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D Golding

Rediscovering Fanny Alger Custer

By July 31, 2018


In Mormon history circles, we know Fanny Alger Custer by her birth name, Fanny Alger, and almost exclusively speak of her relationship to Joseph Smith in terms of the early history of plural marriage. She has mattered to Mormon history because of controversy surrounding this relationship, and just as briefly as the relationship may have lasted, so briefly does Fanny make an appearance in the history of the Kirtland period. The question of early Mormon polygamy overshadows the collective concern over Fanny’s life as an early Latter-day Saint woman.

But some sources do allow us to consider her independently of Joseph Smith and even get a sense of a more complete biography. I’m working on a paper that gives priority to Fanny’s perspectives and life details, and then reconsiders her relationship to Mormonism and Joseph Smith in light of those perspectives. Here is a highlight from the longer essay, something stunning from Fanny herself—her own voice.

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The Time Neil Armstrong Searched for Gold Plates

By July 20, 2018


It’s true: Neil Armstrong led an expedition into an Ecuadorian jungle to search for gold plates. The story begins with a Latter-day Saint mission president, an eccentric anthropologist, and an Italian Catholic missionary. It ends with Donny Osmond. And there are aliens in the middle.

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