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Jeff K.

The Mormon Menace: Violence And Anti-Mormonism In The Postbellum South

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Standard Examiner Blog, A book review

History is cyclical, or so it is commonly believed. It seems that repeated echoes of earlier times often replay themselves in different ways that seem to follow the same path. It seem reflected in the recent publication “The Mormon Menace: Violence and Anti-Mormonism in the Postbellum South,”. A review by Doug Gibson of the standard examiner. What I find fascinating is how some of the echoes in the post Civil War south often seem repeated (to a lesser degree) in the present United States, and yes, in the south.

According to Mason, there were three strategies to combat Mormonism used by Southerners opposed to the church’s influence. The first was vigilante violence. The second was fierce condemnation from other churches’ pulpits. A few southern pastors wrote best-selling, very hyperbolic tomes against Mormonism. The third tactic, used mostly by more sophisticated southerners, was to rely on legislation, both state and national, that would prevent LDS influence.

In the present day violence is mostly quelled given the strength of the rule of law, relegated to forcing people from their jobs in some cases, graffiti on temples and chapels in others, small violence in comparison. The evangelicals which continue to preach against Mormonism (versus pro-their own belief systems) are still around, but the “hyperbolic tomes” tend to be from political groups who still find Mormons an easy minority to attack and undermine. The laws today are laws used to “force” a tolerance in different ways, but I view that as an imposition on all values that reflect virtue. Many of the cycles are repeated, if not by the same people, in much the same way they have been in the past.

I appreciated the irony expressed in the review also…

There is another irony to the LDS Church’s efforts in the South that led to more danger for missionaries. The most dangerous areas for LDS missionaries were rural, backwoods areas and small towns; however, those areas were also where the missionaries had the most success. Larger towns and southern cities were more tolerant of the missionaries but mostly ignored their message. The missionaries literally had to enter the danger zone to baptize.

I would note how this same scenario is often played out in the Book of Mormon (Abinadi) and the New Testament (Paul amongst the Romans), and even the Old Testament (Jonah).

Mason notes often that the persecution did not stop the growth of the LDS Church in the South. This frustrated other sects, particularly protestant evangelicals. What the mobs failed to understand is that the violence suffered by missionaries and members helped solidify a persecution narrative that the Utah LDS Church had been building for generations, since its members were expelled from Missouri, and Illinois. Those killed in Southern missions were hailed as martyrs alongside Joseph Smith and even Jesus Christ.

The questions one might have to ask is this… is the church stronger for the persecution it continues to suffer, or weaker because the persecution itself has been reduced? That remains an open question to me.

All in all, an excellent review of a book I will now purchase.

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It still is interesting to see the interactions between Evangelical churches and LDS in the South today. My family lives in Northwest Florida in a small rural town. The biggest building in the town, as in most small sourthern towns, is the First Baptist church. LDS are not allowed to play in the church softball league. LDS were playing ball at the new town rec center (ball field, pool, etc.); after a short time the city decided they could not afford to run it and guess who got it? That's right the First Baptist church. LDS were no longer allowed to use the facility.

Popular LDS youth are specifically singled out in their church youth meetings and are marked and Baptist youth are warned to stay away from them.

These things happen today. I suspect that it is one of the reasons why I have problems with Evangelcials. They are a group hard for me to love. As a group, I have learned they are Christians on Sunday and then raise h*** the other six days of the week. Sometimes they are not even Christian on Sundays.

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Being one of six LDS in our school in Virginia, at the time we were under the radar to be focused upon, it may be as we grow the persecution takes on a more formalized system.

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Being one of six LDS in our school in Virginia, at the time we were under the radar to be focused upon, it may be as we grow the persecution takes on a more formalized system.

