Sunday, April 22, 2007

Meg's Book - Chapter 11 add - Forgiveness, arrest, and tea

Trivia - The press in Jackson County, Missouri, on which the Book of Commandments was being published was destroyed by a mob. The few books that were able to be created were from the sheets that fifteen-year-old Mary Elizabeth Rollins and her thirteen-year-old sister Caroline saved, grabbing the pages and running from the mob to hide in a nearby cornfield. The scripture I have Joseph quote is well known, but the section number and versification is as printed in the original Book of Commandments rather than what is contained in the Doctrine & Covenants today.

The June 1841 arrest of Joseph Smith appears connected with Tom Sharp's new-found animosity towards the Mormons, particularly given that the arrest occurs only a few miles from Warsaw, in the community where Elvira's sister Louisa lived in real life.

I do not know how it was discovered that Dr. Bennett had been inappropriate with Sarah Pratt, but it was discovered shortly before Orson Pratt's return from England. The use of herbs described is legitimate, although I don't know that Sarah Pratt would have necessarily 'needed' squaw mint. Dr. Bennett's use of chloroform in this chapter predates the first recorded use of chloroform to anaesthetize humans (1847) but is well after the discovery of chloroform (1831), and Dr. Bennett is noted as being a pioneer in the use of chloroform as an anaesthetic.

7 comments:

Pat said...

I recently became engaged in an exchange on a forum where the other person pretended to be teenager seeking truth. As the exchange continued I realized the truth. He was an old and hardened Mormon baiter/hater. He had a long string of anti-Mormon references ready to hand. One of the other people on the forum told him that John Bennett was everything he accused Joseph of being. I think that Bennett presented a challenge to Joseph. He was a skilled seducer, of women and men both. He seduced women in the more conventional meaning of the term, but he also insinuated himself into friendships with men and made them feel guilty when they began to suspect his true nature. Ironically the person on the forum who was so anti-Mormon was using many of the same deceptive practices as Bennett. When my suspicions were alerted and I made a challenge, he turned on me and became fairly vicious. I knew it was a waste of time to continue and withdrew. I was reminded of how Bennett turned on the prophet once his deceit was discovered. He added reams to the various accusations against Joseph. I am glad that you have depicted Elvira as feeling his deficiencies keenly.

daughterofheaven said...

By the way, decided to add a bit to the discussion about forgiveness - keep alive the thread that Elvira longs for Joseph and talk to the sin for which Joseph had been forgiven:

She hesitated for a moment. “What was your sin?”

Joseph gazed at her. “I disobeyed the Lord and gave Mormon’s account of 500 years of Nephite history to Martin Harris. It has been lost to us forever.”

Elvira frowned. “But we have the whole history.”

Joseph shook his head. “Would you consider the Old Testament complete if it lacked the Books of Chronicles? Would you consider the New Testament complete if it only contained one of the four gospels? As to my other sins, you have lived in my home for almost a year, and must be aware of how human I am.”

You are the best man I know. Her heart ached with the longing she had felt for him since that day in September. If Jonathan had not been present… why did he want someone else here? She realized Joseph had been careful to never be alone with her since… Joseph has never been alone with me, except for the day he urged me to return home with my Father. If standing alone in a public room of a home teaming with people counted as being alone.

Joseph stood in the silence that had fallen over them and helped her to her feet, Jonathan standing up next to her. Then he opened the office door for them to leave.

ktb said...

The writing style just keeps getting better. I see Tom Sharp in the background supporting and driving the story forward as it unfolds.

Quoting from the Book of Commandments is a nice touch - as it helps non-Mormons like me to better understand. I even found the chapter after a little Googling, though it will be awhile before I understand the difference between the Book of Commandments and Doctrine and Covenants.

Your portrayal of Elvira's feelings when she learned more about Bennett in the Pratt house were great. Unfortunately, it was almost like being there.

Overall, it seems to me in reading this that Bennett it the catalyst for Tom Sharp's editorials. What seems to be developing is the situation where Joseph becomes more and more the focus of Tom Sharp's fear and distrust, as a result of Bennett. I am waiting to see how the knowledge Elvira now has is passed to Joseph, and how that probably leads to the next set of events further exacerbating the situation.

Was a little late Blogging this - thought I lost my memory, but apparently the Blog provider updated the system, requiring me to set up my account again.

daughterofheaven said...

