Val D. Rust's Radical Origins investigates whether the unconventional religious beliefs of their colonial ancestors predisposed early Mormon converts to embrace the (radical( message of Joseph Smith Jr. and his new church.
Utilizing a unique set of meticulously compiled genealogical data, Rust uncovers the ancestors of early church members throughout what we understand as the radical segment of the Protestant Reformation. Coming from backgrounds in the Antinomians, Seekers, Anabaptists, Quakers, and the Family of Love, many colonial ancestors of the church(s early members had been ostracized from their communities. Expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, some were whipped, mutilated, or even hanged for their beliefs.
Rust shows how family traditions can be passed down through the generations, and can ultimately shape the outlook of future generations. This, he argues, extends the historical role of Mormons by giving their early story significant implications for understanding the larger context of American colonial history. Featuring a provocative thesis and stunning original research, Radical Origins is a remarkable contribution to our understanding of religion in the development of American culture and the field of Mormon history.
John A. Widtsoe Signature Books, 1998 Library of Congress BX8635.W6 1997 | Dewey Decimal 230.9332
The decades framing the turn of the twentieth century constituted a period of progressive optimism, of increasing faith in science and technology, and of character-building education—vividly illustrated in the founding of Christian Science, for example, and in the Latter-day Saint magazine, the Improvement Era.
In keeping with the times, it is not surprising that former professor of chemistry and university president John A. Widtsoe was called to the LDS Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1921. An inheritor and promoter of “reasonable” religion, his popular book, Joseph Smith as Scientist, and his influential LDS Melchizedek priesthood manual (later released as a book), Rational Theology, underscored his and other Mormon leaders’ positivist assumptions about the world—that science was good, that Mormonism would be proven true, and, drawing from Herbert Spencer’s application of evolution to ethics, that society would be perfected.
Like Widtsoe’s secular books (published nationally and internationally by Macmillan, Webb, and J. Wiley & Sons), Rational Theology would enjoy multiple printings domestically and several foreign translations. Although his other church writings (Evidences and Reconciliations, The Gospel in the Service of Man,Guide Posts to Happiness: The Right to Personal Satisfaction, and others) proved to be influential, none so thoroughly summarized his embrace of science and Mormonism as Rational Theology.
John Andreas Widtsoe was born in Dalöe, Island of Fröyen, Norway, in 1872. He immigrated to Utah in 1883 and graduated from Brigham Young College in 1891 and from Harvard with high honors in 1894. Widtsoe married Leah Eudora Dunford, daughter of Susa Young Gates, in 1898 and had seven children. In 1899 he was awarded a Ph.D. with high honors from the University of Göttingen, Germany. He both taught at and served as president of Utah State Agricultural College and the University of Utah. He was elected to the Victoria Institute in England, an honor received by only one other Mormon scholar—James E. Talmage. Widtsoe served as editor of the Improvement Era and wrote more than thirty books, including religious, autobiographical, and professional publications. His essay on LDS temple worship has been included in the new edition of The House of the Lord: A Study of Holy Sanctuaries Ancient and Modern. He was an apostle from 1921 until his death in 1952.
Fawn Brodie's biography of the founding Mormon prophet has received both praise and condemnation since it's publication in 1945. In 1995, at a symposium to mark its fiftieth anniversary, several scholars gathered together to re-examine Brodie, her Joseph Smith biography and its continuing importance. Bringhurst has brought together many of the essays from that meeting.
This book examines the hearings that followed Mormon apostle Reed Smoot’s 1903 election to the US Senate and the subsequent protests and petitioning efforts from mainstream Christian ministries disputing Smoot’s right to serve as a senator. Exploring how religious and political institutions adapted and shapeshifted in response to larger societal and ecclesiastical trends, The Reed Smoot Hearings offers a broader exploration of secularism during the Progressive Era and puts the Smoot hearings in context with the ongoing debate about the constitutional definition of marriage.
The work adds new insights into the role religion and the secular played in the shaping of US political institutions and national policies. Chapters also look at the history of anti-polygamy laws, the persistence of post-1890 plural marriage, the continuation of anti-Mormon sentiment, the intimacies and challenges of religious privatization, the dynamic of federal power on religious reform, and the more intimate role individuals played in effecting these institutional and national developments.
The Smoot hearings stand as an important case study that highlights the paradoxical history of religious liberty in America and the principles of exclusion and coercion that history is predicated on. Framed within a liberal Protestant sensibility, these principles of secular progress mapped out the relationship of religion and the nation-state for the new modern century. The Reed Smoot Hearings will be of significant interest to students and scholars of Mormon, western, American, and religious history.
Publication supported, in part, by Gonzaba Medical Group.
Contributors: Gary James Bergera, John Brumbaugh, Kenneth L. Cannon II, Byron W. Daynes, Kathryn M. Daynes, Kathryn Smoot Egan, D. Michael Quinn
In late 1866, when Salt Lake City attorney Robert Baskin looked down at the mutilated body of a client, he resolved he would do all in his power to increase federal authority in Utah to ensure that perpetrators of such crimes would not go unpunished. He became the Assistant U.S. Attorney, Salt Lake City mayor, and a Utah Supreme Court justice. Through all this, he was seen as a thorn in the side of the Utah establishment. Even so, readers should appreciate his measured tone and lawyerly objectivity, as well as his graceful prose, indicative of a Harvard education, and his solid documentation intended to convince skeptics. After Reminiscences was published in 1914, Baskin sparred with prominent Mormon writer Orson F. Whitney, who suggested that “doubtless the fear, well-founded it seems, that judges would be sent to Utah as an engine of oppression” was the reason for excesses. Baskin countered, “Yes, without doubt it was ‘fear’ that inspired disloyal acts—fear the federal government would send judges here to execute impartiality as the law of the land.”
In Revelation, Resistance, and Mormon Polygamy historian Merina Smith explores the introduction of polygamy in Nauvoo, a development that unfolded amid scandal and resistance. Smith considers the ideological, historical, and even psychological elements of the process and captures the emotional and cultural detail of this exciting and volatile period in Mormon history. She illuminates the mystery of early adherents' acceptance of such a radical form of marriage in light of their dedication to the accepted monogamous marriage patterns of their day.
When Joseph Smith began to reveal and teach the doctrine of plural marriage in 1841, even stalwart members like Brigham Young were shocked and confused. In this thoughtful study, Smith argues that the secret introduction of plural marriage among the leadership coincided with an evolving public theology that provided a contextualizing religious narrative that persuaded believers to accept the principle.
This fresh interpretation draws from diaries, letters, newspapers, and other primary sources and is especially effective in its use of family narratives. It will be of great interest not only to scholars and the general public interested in Mormon history but in American history, religion, gender and sexuality, and the history of marriage and families.
Marriage’s central role in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints distinguishes the faith while simultaneously reflecting widespread American beliefs. But what does Latter-day Saint marriage mean for men? Holly Welker presents a collection of essays exploring this question. The essayists provide insight into challenges involving sexuality, physical and emotional illness, addiction, loss of faith, infidelity, sexual orientation, and other topics. Conversational and heartfelt, the writings reveal the varied experiences of Latter-day Saint marriage against the backdrop of a society transformed by everything from economic issues affecting marriage to evolving ideas about gender.
An insightful exploration of the gap between human realities and engrained ideals, Revising Eternity sheds light on how Latter-day Saint men view and experience marriage today.