Posted on Leave a comment

Jane’s One-of-a-Kind Sealing to Joseph Smith (Part 3 of 5)

Early black Mormon pioneer Jane Manning James walked 800 miles to Nauvoo.

Quincy:  Her trunk got lost, at least that’s what Charles Wandell says. In the Nauvoo Neighbor, the local paper, there is an ad that appears for several weeks running. The title is “Lost.”  It describes the trunk and offers a small reward for its return. But Jane is essentially left without anything but the clothes on her back, which she finds to be a truly sorry state of affairs, in part, because I think she used her possessions as a way of asserting her respectability.  She describes the clothing in the trunk as beautiful clothes, mostly new. She’s left without all of them. All she has are the shoes that have worn out, the stockings that have ripped and torn, the dress that she was wearing, and very little else. So she relies on the kindness of strangers. She needs to get a job. She needs to get some new clothing, all that kind of stuff.

GT:  I know in the movie, Emma and Jane, there’s a really interesting scene where Jane comes to meet the Prophet Joseph and Emma. I know she’s pretty embarrassed. But she’s like, “I don’t have any clothes.” And Joseph says, “Let’s go get her some clothes, Emma.” Can you tell about that story?

Dr. Quincy Newell tells us more about that story, and tells us that Jane was a great friend of Joseph and Emma Smith.  In fact, it appears Emma may have asked Emma to be sealed to her as a family member.  In our next conversation, we will discuss this proposal, and Jane’s attempts to be sealed to the prophet Joseph Smith’s family.

Quincy:  [Jane] starts telling anyone who will listen that Emma came to her and said that Joseph Smith had told her, Emma, to offer to Jane the opportunity to be adopted as a child. Jane, at the time said, “No thanks.” But starting in 1880, she starts petitioning church leaders to say, “You know, I’d really like to change my mind about that. Could I please be adopted to Joseph Smith, as a child as he offered to do back in Nauvoo? Would that be okay? When can that be accomplished?”

GT:  This was not a legal adoption, but a religious adoption. Is that correct?

Quincy:  That’s how Jane frames it. So at the time that Jane says the offer was being made, parent-child sealing, which is sort of how she frames it in the 1880s, was not really a thing. It was at least theoretically a thing. But it was not a thing that had been practiced. So nobody is really doing this. By the 1880s, lots of people are doing it.  Lots and lots of white people are petitioning to be adopted as Joseph Smith’s children.  They never laid eyes on Joseph Smith. He was dead long before they became converts to the church. Their requests are being granted right and left. I think probably thousands of people were adopted. He’s got a huge family. So Jane is basically asking for what lots of other people are getting as sort of a matter of course.

GT:Oh, really? It just a widespread thing by then.

Quincy:  It’s a very widespread thing. So she’s just asking for something that everybody else is getting. But church leaders find this a really difficult request to grant in her case.

GT:  I can imagine.

Quincy:  I think it’s because they have a lot of trouble imagining giving Joseph Smith a black daughter in eternity. But she just keeps kind of poking them. So she writes letters to them. She has friends write letters to them. She goes to visit the church presidents in their homes. She talks about this at every opportunity. It’s in her autobiography. It’s in every account of her life. She sort of states this over and over again. She seems to make the argument that she should be allowed to have a sealing to Joseph Smith, as a child. She should be allowed to receive her endowments because she has been a virtuous Mormon woman, and because Joseph Smith would let her do this. So why won’t the church leaders at the time, let her do that?

Her repeated requests resulted in the most unusual sealing ceremony ever granted. Check out our conversation….

Dr. Quincy Newell gives more details on the most unusual sealing ceremony ever.
Posted on Leave a comment

Can Anything Good Come from…Warsaw? Yes! (Part 7 of 7)

This is our final conversation with Brian Stutzman, and we’ll talk about Warsaw, Illinois today.  Brian thinks this should be a must-stop for church history buffs.  We’ll also discuss how Brian came to love the city, and how he came there and how he would like to restore the city to its historic roots.