As a child there was a small branch in the town; later it became a ward with a large chapel with a small ward. The effects of living through that environment is that I have a knee-jerk reaction to most Evangelists. I usually give a lot of leeway to others, but when an Evangelist begins on the same old trail, I have to catch myself so that I am not too aggressive. It is just too easy for me to lump them all into a group of hypocrites. It is a personal weakness, but the scab gets ripped off when I hear about my nieces and nephews and the children of childhood friends going through the same type of persecution that I knew as a boy. What can I say, but I remain a sinner with miles to go before I sleep.

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Often that type of persecution makes us that much stronger as Latter-day Saints. I think people out west sometimes forget what its like to be "one of the few" instead of one of the many.

My view was balanced somewhat by having known some evangelists that did indeed think we as Latter-day Saints were going to h***, but accepting the goodness we produced in this life. In that sense I was luckier than you in running across those groups. In our branch there were even a few converted evangelists who could be as fire and brimstone if they wanted to be. The South, I think produces a natural proclivity towards independence and stubborn resistance, which can be both good and bad.

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In the present day violence is mostly quelled given the strength of the rule of law, relegated to forcing people from their jobs in some cases, ...

You mean the 2 people who resigned, one of which recanted his support of Prop 8 and vowed to work to overturn Prop 8.

but the “hyperbolic tomes”

Such as the hyperbole that two people who voluntarily resigned under no threat of being fired were "forced" out their jobs, or "lost" the job they voluntarily abandoned?

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thanks for posting the book, it will be a interesting read.

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Sigh, Frank, we know you will justify anything for your pet causes, so your posts are somewhat less than credible with their typical obfuscation. ;)

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Sigh, Frank, we know you will justify anything for your pet causes, so your posts are somewhat less than credible with their typical obfuscation. ;)

I speak the truth, the truth being 2 LDS persons resigned their positions after it was learned of how those two person voted on prop 8.

There is no evidence that either would have been fired.

Scott Eckern, the theatre manager in San Fran, issued a public statement wherein he apologized for voting for Prop 8, and stated he would donate 1000US to HRC a group opposed to Prop 8.

Now lets consider what "obfuscate" means, one definition is "to make unclear".

I provide the facts of what happened i.e. each resigned under no threat of termination, and you accuse me of obfuscation? I made the truth of the matter clear.

You claim the two men were forced out or lost their jobs. you made the situation unclear with hyperbole....so who is posting obfuscation?

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and yes I have a pet cause, my pet cause is the LDS persons present the truth without being misleading or evasive. My pet cause is that a 3rd person can make an informed decision.

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Being one of six LDS in our school in Virginia, at the time we were under the radar to be focused upon, it may be as we grow the persecution takes on a more formalized system.

I grew up in Kentucky with only a few other Mormons in the school and I had the same experience. There weren't enough of us to matter.

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Yes, we kind of fell below the radar. I think it is when there is growth that people begin feeling or developing anger towards the saints.

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I speak the truth, the truth being 2 LDS persons resigned their positions after it was learned of how those two person voted on prop 8.

There is no evidence that either would have been fired.

Scott Eckern, the theatre manager in San Fran, issued a public statement wherein he apologized for voting for Prop 8, and stated he would donate 1000US to HRC a group opposed to Prop 8.

Now lets consider what "obfuscate" means, one definition is "to make unclear".

I provide the facts of what happened i.e. each resigned under no threat of termination, and you accuse me of obfuscation? I made the truth of the matter clear.

You claim the two men were forced out or lost their jobs. you made the situation unclear with hyperbole....so who is posting obfuscation?

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and yes I have a pet cause, my pet cause is the LDS persons present the truth without being misleading or evasive. My pet cause is that a 3rd person can make an informed decision.

Frank, you have an amoral pet cause, we have hashed this out before, you will do anything to minimize damage to any saint for your cause. It has been made rather obvious in the manner and method. A saint is hurt or damaged, from your point of view they either deserved, brought it upon themselves, or simply decided to resign.... Spare us the double talk. The way you look at facts is the way Galeazzo Ciano did. He noted people forced from their jobs legally resigned rather than face the consequences. Same thing. We have gone over this in other threads. I realize you believe that forcing people from their jobs is the same thing as people freely resigning, but few people here believe you when you state it.

