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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Dialogue: Vol 22 No 3
Twin Contributions: Establishing Zion: The Mormon Church in the American West, 1847-1869 by Eugene E. Campbell
152 Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought to be Smith's successor. But by 1851, Strang was established on Beaver Island, had been crowned king, was engaging in polygamy despite his early opposition to it, and had published his Book of the Law of the Lord. While the final years of his career, culminating in his 1856 assassination, may be less significant to LDS and RLDS church history, they are more interesting as Michigan history. Van Noord concentrates on the economic and political opposition that Strang encountered from Gentiles, the legal actions against the Strangite Mormons, and Strang's reasonably successful political career. Although he did not achieve his ambition of being governor of Utah Territory, Strang was elected as a Democrat to the Michigan legislature. A newspaper usually hostile to Strang, The Detroit Advertiser, wrote that as a legislator, his "standing for influence, tact, intelligence, ability and integrity was second to none" (p. 194). Another newspaper called him the most talented debater in the House. After the Republican Party was organized in 1854 and took control of the legislature, however, Strang's political influence waned. What motivated this unique Mormon prophet/king? According to Van Noord, The most credible explanation is that after the death of his daughter in 1843, Strang realized his life span was limited and his goals might never be accomplished. However, when he viewed the power and promise of Joseph Smith and the Mormon church, his dreams of royalty and empire were rekindled. With Smith's assassination Strang saw his opening and, in a bold bid, presented himself as Smith's successor. In debater's terms, he assumed the affirmative position of prophet and presented his proof: the letter of appointment, the visit by an angel, the brass plates, the testimony of witnesses — the latter with precedents in Smith's career. Based on the evidence, it is probable that Strang — or someone under his direction — manufactured the letter of appointment and the brass plates to support his claim to be a prophet and to sell land at Voree" (pp. 273-74). Strang lay dying for some three weeks without naming a successor. His church dwindled, but even today a few hundred Strangites remain, still hoping that one day God will call a successor to the prophet who was one of America's rare kings. Twin Contributions Establishing Zion: The Mormon Church in the American West, 1847-1869 by Eugene E. Campbell. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1988, ix, 346 pp., $20.95. Richard W. Sadler is a professor of history at Weber State College in Ogden, Utah. While Gene Campbell lived through much of the twentieth century (1915-86), the focus of much of his historical research and interest was the nineteenth century. His earlier research and writing on Brig-ham Young, Fort Bridger, Fort Supply, Mormon colonization in the West, and polygamy all served as foundation stones for what he no doubt considered to be the capstone of his career, Establishing Zion. During virtually all of his professional career, Campbell was employed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He began as a seminary teacher in Magna and later became an Institute of Religion instructor and director in Logan. From 1956 until 1980, he was a member of the history faculty at Brigham Young University, serving part of this time as chair of the department. Although well known throughout his professional career of nearly four decades for his sense of humor and easy-going manner, he was best known for his uncompromising search for historical truths. On one occasion in describing his method of teaching he said, "I will never knowingly teach my students something they will have to 'unlearn' later on" (p. ix).