July 6, 2007

Taking Safety in Prophetic Counsel

George A. Smith Oct. 7, 1853 George A. Smith, or as most people called him, George A., was a cousin of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Walker War (discussed in yesterdays entry) occurred while he was the presiding leader over the affected area. He stood before the saints and told them the Indian war could have been avoided had the saints followed the prophetic counsel of Brigham Young. Brigham had told the saints to build their communities as fortifications, to stay close, and protect themselves from the Indians. George A. explains: Numbers were counseled to go to Iron County, and make there a strong settlement, sufficiently so to enable the people to protect themselves... Last spring, when President Young made his visit through the settlements...men were living...with the same security and carelessness as heretofore the people have done in the State of New York, where they need not fear the attacks of hostile Indians. The President had previously counseled them to settle in forts, and not scatter asunder so as to render themselves in a state of helplessness in the case of attack... Forts had accordingly been surveyed, and cities had been surveyed, where the people could gather together and fortify themselves; yet the great mass...scattered all over the valley...When President Young was...in Utah County, he bore testimony, in the name of the Lord God of Israel, that if the people did not gather into cities and forts, and fortify themselves, they could be driven out of these mountains. Disobeying this counsel from the prophet put the people in danger. The Indians took full advantage and attacked the scattered settlers. George A. estimated the loss of over one hundred thousand dollars worth of property, all in the name of "freedom":

