Bishop Lawrence Scanlan

Thursday, June 4, AD 2015


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.

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11 Responses to Bishop Lawrence Scanlan

  • Your pity for the Mormons as a “persecuted group” is ridiculous. They suffered persecution, so called. for one major reason. They were a violent group of people who committed crimes and moral outrages against the Non-Mormons they came into contact with. Some Non-Mormons did go overboard in dealing with Mormon transgressions, but for the most part, the Ain’t Saints got the shellackings that they deserved.

  • Holy smokes, that fellow *looks* the part of a bishop! Old school. Would that some of our current crop of shepherds looked (and acted) as formidable.

  • Yeah, a statue of that bishop would look softer than he does. If you carved that face into rock, people would look at it and think it was a bad representation or a trick of the light.

    I made a comment recently about the need for an authentic orthodox American Catholic identity. It’s interesting that Mormonism is probably the quintessential American religion. Screwy New England Christian roots, extreme devotion and utopianism, emphasis on family and morals. Those used to be classic elements of American religion.

    This country has an interesting religious history. We’re originally settled by escaping Protestants, and had an Episcopalian aristocracy, and the role of the Southern Baptists and evangelicals can’t be overemphasized. I’ve heard it argued that we were headed toward a Catholic moment in our history until the bishops’ sex scandals broke. I think there’s a solid argument for that. We find ourselves with less of a voice than we should have, given our numbers and our merits, but if we’re going to close that gap, it’s up to us.

  • “They were a violent group of people who committed crimes and moral outrages against the Non-Mormons they came into contact with.”

    Read Fawn Brodie’s, No Man Knows My History (1945), Stephen, the first scholarly biography of Joseph Smith, and get back to me. She was an ex-Mormon who had little love for the Mormon Church, indeed she was excommunicated by the Mormons because of the biography, but she gives chapter and verse to the sickening persecutions the Mormons were subject to, up to and including murder. That some Mormons took up arms in defense is hardly surprising. Another recent good book to read is American Crucifixion on the murder of Joseph Smith and his brother by an Illinois mob. The Mormons were not pacifists, but they were far more sinned against than sinning, including an extermination order signed against them by the governor of Missouri.

  • Hi, Pinky,

    I have a couple of mild counterpoints. The first Europeans in the present day United States were Catholics. While Catholics were not numerically significant in the original 13 colonies – Maryland WAS a Catholic colony until the Anglicans ran roughshod over it – St. Augustine, Florida, St. Louis, Missouri, Vincennes, Indiana, New Orleans, San Antonio and other Catholic towns and villages were in existence. and St. Aughustine predates any Protestant settlement in the Western Hemisphere. Padre Kino – the Padre on Horseback – traveled throughout the present day southwestern USA evangelizing various Indian tribes, most notably the Pimas. Fray Serro evangelized California during the American Revolution.

    Without help from then Catholic France AND Spain the War for Independence may have failed. The stupid anti-Catholicsm of the New Englanders cost them the help of Quebec, who might have to otherwise been persuaded to join the Americans.

    Until the Second Vatican Council, the American Catholic Church was on its way to making this a majority Catholic country. Afterwards, to use the words of Bloom County’s Bill the Cat “pfffffffffffffft”.

    Bishop Leonard’s mere glance would have been enough to send most of the current American Catholic episcopate looking for a rock to crawl under.

  • “Bishop Leonard’s mere glance would have been enough to send most of the current American Catholic episcopate looking for a rock to crawl under.”

