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Title Volume 19, Number 4, Winter 1986
Subject Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Description 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.
Publisher Dialogue Foundation, 202 West 300 North, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103
Scanning Vendor Backstage Library Works - 1180 S. 800 E. Orem, UT 84097
Contributors Newell, Linda King ; Newell, L. Jackson
Date 1986
Type Text
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Language eng
Rights Management Digital image, copyright 2004, Dialogue Foundation. All rights reserved.
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Title Page 34
Identifier V19N04-0576_Page 34.jpg
Source Dialogue: Vol 19 No 4
Description 34 Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought nothing more than spirits, he claimed the seven spirits of the Book of Revelation, with their bodies of similar composition, should join them in the Godhead. He accused the Methodists in the neighborhood of borrowing some of his own doctrinal teachings and threatened legal action. His reaction, however, was not always confrontive. He liked the name and probably many of the teachings of Palmyra's "Christian" church, which, if like other "Christian" congregations elsewhere, was a loosely organized group of believers seeking the simple lifestyle, doctrines, and pentacostalism of early Christianity. But Harris eventually rejected the congregation as lacking proper authority (M. Harris 1870, 3; Hatch 1980). Looking back on these years, he remembered feeling a strong sense of mission. God, he was sure, "had a work for me to do" (Tiffany 1859, 163). He also perceived that great events lay at hand, which he listed in specific detail. In the future, an angel should restore godly power. He also felt that a great work of preaching and "gathering" was imminent, when God would "set His hand again the second time to restore the kingdom of Israel." And if his memory was accurate, he even sensed the possibility of the coming forth of a new book of scripture which would join the Bible in a latter-day work (M. Harris to Emerson 1870). In sum, as the Palmyra Courier (7 June 1872) later suggested, Martin "had read of the wonders to come in the latter day, and now believed that day had arrived, and that his peculiar fitness to act as seer and prophet, was not to be overlooked by the powers that controlled the future." How Harris had learned of his mission and of the great prophetic events of the future, he was unprepared to declare. "I am forbidden to say anything how the Lord showed them to me," he asserted, "except that by the power of God I have seen them." The depth and importance of what he had learned, however, he regarded to be of great consequence. "The Lord has showed to me ten times more . . . [about His work] than you know," he later boasted to an associate (Tiffany 1859, 166). Perhaps Harris allowed later events to color his memory. Certainly his prophecies were uncannily accurate. But whatever Harris believed and preached during the early 1820s, it was sufficiently unusual to stir neighborhood gossip and nettle the established clergy. During this time, some Pal-myrans described Harris as a skeptic who was "not very religious" — a charge that probably stemmed from his refusal to accept the teachings of the traditional churches (Kelley 1881; Palmyra Courier, 24 May 1872). The established clergy were harsher. The Episcopalian Reverend John Clark described Harris as having "a manifest disputatious turn of mind" (Clark 1842, 223); while the Reverend Jesse Townsend, who had been installed at Palmyra's Western Presbyterian Church in 1817, found Harris an "unlearned conceited hypocrite" and a "visionary fanatic" (Townsend to Stiles 1833). There was an element of truth to Townsend's malevolence. Many accounts suggest that Harris was a visionary. "Marvelousness" was his "predominating phrenological development," remembered Pomeroy Tucker, who seemed to like and respect the man. He was given to a "belief in dreams, ghosts, hobgob-
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