Title Descriptions: "M"
Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate
Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, Ohio, October 1834-September 1837.
3 v. (36 nos. in 576 p.) 23 cm.
When the new press was set up in Kirtland, the Church leaders agreed to complete the volume of The Evening and the Morning Star and then replace it with a new Kirtland periodical, the Messenger and Advocate. In October 1834 the first number of the Messenger and Advocate appeared, and for the next three years it was issued more or less monthly, making three volumes of twelve numbers each. By the time The Evening and the Morning Star ceased publication, the concept of the official church organ had evolved from that of a newspaper to be read and thrown away to that a periodical to be read and saved; so the format of the Messenger and Advocate was changed to a uniform sixteen-page, octavo issue, allowing the run to be more conveniently bound. Oliver Cowdery continued as editor for the first eight numbers. He was succeeded by John Whitmer who was officially the editor for number 9-18. W.W. Phelps, however, performed a substantial part of the editorial labors during Whitmer’s term. Oliver Cowdery again assumed the editorial chair with number 19, but it was his brother, Warren A. Cowdery, who actually edited the next nine issues. Warren A. Cowdery became the official editor with the twenty-ninth number, serving until the Messenger and Advocate ceased publication in September 1837.
The Messenger and Advocate is the basic source for the study of Mormonism’s Ohio period. The tone of the magazine reflects the theological ferment that characterized the Kirtland era. Its pages include doctrinal essays, official statements of the Church leaders, announcements and minutes of conferences, news of the progress of the Church in Kirtland and elsewhere, responses to anti-Mormon attacks, and letters from the outlying branches. The first number gives a summary of the basic tenets of Mormonism by Oliver Cowdery, and in eight of the first thirteen issues there is a series of letters from Cowdery to W. W. Phelps which constitute the first published account of the birth of Mormonism (See Letters by Oliver Cowdery, to W.W. Phelps … in this digital collection).
Excerpted and edited from Peter Crawley and Chad J. Flake, A Mormon Fifty: an exhibition in the Harold B. Lee Library in conjunction with the annual conference of the Mormon History Association. (Provo, Utah, Friends of the Brigham Young University Library, 1984). Item 4, p. [8-9]; and Peter Crawley, A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. Volume One, 1830-1847. (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, Religious Studies Center, ). Item 16, p. 47-50.
Used by permission of the authors and the Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University.
Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star
Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, May 1840-March 1842; Liverpool, April 1842- March 3, 1932; London, March 10, 1932-December 1970.
132 v. 23 cm.
The Millennial Star was the longest running Latter-day Saint (LDS) periodical, published continuously for 130 years until discontinued in 1970 with the overhaul of all the LDS magazines. It was inaugurated by the Twelve at the beginning of their great mission to England. Brigham Young and his fellow members of the Twelve landed in Liverpool on April 6, 1840, the tenth anniversary of the Church. Eight days later they began a series of meetings in Preston in which they resolved to publish a monthly periodical to be called the Latter-day Saints Millennial Star. The prospectus, also reprinted in the first number of the Star, announces that the magazine “will stand aloof from the common political and commercial news of the day.–Its columns will be devoted to the spread of the fulness of the gospel.”
Parley Pratt served as the founding editor until mid-July 1840, when he went back to the United States to get his family. Brigham Young and Willard Richards then took charge of the Star, with Richards doing most of the work. Parley resumed the editorship when he returned in October, laboring alone until April 1842 when he was joined by a British convert, Thomas Ward. Ward became editor and publisher in November 1842, serving until October 1846 when he was replaced by Orson Hyde, president of the British Mission. Thereafter, the British Mission president assumed the editorship of the Star.
When Parley Pratt left England in October 1842, leaving Ward as editor, the Star came close to losing its life. On November 21, 1842, in Nauvoo, the Twelve agreed to terminate the magazine, apparently because they felt its circulation was too low, and on January 3, 1843, they wrote to Ward informing him of this decision. After numerous letters between Ward and Brigham Young, Young wrote Reuben Hedlock, who had replaced Ward as British Mission President, that he was at liberty to print as many copies as he could sell, and the survival of the Star was assured.
Initially the Star was a monthly. With the issue of June 15, 1845 (vol. 6, no. 1), it was changed to a semimonthly and continued as such until April 24, 1852 (vol. 14 no. 9) when it was issued weekly.
Even though the Star was published primarily for the members of the Church in England, it is an important record of the progress of the whole of Mormonism, especially of the nineteenth century Utah church. Hence, it is difficult to overestimate the value of the Star. “But for this publication,” notes H. H. Bancroft, “it would be impossible to fill the gaps which occur in the record of the Mormon people.” (History of Utah, 407).
