumed full times duties as part of 12, but wanted to remain politically active. McKay less than enthusiastic (Nixon had it all but tied up); suggested he not put himself forward, must come from outside groups and not himself. In public, ETB touted Governor Nelson Rockefeller. He went to NY to consult with him. Rockefeller thought he could win the general but not win the GOP. Goldwater a possible running mate; Rockefeller said he’d rather have ETB, who in turn said he wasn’t fishing.

    What motivated ETB to support Rockefeller? He honestly believed him to be the best candidate. Had developed a close friendship. And a likelihood he would be VP choice.

    ETB a forceful advocate for far right. Actively touted by a shadowy group. McKay urged him not to have anything to do with a third party, but look into what these men have in mind. This committee, half members of Birch society, actively called for ETB to run for president. Wanted Strom Thurmond to be his running mate.

    ETB moved to allay McKay’s skepticism. Claimed committee’s action could force a realignment between two main parties. McKay then gave support. In late 1966 McKay authorized release of a statement approving of ETB going forward.

    But committee had big problems. First was money; in deep debt. Also doubts about suitability of ETB. Several members asserted ETB generated little enthusiasm. Thurmond also proved to have less than enthusiastic support. Thurmond disassociated himself from committee. ETB also cooled as a candidate for the committee; wanted more grass roots pressure for him to be drafted.

  61. Kevin Barney says:

    George Romney running in 1968. George Wallace runnin on his own ticket. ETB enthusiastically endorsed Wallace. Wallace vigorously sought ETB as his running mate. ETB traveled to Montgomery Ala. to confer with Wallace. Willing, but only if McKay would give permission. Wallace requested McKay’s blessing in a very long persona letter. Dyer informed McKay Wallace seeking presidency on a third party ticket. Then Benson met with McKay, who told him to turn the offer down. Temporarily settled the matter.

    After seven months Wallace had not found a suitable running mate. Tried J. Edgar Hoover. In desperation asked Col. Sanders of KFC fame. Renewed offer to ETB. McKay summarily rejected ETB’s request. McKay stated would lead to confusion and misunderstanding in the Church.

    Wallace chose Lamay, who supported use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam.

    Four facts stand out:

    1. ETB most politically active Mormon President since JS.
    2. Conservatism a reaction against other denoms in 1960s.
    3. Strong antipathy against civil rights movement brought church unwanted attention.
    4. Breached wall between church and state. (ETB undaunted, asserting his right, even his duty. It might not be popular, but a prophet is required to speak out on political affairs. Anticipated emergence of moral majority and religious right.

  62. Kevin Barney says:

    Matt Harris, ETB, Martin Luther King and the Communist Conspiracy.

    ETB would begin talks in civic engagements with a hook: “I’m not here to tickle your ears.”

    Saw the civil rights as a subplot in communist conspiracy. Robert Welch founded his anti-communist movement John Birch Society. McKay wouldn’t let Benson join, but ETB supported thoughout his life.

    ETB devoured Birch literature, electrified Benson. Sent stuff to colleagues among Q12, ordered copies for Church History Library, gave copies as Xmas gifts. Ike a dedicated agent of communist conspiracy. Reds had infiltrated U.S. government. U.S. gov’t 57% infiltrated by Reds. Reds behind civil rights movement.

    ETB had very limited exosure to blacks and accepted Welch’s literature uncritically.

    ETB insinuated his former boss IKE a communist agent. Led to bitter reaction against him. Problem for the Church. The Church sent him on a mission to Europe in hopes he would tone it down. But that didn’t happen.

    ETB condemned the integration controversy.

    His Birch support continued unabated during his mission to Europe.

    Continually raised ire of 1P and embarrassed the Church.

    ETB in Europe maintained a vigorous correspondence with Welch. Welch said ETB had an uncanny ability to “sniff out the communists.” Worried about a Negro-Soviet Republic.

  63. Kevin Barney says:

    1965 Voting Rights Act alarmed ETB.

    Reed Benson, Apostle’s son, equally alarmed. Regional coordinator for Birch Society.

