The Polygamy Revelations of Joseph Smith

The recent gospel topics essays by the church on plural marriage provide an unprecedented, frank look at a number of aspects of plural marriage previously not included in church discourse. With an announcement in the Church News, a letter to … Continue reading

Emma’s Awareness: A Response to Brian Hales’ JMH Letter to the Editor

It has come to my attention that Brian Hales has commented on my article Keeping a Secret: Freemasonry, Polygamy, and the Nauvoo Relief Society, 1842-1844 which was published in the Fall 2013 issue of Journal of Mormon History. Brian’s comments … Continue reading

Gadianton Robbers and Spiritual Wives: John Whitmer on the Kirtland Church

The Joseph Smith Papers website recently posted an exciting addition to their collection: the John Whitmer history of the Church, which he kept from roughly 1831-1847.[1] Whitmer’s understanding of the events in Kirtland and Missouri may shed light on two … Continue reading

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“I am Spartacus!:” The Brother of Gideon and the Corporate Nature of Danite Identity

At a Sunday meeting in Far West in early June, 1838, John D. Lee heard Joseph Smith order “the brother of Gideon” to put a man out, for his presumption in not uncovering his head in the house of God.[1] Lee would later enter into an oath-bound organization, sworn to uphold the First Presidency in all of their actions, and to defend the Mormon Kingdom of God in its claim to the lands of many of the counties of Missouri. Today, we recognize this band as the “Danites,” in connection with a scripture from the Book of Daniel describing the Kingdom of God as a little stone which would roll forth to fill the whole earth. Other names by which the Danites were known included “the Big Fan,” “the Daughter of Zion,” and “the Brother of Gideon.”

My fellow WWE blogger Christopher Smith suggests the “Brother of Gideon” title applied exclusively to Danite leader Jared Carter. Apparently, Gideon Carter was in turn “the brother of Jared,” a delightful play on a Book of Mormon character. (Ether 3) But did the moniker apply to more than one man? Continue reading ““I am Spartacus!:” The Brother of Gideon and the Corporate Nature of Danite Identity” »

Cowboy Apostle: The Diaries of Anthony W. Ivins, 1875-1932

Anthony Ivins served in the Quorum of Twelve and First Presidency for over 26 years

As part of a series of essays on controversial topics, the church recently published an article discussing plural marriages performed after the Manifesto. The article noted, “on an exceptional basis, some new plural marriages were performed between 1890 and 1904, … Continue reading

Adjusting the Narrative: Part 2b – On Disavowed Theories

A (much delayed) continuation of the the series “Adjusting the Narrative”, initially begun as a proposed response to the new header to Official Declaration 2 in the 2013 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. See Introduction, Part 1a – The … Continue reading