Category Archives: Religion

Joseph Smith III, the Reorganized Church Presidency, and Divine Appointment


In a blog post last week I discussed the issue of lineal succession for Joseph Smith III (1832-1914) and the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. While the church’s leadership certainly accepted without qualification the role of primogeniture … Continue reading

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Joseph Smith III and Lineal Succession Claims to the Mormon Presidency


Perhaps no issue has been more controversial than presidential succession in the Latter-day Saint movement. Joseph Smith III, son of the Mormon founder, buttressed his ascension to the presidency of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints … Continue reading

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An Account of the Evacuation of Nauvoo by the Mormons in 1846


After a lengthy period of conflict between the Mormons in Nauvoo, Illinois, and their non-Mormon neighbors, they negotiated a treaty, dated September 16, 1846, which gave the remaining Mormons five days to leave the city. A few days after this, on … Continue reading

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Core Identity and the Nineteenth Century Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints


I have spent many years studying the history of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), renamed the Community of Christ in 2000. This was the most successful of any of the non-Utah variety of churches … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Women, Family, and Utopia”


Women, Family, and Utopia: Communal Experiments of the Shakers, the Oneida Community, and the Mormons. By Lawrence Foster. Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, New York, 1991. 353 pp. $37.95 cloth, $16.95 paper. I recently reread this book by Lawrence Foster, professor … Continue reading

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Is There a Sacred Santa?


With the holiday season upon us—I am putting up Christmas lights, a tree, etc., this weekend—it is appropriate to reconsider this annual ritual and why we do it. Before the twentieth century Christmas was a significant holiday on the Christian … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Faith, Science, and Understanding”


Faith, Science, and Understanding. By John Polkinghorne. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000. This book is a collection of lectures and essays pieced together to explore the themes exemplified in the title. At sum, each essay considers the relationship … Continue reading

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The Esoteric Mormon Doctrine of Baptism for the Dead


Many have all wondered about it in Washington, D.C., at one time or another while driving around the Beltway and see the Mormon Temple rising before us like the Emerald City out of Oz. What do the Mormons do in there? … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Prophet Puzzle: Interpretative Essays on Joseph Smith”


The Prophet Puzzle: Interpretative Essays on Joseph Smith. Edited by Bryan Waterman. (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 1999. Vii + 351 pp. Editor’s introduction, notes. $18.95.) Many people have suggested that I write more on Joseph Smith (1805-1844), the … Continue reading

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