Judging from his photograph, Lawrence Scanlan, first Catholic Bishop of Utah, was not a man to be trifled with, and perhaps that was a factor that helped him get along with Mormons so well as he established Catholicism in their Zion. Not long after Father Scanlan arrived in Utah in 1873, he was invited by the Mormons in Saint George, Utah to use their tabernacle to say Mass. They even supplied a chorus that could sing a Latin High Mass!
Respect for Catholicism had been planted in Mormonism at the start. The Mormon prophet Joseph Smith gave this speech when an Ursuline Convent was burned in Boston in 1834: :“The early settlers of Boston . . . who had fled from their mother country to avoid persecution and death, soon became so lost to principles of justice and religious liberty as to whip and hang the Baptist and the Quaker, who, like themselves, had fled from tyranny to a land of freedom; and the Fathers of Salem, from 1691 to 1693, whipped, imprisoned, tortured, and hung many of their citizens for supposed witchcraft; and quite recently, while boasting of her light and knowledge, of her laws and religion, as surpassed by none on earth, has New England been guilty of burning a Catholic convent in the vicinity of Charlestown, and of scattering the inmates to the four winds; yes, in sight of the very spot where the fire of the American Independence was first kindled, where a monument is now erecting in memory of the battle of Bunker Hill, and the fate of the immortal Warren, who bled, who died on those sacred heights, to purchase religious liberty for his country; in sight of this very spot, have the religionists of the nineteenth century demolished a noble brick edifice, hurling its inhabitants forth upon a cold, unfeeling world for protection and subsistence.”
Knowing severe religious persecution in their early years, the Mormons felt a kinship to other persecuted religious groups, including Jews and Catholics. Prior to Father Scanlan arriving in Utah, Brigham Young helped Father Mathew Kelly get the land to build the first Catholic Church in Salt Lake City. Continue reading
I couldn’t help but have a little fun on this All Saint’s Day reprising a post on Come, Come Ye Saints, the Mormon Anthem. Catholic me is light years removed from the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but I have always admired the hardihood of the early Mormons and their descendants I have personally known have seemed to all major in nice, so as a group I have fond respect for them.
A jazz arrangement of the hymn. The song was written as the Mormons were making their epic trek in 1846 from Illinois to Utah in order to carve their new Zion out of the wilderness. Continue reading
One of the tools that some Obama supporters have been utilizing in their quest to give Obama another four years to transform the country in his image is the raw sewage of religious bigotry. Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of Mother Church that I have designated him Defender of the Faith, has their number:
If the desperation of the left is any indication, the 2012 election of Mitt Romney to the US presidency has the same air of inevitability that Barack Obama’s election had four years ago:
I was on a conference call yesterday regarding intelligence gathered from a highly placed source that liberal Obama surrogates are planning to target Evangelical mega-church parking lots with bigoted anti-Mormon flyers the final weekend before the election in key battleground states like Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
Mega-church pastors are being notified to have parking lot attendants be on the lookout for such a lit drop. But please forward this post to all pastors of both Protestant and Catholic churches, particularly in battleground states.
The GOP’s all-important social conservatives may be getting more comfortable with Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith – but liberals are increasingly wary about the candidate’s religion in the run-up to November, according to a new study.
The study found anti-Mormon attitudes have increased since Romney’s 2008 presidential bid and are highest among liberal and non-religious voters….
The study found attitudes about Mormonism among Evangelicals has largely remained unchanged since 2007 – when 37% said they were “less likely to vote for a Mormon candidate for president,” compared with 33% this year.
However, that sentiment among non-religious voters increased from 21% to 41% over roughly the same period.
Among liberal voters, 43% said they were less likely to vote for a Mormon presidential candidate in 2012, compared with 28% in 2007.
One of the oddest episodes in American military history occurred during the Mexican War. In 1846 the Mormons were beginning their epic trek West which would end with their carving a Mormon Zion out of the wilderness in what is now Utah. The Mormons, realizing they would need at least tacit Federal approval to accomplish this, sent representatives to Washington. The Polk administration asked for a quid pro quo. The Federal government would render assistance if a battalion of Mormons would enlist to fight in the Mexican War. Brigham Young readily agreed, and a battalion was raised after much cajoling by Young, due to the suspicion of most Mormons of the Federal government as a result of Federal indifference to the persecution of Mormons in Illinois and Missouri.
Along with the approximately 500 men, the Battalion was accompanied by 30 Mormon women, 23 of whom served as laundresses, and 51 children. The Mormons were mustered into the Army on July 16, 1846. They were assigned to the Army of the West under General Stephen W. Kearny, a tough regular. From Fort Leavenworth on August 30, 1846, the Mormon Battalion made the longest infantry march in US military history, 1900 miles to San Diego, California which they reached on January 29, 1847. The Battalion captured Tuscon, Arizona on the way to California, but saw no fighting, although the harsh climate and terrain they marched through more than made up for the absence of human adversaries.
