Friday, March 16, 2007

Meg's Book - Chapter 8 add - Letters

Trivia - For the key letter in this chapter, I convolve the soliloquoy Austin wrote about his deceased wife with the Song of Solomon and a dash of my own past experiences. In real history, John C. Bennett will shortly strike up an adulterous relationship with Sarah Pratt, wife of one of the apostles (Orson Pratt was on a mission at the time).

"Bennett went to a lady in the city and began to teach her that promiscuous intercourse between the sexes was lawful and no harm in it [Jacob Cochran's heresy], and requested the privilege of gratifying his passions;... [when the lady refused] he told her that men in higher standing in the Church than himself not only sanctioned, but practiced the same deeds... By this means he accomplished his designs; he seduced a respectable female with lying, and subjected her to public infamy and disgrace. Not contented with what he had already done, he made the attempt on others, and by using the same language, seduced them also."


daughterofheaven said...

Joseph worked with John Bennett for months after the seductions were uncovered in 1842, trying to help him repent or at least remove his privileges and powers without shaming him. When Joseph was forced to make Bennett's excommunication public, Bennett began a vehement campaign against Joseph. While few believed Bennett to be anything but a scoundrel, most were convinced that Joseph should be destroyed. As one editor wrote, if even half of Bennett's charges were true, Mormons were "more diabolical, more dangerous and more deserving of destruction than any that can be found in the darkest dungeon in the land." [Burlington Hawk Eye, Nov. 10, 1842]

ktb said...

A really good chapter that adds much to Elvira's personal views. Being this is an add to Chapter 8 (The Relief Society Chapter), and having the Chapter start with Elvira waking up to a dream about John Bennett, I think a leading paragraph introducing John Bennett again after Chapter 6 would be useful. Was there something recent that triggered Elvira's dream? John Bennett appears to have been busy since Chapter 6 since he proposed to Elvira the day before, where in Chapter 6 he just offers her a locket.

Great response to John Bennett's letter, "I never meant to harm you, but neither can I become yours out of pity."

On page 7, the second full paragraph down, there is mention of the Exodus from Nauvoo. Since this chapter happens when Joseph is still alive, I assume that this is a typo.

daughterofheaven said...

Oh - this chapter comes immediately after the prior added stuff - this is the morning after my fictional John Bennett has proposed to Elvira. Did you miss the proposal?

I read through the chapter and don't see the typo you cite... I think I am referring to Elvira leaving Nauvoo to spend a few weeks helping her sister which also means she is able to get away from Dr. Bennett until the good doctor realizes no means no.

ktb said...

I just went back to Chapter 6_add and realized that I stopped at the comment box, not realizing there were three more pages, including where John Bennett proposes. All makes sense now.

The Exodus part is, "The second night they stayed in Quincy. There were those in town who had helped the Saints during the exodus from Nauvoo, and Elvira found herself the center of attention as folks inquired after the Smith and those who frequented the Smith household." That still does not seem right, but maybe I am missing something.

daughterofheaven said...

You're right - I mean to write "during the exodus from Missouri."

daughterofheaven said...

I was bummed to realize that John Bennett actually lived in the Smith household from approximately October 1840 to April/May 1841. With a bit of tweaking, my fictional story can be consistent with this fact. And that explains why my fictional John Bennett could propose to Elvira on Valentine's Day without anyone else being aware of the event.

Pat said...

I like what you wrote in the chapter 8 addition. The letters are believable, the contrast between Elvira's sister's missive and Bennett's florid style is particularly effective. It was interesting for me to read some letters written by soldiers in the civil war. Some of them are almost shockingly florid and sentimental, quite a contrast to the grit and smoke of war.

las said...

this is a long chapter, and I think you’re feeling the length and hurrying through it. It probably wouldn’t take too much more time to talk about Elvira’s feelings about being away (relief about the Dr., missing Joseph, missing Jonathan—does she actually love him, or is this layers and layers of misdirection? And what’s that going to do to her later?), describing her interactions with sister and brother-in-law, her feelings about helping deliver this baby. This could be two chapters pretty easily.
When you do the letters, I feel my “inner editor” relaxing, as though THIS is the “real” part—they read very realistically, even though I know they’re also fictional. And you’re made John appropriately alarming.

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