If you ask men to build in a fort, they will say, "It is a free country, and we can build there we please." I admit that a man is free to serve the devil if he thinks proper; but let me tell you, it is the cheapest in the end to do right.
George A. said the leaders tried to set the example. The saints needed to organize and gather in, build a protective fort, and as it became strong they could then branch out:
When we first went to Iron County, we went with the same instructions the people had in all the other settlements, and accordingly we laid out forts as well as we were capable of. We will admit that those efforts were not planned as well as they might have been, but they were planned as well as we knew how to plan them at the time. A considerable number of men went to work at building forts, and those who did so were subjected to very little loss. But almost every time I have visited any settlement in Iron County...I have had from one to fifty applicants saying, "Brother Smith, may I not go further, this way or that way, to make me a farm? or, to the other place, to make me a ranch?" And so it would be almost continually; asking for privileges to do things that they knew were contrary to counsel. My answer would be, "Yes, of course, just as soon as the settlements are strong enough to secure to you protection; but it will not do to venture out, and separate far from each other, for two or three years. Until the settlements get strong, we must stay together, lest some evil influence should stir up the Indians, and destroy our settlements entirely.
The obvious implication of this incident is the importance of following counsel from God's chosen leaders. George A. concluded:
The Indian war is the result of our thinking we know better than our President, the result of following our own counsel instead of the counsel of Brigham Young (Journal of Discourses 1:191-198).
But I believe there is a further illustration that can be drawn from this account dealing with the "doctrine" of the church. The core doctrines that we believe are relatively simple: God, Christ, the Holy Ghost, faith, repentance, baptism, the scriptures, the gift of revelation, the restoration, family roles, forgiveness, etc. are simple on the surface and expansive in depth and breadth. These core beliefs are a fortification against false doctrines, against the philosophies of men being mingled with scripture. They are straightforward and can be understood even by a child. As George A. said, the initial fortifications may be slightly lacking, and even require improvement, but we are encouraged by our leaders to establish these fortifications, to gain a firm testimony that the principles are true. Gathering together we learn of these basic essentials gaining precious insight for our own lives. As we establish the fort, the pastures outside beckon, and I believe, as George A. said, it isn't well to "venture out" too far while neglecting the central fort. As we establish sturdy testimonies of the first principles of the gospel, we may learn more, and venture into some nearby pastures containing pearls of knowledge. Many of these can be personal, and aren't to be advanced as doctrine for all, but are taught by the Holy Ghost. The Lord warned the modern Church to be careful about the doctrines they believe, and perhaps, the doctrine they teach. The Lords instructions tell us how to learn while remaining humble enough to learn more:
But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils. Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given (D&C 46:7-8).
If we venture too far, "neglecting the fort," spending all our time out on the edges we may find ourselves wandering too far from the Holy Ghost, the still, small voice may become stiller and smaller, until we find ourselves wandering in what Lehi called "strange roads." Once there, we may even beckon others to join us. Elder Henry B. Eyring talks about this danger:
Because we need the Holy Ghost, we must be cautious and careful not to go beyond teaching true doctrine. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth. His confirmation is invited by our avoiding speculation or personal interpretation. That can be hard to do. You love the person you are trying to influence. He or she may have ignored the doctrine they have been taught. It is tempting to try something new or sensational. But we invite the Holy Ghost as our companion when we are careful to teach [and I might add, when we believe,] only true doctrine. One of the surest ways to avoid even getting near false doctrine is to choose to be simple in our teaching. Safety is gained by that simplicity, and little is lost...We can teach even a child to understand the doctrine of Jesus Christ. It is therefore possible, with God’s help, to teach the saving doctrine simply (Henry B. Eyring, The Power of Teaching Doctrine; Ensign, May, 1999).
Does this instruction forbid members from reading other sources, such as the Journal of Discourses, early Christian writers like Origen or Clement, and other non-official religious works? I don't believe so. Joseph Smith learned a key about such study while translating the Bible. He asked the Lord what to do with the Apocryphal books, scriptures not contained in the King James Version:
Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning the Apocrypha—There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly; There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men. Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated. Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth; And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom; And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated. Amen (D&C 91).
It seems we are given some divine sanction to learn from a variety of sources, but also need to keep in mind the authority of the sources and remember to study with the Holy Ghost as guide. Ultimately, the best learning we do within the fort of faith is listening to the word of God through his prophets. Their teachings are generally simple, and when aided by the Spirit of God, keep us safe, and change our very natures. Alma knew this:
And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had … more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God. (Alma 31:5)
It's fun to spread out and see the large pastures of doctrine, and often important insights are gained when we do. We must keep in mind the further we get from the fort, the more vulnerable we become to attacks on our faith. With that in mind, we can keep ourselves safe by listening to our living prophet, and by reading the words of prophets of the past in the scriptures. Doing so will give us the guidance of the Holy Ghost, which will testify of truth and light; the light that grows brighter until the perfect day. Footnotes [1] Instructions on building fortifications wasn't the only counsel some saints struggled to keep. During the famine of 1856 Heber C. Kimball told the Saints they ought to have better kept the counsel of Brigham Young to lay up grain in case of famine: I was talking with brother Brigham yesterday about the crops, and he feels that the Lord is about to try this people. Why is this? It is to chastise this people, that they may learn to give heed to counsel. When I see a prospect for scarcity of food stare me in the face, I feel as well as ever I did in my life, and if I was obliged to see either the Saints or was obliged to see either the Saints or the food cut off, I would say let the bread perish and the Saints be preserved; yes, I would pray for this every time. And my prayer to God is, that He will let the fanning mill blow, until it blows out the chaff, that nothing but the pure article may remain. As for my regretting the loss of the crops, I do not one particle; and as for you, you have been told for years, to save your wheat, corn, oats, and all other products, and to increase your stock upon the mountains. You were told that there was a time coming when they would be wanted. Much grain has been wasted and destroyed, much sold at a very low price to feed horses and mules. Brother Brigham, in the beginning, offered a dollar and a half a bushel for all the wheat that people wished to sell, but many sold their grain to others for a dollar and a quarter, lest the tithing should be required if they sold to him. The first season that we came here, I recollect that brother Brigham proclaimed the policy of our laying up grain, and told us to lay up a seven years' supply, and prepare for a famine. If our crops are now cut off, it will be one of the best things that has happened to this Church. When a servant of God counsels you, it is your duty to hear and obey his words. I am fully aware that the world do not like the idea of one man ruling this entire people with his word, but I would not give one farthing for this community if they could not be governed by one man, beloved and chosen of the Lord. You have no salvation only what you get through that source, and every true hearted Latter-day Saint believes so (Journal of Discourses 3:262).