    ETB returns to Utah in 1965. ETB stays quiet in the fall, but then intensifies his anti-civil rights stance.

    Fall in 1967 he delivered a forceful talk against racial equality in GC.

    Race riots fed into ETB’s feelings.

  64. Kevin Barney says:

    ETB feared Americans would make a martyr of MLK upon his murder, protested LBJ’s actions after the death.

    Thought black Marxists would lead to WWIII.

    A PR disaster for church. SWK in particular pushed back against Benson. Upon 1978 revelation ETB knew instinctively he could no longer discuss his anti-black views in public.

    Church had to deal with fallout from legislature refusal to name holiday after MLK. Changed in 2000 with leadership of GBH. GBH sought to counteract ETB and usher in a new beginning for Mormon racial relations.

  65. Kevin Barney says:

    Respondent: Neither Birch Society nor separationist southerners had any path to power. What convinced him that this was the way to go? What did ETB absorb from LDS religion and culture that made Welch’s words fall upon him like seeds? Probably end times ideology was a factor. ETB grounded his understanding in Mormon scripture. Communists like Gadiantons in BoM.
    In BoM no conspiracy theory; it is a conspiracy fact.

  66. Afternoon sessions. People are looking a bit tired.

    Sacred geography, artifacts, sites.

    Jared Call on the Nauvoo Expositor. History, explanation of people involved, notes that there were two groups: those involved in the Expositor, those who destroyed it. One group lived up on the bluffs, the other down by the river. Geography seems to have played a part.

    Charlotte Hansen Terry on Wilford G. Wood and the preservation of church history. Lots of miraculous events acquiring things like Nauvoo Temple lot. Wanted a historical preservation committee. Proposed Mormon trail, sacred places as beacon light. Sought Mormon documents, negotiations with Bidamon family, others. Wood became a part of the story.

    Scott Esplin on differences between LDS and RLDS interpretations of Nauvoo. Tension between the two groups and their goals, religious and historic, with the goals changing over time. Stories of Red Brick Store and Nauvoo Temple.

  67. Kevin Barney says:

    Bircher interpretation was not mainstream conservatism. No responsible conservative saw civil rights as a communist plot to overthrow the government.

    In Utah discrimination against blacks rampant in jobs and housing. Hotel Utah refused blacks service. ETB influenced by historical LDS dogma about blacks. Made racism acceptable. No leap to see blacks as pawns of communists. Several of Q12 had similar views, but ETB unique in his politicizing it.

  68. Kevin Barney says:

    Patrick Mason unable to come. His paper on ETB on environmental politics. Gospel of work and local control. Like Goldwater, an anti-state environmentalist.

    Did a fine job in elucidating ETB’s environmentalism.

    Westerner’s paradox. Demand for freedom juxtaposed demand for federal funding.

  69. QandA has been a discussion of the closure of the Community of Christ (formerly RLDS) archives, warming of relationships in Nauvoo, encouragement to attend Wilford Wood museum in Woods Cross. Open by appointment only.

    Returning to the theme of competition for sacred space, especially in Kirtland, Nauvoo, Independence. Tensions created by tourists, particularly in Nauvoo and Temple Lot (Independence). Devotional vs historical purposes for sites.

  70. Amy: was nice to meet you!

  71. Kevin Barney says:

    I lost my notes on Ardis’s fantastic presentation on a secret file prepared by Winston Churchill, the Home Secretary, around 1911 about whether Mormons were luring single girls to immigrate for polygamy. The hotel wifi doesn’t work in this room. Aargh! Had been sealed for 100 years; only public since 2013. She was the first to find this; something Reed Smoot had desperately tired to find but was unable to. Churchill investigated the claims and concluded they were unfounded. This short notice cannot compare to how interesting the actual presentation was. I’m sure it will be published at some time in some venue, so be on the lookout for it.

