Roll over Bruce R. McConkie: Creating Mormon History Playing Cards

By April 26, 2013

IMG_20130426_130639_788I recently returned from my vacation to Tahiti.  While I was there, I discovered a set of playing cards where each of the cards was a different person from Tahitian history from the reign of Queen Pomare.  Iotete, a Tahitian chief who signed a document requesting that the French annex the islands, appears on a blue card wearing a feathered headdress and a red European-style coat.  The card also shows him as being heavily tattooed and wearing a grim expression.  Another card depicts Constance Gordon-Cumming, a Scottish travel writer who traveled to Tahiti in the 1870s and wrote extensively about her travels.  She appears as a young woman, dressed in a stylish red hat and yellow ribbons.  Although the Mormon missionaries Addison Pratt, Benjamin F. Grouard, and James Brown had their own corner (complete with facsimiles of their journals) in the Musee de Tahiti, they didn’t make the cut for the playing cards.

Reading the cards made me think about what a Mormon set of cards would like.  I know, I know, Bruce R. McConkie, Joseph F. Smith, and a slew of other people are rolling over in their graves.  What epic of Mormon history would you focus your cards on?  Who would appear?  The Tahitian cards are also grouped into 7 families – the Royal Family, the Gods, the Tahitian people, the Sorcerers or Priests, the Foreigners, the Missionaries, and the Chinese.  What groups would you set up?  Personally, I would focus on Utah in the second half of the nineteenth century.  I think there would have to be a category for ex-Mormons, faithful Latter-day Saints, federal officials, Church leaders, Lamanites, and perhaps Gentiles.  Ann Eliza and Fanny Stenhouse would definitely have cards in my set, as would Augusta Cobb Young and Susa Young Gates.  What do you think?  What would your cards look like?IMG_20130426_130550_619

I look forward to reading the comments.  And, Deseret Book, there’s a market in this.  The Tahitian souvenir shop was selling their cards for 1400 Pacific Franks or about $15.00 a set.

Article filed under Miscellaneous


  1. Wait, I’m still stuck on your first sentence. You got to go to Tahiti? I’m envious.

    Fun post. I like your idea of having different series. One set for Latter-day prophets and well-known apostles, yes. But also one set for the unknown Saints (especially of the 20th century) like those featured at Keepapitchinin. I mean, if we’re going to have an “uncorrelated” set of playing cards, why not devote them to the unsung heroes who we never hear about in curriculum manuals?

    Comment by Hunter — April 26, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

  2. My sibling created extended family playing cards. They are great fun.

    Comment by J. Stapley — April 26, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

  3. Nice title and fun post, Amanda. I think a deck with Mormon missionaries would be fun, and it would allow one to span the entirety of the 19th century and/or the 20th. And although no one else would buy it, I’d love a set of cards featuring Methodist converts to Mormonism.

    Comment by Christopher — April 26, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

  4. That feminist icon and General Relief Society President, Emmaline B Wells should be depicted as a Queen.

    Comment by Wonderdog — April 27, 2013 @ 7:33 am

  5. Hunter – the set of cards of unknowns would be fascinating. Perhaps we could have a group of people from the little known Gentile town of Corinne, a group from the outer settlements, a group of Mormons living in SLC, etc.

    J. – I wish someone in my family would do that. It would be fantastic to play “Go Fish” and have to ask for Great Grandma Cummings or something like that.

    Christopher – I would buy the last set! So there’s a market of at least two!

    Wonderdog – Oooo…. I like the idea of having Emmeline B. Wells as Queen but I’m partial to Emma. Her Mormonism was so different from Brigham’s and Joseph’s.

    Comment by Amanda — April 27, 2013 @ 11:18 am


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