Sunday, March 27, 2005

Mormon History Blog

Yet another post on Mormon affairs. This kind, the link goes to the Mormon Wasp, a site that focuses on early Mormon history. The blog's author, Justin Butterfield, has access to a fair number of archival documents.

One example is this 1857 song, part of the last refrain of which goes:
But the crickets are gone, and the Mormons live
By faith in a right good way,
And to gentiles they would kindly give
The hint to keep away;
For should they pay their visits again,
They will most surely find
The Mormons will themselves maintain

The current post transcribes part of the 1904 testimony that Joseph F. Smith gave before the US Congress. The testimony poses a number of interesting political questions--how has the separation of church and state changed since 1904?--what place does this testimony have in the history of the Mormon church's becoming less marginalized? It also presents interesting theological questions: Smith finesses some ambiguity about church members' right to dissent, particularly on the issues of official revelation and of plural marriage (which was officially ended in 1890). It's also personally interesting to me, as Joseph F. Smith and one of his five wives are my great-great grandparents.


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