    Bingo. I can imagine if he had been born 75 years later he might have been one of the Catholic chaplains lauded by Marine legend Chesty Puller:

  • Don, I’m quite well informed about the Mormon cult. The Utah Lighthouse Ministry has scads of historical material I the form of pamphlets, articles, books, and DVDs on the LDS. The late Gerald Tanner, and his wife Sandra, are respected authorities and researchers on the Mormon sect and it’s history. Their research into Mormon history shows beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Mormons were, as I said, “a violent group of people who committed crimes and moral outrages against Non-Mormons they came in contact with.” Their acts of violence against the people of Illinois and Missouri is what brought what you call “the sickening persecutions” down on their heads. When a group of people engage in acts of murder, thievery, fraud, sexual immorality, without a let up, that tends to make ordinary, decent folks pretty mad. Any violent actions against the Mormons, including the extermination order, has to be seen in that light.
    Also, some of my ancestors in Elmwood, Il. had contact with the Mormons, and their criminal ways back during the 1830-40’s. They knew these folks for the criminals they actually were. A friend of my great-great-grandfather Avery Dalton had a run in with a Mormon ‘prophet’ who was stealing goods from his neighbors by claiming God told him, via divine revelations, to take their property. My gggrandfather’s friend told the LDS conman he had a revelation too. He said God told him to fill the prophets hide with lead if he didn’t get a move on! According to Avery, the prophet ran all the way back to Nauvoo, Il.!
    BTW, did you ever read about the crime called the Mountain Meadows Massacre? Was that the result of Mormon reacting to “sickening persecutions” or an act of planned cold blooded murder by the leadership of the Mormon church? Get back tome when you read about that.

  • The history is as I describe it Stephen. The Tanners were former Mormons who became anti-Mormon activists. Accepting their assessment of Mormon history would be like accepting the assessment of bitter ex-Catholics on Catholic history.

    “BTW, did you ever read about the crime called the Mountain Meadows Massacre? Was that the result of Mormon reacting to “sickening persecutions” or an act of planned cold blooded murder by the leadership of the Mormon church? Get back tome when you read about that.”

    As you might have guessed Stephen, I know all about it. A great crime which occurred during the Utah War, and which Brigham Young commanded not be done, although he participated in an attempt to cover it up after the fact. Let me know when you start reading real history about the Mormons instead of the drek you have cited. In this area neither histories written by devout Mormons nor histories written by devout anti-Mormons tend to be useful in determining what actually occurred, which should be the goal of all history. History is very important to me and I will not allow it on this cite to be distorted by sources that are junk.

  • Don, was my ancestor Avery Dalton, who was a respected citizen of the town of Elmwood, Il. He didn’t like the Mormons because he and his friends and neighbors saw how those “sickening persecuted” Saints really behaved in their neck of the woods. Why should I doubt his honest testimony over your defense of these people whose criminal behavior is well documented?
    Your put down of the Tanner’s as “devout Anti-Mormons” is a classic ad hominem attack used by cults and their defenders. I was a cult member for almost a decade, and this is easy for me to see. I was attacked for speaking out against my former cult by the members and leadership, but every word I said was true. For you to compare the Tanner’s to embittered Ex-Catholics attacking our church is just plain nuts. The Tanner’s are offering a legitimate criticism of an Anti-Christian cult. The embittered Ex-Catholics are attacking the Church Christ founded.

  • “Why should I doubt his honest testimony over your defense of these people whose criminal behavior is well documented?”

    Because history is history Stephen, family folklore notwithstanding.

    Describing the Tanners as bitter ex-Mormons is not ad hominem but rather an accurate statement. They devoted their lives to attacking Mormonism, which they began to do shortly after their marriage in 1959. Expecting them to have been objective historians of Mormonism is like expecting chastity from Bill Clinton.

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Political Miscellania 5/12/10

Wednesday, May 12, AD 2010

A wrap-up of various items of political interest.

1.  The video that heads this post is one of the reasons why my vote for McCain in 2008 was a two handed vote, with one hand holding my nose.  McCain has long been an ardent supporter of amnesty and open borders.  Now that he is in a tough primary race with J.D. Hayworth, he is a born again believer in locking down the border against illegal aliens.  I certainly favor in making it tougher for illegals to get across the border, but I do not favor politicians who embrace positions simply to save their political skin.  I hope that the voters in Arizona will finally bring McCain’s political career to a screeching halt  by voting for his opponent in the primary.

2.  It looks like Hawaii will soon have a new Republican Congressman.  The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee is pulling out of Hawaii 1 and basically conceding that Republican Charles Djou will win the special election on May 22. The Democrats have two candidates running who are splitting the vote and thus allowing the Republicans to take a Congressional seat that has been in Democrat hands for two decades.

