Category Archives: Religion

Zion in Mormon History: An American Promised Land


Mormonism’s self-identification as a modern replacement for ancient Israel mandated the quest for Zion as a literal place. The establishment of what the Saints called Zion had been the most persistent goal of the early Mormon movement. The early Latter-day … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Mormonism”


Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition. By Jan Shipps. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984. This is a book that has been available for more than three decades, yet it is still a useful discussion. Jan Shipps has … Continue reading

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Joseph Smith, Mormonism, and the Idea of Apostasy and Restoration


Virtually since the beginning of the Latter-day Saint church in 1830 its founder, Joseph Smith Jr., had made strong linkages between ancient Israel and the modern Mormon era. Gathering a small group of stalwart followers in upstate New York, Smith sent … Continue reading

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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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