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2022 Literary Escapes Challenge

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My Progress:


37 / 51 states. 73% done!

2022 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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19 / 50 books. 38% done!

2022 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

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20 / 25 books. 80% done!

2022 Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge

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65 / 53 books. 123% done!

Booklist Queen's 2022 Reading Challenge

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43 / 52 books. 83% done!

Aussie Author Reading Challenge 2022


1 / 24 books. 4% done!

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge


3 / 20 books. 15% done!

2022 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

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36 / 50 books. 72% done!

The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge 2022

The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge 2022

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39 / 52 books. 75% done!

2022 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

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38 / 40 books. 95% done!

2022 Support Book Bloggers Challenge

2022 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Mormon Mentions: Daniel James Brown

If you're not sure what a Mormon is, let alone a Mormon Mention, allow me to explain:  My name is Susan and I'm a Mormon (you've seen the commercials, right?). As a member of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon or LDS Church), I'm naturally concerned with how my religion is portrayed in the media. Because this blog is about books, every time I see a reference to Mormonism in a book written by someone who is not a member of my church, I highlight it here. Then, I offer my opinion—my insider's view—of what the author is saying.  It's my chance to correct misconceptions, expound on principles of the Gospel, and even to laugh at my (sometimes) crazy Mormon culture.

Just to be clear, my father only has one wife. As does my husband. No, I do not have horns hidden underneath my hair, nor am I a member of a cult. Believe it or not, I have been asked all of these questions before!

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In The Indifferent Stars Above, Daniel James Brown mentions Mormons—who, under the direction of Brigham Young, established a colony in Utah's Salt Lake Valley in July 1847, a year after the Donner Party took their ill-fated journey—four times. I chose just two of the passages to talk about here.

"For the next two weeks, they [the Donner Party] rolled northwest, passing and being passed by elements of what had been the Russell Party, now under the leadership of Lilburn Boggs, the fiercely anti-Mormon former governor of Missouri who had taken over leadership when Russell resigned on June 18" (77)

Lilburn Boggs is a well-known villain in Mormon history. I grew up hearing tales of his hateful persecution of early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From 1836 to 1840, he served as governor of Missouri, where he dealt with heated conflict between members of the Church and residents of Missouri, who were concerned about the influx of Mormon settlers to the area. Many Missourians were outraged by their presence and sought to drive the religious group out of Missouri. Boggs agreed, issuing Missouri Executive Order 44 (known as the "Extermination Order") on October 27, 1838. In part, the order said: The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description. If you can increase your force, you are authorized to do so to any extent you may consider necessary. Fearing for their lives, thousands of Church members fled the state in terror. This kind of persecution followed them wherever they went, prompting their eventual migration to Utah.

I've never thought about what happened to Boggs after that, so I was startled to see his name in The Indifferent Stars Above. Some say he headed to California because of his fear of Mormon retaliation (someone did try to kill him in 1842, although the identity of his would-be assassin was never discovered). Whatever his reason, he journeyed to the Sunshine State in 1846 with a party of pioneers that included his wife and children. They settled in Sonoma, where Boggs became a store owner and a postmaster. He died in Napa County in 1880. So says that venerable news source Wikipedia, anyway.

"There is anecdotal evidence...that the winter of 1846 was unusually cold across the Northern Hemisphere...At their Winter Quarters in Nebraska, thousands of Mormons suffered terribly, and more than six hundred of them died, in bitterly cold blizzards that swept across the plains" (226).

I also grew up hearing stories about the great suffering of the Saints in Winter Quarters, although none of my Mormon pioneer ancestors were among them. It's a sad chapter in our history. There is now a Mormon Trail Center on the Winter Quarters site in Omaha, Nebraska, where you can learn more about what happened there.

7 comments:

  1. I am also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. With all the misinformation out there about our religion, it is cool that you are doing these posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been fun doing these. I'm not a historian or a theologian or any kind of expert, so I'm learning a lot as well :) Glad you enjoy the posts!

      Delete
  2. I have several Mormon friends, though none who I would show book passages and ask for their take on them. This is a neat blog post series!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should definitely ask them! They would probably be thrilled to answer your questions. I would always rather have someone ask, even an awkward question, than assume something that's wrong. You can always ask this Mormon questions—I'll do my best to answer them!

      Delete
  3. What, no horns? LOL Can't believe people would dare ask such a stupid question, but then again, you can't fix stupid, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

    I stumbled across a Mormon Mention of my own just yesterday while re-reading Little Big Man, a book I haven't read in decades. It's near the beginning of the story when the main character's father decides to join the Mormon faith and move the family west. Unfortunately, a run-in with the Indians stopped the family from getting there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're devils in disguise, didn't you know? LOL. The things some people come up with and others believe! Crazy sometimes.

      Mormons are almost always mentioned in books about the settling of the American West since we were such a big part of it!

      Delete
  4. As someone who grew up in a very strict religion... I thought Mormons had more than one wife. It actually wasn't till I turned 18 and left that religion that I saw the truth. The sigma against Mormons is real!

    ReplyDelete

Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

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Farm to Trouble by Amanda Flower

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