  72. Nice to meet you, too!

    World Leaders session. Ardis Parshall on her discovery of the Churchill report, a historic British government investigation into the LDS Church. It was sealed until 2013, now located and copied with the assistance of friends, transcribed, and ready to be published. (Oohs and aahs from audience.) Discussion of contents. Investigations of whether the Mormons were luring young women to Utah, the stories of why the government was doing the investigation, and the international extent of the investigation. Rich source for missionary and women’s history.

  73. Kevin Barney says:

    Gary Bergera, ETB meets Khrushchev.

    A minor meeting. Six years later ETB recasts the meeting as an epic confrontation between good and evil. ETB’s remembered story of his meeting highlights the mutability of memory in pursuit of an agenda.

    Devotional at BYU in 1966. Spoke against U.S. and LDS apathy. Referenced his meeting with Khrushchev in September 1959. It may surprise you to learn I was his host for a half day. I opposed it. He indicated that my grandchildren would live under Communism. You won’t accept it outright. You’re so gullible. We’ll keep feeding it to you outright, and you’ll accept little by little until you are communists.

    Later descriptions diverged from his own previous account. Benson gave a brief opening statement on virtues of our capitalist statement, to which Kh made no response. Less than tow hours after arriving he returned to Washington for lunch.

    Later accounts incorporate Kh statements from other settings and events as if made face to face to ETB.

  74. Kevin Barney says:

    About 1961 Kh’s alleged statement about small doses of socialism began to appear in conservative forums. No one could produce actual evidence of the statement.

    Almost immediately questions about the authenticity of the quotation arose.

    Government could not find any evidence that Kh ever said it.

  75. Fabulous job Kevin and all the other commenters. I couldn’t be there on Saturday, so that was especially useful. Nice to meet you as well Amy T.

  76. Kevin Barney says:

    Yes, Amy T., it was so nice to meet you. Thanks for your contributions!

  77. In my session, Justin Bray introduced some fascinating thoughts in the history of olfaction for Mormons, focusing especially on policing Word of Wisdom compliance and the problems of sharing a communal cup with people who chew tobacco. Nate did a fun talk about Protestant remorse about the early C19 revivals, which some argued led to the excesses of Mormonism.

  78. Kevin Barney says:

    Laurie is about to give her presidential address.

    The Clock and the Compass: Mormon History in Motion.

    How grateful she is to be here and to become a part of this organization. Rich beyond her imagination.

    On a small stretch of land in Missouri, the temple lot, Joseph and his followers planned the new city of Jerusalem. Ringed on all sides by a handful of religious communities, who watch and wait. Hedrickites acquired land in 1867 and fought repeated legal battles to keep it. Flanked on three sides by CoC. LDS and two other groups maintain close presences. Peaceful now, but still watchful. The tranquility belies a history in motion.

    From the beginning, a history in motion. A powerful centripetal force–so many churches around the lot. But also centrifigal forces, splintering the groups in the first place. Ultimate goal was gathering.

    The doctrine of gathering remains strong. But also scattering and splintering. Have to pay attention to both.

    Flee to Zion, gather in the mountains, as church leaders told new British members.

    By 20th century gathering shifted from geographical to a condition, to shield pure in heart from the world.

  79. Kevin Barney says:

    Mormons build systems. Systems sustain Zion.

    Has shaped field of Mormon history. Historians have been gatherers, too. Organize into a meaningful pattern. Nothing wrong with this. But seeking meaning does not provide a complete accounting of Mormon history. Discontinuities don’t always fit into a system.

    Idea of lived religion highlights some of these scattered forces.

    Many focus on official religious organizations or their leaders. Finding and understanding every day lived religion. The ad hoc beliefs and practices of every day religion.

    What would it mean to focus less on the center and more on the borders and periphery?

    There are other vantages made visible by this shifting of perspective that illumine the Mormon past.

    The potential for chaos unleashed by the early Mormon movement. Early displacement–early converts displaced people, a movement on the road. A yearning, a largely unfulfilled longing. Reality of life was disruption.

