Table of Contents


Editor’s Note:  Burned-Over with Bob Flanders

William D. Morain

The editor channels a former professor to characterize the Journal’s spring issue.

Heroines of Restoration History: Two Extraordinarily Resourceful Women

Rachel Killebrew

In her Presidential Address, Rachel Killebrew chronicles the lives of Edna Easter, who pioneered the success of programs for girls in Community of Christ; and Martha Maria Hughes Cannon, Latter-day Saint physician, suffragette, Utah state senator, polygamous wife, and public health advocate.

Discerning Supernatural Presences: Experiential Claims and Restorationist Movements in the Burned-Over District

Ann Taves

For her Richard Howard lecture, Ann Taves contrasts the dissimilar descriptions of the founding Mormon visions related by Joseph Smith Jr. vs. those by his mother. When weighing the two against the documented historical record, she concludes that 1824 – not 1820 – was the valid founding episode and chronicles Smith’s progressive elevation of his self-image thereafter.

The Palmyra Revival of 1824-25, From Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist Records:  Its Impact on the Restoration Movement

Michael Marquardt

Mike Marquardt reviews the detailed Palmyra denominational records from 1824-25 to understand clues to understanding later retrospective accounts of founding Mormon events.  He concludes that Joseph Smith’s 1838-39 description of an 1820 vision does not fit the historical evidence but was likely fashioned instead for theological purposes.

How the Erie Canal Corridor Became the Burned-over District:  Rochester and the Advent of Mormonism

Bruce W. Worthen

Bruce Worthen describes the extraordinary socioeconomic upheaval that ensued from construction of the Erie Canal, especially in the region surrounding Rochester, New York.  He demonstrates how Mormonism arose as a working-class movement vis-à-vis rival spiritual paradigms in this disorderly milieu.

Layered Grief in the Burned-over District:  Religious Ecstasy as a Healing Balm

Russell L. Osmond

Russ Osmond argues that the common denominator of the Burned-over District was not religious revival but rather the constant chaos of extreme social disorder occasioned upon the headlong construction of the Erie Canal.  This, in turn, set the stage for the tension-releasing ecstasy that Mormonism’s charismatic founder could engender among the displaced.

The Family That Built Canals

Vickie Cleverley Speek

As a result of an accidental discovery, Vickie Speek chronicles a notable Mormon-connected family who played a major role in the construction of the Erie Canal as well as numerous other American landmarks.

Thomas A. Lyne, the Latter-day Saints, and the American Theatre: Confluences and Influences, 1844-1904

Lee Krähenbühl

Lee Krähenbühl presents a convincing argument that Thomas A. Lyne was the dramatic coach behind the Nauvoo Temple ceremony and that he went on to inspire many LDS stage performers whose careers intersected with momentous events in American theatre history.

Why Did the RLDS Youth Programs Disappear After a Half-Century of Success?

Sherry Mesle-Morain

Sherry Mesle-Morain chronicles the expansion of Community of Christ (RLDS) youth programs from their inception in 1910 to their rich success in the 1960s, followed by their piecemeal decline through the turn of the century.

Forerunner or Revisionist? The Puzzle of Solomon Chamberlin

Johnny Stephenson

Johnny Stephenson uses recently disclosed documents to dispute the claim of Solomon Chamberlin to have received prophetic foreknowledge of Joseph Smith’s movement.

The Temple Lot in Jackson County, Missouri, and How Early Church Members Worshipped

Michael Marquardt

Mike Marquardt reviews the history of the 1831 declaration of the site for a Latter Day Saint temple in Independence, Missouri, and cites research findings regarding the nature of worship activities during the period.


Book Reviews

Scott Esplin. Return to the City of Joseph: Modern Mormonism’s Contest for the Soul of Nauvoo         

Reviewed by David J. Howlett

Scott Esplin. Return to the City of Joseph: Modern Mormonism’s Contest for the Soul of Nauvoo

Reviewed by Christin Mackay

Will Bagley. River Fever: Adventures on the Mississippi, 1969-1972

Reviewed by Michael Allen

Ron Romig. Behind the Scenes Tour of the Kirtland Temple: From Basement to Bell Tower

Reviewed by Christin Mackay

Jana Riess. The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church

Reviewed by Katherine R. Pollock