One of the big con games of the early nineteenth century by the equivalent of used car salesmen was that of land speculation.
The idea of manifest destiny was not so much a noble ideal as the need to keep leveraging unseen lands and selling them to a public desperate to move on to greener pastures.
The Financier of the American Revolution, Robert Morris, his financial empire was brought down in the end after the revolution by land speculation. Demand went down and overseas finances dried up because of Britain’s stake in the Napoleonic wars.
The Bankruptcy Laws passed by Congress as authorized by the new constitution were in fact tailored to release Morris from Debtor’s Prison.
Even the legendary Jim Bowie of Alamo fame was a land speculator who more times than not got into life and death fights over what he said in contracts for land he sold that did not exist or having already been claimed or sold by some other speculators.
The history of early nineteenth century America was not one of pilgrims and immigrants pushing further out west but one of chasing after the crook who sold you non-existent or substandard land and who kept setting up a new shop five valleys over and on a regular basis.
It comes as no surprise to me that a man with a big chuck of Ohio to sell, Solomon Spaulding, would do anything for a sale including write a short story (sales brochure) about treasures or lost Roman manuscripts to be found in hidden places on his land.
I ran into Solomon Spaulding in my youth in a Nelson’s Encyclopedia dated round 1942 and out of the University of Chicago Press. Why I was reading the brief entry I cannot say. I have always been excited since my youth by the esoteric and the exotic. I remember not knowing what Mormon meant and asked my father who said a line or two which I did not understand but his spin had a negative tone so I did not pursue the subject further.
I see on the Internet that comparing Solomon Spaulding’s “manuscript” to the Book of Mormon is a cottage industry on blogs and a deemed singular important BYU college term paper in many cases.
Solomon had attended Dartmouth, practiced as a minister and then more or less gave that up and failed in most every other business or enterprise he set up shop in.
Close to twenty years after he dies, some disgruntled LDS types go about trashing the new church and assemble a whole bunch of documents and affidavits and publish “Mormonism Unvailed”. The original he said-she said gossip book was born. At the end of the book was a claim that the sales brochure for Spaulding’s land was in fact the backbone of a plagiarized Book of Mormon. The irony in all this is that the little, mostly negative, documentation about the early Mormon church, that has not been suppressed, lost or intentionally destroyed, comes from this one gossipy back stabbing book.
Spaulding’s sales brochure disappears for decades and is supposedly found in Hawaii around 1884. Seeing that it is little more than a sales brochure fantasy deal, one of the LDS major branches publishes it to bolster the fact that it, cheese, and the Book of Mormon had little or nothing to do with one another.
Along comes a disgruntled Mormon pup in the late nineteen seventies and early eighties who uses the Mormonism Unvailed book to forge a bunch of documents that fit the he said-she said scenario of the book. In a religious community starved for original documentation, these forgeries became not unlike the RC church and its selling of relics. Every one wants a piece of the beginning, of the original saint etc. The moral to be learned is that selling relics is like selling land. If you try to move onto the relic maker’s or the land salesman’s profitable turf, they may kill you.
Whether the Spaulding land sales brochure was genuine in 1834 or the one re-found and published in 1885 is of little consequence. The original manuscript in Oberlin College in Ohio is valuable as a historic artifact, whether genuine or not.
The thing with relics is that you can sometimes have enough pieces of the true cross to build a house. And wasting tens of thousands of man hours debating on the Spaulding-Smith comparison is perhaps not a waste of time but a question not unlike how many angels dance on the head of a pin.
Trying to deify your beginnings or your past - in terms of faith - takes a great deal away from the present and the future.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
The traditional Mormon definition of Marriage is one man and one woman and one woman and one woman – back up – sorry that is the old fashioned past Mormon Church. I sincerely think that the majority of Mormons in Utah and their marriages are between one man and one woman. But like the deep seeded façade and denial of what passes for sexuality in the RC church, the mormon church would prefer not to think about Polygamy.
In fact the mechanism at times of the hierarchy of Temple Square operates in a same mindset as the Vatican on certain things and to change the subject when sensitive issues like polygamy or celibacy get interjected into a conversation.
I do not dislike Mormons. I have known some, worked with them and respected their old fashioned sense of right and wrong and morality. But when you try to discuss a full range of topics from the life menu, the light bulb goes out on many subjects. There are many blind spots in the Mormon POV.
The subject of Mormon polygamy gets a boilerplate answer about that was practiced in the early church and on and on and on. I do not like it when people trying to protect their social bubble are willing to exit you, falling into space, from their bubble, when they do not have the social maturity to discuss openly and honestly any subject in the life story.
If it had not been for the political hissy fit of the American extreme conservative establishment in the 23rd Congressional election in upstate New York, I may not be writing this article.
What I don’t like is a mask. I do not like a hidden Vatican style agenda in the politics of the American democracy.
I now see that part of the reason that it was necessary to wage a national campaign of conservative preferences on the ballot – to make choices for local NY state citizens – does in part relate to the religious foibles of the LDS institution in Salt Lake City.
I see that the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), whose mission statement is “Protecting Marriage and the Faith Communities that Sustain It”, has not yet come up with a dollar figure for its involvement in the NY-23 rape of choice – interference – figurative jack booted disruption - for NY citizens in their local election. The Republican candidate, Dede Scozzafava, was way too liberal for national conservative Republicans. That and she had no objections to Gay Marriage.
NOM paid for 160,000 mailings and tens of thousands of robot-calls. NOM is alleged to be a front for the LDS Church in a civil complaint going back to the passing of Proposition 8 in California.
Am I upset that the gay marriage initiative to overturn laws in Maine allowing gay marriage was a success for the carpetbag interests like NOM who financed it – No, I am not upset. It will be on the ballot again and again or passed again in the legislature. The fact that it is on the ballot or has already passed once by the Maine legislature and under the signature of the Governor means that democracy works in this country despite fascist attempts to define or legislate “morality” or manipulate public opinion through fear.
Putting that all aside, let us talk about how besides, Hate Radio, and Hate News – we now have Hate NPOs ( Non-Profit Organizations like NOM ) that have special tax status and are a conduit for money laundering all around the conservative circuit and whereby donations remain anonymous. I don’t care if these NPOs finance anything, it is the mask that bothers me and how tax free religions can act as non profits and impose by $$$$ their religious philosophies on all of us in the political arena. It goes against the foundation stone principle of separation of church and state.
So in case anybody is wondering why the Mormons are spending tens of millions protecting marriage between a man and a woman one only has to look at a timeline to perhaps see real intent.
The Jessop fundamentalist LDS cult in Texas got raided in April 2008. The money and signatures for Prop 8 in California materializes in June 2008. The Mormons would rather harass the Gay Dream of Marriage instead of addressing or rescuing these poor women in Texas, these sex slaves and children trapped in medieval dogmatic polygamist bullshit once sanctioned by the lunatic con artist prophet Joseph Smith.
Like most con games, they want you to look away - from Texas. They want to deny that polygamy still exists in Utah and in the West. They want to preserve their perfect little social bubble and blind spots to the outside world.
Whatever. Like I said in my previous article, I in downstate NY did not like what I saw in upstate NY in the NY-23 special election.
Whatever happened to Tolerance. It used to be a Virtue.
Live and learn.