It is telling though, how people like you in the South, often twisted things like that in order to justify all kinds of outrages against Mormons, Jews, African Americans. Of course they claimed truth too. African Americans didn't "have" to always sit in the back of the bus (not required in all municipalities), but the consequences could be dire. You of course would have stated they "volunteered" to sit in the back of the bus. Your view is what makes us very different people. I won't undermine my personal ethics for a single ideology. You have long since sold yours for 30 pcs of silver.

People like you spat upon my children and then just said it was accidental spittle. Sure. :rolleyes:

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Standard Examiner Blog, A book review

In the present day violence is mostly quelled given the strength of the rule of law, relegated to forcing people from their jobs in some cases, graffiti on temples and chapels in others, small violence in comparison....

Can you clarify what you mean here? It sounds like you are saying that in the isolated cases when Latter-day Saints have been the victims of lost jobs and graffiti, the perpetrators really wanted to murder the Mormons, and it was the "rule of law" that prevented them from doing so. Is that what you are saying?

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Violence breeds and seethes when it is unchecked. Generally violence of a type begins with one level and increases when the perpetrators know their actions will not yeild consequences and even approval. The government generally attempts to respond to most violent actions in a fairly quick manner. So we cannot know how far the actions or violence would have gone today, we can only look to past actions that state has not responded to and how the effects grew.

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I realize you believe that forcing people from their jobs is the same thing as people freely resigning, but few people here believe you when you state it.

Yes, even when I post links to LDS friendly sources which provide that person freely resigned and that Scott Eckern recanted his vote for Prop 8 and vowed support for marriage equality, people still disbelieve. Lets talk about evasion for a minute, you and the many other LDS here could post:

"Due pressure from public outcry, 2 LDS persons (Peter Vidmar and Scott Eckern) made the choice to resign their positions with their respective employers."

yet instead of a non-evasive statement you and others post

"lds forced from their jobs". You make an evasive statement, and we know what you think of evasion.

It is telling though, how people like you in the South, often twisted things like that in order to justify all kinds of outrages against Mormons, Jews, African Americans. Of course they claimed truth too. African Americans didn't "have" to always sit in the back of the bus (not required in all municipalities), but the consequences could be dire. You of course would have stated they "volunteered" to sit in the back of the bus. Your view is what makes us very different people.

Have I ever made a commentary concerning blacks and bus rides? Or concerning blacks period? No I have not. So once again instead of being concerned with the truth, you post false statement meant to insult.

And people like me in the South were also 1 of 6 LDS in a highschool of 1500 students, and that was just one of the 4 highschools in the town.

I won't undermine my personal ethics for a single ideology.

You claim that evasion is to tell a lie. And you make evasive statements. But I guess since protecting marriage is one ideology, and defending the LDS Church is another ideology, then is suppose you have made a true statement, you wont undermine your ethics for SINGLE ideology, but for two ideologies you have no issue with making evasive statements.

People like you spat upon my children and then just said it was accidental spittle. Sure. :rolleyes:

People like me understand that that "truth shall set you free".

People like me do not resort to evasion when presenting the documented facts of an issue.

People like hold those who say "evasion is lieing" to their word.

People like me understand that some facts are uncomfortable, but despite that discomfort will not attempt to hide those facts.

i will stay out of this thread, unless i have something offer else to offer on the OP. I never knew Parely P. Pratt was murdered. I have been told that in Ten. there is a city/town where missionaries have not gone for 40yrs or so because two missionaries were murdered.

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Sigh, move on Frank.

Put a gun or the risk of a job to a number of poeple's head and they recant. I am not going to get into how you justify all those tactics used against Mormons.

I get it. You think we deserved it. If it were up to you, they would trash us more than they have. We understand Frank, we know what you are. The cause uber alles no?

In the end you offer nothing but the same justification for hate.

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Sigh, move on Frank.

