Mormon Historical Studies 11:1 (Spring 2010)

By November 5, 2010

Mormon Historical Studies 11:1 (Spring 2010)

Table of Contents:

This issue leads out with some interesting discoveries made by Alex Baugh about the Jacob  Hawn family, Jacob being the founder of the well known Haun’s Mill settlement. Baugh learns that Hawn (most common spelling), an ancestor of well-known author Beverly Cleary, was most likely not Mormon (though his brother was). He traces Hawn’s life through Missouri and to his other Milling establishments later in Oregon. Baugh discusses Hawn’s role in the Massacre and argues that Hawn’s status as non-LDS provides new insight on the common assertion that those at the Mill disregarded Joseph Smith’s council to leave and therefore bear the responsibility for their fate. Baugh argues that Hawn misrepresented Smith’s advice or deceived the settlement outright. As a result, he says, the incident does not make for a good didactic opportunity to discuss the consequences of not following the Prophet.

Joseph Darowski writes, “This article focuses on the dynamic convergence of issues surrounding early Church conceptions of priesthood, authority, and governance that generated a flow of revelations and refinements which over time yielded a hierarchal, yet consensual, institution in which all official members were able to appreciably participate; I trace specific steps critical to the unfolding of these developments in an effort to illuminate the historical, ecclesiastical, and social dimensions of that process. I also provide historical evidence of Joseph Smith’s and the Saints’ commitment to a collaborative, council-based response to ecclesiastical and institutional demands.”

Fluhman’s article addresses Joseph Smith’s marriage to the 14 year-old in the context of building kinship relationships. He discusses Helen’s own later writings about her marriage and the symbolism (sacrificial lamb) she uses to make sense of the marriage. As Chris noted, this is a paper from a past Bushman Summer Seminar, but unfortunately, I didn’t see (as I glanced through briefly) any note indicating that was the case.

Barbara Jones Brown’s article won the 2009 Leonard Arrington Writing Award. It’s a more personal narrative that discusses the place of Polygamy in her family and her work on the biography of Lorna Call Alder, daughter of Colonia Diaz Bishop Anson B. Call (who, now in her 104th year, lives in Provo).  She writes, “Kathleen Flake’s 2009 Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture, ‘The Emotional and Priestly Logic of Plural Marriage,’ both confirmed and helped me better understand what I had been seeing in my own research. the Calls, I learned, were not the exception among polygamous Mormon families.”

Lyman discusses some of the historiography of the Mountain Meadows Massacre and the Church’s role in its promulgation. He concludes by calling the latest work by Walker, Leonard, and Turley “masterful” and briefly notes some comments made by Sara Gordon and Jan Shipps at the May 2010 Mormon History Association Conference, though he doesn’t address their critique of the effort as suffering from the perception of being an “inside job.”

Gary Boatright discusses the several phases in the development of the Joseph Smith Home as a memorial and historic site. As a side note, Keith Erekson is at work expanding his MA thesis about the Joseph Smith historic site to a book-length treatment that will look to nuance the “Americanization Thesis” that sees Mormons becoming Americanized and mainstream after the struggles of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Jeffrey Walker looks at an 1819 case in which Joseph Smith Sr. and Alvin Smith had a dispute with one of the founding families of Palmyra over some horses received by the Smiths which they considered to be unsound. Walker explores the case and Joseph Smith’s role as witness in the trial. He writes in conclusion, “This case stands as an undisputed account of how Joseph Smith, and indeed how his entire family were regarded in Palmyra in 1819. The jurors, composed of the more affluent members of the community, found in favor of Joseph Smith Sr.’s claims against a much more prominent family. Even more important, this same jury, in conjunction with the local justice of the peace, found the young boy Joseph Smith Jr. to be both a credible and competent witness–something that some chose to dispute today.”

It’s worth noting that two of the four book reviews are by JIers.

Sorry to be brief, I have only spent about an hour with the issue, which is about all I’ll be able to spend at this time, but if you have questions, I’ll try to answer them. All in all, it looks like a solid issue, and I want to encourage all those who have not subscribed to do so, not only to support a worthy and independent effort at the historical study of Mormonism (and, by extension, the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation), but also because just about every issue has something for everyone.

See also: A summary of issue 10:1 (Spring 2009) in two parts.

Article filed under Miscellaneous


  1. Thanks for this, Jared. MSH has had some quality scholarship as of late.

    I’m glad to see Fluhman’s seminar paper published. I thought it was an exceptionally well-done presentation when I heard it, and I was hoping it would be in a referencing format soon. Now if only I had a copy…

    And it’s always wonderful to see some JIers in print!

    Comment by Ben — November 5, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

  2. I also heard Fluhman’s great lecture on Helen Mar Kimball Smith Whitney at the Bushman Seminar. Can’t wait to read the full article.

    Comment by Meghan M — November 5, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

  3. As I’ve noted before, MHS consistently puts out articles that interest me, more so than other Mormon Studies journals. Thanks for the review, Jared.

    Comment by David G. — November 5, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

  4. Thanks, Jared. Actually haven’t followed MHS too much until now, but looks like I should start.

    Comment by Ryan T — November 6, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

  5. I considered posting a notice of this issue; glad to see you beat me to it, Jared. Like David said, MHS consistently publishes worthwhile and interesting research.

    Comment by Christopher — November 6, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

  6. Thanks Ryan.

    Let me also call your attention to a summary of the 10:1 (Spring 2009) issue.

    Thanks Chris.

    Comment by Jared T. — November 6, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

  7. Thanks for the notice. Looks like a very solid issue.

    Comment by J. Stapley — November 6, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

  8. Thanks, Jared. And way to go JI’ers. I’ve been looking forward to seeing Fluhman’s piece.

    Comment by WVS — November 8, 2010 @ 1:27 am

  9. Thanks for the overview of the issue, yo.

    Comment by BHodges — November 9, 2010 @ 11:41 am

  10. Jared: Jacob Haun/Hawn is an ancestor of mine and I have been researching him and his family coming over from New York for years – I don’t subscribe to this publication. Is there a way for me to purchase this article on Jacob Hawn authored by Alex Baugh?

    Thank you,

    Comment by genaM — December 27, 2010 @ 9:34 am

  11. […] recently published an important piece about Joseph Smith’s polygamy in the latest number of Mormon Historical Studies and his dissertation, ?Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Antebellum America” […]

    Pingback by Juvenile Instructor » Announcement: Spencer Fluhman Hired By the BYU Department of History — January 31, 2011 @ 12:03 pm


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