Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Rees, Robert A.
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168 I Dialogue narrative of many of the major events of Joseph Smith's life through the organization and incorporation of the Church. It is an interesting synthesis interweaving primary sources with most relevant secondary accounts (Fawn Brodie's biography being the most notably absent source). "Kirtland, a Stronghold for the Kingdom" by Max H. Parkin is, likewise, a detailed presentation of the growth of Mormonism, "from an insignificant neighborhood religion to an enlarged and formidable Christian denomination" between late 1830 and July of 1838. Parkin concludes that even though Kirtland was initially viewed as a "temporary way-station to be endured before the Saints could fully enjoy their Missouri land of promise," soon it was thought that it would become "one of Zion's greatest stakes." Mormonism passed "from infancy to adolescence" at Kirtland, concludes Parkin. His blend of thorough primary source research with comprehensive coverage of secondary sources is very effective. "The City in the Garden: Social Conflict in Jackson County, Missouri," by Warren Jennings is an entirely different kind of essay from those of Porter and Parkin in that Jennings eschews extensive primary source research for a thoughtful interdisciplinary consideration of the context of social conflict in Jackson County between summer 1831 and November 1833. "An analysis of the differences between the 'Saints' and the 'Gentiles/" argues Jennings, "leads to the conclusion that the conflict was irrepressible," largely due to fundamental differences in cultural heritage and assumptions. The "Saints" were largely New Eng-landers while the "Gentiles," the original settlers, were mainly border states mountain people. The next attempt to establish a religious community came at Far West, Missouri, discussed in F. Mark McKiernan's "Mormonism on the Defensive: Far West, 1838-1839." McKiernan presents a succinct narrative based on a combination of primary sources and contemporary and secondary histories. Heavy emphasis is placed on John Corrill's 1839 Brief History of the Church. "A costly failure" is McKiernan's conclusion for the Far West years. In fact, he concludes, "The Mormon leaders would have been exterminated had it not been for [a local supporter] General [Alexander] Doniphan's courage. As it was, most Mormon leaders spent six months in prison before escaping/' Two essays encompass the Nauvoo years. The first, "Dream and Nightmare: Nauvoo Revisited" by Robert Bruce Flanders is by far the best chapter of the six on the formative years. Basically, Flanders has rethought the main issues elaborated in his 1965 Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi and summed them up here in a coherent and well written overview. Henceforth Flanders' essay should be the starting point for the study of Nauvoo. The second essay, "Nauvoo and the Council of the Twelve" by T. Edgar Lyon, is a long, extremely detailed narrative of the Council and its domestic and foreign missionary activities from the mid-1830's through early 1846. Of these first six, Flanders' essay stands out in one major respect: a level of perspective, context, and balance is evident with him that is simply lacking in the other five essays. Jennings' thoughful use of sociological theory on the Jackson County, Missouri, period is also noteworthy. The other four essays, while well researched and valuable, too readily reflect their shortness of perspective. The story of the Utah Saints continues in a very brief albeit concise overview of "The Latter-Day Saints in the Far West, 1847-1900," by Leonard Arrington