3.  The tea party movement claimed another scalp by causing the defeat of Republican Senator Bob Bennett at the Utah Gop Convention in his attempt to get the Republican nomination for a fourth term in the Senate. This should be a warning for all politicians:  this year is different, no re-nomination or re-election can be taken for granted.

4.  Faithful readers of this blog will know that I have quite a bit of respect for blogger Mickey Kaus who is taking on Senator Barbara Boxer in the Democrat primary in California.   Shockingly last week the LA Times refused to endorse Boxer:

On the Democratic side, we find that we’re no fans of incumbent Barbara Boxer. She displays less intellectual firepower or leadership than she could. We appreciate the challenge brought by Robert “Mickey” Kaus, even though he’s not a realistic contender, because he asks pertinent questions about Boxer’s “lockstep liberalism” on labor, immigration and other matters. But we can’t endorse him, because he gives no indication that he would step up to the job and away from his Democratic-gadfly persona.

To have the LA Times refuse to endorse Boxer is a strong indication of just how weak she is this election year.  She is probably strong enough to defeat Kaus (sorry Mickey!) in the primary, but there is blood in the water for the general election.

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5 Responses to Political Miscellania 5/12/10

  • Bob Bennett is a bit of an outlier. The Utah Republican party is becoming VERY VERY conservative, and there was an organized effort to push him out because of TARP and his Appropriations Committee role. It began two years ago when Jason Chaffetz beat Chris Cannon for his Congressional seat. While there may be a grassroots movement to “throw the bums out” Utah’s movement has been going on a bit longer.

  • Newsweek was put up for sale by the Washington Post last week. Last year the news magazine adopted a strategy of serving as an opinion journal of the Left. The decision has proven a disaster in the marketplace, although to be fair Newsweek has been losing money for quite a while.

    And a strange decision it was. The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker are about the only publications directed at that sort of audience which have been aught but philanthropic concerns during the lifetime of Newsweek‘s current editor, and the latter two are leavened with considerable reportage and fiction and offer little straightforward commentary. Comparing Newsweek to The New Republic also demonstrates that their is an art to producing an opinion magazine that not every collecting pool of journalists has; there would not be much point in a patron like Arthur Carter or Mortimer Zuckerman employing this crew.

  • The Hawaii election is very special to me.

    Having been raised the majority of my life in the Aloha State, we have never had a Republican elected to Honolulu’s 1st congressional district.

    Inouye’s “pre-selected” appointee, Hanabasu, is power hungry and feels entitled to that position held by the granola-eating Abercrombie.

    Case also feels a sense of entitlement, but then again, many Punahou School grads feel they are entitled to many things in life (Case is AOL founder Steve Case’s cousin; Punahou is the elite private school that silver spooned Obama attended as well).

    GOP Djou needs all the support he can get to rip that seat from the most powerful Democratic machine in the nation!

  • Re: #3… Here in WA, the state GOP (executive board) is looking at automatically endorsing whomever the GOP incumbent may be, even in the presence of a stronger, more conservative challenger… even if the PCO’s overwhelming support the challenger. It will be up to the voters both in the primary and the caucuses to decapitate weak incumbents.

  • McCain has proven he works for the people that voted him to office. The media would say this is flip flopping, I would say, any politician that thought one thing and turned around when hearing what his constituents believed, is exactly what govt is about. As for JD, well that is a long story that should not even be an issue. JD is as bad as they come…JD cannot find an endorsement, I am sure he will start paying people to say they like him! JD leaves us with many great memories, whether it be Abramoff, losing his seat to a democrat, ethical issues, issues about his lack of intelligence, being a huge blowhard, being a huge boozer, being a continuous egomaniac who does not have the experience needed to succeed in Washington (and he has already proven that to us!) I had decided JD was far too inexperienced, immature, egotistical and unethical to vote for him. McCain is the third most fiscally conservative member in Senate and that along with his integrity, we have a solid Senator.