MHA 2017 St. Louis


I’m putting up this open thread for discussion of all things MHA over the next few days as we participate in the 2017 conference in the St. Joseph Convention Center next to the Embassy Suites hotel in St. Joseph, Missouri. Please share your experiences and thoughts here so that others who cannot be here physically can get some of the gist of the proceedings. Have a great conference, everybody!

I flew in this morning from Chicago. The flight wasn’t much longer than the train I ride to commute into Chicago, so the location was very convenient for me. I wasn’t sure what to do for lunch, but as the taxi was pulling in I noticed a Buffalo Wild Wings across a very busy highway, so I decided to try that. There is a pedestrian bridge so I didn’t put my life at risk.

Then I went to check out the conference center and pick up my materials. Jessie Embry was working the desk and gave me my tote bag. I also ran into Rob Racker and mentioned I was planning to liveblog MHA as I usually do. He said the quality of the wifi in the meeting rooms was not guaranteed. So tomorrow I’ll give it a shot, and if the wifi is too spotty I’ll take notes by hand and transcribe them here when I get the chance.

I hope others attending the conference will add their thoughts, reflections and experiences here as well.




  1. For us not familiar with it, mind explaining what “MHA” stands for? Thanks!

  2. Kevin Barney says:

    Sorry, Annie, MHA stands for the Mormon History Association, which sponsors an annual conference about this time of year. In general they alternate between locations in the intermountain west corridor and those further afield. An opening reception tonight will kick things off, followed by two full days of presentations on all sorts of topics in Mormon history, with a devotional Sunday morning ending the event. If you search BCC for MHA you’ll find my notes from prior conferences.

    MHA also sponsors a journal, the Journal of Mormon History. If one can’t make it the conference, subscribing to the Journal is the next best thing, as some of the keynote addresses will eventually find their way into the pages of the journal.

    For more details, including a link to the preliminary conference program, see this:

  3. Kevin Barney says:

    I went to check out the vendor displays, which are only partially up. The UoU has a full table, as does the UoIllinois (personal to Michael Hicks: not only to they have a display of your MTC book, I also spied a copy of your history of Mormon Music book (in paperback). Loyd and Brian were sitting at the Kofford display table, and I said hi to them. The displays should be fully fleshed out for tomorrow morning.

  4. Kevin Barney says:

    A small group of us played hooky from the opening reception to see a certain superhero movie that happened to be opening today. While lounging in recliners, no less. But in our defense it was totally kickass.

  5. Kevin Barney says:

    Fred Woods on Mormon history in St. Louis (opening plenary). Quoted Stan Kimball to effect St. Louis most important city in LDS history after gathering points of the Saints.

    Mentioned twice in D&C 60. In 1830s a small group in St. Louis. By 1838 SL press paying attention to the Mormons, largely driven by Extermination Order. Population about 12,000 at that time.

    Some of the press was actually good.

    British immigrants pass through city (up Mississippi).

    Most of what he’s sharing is available on the Mormon Migration Website.

    PP Pratt avoided MO in 1843. Fear of Extermination Order by St. Louis Branch in early 1840s. There were many apostates there, like “spider webs.” “vomit their venom and explode their spleen.”

    Orson Hyde praises the St. Louis Saints..

    In 1846 about 1500 Saints flee Nauvoo for St. Louis.

    NH Felt replaces Stratton as leader. About 1500 members.

    Cholera epidemic. Every morning the “dead wagon” made its round.

  6. Kevin Barney says:

    Tom Farmer. Population of St. Louis 210,000 in latter 1850s just prior to Civil War.
    Both LDS and RLDS groups in St. Louis.
    Melvin J. Ballard served a mission there. They would sing, and then BH Roberts would come and preach and seal the deal. Had a number of converts, including one who would become long time branch president.
    575,000 pop in 1900. Fourth largest city in US. 1904 World Fair. Church had a pavilion there.
    In 1914 SWK called to Swiss German, but due to war went to St. Louis.
    1949 built a church on Jameson Avenue.
    First stake organized in 1958.
    Vai Sikahema played for Cardinals.
    Excitement about new temple in 1997. 250,000 came through open house. 1P gave permission to have open on Sunday—rare.