Put a gun or the risk of a job to a number of poeple's head and they recant. I am not going to get into how you justify all those tactics used against Mormons.

I get it. You think we deserved it. If it were up to you, they would trash us more than they have. We understand Frank, we know what you are. The cause uber alles no?

In the end you offer nothing but the same justification for hate.

Yes you are not going to get into anything because your claims are outright lies and you know it.

Where have I justified it?

Where have I supported it?

Concerning Vidmar and Eckern I have not said they deserved anything. I have posted that they resigned, which is the non-evasive truth, a truth which offends you for some reason despite your personal claim about evasion.

Concerning your personal claims of "attacks" I have never said you deserved it.

Please have the personal honor and integrity to support your claims.

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Shrug, reread your own words in other discussions, I will not go through them here. You are becoming tiresome.

Now back to the real issues. In the case of the South it was killing or intimidating to keep women virtuous and away from polygamists. The justification ran along lines of inceased violence if threats and intimidation were not sufficient.

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Shrug, reread your own words in other discussions, I will not go through them here.

You are unwilling to go through them because you know your are making untruthful statements about me. Its a shame that you are unwilling to support to your claims, though it seems par for the course when you are challenged about your claims.

I know quite well what I have posted.

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No, because...

Nah, you aren't worth the powder.

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Why then was the south more violent than the north in its anti Mormon activity?

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Why then was the south more violent than the north in its anti Mormon activity?

I think it is a reflection of Southern culture. It falls under the mentality of men are men and protector of all that is holy. Further, in the South you found revivals rather constantlyoccurringg whichkeepp people in aheightenedd religious state, particularly about those dang, heathen Mormons. In addition, as much as Bro. Cannon wished to burn the South and baptize for the dead, the south was moderately fruitful labor. Within my father's family, my great aunt Rachel was baptized in 1894 along with her children (husband was not). That baptism lead to what is now two wards in two cities.

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My branch of about 20 in Bristol VA/TN is now two wards, one in Bristol and one in Abingdon. And from what I have seen they are very strong members. I think you are right where the south is concerned. Culturally a conversion to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seems less jarring than it might to other religions. Many areas are conservative and have a streak of independence. I think this is two edged, making them potentially good converts (before they even convert), but also meaning that they are as likely to react strongly and independent of government rules against the people they see as a threat, whether a real threat or imagined one.

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I do not recall the name of the book, but in my University History class, we read that 3% of the US population was in polygamy, another point I recall is a report delivered in New Orleans La. that stated that mormon polygamy was causing the children of said relations to be born green. It was quite laughable the "reports" that were mentioned.

i think jeff k has a point about the southern culture. I would add my own opinion that the opposition in the southern states was due to the religious nature of the southern people.

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I do not recall the name of the book, but in my University History class, we read that 3% of the US population was in polygamy, another point I recall is a report delivered in New Orleans La. that stated that mormon polygamy was causing the children of said relations to be born green. It was quite laughable the "reports" that were mentioned.

i think jeff k has a point about the southern culture. I would add my own opinion that the opposition in the southern states was due to the religious nature of the southern people.

Having deep roots in the south and having a deep interest in genealogy, I was surpised to find that after the Civil War there were many men that had families from several different women. My great, great Grandmother was a second women. She bore several children and all of them kept her maiden name. She never took the name of the father. One distant relative had up to 24 wives or mistresses however one wishes to call it. These types of relationships seemed to last up until about 1925. The south was religious, but it was not puritan in its approach.

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Having deep roots in the south and having a deep interest in genealogy, I was surpised to find that after the Civil War there were many men that had families from several different women. My great, great Grandmother was a second women. She bore several children and all of them kept her maiden name. She never took the name of the father. One distant relative had up to 24 wives or mistresses however one wishes to call it. These types of relationships seemed to last up until about 1925. The south was religious, but it was not puritan in its approach.

In the aftermath of the Civil War / War of Northern Aggression, there were perhaps many more young men not available in the South for marriage (due to having died) than there were older ones who were available?

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