July 5, 2007

Brother Brigham vs. the Devil and Mr. Walker

Brigham Young July 31, 1853

I told you, six years ago, to build a fort that the Devil could not get into, unless you were disposed to let him in, and that would keep out the Indians. Excuse me for saying devil; I do not often use the old gentleman's name in vain, and if I do it, it is always in the pulpit, where I do all my swearing. I make this apology because it is considered a sin to say devil, and it grates on refined ears.
Chief Colorow Ignacio Ouray Walkara (or as the Saints called him, Chief Walker,) led a band of Ute Indians in raiding ranchers and attacking travelers from the Great Basin all the way to California. He had also pulled off several large horse heists. In 1849 Chief Walker invited Brigham Young to send some colonizers down to the Sanpete valley, so Brigham sent 225 saints down to settle Manti, Utah, hoping to influence the renegade Chief for the better. During the first winter there a measles epidemic broke out and the saints nursed the Indians using their limited medicine. In turn, the Indians helped the saints gather food. A trading relationship began and Chief Walker was baptised in 1850, but relations soon soured. The saints objected to Walker's practice of trading his women and children into slavery. Also, as more non-Mormons passed through the area and traded with the saints Walker grew jealous. His bands started raiding them and the situation grew dangerous. Brigham stood before the congregation in 1853 and chided many members for not following his counsel of colonization; namely, to build a fort first, and then establish a community in a defensive stance. He went on to discuss his policy of dealing with aggressive Indians:
How many times have I been asked in the past week, what I intend to do with Walker. I say, LET HIM ALONE, SEVERELY. I have not made war on the Indians, nor am I calculating to do it. My policy is to give them presents, and be kind to them. Instead of being Walker's enemy, I have sent him a great pile of tobacco to smoke when he is lonely in the mountains. He is now at war with the only friends he has upon this earth, and I want him to have some tobacco to smoke.
He compared the attacks of Indians to the attacks of the mobs of Missouri and Illinois, and gave some reasons for the saints being thus afflicted:
I have been teased and teased by men who will, come to me and say, "Just give me twenty-five, fifty, or a hundred men, and I will go and fetch you Walker's head." I do not want his head, but I wish him to do all the Devil wants him to do, so far as the Lord will suffer him and the Devil to chastise this people for their good... The mob only had power to drive the Saints to their duty, and to remember the Lord their God, and that is all the Indians can do. This people are worldly-minded, they want to get rich in earthly substance, and are apt to forget their God, the pit from which they were dug and the rock from which they were hewn, every man turning to his own way. Seemingly the Lord is chastening us until we turn and do His will.

It wasn't uncommon in those days for a member of the congregation or a leader on the stand to reply to an address, and in this instance, W. W. Phelps chimed in as Brigham spoke:
[W.W. Phelps in the stand: ‘We could not do very well without a devil.’] No, sir, you are quite aware of that; you know we could not do without him. If there had been no devil to tempt Eve, she never would have got her eyes opened. We need a devil to stir up the wicked on the earth to purify the Saints. Therefore let devils howl, let them rage…
This calls to mind some verses from the Book of Mormon where it seems the same principle is advanced:
And the Lord God said unto me: [the Lamanites] shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in remembrance of me; and inasmuch as they will not remember me, and hearken unto my words, they shall scourge them even unto destruction (2 Nephi 5:25).
And again in Helaman 12:
And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper who put their trust in him. Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity. And thus we see that except the Lord doth his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him (Helaman 12:1-3).
Brigham concluded by telling the saints they may have to kill an Indian in self-defense, but the rule was to let them alone, even try to help them, if possible:
Do you want to run after them to kill them? I say, let them alone, for peradventure God may pour out His Spirit upon them, and show them the error of their ways. We may yet have to fight them, though they are of the house of Israel to whom the message of salvation is sent; for their wickedness is so great, that the Lord Almighty cannot get at the hearts of the older ones to teach them saving principles... Shall we slay them simply because they will not obey the Gospel? No. But they will come to us and try to kill us, and we shall be under the necessity of killing them to save our own lives (Journal of Discourses 1:162-172).
Brother Brigham encouraged the saints to help rather than hurt their enemies. All of us have struggles with others, even with members of our own families and close friends. The principle here is that when troubles come, especially those we believe are caused by others, we ought to be reminded of God, and of the mercy he extends us. We ought to be ready and willing to extend that mercy to others. The chastening can harden or soften us, depending what we do with it. Brigham held a peace council with Chief Walker the following Spring where he sat with him and passed the peace pipe. It helped settle the tense situation, though the relationship was still little strained until Walker died in 1855 at Meadow Creek.