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    The St. Louis Arch. Mormon story had not been told in museum on western expansion. In 2007 program set up to rectify this problem. “You’re the first Mormon I ever met.”

  8. Kevin Barney says:

    OK, new plan. Trying to do the notes in real time isn’t working, because the wifi is very spotty in the meeting rooms. So now I’m going to take physical notes and upload them when I can.

    I had breakfast this morning with Chris Bench and also ran into my old friend Jill Brim, who is very active with the JWHA.

  9. Joshua G H. Smith says:

    I think you mean St. Charles, MO not St. Joseph, MO in your OP. Sounds benign, but St. Joe is just north of KC about 200 miles west of you.

    I grew up in STL, know Tom Farmer very well. Sorry to miss this event.

  10. Kevin Barney says:

    Right you are, St. Charles. Thanks for the correction!

  11. Kevin Barney says:

    I saw George Durrant and his wife in the elevator. I haven’t seen him since the early 80s at BYU.

    Gospel Topics Essays. A book on them coming out early 2018 from UoU press: Will cover all 13 essays that came out from December 2013 to late 2015. An eclectic group of authors:

    Craig Blomberg on whether Mormons are Christian.
    Richard Sherlock on becoming like God.
    Thomas Murphy and Angela _____ on DNA in the BoM
    John Charles Duffy on BoM translation
    David Howlett on 1V accounts.
    John Turner on 19th century _____
    Stephen Taysom on BoA (he was going to present as part of the session but didn’t make it.)
    Caroline Kline and Rachel Hunt Steinblech (sp?) on MiH
    Margaret Toscano on priesthood/temple/women
    Gary Bergera on Kirtland/Nauvoo polygamy
    George Smith on Utah
    Newell Bringhurst on Manifesto
    Matt Harris on Race

    Matt Harris intro:

    2010 600 people gathered in Stockholm Sweden. Frank and testy exchange. Requested by Hans Mattson AA70, disturbed by things found on internet. Marlin Jensen and Rick Turley. 3-1/2 hours (polyandry, BoA, BoM, etc.). Brought a handout with five positive websites. BKP commission to create answers. Could not find fast enough.

    Dehlin survey–why leave? Loss of belief. JS prophetic role, BoA, polyfamy, blacks, Masonic elements in temple, official attempts to cover up.

    Jensen frank in acknowledging concerns. Faith promoting history not serving church well. Time for Mormons to come to terms with church history.

    Influential websites: Letter to a CES Director, Exmormon Reddit, Mormon Faith (?), Mormon Stories.

    Bednar wanted uplifting stories, avoid debate and contention.

    Monson commissions projects for greater transparency. JSPP and Gospel Topics Essays. Roll out of essays deliberately low key; can be a problem, members don’t trust them.

  12. Kevin Barney says:

    Howlett on 1V accounts. Focus on memory and cultural work essay trying to do. Steven Harper likely author. Wesley Walters–both academic and polemic. Essay avoids a lot of prior work. A reframing event. Can’t just look at time of vision; have to look at what was going on when each account reduced to writing. Cultural anxiety about stable memory.

    Margaret Toscano on women and priesthood. Essay ignores several classes of evidence.


    Curt Bench got permission to teach essays in firesides in his home. I mentioned that I have taught about half the essays in GD, but I didn’t ask permission, I just did it. Well received. Someone else had opposite experience, SP refused, had heard that 50% of people who read essays never come to church again. S&I very resistant, Elder Ballard notwithstanding. Palpable fear. Average member doesn’t see as trustworthy.

  13. Thanks, Kevin. I’m sorry I’m missing the meeting. I’m curious about how U of U Press seems to be edging out Signature Books in some of its genre offerings. Are we hearing much by way of those dynamics?

  14. Kevin Barney says:

    I haven’t heard anything about that, Sam. Anyone else?

  15. Glad to see my alma mater producing a book that seems more proper for signature book. Plus, titling it “Scholars” respond placing the book and its authors above the essays.