I was looking forward to how the knowledge was going to be transmitted as well - found out on the plane home yesterday. I like it.

The Book of Commandments is an earlier compilation. Subsequently the first version of the Doctrine and Covenants was published (where everything that you see in this chapter is coalesced into two long verses, for example). Since Mormons have an open canon, the Doctrine and Covenants has become that book which absorbs new doctrine. However there are only two 'sections' in the book that were not revealed through Joseph Smith (if I remember right): A section where John Taylor talks about the death of Joseph Smith, and a section describing the revelation Joseph F. Smith saw regarding the work of saving souls in the afterlife (in my mind the 'other shoe' to polygamy, at least that is how I will be portraying it in my book).

Of interest are the revelations that were never a part of the published Doctrine and Covenants during Joseph Smith's life. These include the revelation he received that Easter morning after the Kirtland Temple was dedicated, where the sealing keys were restored by Elijah (which kicked off both doing-work-for-the-dead and eternal marriage (implying a short term need for polygamy)) and the actual revelation on marriage (which went into the plural marriage stuff).

There are two 'official declarations' at the end of the Doctrine and Covenants. OD-1 is the Manifesto, ending the practice of plural marriage. OD-2 is the revelation opening up the priesthood to all worthy men (prior interpretation had limited the priesthood to those who were not of negro descent based on a variety of theories that appear to have developed after Joseph's death).

las said...

I’ve only got one miscarriage to go on, but the “tiny remains” would have messed up a whole lot of clean linen cloths (sorry. too much information)

The ambiguity about who made the tea is nice.

Not so sure the newspaper clippings worked for me--the worry, outrage, dawning realization that Nauvoo might never be a safe place seem to deserve more emotional reaction, even if Joseph turns out to be safe and to come home after all.

daughterofheaven said...

You wrote:

>I’ve only got one miscarriage to go on, but the “tiny remains” would have messed up a whole lot of clean linen cloths (sorry. too much information)"

Not too much information. The one miscarriage I've got to go on would have killed me in an earlier age because the 'necrotic tissue' could not be dislodged, no matter how much blood my body used to try and flush it away. My child had died about six weeks earlier. I'll clarify that she is placing clean cloths so she can see how Sarah is doing, since she has no idea how long the bleeding has been going on.

-"Elvira lifted the covers and was horrified to see the quantity of pooled blood. Sarah covered the tick with oilcloth. She knew this was going to happen. She did her best to clean up enough that it would be possible to assess how heavily Sarah was bleeding now. Tension transformed..."

>The ambiguity about who made the tea is nice.

In my back story, the blame for the abortion itself will lie with Sarah, which is consistent with the fact that she was cut off from church support in real history. Between Sarah and Bennett, they will have colluded to portray this as a mere one-time indiscretion, which Joseph will be relatively willing to forgive since (on Bennett's part) it could be understood to have been in part motivated by rebounding after Elvira's refusal to marry Bennett (which is Joseph's 'fault') and on Sarah's part is motivated by her husband's long absence (which is also Joseph's 'fault'). The nature and extent of Sarah's seduction will have come out later, when Bennett defects from the church.

>Not so sure the newspaper clippings worked for me--the worry, outrage, dawning realization that Nauvoo might never be a safe place seem to deserve more emotional reaction, even if Joseph turns out to be safe and to come home after all.

I'll work with it and expand it some. I don't want to get too detailed, because summer in Nauvoo is going to be bringing up something horrible every year. In 1840 it is the attack on the Holmes cabin. In 1841 it is the arrest at Bear Creek (which is the tiny community in which Elvira's sister lived in real life - in my fiction, both Tom Sharp and Joseph Smith would have had a larger than average probability of visiting Elvira's sister). In 1842 it is the defection of John Bennett and the letters in the Sangamo Journal (with Orson Pratt's near-suicide and excommunication). In 1843 it is the arrest in central Illinois. In 1844 it is Joseph's death. In 1845 it is the mob attacks killing dozens (hundreds?) in the outlying communities. In 1846 it is the attack of the mob of 1000 with two cannon on Nauvoo.

Okishdu said...

I thought I would add something in here. The quantity of blood is not so significant as identifiable tissue. I also miscarried and although I was in no doubt at all what was going on, I never could identify the particular mass that would have been my 11th child if circumstances had allowed. To actually be able to identify that tiny form would have made the entire experience somewhat different.

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