The Blood of the Martyrs

John Taylor, in the canonized eulogy, brought the blood of the Mormon martyrs through each of the rhetorical phases, ending with the Apocalypse.

their innocent blood on the floor of Carthage jail is a broad seal affixed to “Mormonism” that cannot be rejected by any court on earth, and their innocent blood on the escutcheon of the State of Illinois, with the broken faith of the State as pledged by the governor, is a witness to the truth of the everlasting gospel that all the world cannot impeach; and their innocent blood on the banner of liberty, and on the magna charta of the United States, is an ambassador for the religion of Jesus Christ, that will touch the hearts of honest men among all nations; and their innocent blood, with the innocent blood of all the martyrs under the altar that John saw, will cry unto the Lord of Hosts till he avenges that blood on the earth.[1]

[1] D&C 135:7.

Leadup to Martyrdom

Several of Smith’s closest colleagues had become frustrated with his clandestine practice of polygamy and his divergence from the main streams of Christian primitivism (along with objections to his business, political, and ecclesiastical practices). The subterfuge required to hide aberrant sexual and political practices tended to contribute to dissension and turmoil, as did occasional marriage proposals to followers’ wives (see Chapter 8). Followers alienated by his Nauvoo Mormonism rejected the attempt to unite secular and religious life in pursuit of Smith’s Zion. A group of disaffected Mormons—including some from the highest ranks of the ecclesial hierarchy—published an ill-fated newspaper, the Nauvoo Expositor. (more…)

Polytheism and the early Mormon response to Trinitarianism

Catching orthodoxers in what they saw as a logical trap, by the Nauvoo period Latter-day Saints were using the arguments of Trinitarianism to support frank polytheism. One Mormon physician explained to Henry Caswall the visiting Anglican, “‘we believe that the Father is god, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God; that makes three at least who are God, and no doubt there are a great many more.’”[1] (more…)

Evangelistic emphasis of the 1837 Kirtland endowment

The evangelistic emphasis of the Kirtland endowment persisted in its repetition at the 1837 anniversary of the church’s founding. Wilford Woodruff described his plans during that endowment to

be faithful in clearing my garments of the blood of Gentile & Jew” in order to “do honour to the HOLY Priesthood & the Annointing.[1]

[1] WWJ 1:128

Banner image is of Mount Mkinwartsveri (Kazbek), with the Church of St. Mary foreground left, image © Samuel Brown 2000