July 3, 2007

Prophecies About the Salt Lake Temple

Brigham Young April 6, 1853 During the 1853 General Conference of the Church the cornerstones of the Salt Lake Temple were placed and dedicated. Brigham stood before the congregation on April 6, the anniversary of the organization of the church, and spoke of the future.

I do not like to prophesy much, I never do, but I will venture to guess, that this day, and the work we have performed on it, will long be remembered by this people, and be sounded as with a trumpet's voice throughout the world, as far, as loud, and as long as steam, wind, and the electric current can carry it. It is a day in which all the faithful will rejoice in all time to come.
This is a bold statement by the leader of a relatively small, renegade church out in the middle of the wilderness, but it has come to pass. Today the Salt Lake Temple is a world-wide icon.

Brigham continued:
Some will inquire, "Do you suppose we shall finish this Temple, brother Brigham?" I have had such questions put to me already. My answer is, I do not know, and I do not care any more about it than I should if my body was dead and in the grave, and my spirit in Paradise. I never have cared but for one thing, and that is, simply to know that I am now right before my Father in Heaven. If I am this moment, this day, doing the things God requires of my hands, and precisely where my Father in Heaven wants me to be, I care no more about to-morrow than though it never would come. I do not know where I shall be to-morrow, nor when this Temple will be done-I know no more about it than you do. If God reveals anything for you, I will tell you of it as freely as to say, go to City Creek, and drink until you are satisfied.

Brigham had just predicted the temple would be known around the world. I believe another prophecy is couched in this paragraph. He is asked "brother Brigham, shall we finish this temple?" He said he didn't know.

Brigham died on August 29, 1877; the temple wasn't dedicated until April 6, 1893. 40 years in the making, some then living, including Brigham, didn't see its completion. It seems Brigham might have known more than he let on; though he wanted to live to see it completed. He concluded by testifying that the temple was, in fact, revealed to him:
Now, some will want to know what kind of a building it will be. Wait patiently, brethren, until it is done, and put forth your hands willingly to finish it. I know what it will be. I am not a visionary man, neither am I given much to prophesying [though he just had,]...I scarcely ever say much about revelations, or visions, but suffice it to say, five years ago last July I was here, and saw in the Spirit the Temple not ten feet from where we have laid the Chief Corner Stone. I have not inquired what kind of a Temple we should build. Why? Because it was represented before me. I have never looked upon that ground, but the vision of it was there. I see it as plainly as if it was in reality before me. Wait until it is done. I will say, however, that it will have six towers, to begin with, instead of one. Now do not any of you apostatize because it will have six towers, and Joseph only built one. It is easier for us to build sixteen, than it was for him to build one. The time will come when there will be one in the centre of Temples we shall build, and, on the top, groves and fish ponds. But we shall not see them here, at present (Journal of Discourses 1:131-137).
At the mention of groves and fish ponds take a look across the street at the new Conference Center, (or as Truman Madsen lobbied to call it, The Mega-Nacle). You have to wonder how much Brigham merely believed, and how much he really knew.

