Exiles in a Land of Liberty: Mormons in America, 1830-1846 by Kenneth H. Winn

By Kenneth H. Winn

Utilizing the concept that of "classical republicanism" in his research, Kenneth Winn argues opposed to the typical view that the Mormon faith was once a very good phenomenon representing a countercultural ideology essentially subversive to American society. quite, he keeps, either the Saints and their enemies affirmed republican rules, yet in noticeably varied ways.Winn identifies the 1830 founding of the Mormon church as a spiritual protest opposed to the pervasive ailment plaguing antebellum the USA, attracting those that observed the libertarianism, non secular pluralism, and industry capitalism of Jacksonian the United States as threats to the Republic. whereas non-Mormons shared the conception that the Union used to be at risk, many observed the Mormons as one of many leader threats. normal worry of Joseph Smith and his fans resulted in verbal and actual assaults at the Saints, which strengthened the Mormons' conviction that the US had descended into anarchy. by way of 1846, violent competition had pushed Mormons to the uninhabited nice Salt Lake Basin.

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Joseph went back to New York, and in April 1829 acquired a new scribe, a bright young school teacher named Oliver Cowdery. With the aid of the able Cowdery, Joseph now began dictating at an amazing pace, completing work on the volume in ninety days. As Klaus Hansen points out, this meant, roughly, an output of around three thousand words a day. 34 Upon finishing the manuscript, Joseph invited eleven friends and family members to view the heretofore unseen plates and, with divine aid, affirm the accuracy of his translation.

Few things he ever did would prove so harmful to his reputation. Both his subsequent opponents and many later historians have used this episode in his life to defame him as a smooth-talking charlatan who, poor but too lazy to work, conned the credulous out of money and property in wild-goose chases after easy wealth. Joseph's creation of Mormonism, they argued, simply represented a more sophisticated and profitable method of fleecing the gullible. In a sense, Joseph's critics were right to see connections between Mormonism and his money digging.

The Book of Mormon is the masterpiece of a most uncommon common man. Despite his awkward writing style, wooden characters, and tediously chronic warfare, Joseph Smith not only voiced the pro- Page 20 test of his less articulate countrymen but provided them with comprehensive and purportedly divine answers to their problems. In the oftquoted words of the founder of the Disciples of Christ, Alexander Campbell, the Book of Mormon contains every error and almost every truth discussed in N. York for the last ten years.

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