  16. Kevin Barney says:

    Membership luncheon. I saw with David Heap, Spencer Fluhman, Rosalynde Welch, Kris Wright, the Stapleys, and Paul Reeve, among others.

    D. Michael Quinn was the speaker.Talked about his youth growing up in Southern Cal. Age 16 read Essentials in Church History, BH Roberts. In 1961 found Mormon Conflict in HS library. 1862 studied a facsimile 1830 BoM, wrote a letter to JFS. Started keeping a three-ring binder of study materials. Mission, returned to BYU, worked for Danel Ludlow. Learned of post-Manifesto marriages; deeply disturbed. Went to the genealogical library; ended his confidence in traditional LDS history.

    Jeff Holland subdued talking about his thesis on changes in the BoM; advised him never to write on a controversial topic, it’s not worth it.

    Dick Bennett introduced him to Arrington. Worked for Church History Dept. less than 18 months,

    Found BH Roberts filing cabinets in the basement containing ms for Truth, Way, Life.

    Went to Yale. Very intimidated there.

    1976 begins teaching at Y. Opportunity to work on J. Reuben Clark bios.

    1988 resigned from BYU (twice had denied professional development leave requests).

    1994 first volume of Mormon Origins; new one out later this year.

  17. And I don’t have problem with any of these people responding and engaging with the essays, but for an University Press to publish this book and label it as “scholars”, especially when some of them at least have religious and personal motives to have a differing view on subject of the topic essays. We have a Mormon turned Catholic, an evangelical, etc… This is not ad hominem attack on Their work bc I obviously have not read their articles (although I read some previous works), but how their presenting the book

  18. I think University presses are feeling the economic squeeze like everyone else. I suspect they’re hopeful that books like this will sell decently and that the Mormon Studies market is odd enough that they won’t be penalized for publishing some semi-scholarly/anti-devotional material. Some of the authors are really bright and well-credentialed, others less so. It’s an interesting strategic choice that I’m curious about. I’m not entirely persuaded that this sort of lineup would fly in other scholarly domains, but Mormon Studies (or whatever it’s been called historically) has never quite been like other scholarly domains.

  19. Kevin Barney says:

    Jennifer Reeder paper on the Nauvoo RS Minute Book

    Ledger itself an incomplete history. Sidney Rigdon suggests Eliza R. Snow to Sarah Kimball. Snow drafts a proposal, sought approval from Joseph. Joseph says it is the best he has read, but I have something better. Meeting at the red brick store, participants clustered from neighborhood around Sarah Kimball. Proposed structure similar to the church itself, with a president and counselors, additional leaders. Parliamentary procedures followed. Emma the first lady of the church. A number of RS members married Joseph, which caused huge problems.

    Jordan Watkins on the Constitution

    In 1844 JS set constitution aside to create a new legal creed due to its failure to protect the Saints. At first used rhetoric similar to anti-slavery activists. Hostilities in MO shaped Mormon view of the Constitution; sought protections from mob rule. Most Mormons opposed both slavery and abolitionism (the latter seen as a threat to the Constitution). Joseph’s meeting with Van Buren led him to believe the nation in decline. (Similar to abolitionist visions of decline, but Joseph still thought Constitution worth saving.) Saw slavery as a sign of decline similar to those who were antislavery. Proposed slaves’ freedom be purchased so as to protect slaveholders’ rights (very concerned about property rights after Missouri.) Political Kingdom of God formed. A few pearls but too much chaff in Constitution. Proposed their own. First three Articles in the voice of God. Revelation ended up trumping Mormon constitutionalism. Ironically, Civil War helped to usher in Smith’s vision of greater national power.

    Ben Park on the Perils of Protestant Democracy in Nauvoo

    Anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia. A Christian nation, but includion of Mormons and Catholics downgraded the meaning of “Christian.” Protestants had become so prominent they controlled the government by proxy; direct Protestant control was not necessary. Protestants used the anti-Catholic model against Mormons. Mormon bloc voting was often enough to swing an election. Outsiders enraged; contra disestablishmentarianism. Orson Hyde’s diagram of the Kingdom of God. News of a secret council trickled out of Nauvoo; betrayed American ideals, a theocratic government that would rule the world. Only extralegal means (Powder and Ball!) could get Smith. To Saints, government rotten, would never protect them. A disagreement about the role of religious leadership and belief in government.