July 2, 2007

Brigham Young on Anti-Mormonism

Brigham Young May 8, 1853

I can sum up all the arguments used against Joseph Smith and "Mormonism” in a very few words, the merits of which will be found in OLD JOE SMITH. IMPOSTOR, MONEY DIGGER. OLD JOE SMITH. SPIRITUAL WIFE DOCTRINE. IMPOSTURE. THE DOCTRINE IS FALSE. MONEY DIGGER. FALSE PROPHET. DELUSION. SPIRITUAL WIFE DOCTRINE. Oh, my dear brethren and sisters, keep away from them, for the sake of your never dying souls. FALSE PROPHETS THAT SHOULD COME IN THE LAST DAYS. OLD JOE SMITH. ANTI-CHRIST. MONEY DIGGER, MONEY DIGGER, MONEYDIGGER. And the whole is wound up with an appeal, not to the good sense of the people, but to their unnatural feelings, in a canting, hypocritical tone, and there it ends (JD 1:103-112).
I laughed when I read this; I can picture Brigham being pretty tired of all the anti-Mormon rhetoric he'd heard throughout his life. At this time, Brigham had received a letter from Orson Pratt, who was serving a mission in England. The letter detailed the newspaper Pratt established there, and some opposition he had faced from other churches. The point Brother Brigham is making here is summed up in the book of Ecclesiastes: "There is nothing new under the sun." The arguments used by anti-Mormons are the same ones levied against the church since the beginning. From Philastus Hurbut and Ebert D. Howe in the 1830's to the Tanners, Ed Decker, Dan Vogel and Grant Palmer of recent years, the accusations and misrepresentations are all composed of the same evidence, though they may arrive at different reasons behind the incorrectness of the doctrine. Ed Decker takes the evidence and sees Smith as inspired by Satan himself. Vogel takes the evidence and sees Joseph as a well-meaning "pious fraud." My intent isn't to bring up all of their specific points here, but simply to comment that Brigham saw through the rhetoric and was likely tired of the hue and cry raised against the prophet. We shouldn't be surprised; Moroni told Joseph Smith his name we be known for good and evil among all people. That is one of the most obviously fulfilled prophecies of Joseph's life.

July 1, 2007

Journey Through the Journal

I wish to give you one text to preach upon: "From this time henceforth do not fret thy gizzard" (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 3:1).

Colloquialisms such as this kindled my interest in the Journal of Discourses (JD), a 26-volume compilation of sermons from 19th-century LDS leaders. This site includes a series called "Journey Through the Journal" a historical, doctrinal cultural commentary of the JD.1 Few members of the Church of Jesus Christ have time (or perhaps even the interest) to read all 1,438 sermons given between 1854 and 1886. Additionally, the JD has suffered in reputation due to the speculative or unfamiliar ideas expressed by some early Church leaders. These are often quoted by critics of the Church as bona fide Mormon doctrine. In 2007 I concluded a blog of the more interesting or profitable parts would be a good project, especially given the attention given the volumes by critics and the comparative lack of attention by the average Church member.2 I hope to provide faithful explanations of the cultural, historical, sociological and doctrinal background of some of these sermons. Some posts deal largely with historical matters, others are geared more towards applying some of the teachings of these early prophets and apostles to our current situation. I am aware of the danger in equating current LDS concepts to those of the earlier brethren, and I make efforts to explain differences and similarities, including adaptations in the views on various doctrines or policies.

The JD is largely a product of its time: a Utah Territory, a struggling and growing Church torn between exclusion from and assimilation with America; where politics, religion, agricultural advice, homespun parables and ethics were all mixed together in various instruction from LDS leaders. Accuracy is an issue, we have to rely on the stenographers themselves because no better method of recording was then available. Speakers took the scripture seriously when it said "Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man" (D&C 84:85). It was deemed a sign of true religion; discourses being delivered “by the Spirit”. Most of the sermons follow the loose train of thought of the speaker with no real structure. The scattered nature of many of the discourses led one observer to describe them as “strange ramblings”.3

For these reasons among others, the LDS Church holds the JD to be non-binding:
The Journal of Discourses is not an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints… It includes practical advice as well as doctrinal discussion, some of which is speculative in nature and some of which is only of historical interest...

