Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Mormon Trace revisited

This DAR marker was installed during 1917 along the Blue Grass Road southeast of Chariton by Daughters of the American Revolution to commemorate the Mormon Trace and its part in Lucas County history.

I've been working (and still am) to pull together and update earlier posts related to the Mormon Trace in Lucas County --- a route used by most members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints driven from Nauvoo during the years 1846-49. You can find the result here.

The great Mormon exodus is the opening chapter in Lucas County's EuroAmerican history, reason enough to consider it.

This winter of our collective discontent is a good time, too, to consider various aspects of the story of the Saints --- the only fully and uniquely American expression of Christianity (if you're among those who still insist on dismissing the LDS as more of a "cult" than, say, Roman Catholics, Baptists or Episcopalians, please go argue with someone else).

Driven by a new vision, followers of older visions found it expedient to kill them (Lilliburn Boggs, governor of Missouri 1836-40. issued Missouri Executive Order 44 directing that all Mormons be driven from the state or killed). Illinois residents murdered LDS Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. and his brother, Hyrum, on June 27, 1844, in Carthage. Iowans, in general, treated them better --- the worst we had to offer was mud. And a substantial number of Iowans, including me, descend from Saints who got stuck in that mud and remained.

The prophet's polygamous visition of marriage became one of the tools used by others in the demonization process. This is one of the reasons LGBT people, generally supporters of same-sex marriage, are sometimes especially bemused or angered by the current generation of Saints' unkindness to their gay children and LGBT neighbors.

From whichever direction you approach it, Mormon history is a fascinating topic for Mormons and non-Mormons alike.

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