Brian:  I drove into town and saw this building.   It says Thomas Sharp, Warsaw Signal.  Little did I know that the Lutherans help fund that building.  How ironic. In 1987, there was a Mormon historian from Nauvoo named Michael Trap. He came down and he gathered some people together and says, “You know what, you got some history here. Maybe it’s the dark side of Mormon history. But let’s take this old grocery store.”  I think it was built in 1880, “and we’ll raise some money and we’ll make it look like it would have an 1840. We’ll get an old press in here.”

So I really enjoy getting to know the good people.  They had me speak at their historical society last year when my book was in the first edition. There’s a ton–1550 people, we had over 100 people together at the high school and I gave a little presentation on the overview of my book. This sweet old lady comes up and says, “Will you move here to Warsaw?” Because I told them at the end of my presentation I said, “You need to promote your town. You’ve got a story to tell. There’s a tragic triangle here. Thousands, millions of people know about Nauvoo. Thousands, millions of people know about Carthage. Nobody’s heard of Warsaw. When people go, they’re only seeing two thirds of what they should see.  You need to come down.  You need to invite LDS tourists to come here. You need to have a sign that says this is where Willard Richards and Brigham Young we’re going to build a Mormon community at our request that people of Warsaw’s request, even though the local histories, including 1880 Thomas Greg said that they almost fell into the hands of the Mormons.”

He also tells about a beloved Mormon family in Warsaw.  Check out our conversation, by signing up to our free newsletter to hear the final part.  Go to https://www.GospelTangents.com/newsletter and I will send you a secret link to hear the conclusion!

Brian Stutzman has ideas for a Mormon history tour of Warsaw, Illinois!

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Kangaroo Court at Carthage (Part 5 of 7)

We’re continuing our conversation with Brian Stutzman, and we’ll talk about the trial of Joseph and Hyrum Smith’s murders.  Was justice served or was it a kangaroo court?

Brian:  The martyrdom happened June 27th, [1844.]  Thomas Sharp came back to Warsaw and after his night of drinking and bragging at the Warsaw House, within the next couple days, he writes a 32-page pamphlet and publishes it in the Warsaw Signal‘s press office. He defends the martyrdom and defends the action. See there’s a political thinking called reserved rights. It basically said that in a small community, if the government doesn’t take action, the citizens have reserved rights, the right to take action among themselves. Well, in the first week of July of 1844, right in his newspaper, he writes about the martyrdom and he defends the actions of the mob. He says, “We regret, and we still regret,” he starts out by saying we the citizens of Warsaw are law abiding community. But we regret we still regret the actions we had to take. We didn’t participate in murder. We participated in extra judicial executions and anybody familiar with the facts, would agree that we were in the right.”  He publishes this for whole world to see.

GT:  Wow.  A lynching.

Brian:  A lynching, a legal lynching. Then, as we talked about later on, the trial was not for who pulled the trigger, but who were the soul of the movement. You can say that Thomas was not the soul of the movement. Well, years later, somebody asked Thomas Sharp, “So did you kill Joseph Smith?” His answer was, “Well, the jury said not.”  Acquittal meant that these leaders, these people could go on with normal lives. Thomas Sharp, for instance, when Warsaw incorporated and became a town, he was elected the first mayor of Warsaw in 1853.

GT:  This is after Joseph was killed. I do want to ask, what was Governor Ford’s reaction to the verdict?

Brian:  He writes about it in his history. I think he thinks it’s a miscarriage of justice.  But what are you going to do? The saints already know that it’s farcical, they know that.

GT:  Would it have helped if John Taylor or others had testified?

Brian:  They probably would have been killed.

GT:  You think so?

Brian:  The mob put 1000 people outside of Carthage to prevent anyone from coming in during trial week. They were not going to let the Mormon people come.  They would kill them first.

GT:  So it was a total kangaroo court.

Brian:  It was a kangaroo court. So Thomas Sharp goes on, becomes mayor three times, becomes a judge. He’s not convicted, but everybody knows.

What are your thoughts about the trial?  Check out our conversation…

All members of the mob that killed Joseph & Hyrum Smith were acquitted of murder.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Brian about Warsaw!

309: Gov. Thomas Ford’s Role in Martyrdom & Trial

308: Profile of Anti-Mormon Thomas Sharp

307: The Warsaw-Nauvoo Rivalry

306: The Anti-Mormon Triangle: Warsaw, Carthage, Nauvoo