  80. Kevin Barney says:

    Many circumstances prompted migration. Lucy’s book shows this in spades.

    Other exigencies force motion. Lost loves, wars, unfulfilled religious fervor.

    McLellin heard about Joseph and BoM, closed school, traveled 800 miles to Missouri because he had heard Joseph was going there. (Who does that!) Joseph had come and gone, but McLellin joined anyway.

    Philo Dibble heard the stories, hurried to Kirtland to check on these stories. Dibble was adamant and was baptized. Dibble offered three pieces of evidence.

    1. Bodily sensations and witness of working of the spirit in the natural world. Felt a hand on his shoulder. Experienced a heavenly influence of great joy. Observed celestial signs.

    2. Reading of Bible, found evidence of Joseph’s prophecies. Confirmed the words of the Bible. Psalm 85:11.

    3. Several men had testified to its truth.

    People ponder meaning of events, and physical signs, and trusted words of friends who had served them reliably in hard times.

  81. It was great to meet all of you. It’s been a wonderful conference. The organizers and program committee and presenters did an admirable job.

  82. Kevin Barney says:

    When Joseph arrived, Dibble saw him heal a woman’s arm. Solidified him in his commitment.

    Deluge of influences forced questioning. Which were right, which were wrong? Potential for disagreements.

    Mormon membership came at a cost. Men sometimes outran their place in the group (David Whitmer, e.g.). Earlier women and African American members shared in the outpouring, but over time those roles were circumscribed.

    Gathering forces regularized priesthood power. Multiplication of priesthood offices. Individuals received revelations for themselves, but only Smith for the whole. Church moved from democratic prophecy toward ecclesiastical structure more analogous to Roman Catholicism. None of these systems would have been necessary if individual gifts did not threaten the whole. Over time grows distant from origins.

    Nauvoo marks Mormons as unique.

    For contemporaries, Smith’s prophetic commands less a road map than a kaleidoscope.

    Possibilities left behind in this construction are significant.

  83. Kevin Barney says:

    As many moved west, others stayed in place.

    Left to own devices without powerful of a center found the energy and enthusiasm that attracted them to the group in the first place.

    Little Mormon worlds were maintained in absence of much ecclesiastical guidance.

    William Marks wandered midwest for years until the Reorganization.

    Outsiders often labeled dissenters or apostates, but they thought they were living out their Mormonism faithfully and fully.

    Centripetal force often illustrated by solar system. [Gives a physics analogy.]

  84. Kevin Barney says:

    Which body is moving away from the other? Cannot tell.

    Those who moved outside the orbit of Zion.

    In 1837 a ten year old named Brewster claimed he had been visited by an angel with instructions for a better way to organize the church. Revelations criticized many actions of the Mormons. Had a small band of 100 believers. The by then 24 year old prophet leaves for California with his group.

    Second example Gibson misused authority in Hawaii and excommunicated.

    Labeled as dissenters, but both had followers.

    Geographical distance could encourage theological experimentation.

    Migration saved the Utah church. By 1870 immigrants the majority.

    In 1850s much of church’s firepower remained in Britain.

  85. Kevin Barney says:

    Millennial Star published in England, longest running Mormon paper. After 1896 focus on Zion wanted and more attention to Mormonism on the continent.

    There are many groups that are officially separate from Roman Catholic church, but they still consider themselves Catholic. It is Catholicism’s research lab, testing things like women’s ordination. The clamor is part of the story.

    Zion an ever present longing.

  86. Kevin Barney says:

    Now the ceremonial passing of the presidential seerstone to Brian Cannon, the new MHA President.

    Next year we’ll be meeting in St. Louis. They’re going to talk about this for a bit.

  87. Thanks for the notes and recaps (and all the live updaters on Twitter too!). I so enjoyed getting a little taste of the MHA goodness. And I’m thrilled to hear it will be in St. Louis next year! That’s within driving distance for this Missourian. Maybe I’ll get to meet some of my Mormon studies heroes next year! (if I overcome my introvert tendencies and actually talk to anyone).