  20. “Brought a handout with five positive websites. BKP commission to create answers.”

    What does that mean? Answers to questions on race or just general points people have questions on?

    “had heard that 50% of people who read essays never come to church again”

    Really skeptical of that figure or how on earth one could measure that. I suspect that will be the real issue coming to grips with history — figuring out how to measure effects in quantifiable way.

    Curious on the Watkins session on the constitution if he brought up the “hanging by a thread” idea. Admittedly many forms of that are from questionable sources.

    To me what’s so interesting is the cynicism about American government and how that changes in the 20th century.

  21. Kevin Barney says:

    Clark, I took it to mean answers to difficult questions generally.

    The 50% figure isn’t a real figure, it’s something that SP “heard” that made him skittish about the essays.

    No Watkins did not bring up the hanging by a thread idea.

  22. Kevin Barney says:

    Alex Baugh, Joseph’s 1831 Mission to Western MO.

    Joseph’s concept of Zion came line upon line. Over 40 references in the BoM. JS adds 115 verses on Enoch in JST. Revelations re: New Jerusalem.

    Following first conference in Ohio, five revelations just telling them how they were going to get there physically. Joseph’s company leaves June 19, reunites with missionaries who previously went there at the Lewis homestead 12 miles southwest of Independence (most of the action actually takes place here,not in Independence proper.) Hold a preaching meeting with settlers, slaves and Indians. (This was not outside U.S. on tribal lands as used to be thought.)

    On July 20 D&C 57 received. (Land of promise, place for City of Zion, place for temple.) Members of Colesville branch arrive July 26. Edward Partridge buys four parcels from government, 326 acres on behalf of church, $1.25 per ($446). Martin Harris put up money for these purchases.

    August 2 land of Zion officially dedicated. August 3, five accounts of dedication of temple lot.

    August 7, Polly Peck Knight dies at age 57. First death in Missouri, and may well be first death in the church overall. On the way there, fearing she might die she bought wood to be able to make herself a coffin(!) Impetus for D&C 59.

    JS to return to Ohio. Buy canoes. They have problems with canoes. Phelps vision of the destroyer on the waters. In 19th ccentury thousands of people died on that river.)

  23. “Clark, I took it to mean answers to difficult questions generally.”

    It’s really interesting that BKP took the lead there given some of his comments in the 80’s and 90’s. That’s quite the reversal. I’d love to know the behind the scenes history of the recent shift. I know Oaks and Hinkley were behind a lot of it. But it now seems like former foes were the people pushing a lot.

  24. Kevin Barney says:

    Jean Addams talked about the acquisition of the original temple lot property. People haven’t fully appreciated the importance of squatter’s rights in this. Could squat on public land not yet surveyed (build improvements, plow it, live on it). Once surveyed, you have first right to buy that property at $1.25/acre. But this could take many years.

    A lot of the land around Independence was dedicated for use as a seminary, with a cost of $2.00/acre. A disappointment to squatters; they’ll have to wait longer and pay more. (The seminary never happened, but that didn’t change the rate for the land.)

    Much of that land was worth $5-$10/acre, but settlers threatened violence for anyone who paid more than the base price, including the local judge. (Imagine them threatening violence!)

    In 1825 or 26 Flournoy began squatting on 160 acres west of Independence. Built a house and a trading post (located on CoC parking lot today).

    Arrival of Saints with all their grand talk about the land there a matter of deep consternation to locals.

    Could not have just dedicated that land for the temple; would have had to talk to Flournoy first On September 12, 1831 flournoy buys his 160 acres at $2.00 per ($320). Then Partridge buys the temple site from Flournoy, 63-1/4 acres at $2.05 1/2 per acre.

