Post-Civil War Communalism and the Lamoni Order

RLDS church in Lamoni, circa 1907. Courtesy of Alma Blair.

Few experiments in religious communalism better exemplified the blending of American industry with religious socialism than did Joseph Smith, Jr. and the Mormons. Despite failed attempts by the Mormons to establish permanent communal societies in Ohio and Missouri, the ethos of religious socialism persisted, and in many ways still persists, within the Latter Day Saint restoration movement. Among the various institutions that sprang from Joseph Smith, Jr.’s innovations, many attempted to maintain … [Read more...]

The Restoration and War

A stray M16 on my pulpit in Shukvani, Afghanistan

Written on Memorial Day, 2014  This is my first Memorial Day home after combat.  In Afghanistan, I prayed over the injured, the dying, and the dead—and I suppose it's fitting to pray for all of them again, today.  I'm not as haunted by the dead as I am by these words, which I often heard when a casualty came in and a Marine or Sailor would respond, "Don't worry, Chaps: it's only an Afghan."  I suppose the moral wounds are greater than the physical. As a mili … [Read more...]

Why You Should Read More Fiction (and John Turner’s Brigham Young)

Recently, I finished John G. Turner’s excellent Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet. It is an eminently fair-minded biography that should prove to be the definitive account of Young’s life. Personally, I came away from the biography with far greater insight into Young’s spirituality and his theological contributions to Mormonism—one of the many wonderful pay-offs for reading Turner’s 400-page tome. I also came away from the biography with a previously held picture of Young confirmed: he was a harsh in … [Read more...]


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