The Battalion was discharged on July 26, 1847 in Los Angeles, and most of the men began the long trek to rejoin the Mormons in Utah. Among the men who marched in the Mormon Battalion was George Stoneman, a future governor of California. The video below at the end shows members of the battalion rejoining a Mormon wagon train after their service in the Mexican War.
I’m on record as not being a member of the Glenn Beck fan club. I don’t like his overly emotive mannerisms, his politics, or his theology. I’d rather the president of my alma mater was more circumspect in praising him, and I’ve written to the university to that effect. At the same time, I’m somewhat fascinated by the accounts of his rally in DC this past weekend. For instance, here is David Weigel (erstwhile Washington Post reporter and Journolist member) reporting on the event:
“It’s about as angry as a Teletubbies episode….The Democrats who pre-butted Beck’s rally by predicting an overtly political hateananny were played for suckers. They didn’t pay attention to Beck’s “Founder Fridays” episodes on Fox, his high-selling speaking tour, or his schmaltzy children’s book The Christmas Sweater. It’s not his blackboard that makes him popular. It’s the total package he sells: membership in a corny, righteous, Mormonism-approved-by-John Hagee cultural family. The anger is what the media focus on, he says, joking several times about what “the press” will do to twist his words.
Beck’s rally ends just as he said it would—without incident, political or otherwise. He’s just taken the world’s most derided TV audience, put them in the National Mall, and presided over the world’s largest megachurch. “Bring out the bagpipes,” he says. Bagpipe players then walk onto his stage, and the sound of “Amazing Grace” fills the mall.
Something for the weekend. A blues arrangement of the Mormon hymn Come, Come Ye Saints. The hymn was written as the Mormons were making their epic trek in 1846 from Illinois to Utah in order to carve their new Zion out of the wilderness.
Come, come, ye saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
Tis better far for us to strive our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell –
All is well! All is well!
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
‘Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell-
All is well! All is well!
We’ll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away, in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the saints, will be blessed.
We’ll make the air, with music ring, Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we’ll tell –
All is well! All is well!
And should we die before our journey’s through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again to see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we’ll make this chorus swell-
All is well! All is well! Continue reading
God can use a thunderstorm. Or Porter Rockwell.
One reason why I have always loved history is that it is so often wilder and more colorful than fiction. A very colorful part indeed of American history is that which records the events of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, better known as the Mormons, and in that history no portion is more colorful than the life of Orrin Porter Rockwell. Throughout his life legends began to cluster about him and it is not easy to keep fact and fable in his biography separate.
Born on June 28, 1813, in Belchertown, New Hampshire, he was one of the earliest followers of Joseph Smith, being baptized into the church in 1830. Powerfully built, he served as a bodyguard for Smith. In 1838 he may have attempted to assassinate the Governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs, after Boggs issued an order calling for the expulsion of the Mormons from Misssouri or their extermination. The order was prompted by the Missouri Mormon War of 1838.
Rockwell was held in jail for eight months, but no grand jury would indict him due to lack of evidence. Rockwell defended himself with such statements as “I never shot at anybody, if I shoot they get shot!” and “He’s alive, ain’t he.” in reference to Governor Boggs. After his release from jail, Rockwell traveled to the house of Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois, a town built by the Mormons, arriving there on Christmas Day 1843. A Christmas party was underway and Rockwell looked like a dirty tramp, his hair grown out during his imprisonment and his clothes and his body unwashed. Smith purportedly made the following prophecy upon seeing Rockwell: “I prophesy, in the name of the Lord, that you — Orrin Porter Rockwell — so long as ye shall remain loyal and true to thy faith, need fear no enemy. Cut not thy hair and no bullet or blade can harm thee.” Rockwell wore his hair long thereafter until he cut it to make a wig for a woman who lost her hair from typhoid fever.
Rockwell was a Danite, a secret Mormon organization dedicated to carrying out acts of violence on behalf of the Mormon religion. In 1844 Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were indicted for treason against the state of Illinois, the culmination of ever growing tension between Mormons and non-Mormons in Illinois. On June 27, 1844 a mob stormed the jail in Carthage, Illinois where the Smiths were being held and murdered them. Rockwell had been away on a mission for the Mormon church at the time, and wept like a child according to witnesses when he learned of the death of Joseph Smith.
In the chaos that ensued after the death of Smith, the Mormons often engaged in battles with mobs of non-Mormons. On September 16, 1845 Rockwell was hastily deputized by the Sheriff of Hancock County Illinois, Jacob Blackenstos. Blackenstos was a non-Mormon but was friendly to the Mormons. He was being chased by an anti-Mormon mob led by Frank Worrell, who had been in charge of the militia unit that failed to protect Joseph Smith when he was murdered. Rockwell took out his rifle and stopped the mob by shooting to death Worrell. Worrell thus became the first man killed by Rockwell, a total that would grow to 40-100, no one is certain, by the end of Rockwell’s life. Continue reading