  25. Kevin Barney says:

    Tiffany Taylor Bowles on Elijah Lovejoy.

    She had admired this Abolitionist, newspaper editor and Presbyterian minister. But then she found a negative reference to him in the JSPP, to the effect that he had persecuted Mormons in Missouri in 1833. This didn’t seem to mesh with the individual she had studied, so it became a puzzle she wanted to solve.

    Lovejoy was killed by a mob in Alton, Illinois in 1837 based on frontier prejudices. He was indeed an outspoken critic of non-Presbyterian religion, but this seemed to manifest itself mostly in anti-Catholicism.

    The negative comments about Lovejoy by Sidney Rigdon had been crossed out in the original document written by Sidney Rigdon, so they did not appear in the published version.

    Lovejoy was born in Maine in 1802. Went to college in 1826, came to St. Louis in 1827. Still there in 1831 when JS came through the city. There is no indication he was aware of Mormons in 1831.

    Attends Princeton Theological Seminary, so absent during the height of the 1833 persecutions.

    In 1834 he did take notice of the Mormons and referred to them as “deluded people.” (Given general sentiment against the Mormons at the time, that hardly seems like a vicious insult.)

    In 1836 his paper reprints an article from Liberty, “Another Mormon Invasion.” But it’s just a reprint. No further mentions of the Mormons.

    An abolitionist visited Kirtland in 1836–might that have been Lovejoy? This person published an article in Ohio insulting Sidney Rigdon, “in part fanatic, in extraordinary part imposter.” But evidence suggests this person was *not* Lovejoy, but rather John Watson Albert. Paul Reeve identifies him in his Different Color book.

    It turns out that this all appears to have been a simple misunderstanding. Rigdon didn’t write his negative comments until 1839. His chronology in this account was often inaccurate. It appears he meant to refer to the Reverend James Lovelady (and not Lovejoy). Lovelady is indeed an attested enemy of the Mormons. Rigdon apparently realized his mistake, which is why this paragraph in the manuscript was crossed out.

    This was a fun bit of detective work!

  26. Kevin Barney says:

    For the listing of award winners, see the Juvenile Instructor here:

  27. Thanks for this, Kevin. It’s helpful for those of us who couldn’t make it.

  28. Kevin Barney says:

    Clyde Milner, Why Don;t Mormons have a Lost Cause?

    Summer of 2002 he and his wife moved from Logan where they had taught for a couple of decades to Arkansas State. Doing Heritage Studies. Encountered public agitation of Civil War as agitated by white southerners.

    August 2, 2012, Sons of Confederate Veterans dedicated a canon in honor of the single Confederate soldier killed at a certain battle.

    The Lost Cause means the Civil War is NOT a lost cause in the South. Six tenets of ideology:

    1. Secession, not slavery, caused the war.
    2. Blacks unprepared for the responsibilities of freedom.
    3. Lost only due to overwhelming advantages of the North.
    4. [missed this one]
    5. Robert E. Lee was the best nab in the war.
    6. Southern women were loyal, sanctified by the war.

    (Some obviously false, others only partly true.)

    Why don’t Mormons have a Lost Cause?

    Talked about memories of the settling of the west residing in Pioneer Day. Martyrological, impositon of federal power, struggle for the Principle (now an embarrassment). Why don’t Mormons employ tricks of memory like the South? If it were going to happen, it should have happened by the 1890s, but it didn’t. Pioneer celebrations affirmed a patriotic, mainstream identity.

    There were not overt ruptures even with major events like the Manifesto.

    Mormons eventually came to be seen as the fulfillment of Manifest Destiny.

    Meanwhile Lost Cause rhetoric in the South taking a beating. Civil rights movement. Looks like last stand of white supremacy. New Orleans statues. Celebrating a fictional Confederacy, which looks like the last stand of white supremacy. Controversy over continuing display of Confederate battle flag. The Lost Cause in obvious decline.

  29. Kevin Barney says:

    Ken Cannon on James Homans.