Excerpted and edited from Peter Crawley and Chad J. Flake, A Mormon Fifty: an exhibition in the Harold B. Lee Library in conjunction with the annual conference of the Mormon History Association. (Provo, Utah, Friends of the Brigham Young University Library, 1984). Item 14, p. [13-14]; and Peter Crawley, A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. Volume One, 1830-1847. (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, Religious Studies Center, ). Item 71, p. 108-13.
Used by permission of the authors and the Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University.
Millennium, and other poems
Pratt, Parley Parker. The millennium, and other poems: To which is annexed, a treatise on the regeneration and eternal duration of matter. By P. P. Pratt, minister of the gospel. New York, Printed by W. Molineux, cor. of Ann and Nassau Streets, 1840.
iv, l., 148 p. 19 cm.
This volume reprints Parley Pratt’s long narrative poem “The Millennium” and eleven shorter poems from his earlier The Millennium, a Poem (Boston 1836). In addition are included eighteen other poems eight of which were written while Parley was a prisoner in Richmond and Columbia jails. But the importance of this book lies in the essay “A Treatise on the Regeneration and Eternal Duration of Matter” included at the end. Parley’s second prison essay, written “to comfort and console myself and friends when death stared me in the face, than as an argumentative or philosophical production for the instruction of others” was the first writing to deal with the truly distinguishing doctrines of Mormonism. Appearing here for the first time in a Mormon publication were such radical ideas as: matter and spirit can neither be created nor annihilated; the world was not created ex nihilo but organized out of existing matter; and God is bound by certain overriding laws. In short, “A Treatise” announced that the “omnis” of traditional Christianity did not apply to Mormonism.
Excerpted and edited from Peter Crawley and Chad J. Flake, A Mormon Fifty: an exhibition in the Harold B. Lee Library in conjunction with the annual conference of the Mormon History Association. (Provo, Utah, Friends of the Brigham Young University Library, 1984). Item 13, p. .
Used by permission of the authors.
Mormonism unveiled Zion’s watchman unmasked
PRATT, Parley Parker. Mormonism unveiled: Zion’s Watchman unmasked, and its editor, Mr. L. R. Sunderland, exposed: truth vindicated: the Devil mad, and priestcraft in danger! By P. P. Pratt, minister of the gospel. New-York: Printed for the publisher, 1838. 47 pp. 19 cm.
Three months after he published the Voice of Warning, Parley Pratt’s missionary efforts in New York had become vigorous enough to draw the attention of the local clergy. Between January 13 and March 3, 1838, La Roy Sunderland, editor of the Methodist Zion’s Watchman, attacked the Mormons in an eight-part article which used the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Voice of Warning, and, in the last installment, the father of all anti-Mormon books, E. D. Howe’s Mormonism Unveiled [sic] (Painesville, 1834). When Mormonism Unveiled first appeared, the Saints all but ignored it. But four years later, particularly when his own work was attacked in print, Parley could only respond in kind. In April 1838, just before leaving New York for Far West, he published his reply to Sunderland-the earliest surviving response to an anti-Mormon work. Like Voice of Warning, it established a formula which would be followed by Mormon pamphleteers for another century, balancing a defense of the Church’s claims with an assault on the religion of the attacker.
Sunderland’s article, also printed separately as Mormonism Exposed and Refuted (New York: Piercy & Reed, Printers, 1838), attacks the Book of Mormon by pointing out grammatical errors and what it claims are inconsistencies and plagiarisms. Quoting from the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Voice of Warning, it argues that Mormonism is absurd, inconsistent with the Bible, and exists merely to fleece its new converts. The eighth installment repeats E. D. Howe’s Spaulding-Rigdon theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon.
With considerable enthusiasm and a touch of vitriol, Parley Pratt responds to the bulk of Sunderland’s objections. In replying to the Spaulding-Rigdon theory, he recounts his own conversion and his part in introducing Sidney Rigdon to Mormonism. At one point he oversteps himself a bit when he writes (pg. 15), “I will state as a prophecy, that there will not be an unbelieving Gentile upon this continent 50 years hence; and if they are not greatly scourged, and in a great measure overthrown, within five or ten years from this date, then the Book of Mormon will have proved itself false.” At another (p. 27) he anticipates the dramatic ideas outlined by Joseph Smith in the King Follett discourse by suggesting that the Saints will come to “have the same knowledge that God has” and hence be properly called “GODS, even the sons of God.” He further announces (p. 31), “But we worship a God, who has both body and parts; who has eyes, mouth, and ears, and who speaks when he pleases-to whom he pleases, and sends them where he pleases.” As a final thrust, he attacks some of the Methodist doctrines, particularly the concept of God “without body or parts” and the practice of infant baptism.
Excerpted and edited from Peter Crawley, A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. Volume Two, 1848-1852. Forthcoming.
Used by permission of the author.