Questions have been raised about the accuracy of some transcriptions. Modern technology and processes were not available for verifying the accuracy of transcriptions, and some significant mistakes have been documented. The Journal of Discourses includes interesting and insightful teachings by early Church leaders; however, by itself it is not an authoritative source of Church doctrine.4
Because Church membership is generally encouraged to give priority to the Standard Works (the LDS canon of scripture including the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) the JD has taken on somewhat of an apocryphal status. Still, I am reminded of the counsel given to the prophet Joseph Smith when he asked if the Apocrypha should be included in his inspired translation of the Bible:
There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly; There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men...Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth; And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom...(D&C 91).
Thus far my reading of the JD has been beneficial; the sermons reveal interesting, often uplifting information, and give insight into what the early Saints might have heard over the pulpit. I want to express my faith in the restored gospel by emphasizing the scriptural and socially relevant selections from the JD in addition to exploring the early days of the restored Church.

In Journey Through the Journal posts, quotes from the JD sermon the post is based upon appear in red; quotes from all other sources are in green. I try to maintain the accuracy of the actual JD with minor corrections of spelling. This blog is not intended to be a comprehensive work, but to explore interesting and uplifting (sometimes simply boring historical) teachings from former days.

As for my method, when dealing with historical sources I try to be mindful of the responsibility and nature of the process of selection. James West Davidson and Mark Hamilton Lytle described the everyday view of history:
"History is what happened in the past."...[This view] supposes that historians must return to the past through the surviving records and bring it back to the present to display as "what really happened." The everyday view recognized that this task is often difficult. But historians are said to succeed if they bring back the facts without distorting them or forcing a new perspective on them. In effect, historians are seen as couriers between the past and the present. Like all good couriers, they are expected simply to deliver messages without adding to them. This everyday view of history is profoundly misleading...
History is not "what happened in the past;" rather, it is the act of selecting, analyzing, and writing about the past. It is something that is done, that is constructed, rather than an inert body of data that lies scattered throughout the archives.5
I largely subscribe to their views on that subject; I believe that the "noble dream" of objectivity is practically impossible.6 As Davidson and Lytle explain, "historians generally deal with probabilities, not certainties," and like them, I "leave you to draw your own conclusions" after I have related my own.
For better or for worse, historians inescapably leave an imprint as they go about their business: asking interesting questions about apparently dull facts, seeing connections between subjects that had not seemed related before, shifting and rearranging evidence until it assumes a coherent pattern. The past is not history; only the raw material of it.7


The drawing is Brigham Young preaching in the Mormon Tabernacle, from the Daily Graphic, April 16, 1873. George D. Watt, stenographer and English convert to the LDS Church recorded sermons in a form of shorthand for the Deseret News and received permission from the Church to publish the sermons in England. His publications were later bound in book form as the Journal of Discourses (see Ronald G. Watt, "Journal of Discourses," Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 2). Watt did 't record all the sermons or publish every volume of the JD himself. For more on Watt, see Ronald G. Watt, "Sailing the Old Ship Zion: The Life of George D. Watt," BYU Studies 18 (Fall 1977):48-65; "The Beginnings of The Journal of Discourses: A Confrontation Between George D. Watt and Willard Richards," Utah Historical Quarterly 75:2 (Spring 2007), pp. 134-148.

For more regarding critics of the Church citing the JD, see "Quote Mining." Context is an important issue, and I try to apply sound historical method in exploring the circumstances behind the sermons. See "Contrasting Attitudes: Keeping Things in Context."

Davis Bitton discussed the trends of early Mormon preaching in “‘Strange Ramblings’: The Ideal and Practice of Sermons in Early Mormonism,” BYU Studies (2002) 41:1, p. 4-28.

LDS.org, Gospel Topics: "The Journal of Discourses," accessed November, 2007, no longer available.

See Davidson, Lytle, After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection, 3rd ed. McGraw-Hill, (1992) xvii, xxi. Read the full chapter here.

For more on this concept, see Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The "Objectivity Question" and the American Historical Profession, Cambridge University Press, 1988.

Davidson, Lytle, op. cit. xxx-xxxi.