    Late 1911 James Homans, an Episcopalian, visits Joseph F. Smith. Smith refers him to James Talmage, whom Homans meets in 1912. Homans will defend the Church in the Spalding controversy. He was raised an Episcopalian in a family of prominent ministers. Graduated from Harvard, did two years of Divinity School, left to pursue literary work in NY.

    He became convinced Mormons were unfairly dealt with, that the Mormon system deserves the utmost credit. (He was a conservative and did not approve of the liberal direction Episcopalianism was taking.) There would be an active correspondence between Homans and Talmage, who would edit his work and make suggestions. Over a year and a half the Church paid Homans the equivalent in 1912 dollars of about $40,000 in contemporary dollars for his work.

    Homans learned of Bishop Spalding’s plan to take down the BoM by an attack on the BoA Facsimiles. Homans was not an Egyptologist. His classmate George A. Reisner was, but Homans never consulted him (he lived mostly in Egypt, he probably agreed with the critics, and Homans wanted to do it himself.)

    Talmage wanted to get an unbiased opinion from an Egyptologist.

    November 12 Spalding’s pamphlet Joseph Smith, Jr. as a Translator comes out. NY Times article published, “Museum Walls Proclaim Fraud of Mormon Prophet.” (This article was actually written by the Church’s agent in NY, Isaac Rusell; Salt Lake was furious when they learned this.) Homans writes his first response; Talmage thinks it “splendid.” Covers two full 7-column pages of the paper. Homans didn’t know Egyptian, but he made an argument of logic, pointing out the inconsistencies and differences of opinion among Spalding’s panel of Egyptian experts.

    Homans came up with his psedonym Robert C. Webb, PhD. He didn’t actually have a PhD, so that aspect of it later became controversial.

    Spalding was accidentally killed in 1914, which effectively put an end to the controversy.

    Homans writings worked; very few Mormons lost faith and left the Church, because his articles were technical and took hours to read. The mere existence of the articles rather than their substance seemed to be the important thing.

  30. Kevin Barney says:

    Gerrit van Dyk, Untamed Territory of Mormon Studies

    Based in part on a database of interviews with senior Mormon scholars, 21 male and 8 female.

    Focused on cultural studies, apologetics and intellectual tradition.

    New field, young, not constrained by convention, experimental.

    Opportunites: increased transparency, more non-LDS interested, still a lot of untamed territory.


    Lack of publishing venues.

    19th century/US focus.

    Tight/non-existent job market.

    Where to place apologetics in the field?

  31. Kevin Barney says:

    Trevan Hatch analogized Mormon studies to Jewish studies.

    Judasim before Enlightenment: apologetics, codes of Law, lernen.

    Post expulsion from Spain in 1492: particularists (inimical to non-Jewish culture and thinking) and accomodationist (Judaica and scholarship two sources expressed in different ways, need both.

    The Jewish Enlightenment led to more education. Wissenschaft des Judentums the Scientific Study of Judaism. Appearance of scholarship, but really meant to keep youth in the faith.

    Jacob Neusner a polarizing figure. He challenged that mentality in favor of straight scholarship.

    What about Mormon studies?

    Only 1 in 28 considers the work of amateurs or revisionists as contributing to scholarship. Tensions between particularists and accomodationists. Hard to have it both ways.

    MHA only 11% non-Mormon, over 60% not tied to the academy. Publications based in Utah, managed by Mormons, speaking to ourselves.

  32. Kevin Barney says:

    JB Haws on Past Two Decades.

    Compared situation two decades ago with today. Refiner’s Fire v. Turner’s Brigham Young. What has changed?

    Talked about the seminal Bushman seminars that began in 1997. A who’s who of scholars working today. 90 students applied; Bushman stunned by interest. “We look at everything.”

    Turley and MMM. RSR. Internet. People more comfortable with complex history, neither triumphalist nor falling.

    NYT calls polygamy essays open, transparent. Institutional support of Mormon women’s history.

  33. Kevin Barney says:

    Andrea Radke-Moss response.

