Category: Church History

“I saw the hosts of the dead”

President Joseph F. Smith’s Vision of the Redemption of the Dead is one of the most recent documents to be included in our cannon (only followed by Official Declaration 2).  Experienced on 3 October 1918 and recorded shortly thereafter, the…

“The Word and Will of the Lord”

There is a story about President David O. McKay where a youth who wasn’t active in the Church flippantly asked him, “When was the last time you talked to God, President McKay?”  President McKay answered in all seriousness that: “It…

Brittany Chapman Nash on Polygamy

We’re coming up on one of the most dreaded lessons of the Sunday School cycle—no, not reviewing the law of chastity with teenagers, the lesson that includes D&C 132 (the revelation on plural marriage).  Polygamy is a topic in the…

Waiting For Saints 3

Three years ago this month, Saints, Volume 1: The Standard of Truth, 1815-1846 was published.  Saints, Volume 2: No Unhallowed Hand, 1846-1893 followed about a year-and-a-half later in February 2020.  If later volumes had followed the same cadence for releases,…

“The constitution of this Land”

The attitude of Latter-day Saints towards the United States government has historically been paradoxical.  As Dale Morgan wrote: “The Mormons had a profound respect for government and governmental forms, but disrespect for and outright distrust of ‘the damned rascals who…

Archeology, Ceramics, and the Smith Family in Tunbridge

In addition to written records, people leave behind traces of their material lives that can tell us much about who they were.  In a recent interview with Kurt Manwaring, Mark Staker (a Master Curator for the Church History Department’s Historic…

Historical Mindset for Mormons, 101

While studying in a scientific field, two major ideas were drilled into me that have been fairly helpful in interpreting history.  First is the belief that nothing can ever truly be proved, only that things can be disproved.  If something…

“These two Priesthoods”

Words can be a bit slippery, particularly when we use them in different ways over time.  Take, for example, the use of the word “ordinance” in the Church.  In its most basic sense, an ordinance is an authoritative order; a…

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Joseph Smith’s presidential campaign has been an area of interest for several years now (particularly since the release of the Council of Fifty minutes), and Spencer W. McBride’s recently-published Joseph Smith for President: The Prophet, the Assassins, and the Fight…