    Tokenism is one route to inclusion. Mormon Women history. Ghettoized in lots of ways. Writing as insiders can be demoralizing. General problems identified all apply here. Who is the Jacob Neusner of Mormon women’s history? Outsiders still struggle to grasp nuances. Insiders too insular, fail to speak to outsiders. Apologetic approaches–are we willing to deconstruct pstriarchal structures that made event possible? A struggle just to get a woman named in a GD lesson.

    It’s a patriarchy. Men are in charge of everything. Men’s and women’s stories told together–a long time in the future. Material culture. Intersectionality. We’re not even remotely there. (Insiders want to use Jane as a token.) A lot to learn from other traditions. Fraught with danger for women on the inside. “I’m ripped up inside most of the time.” How to navigate who I”m talking to and how I’m talking.

  34. Kevin Barney says:

    Patrick Mason response.

    Self indulgent for Mo Studies to talk about…wait for it… Mo Studies. But essential to have the conversation. Never easier to publish in non LDS academic journals. 20 years ago 8 such journals published Mormon work, now 33 do. Can actually be a problem for JMH/Dialogue, getting fewer quality submissions. Mormon Studies group at AAR a major milestone.

    Institutional development grown faster in grad school than undergrad. Constraints in the BYUs’ undergrad programs a big problem. Why move beyond basic questions? If people care how many wives JS had and there’s a new perspective to be had, why not go ahead and pursue it? Appreciation is not the goal of scholarship.

    Jewish case is extremely instructive. Arrington NOT the Mormon Neusner. Parallel uncanny. Hard to have it both ways. Supposed insularity. Is the handwringing necessary? (Astrophysicists speak mostly to other astrophysicists.) Akin to the anxieties of proselyticization; Academic version of What do you know about Mormonism and would you like to know more? Need a greater clarity of purpose and identity.

    Growing fearlessness. Advent of internet single most important development in Mormonism of last generation.

    He has a similar (though differently mapped) feeling to Andrea. Comes here and is energized. Next week has to have lunch with a leader who regularly questions his orhodoxy.

  35. Kevin Barney says:

    Brian Cannon, Presidential address on indentured servitude of Indian children.

    Indians had a slave trade network before Mormons came. Slaves sent down to Mexico. He studied Mormon involvement after their arrival. Girl being tortured; \to save life, man buys her, brings home to tend to her wounds, raises as own daughter. BY encouraged to buy up all the children you can and teach them the gospel.

    1852 territorial legislature passed a law, if purchase a human, must file an indenture agreement. Must provide board and schooling from ages 7 to 16. BY approved. Legalizing trade encouraged it, but alternative may have been torture and death.

    Prices ranged from $25 to $100. Killing Indian husbands and fathers directly responsible for creation of Indian slaves.

    18% of the children that came to Mormon homes were traded or placed there by the child’s own parents, hand forced by necessity. If wife couldn’t have children, couple might buy one. Some children traded repeatedly like chattel.

    Typically a child would be stripped and bathed, hair shaved, clothing burned. Surrounded by strangers speaking foreign words; many experienced intense separation anxiety. As they matured, children struggled to remember original names, parents, homeland.

    Some tried to wipe out cultural identity, others embraced it.

    Over 400 Indians lived in Mormon households in the 19th century. Lack of immunity to white diseases. Majority lived into adulthood. Most remained single and never married. For some a choice, for others insurmountable social barriers, taboo on interracial marriage. Some did marry though. Most famous example is Sally Young, raised in BY’s household. Some became very faithful, orthodox, lifelong Mormons.

    Mormons tried to ameliorate suffering, but were on some level culpable. In a limited sense, a form of colonization.

    Indentures obligated child to honor and obey parents (although a legal fiction, as child doesn’t have legal capacity), and parents to care for as own (except inheritance rights). Some specify to give the child a copy of the Book of Mormon(!) Not supposed to last longer than 20 years; most were shorter, mire kuje 15,

    Practice petered out in the 1870s and 1880s.

  36. Kevin Barney says:

    And finis! We’re done for another year. See you in Boise at the Boise Train Depot June 7-10, 2018!

  37. Thank you Kevin. Honestly. Great job.

%d bloggers like this: