Mormons and Jews
by Steven Epperson
By 1853 a majority of Joseph Smith’s followers were settled in Utah under the leadership of Brigham Young. Scores of sermons, tracts, commentaries, and books of theology and doctrine written in the middle decades of the nineteenth century chronicle continuing Mormon inquiry into questions about the Jewish people. Both of the contrasting views about Judaism focused by the writings of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the church’s early years continued to find issue in the Great Basin.
That Joseph Smith’s more inclusive view continued to find disciples is illustrated by the encounter of Solomon Nunes Carvalho with the Mormons. In 1853 General Charles Fremont embarked on his fifth survey of the Rocky Mountains on behalf of the United States government. He was commissioned to map out a favorable transcontinental railroad route. Among the members of his team was his photographer Carvalho, a thirty-two-year-old Jew born in Charleston, South Carolina. According to one scholar, Carvalho came from a family “which prized secular and Jewish culture.” Well-read and trained as an artist, Carvalho was the first photographer ever “appointed to the staff of an exploring party anywhere in the world.”1
The route of Fremont’s survey took his expeditionary team through the high and rugged mountains of [p.174] southern Utah in the dead of winter. Their passage was arduous, and they were rescued by Mormon settlers in the town of Parowan. Carvalho writes, “I was mistaken for an Indian.… My hair was long and had not known a comb for a month, my face was unwashed, and ground in with the collected dirt of a similar period. Emaciated to a degree, my eyes sunken, and clothes all torn into tatters.… My hands were in a dreadful state: my fingers were frostbitten, and split at every joint: and suffering … from diarrhea, and symptoms of scurvy.” Taken in and cared for by a Mormon family, Carvalho recalls, “When I entered Mr. Heap’s house I saw three beautiful children. I covered my eyes and wept for joy to think I might yet be restored to embrace my own.”2
Carvalho was so sick that he was unable to continue with Fremont and was sent to convalesce in Salt Lake City three hundred miles to the north. In his weakened condition, he reports, “I had to be lifted in and out [of the wagon] like a child.”3 Carvalho, who was to stay among the Mormon pioneers in Utah for almost three months, made quite an impression on his hosts. In turn he was struck by what he observed among the isolated pioneer communities of the Saints settling into the mountain valleys of the Rockies.
The largest Mormon settlement, Salt Lake City, was at the time of Carvalho’s arrival in the late winter of 1854 less than seven years old. What he found was a city of some four square miles “laid out at right angles” and watered by streams of fresh water descending from the canyons of mountains ringing the settlement. Individual dwellings, mostly of adobe, “appropriated an acre and a quarter of ground, for gardening purposes.” A courthouse, theater, and tabernacle had already been constructed, and another temple was “in the course of building.” Carvalho “was allowed to see the plan projected by a Mr. Angell, who by inspiration had succeeded in producing an exact model of the one used by the [p.175] Melchisedek priesthood, in older times.” Forced to abandon Nauvoo and yet another of their temples, the Saints were trying again to express their connection with the temple culture of ancient Israel. Carvalho also pointed out that Mormon men, members of a lay priesthood, wear an undergarment with distinctive marks upon it in imitation of the Jews, “who wear fringes on the borders of their garments, ‘that they may look upon them and remember the commandments of the Lord to do them.'”4
Carvalho noted that all of these buildings and indeed “all the real estate in the valley” was the “property of the church.” During a general conference of the church which he witnessed in 1854, Carvalho reports that “thousands of property holders … deeded their houses and lands to the church, in perpetuity.” Carvalho believed he discerned in this and other manifestations of Mormon faith and practice a “sincere” and “honest” people “imbued with true religious feelings.” He also went on to point out the advantageous material effects of Mormon economic policy during this period of colonization. Pioneers upon their arrival were transformed “From being tenants at will of an imperious and exacting landlord [into] land holders, in their own right—free men, living on free soil, under a free and enlightened government.”5
Brigham Young, accepted as successor to Joseph Smith by a majority of the Saints after Smith’s assassination, welcomed the explorer-photographer. Carvalho reports that “I called on Governor Young, and was received by him with marked attention. He tendered me the use of all his philosophical instruments and access to a large and valuable library.”6
Carvalho accompanied Young on one of the president’s tours to the scattered settlements of the Saints. Among Young’s entourage was E. T. Benson, now an apostle. Benson was the young Illinois plainsman converted [p.176] to Mormonism through the sermons of Orson Hyde and John E. Page on their way to Jerusalem. During an evening encampment, Carvalho joined a religious service. After listening to “an eloquent and feeling exhortation to the people, to practice virtue and morality” by a “Mr. Ezra Parrish,” Carvalho heard Benson “preached a sermon on the restoration of Israel to Jerusalem, which would have done honor to a speaker of the Hebrew persuasion.”7
Not all Mormons shared Benson’s enthusiasm for Jewish restoration. Mormons have both produced and inherited a complex and mixed body of doctrines and traditions concerning the Jewish people and the relations between Jew and Christian. Nineteenth-century Mormons were converts from other Christian churches and theologies and practices governing Christian perceptions of Jews and Judaism. Early Mormon leaders were not of one mind about how the restoration affected their theological understanding and practical dealings with other religous traditions. The diversity that still existed in Mormon theology on this topic from the earliest days of the church can be seen by the contrasting views of two priesthood holders preaching near the time of Joseph Smith’s death. At about the same time Smith was assassinated in Carthage, Illinois, church minutes report that an “Elder Whipple” preached to an assembly of the Saints “on the subject of the kingdom being taken away from the Jews and given to the Gentiles and the great work of the last days.”8 In his view at least, the Jews would play little part in the final events. But Whipple’s views contrasted with those of an Elder Norton. In a conference in Greenwood, Steuben County, New York, on the first Sunday of April 1845, a “spirited discourse was delivered by Elder Norton from Isaiah 24:1-6, showing that the covenant made with the Jews, had been broken, also proved from the scriptures, that God had promised to renew it in the last days … [and] that the [p.177] work had already commensed.”9 In Norton’s view the Jews were already assuming their central place on the stage of the last days.
Joseph Smith himself was not innocent of a certain invective against Jews. Smith made use of the standard stock of New Testament epithets against Hebrews as weapons in his defense against attacks from without and dissension and defection within the ranks of the church. Doctrinal innovations introduced in Nauvoo—among them the practice of polygamy—brought intense opposition from many chagrined Saints, including some of Smith’s closest associates. He attacked their resistance by linking them with those who opposed “new revelations” introduced by Jesus of Nazareth: “The same principle [resistance to innovations] was signally manifest among the Jews when the Savior came in the flesh. These, then religious bigots boasted of the old revelations, garnished the sepulchres of the dead … but yet when the new revelation came fresh from the mout of the great I Am … they could not endure it … it showed the corruptions of that generation.”10
Referring to those seeking Smith’s life in the fall of 1842, the Times and Seasons followed in this tradition: “Fortunately for this generation, their fathers had not prophets to kill, but they show a disposition to tread in the footsteps of the Jewish nation, and to manifest their religion by seeking to destroy from off the face of the earth those whom God hath sent. Our Savior said of the Jews, ‘Ye are of your father the devil.…11
Those who followed in this same vein after Smith’s death included John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and Orson Pratt. John Taylor, Smith’s successor as editor of the Times and Seasons and Brigham Young’s successor as president of the LDS church, claimed in an April 1853 general conference in Salt Lake City: “We read [that] the Jews … were a nation that submitted only in part to his [God’s] authority, for they rebelled against his laws and [p.178] were placed under a schoolmaster until the Messiah should come.”12 Sixteen years later Taylor opined that the Law had been a curse not a blessing to Israel. After quoting Galatians 3:8, he remarked: “Now some people think the law of Moses … was given to the children of Israel as a peculiar kind of blessing; but it was a peculiar kind of curse, added because of transgression. It was as Peter said—neither they nor their fathers were able to bear it.… When Jesus came to do away with the law and to introduce the gospel which their fathers had lost because of transgression … the heavens were opened, the purpose of God was unfolded and His power made manifest among the people.”13
Ordained an apostle in 1838, Wilford Woodruff was veteran of numerous missions in the eastern United States and Great Britain and along with Orson Pratt was also among the first company of Saints to enter the Great Salt Lake Valley in July 1847. Woodruff succeeded Taylor in 1889 as the fourth president of the church.14 In an 1878 sermon typical of numerous pronouncements by him on this topic, Woodruff pointed out that the Jews of first century Palestine were “intently looking forward to the coming of their Shiloh in the person of King, a ruler who should possess great power.…”15 Chafing under the “Romish yoke,” they rejected the “gospel message” of Jesus of Nazareth “and the words of life he taught them.” Due to their “vanity and pride,” they “despised him and persecuted him, and at last shed his blood.” For this act the Jewish people “have been paying the penalty of their misdeeds for the past 1800 years. It costs something to shed innocent blood.”16 A “Gentile judge” was willing to release him, but “those that took part in the deed and those who sanctioned it, said, ‘Let His blood be upon us and our children after us.”‘17
Woodruff protested his good will towards the Jewish people: “I do not say this [their ‘rejection’ of Jesus] because I wish to find fault with them. I have a great love [p.179] for them as a people.”18 And he pronounces evil tidings on their gentile persecutors, “Woe unto the Gentiles, who have administered afflictions to the Jews for these many years?”19 Still the cumulative effect of Woodruff’s preaching about the Jewish people was to cast them as justly suffering for venial and mortal crimes, as a cursed pariah community.
Orson Pratt was, along with his older sibling, Parley P. Pratt, a charter member of the first quorum of apostles organized in the spring of 1835. Both he and Parley were also prominent theologians and apologists for the church. Orson Pratt’s published works were extremely influential in developing and articulating LDS church doctrine and theology.20 With the exception of Brigham Young, Pratt was the most visible figure in the LDS church for the “gentile” world. Nicknamed the “Gauge of Philosophy,”21 he was a singular intellectual force among frontier Mormons. He was conversant in mathematics, astronomy, surveying, philosophy, and theology, and his sermons were laced liberally with citations from Christian church fathers, Scottish philosophers, Unitarian biblical scholars, and Anglican ecclesiastical theoreticians as well as scriptural prooftexts from the Bible and the Book of Mormon.
In a major statement given on 2 January 1859 on the relationship of the Mormon canon to the scriptures of the Jewish and Christian communities, Pratt undertook a text-critical examination of biblical manuscripts and the history of their transmission. The intent of his sermon was to contrast the trust of Mormons in the Book of Mormon with the skepticism of “enlightened” scholars about the reliability of extant biblical manuscripts: “having learned that they are very imperfect in their present state, and that they have been translated from manuscripts that cannot be depended upon.”22
In this examination of sources, Pratt accepted without hesitation the testimony of early church fathers riddled [p.180] with anti-Jewish invective. Pratt concluded his survey of “ancient manuscripts” by stating that “All, therefore is uncertainty, not only in relation to the Hebrew manuscripts, but also the Greek.”23 In support of this contention, Pratt cites John Chrysostom (347-407 C.E.) and Justin Martyr (ca. 100-ca. 165 C.E.) as authoritative witness to the violence done to biblical manuscripts by Jewish leaders in the second and fourth centuries.
Chrysostom, author of the vituperative Homilies Against the Jews, was quoted as saying, “Many of the prophetical monuments have perished; for the Jews being careless, and not only careless but impious, have carelessly lost some of these monuments; others they have partly burned, partly torn to pieces.” The reason behind this “impiety” had already been conveniently supplied by Justin, whose testimony Pratt cites: “We are also informed by St. Justin, another early Christian writer, that the Jews actually did destroy a great number of the prophetical books, in order that the world might not perceive the agreement between the ancient Prophets and the Old Testament and Christianity.”24
It is clear from the whole text of Pratt’s sermon that he did not intend to vilify Jews so much as undermine the exclusive scriptural authority of the Bible. For three decades Mormons had protested that the image of their church, beliefs, and leaders presented by journalists and observers was distorted. But when confronted with the testimony of ancient church fathers, who had no less an axe to grind against Jews than did opponents of the Latter-day Saints against Mormonism, Pratt uncritically depended on their narratives. Pratt’s acceptance of these sources within the context of Judaism is even more striking given his otherwise constant criticism of the writings of a “fallen” Christian church.
The lapse in Pratt’s critical faculty is less surprising when considered along side his stated views on Judaism which were outlined in a major address given on 26 [p.181] March 1871. Pratt was working from the text of Isaiah 4:1-5: “Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem … that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned.” Pratt took pains to point out this was “a prediction not yet fulfilled.”25 In contrast, Orson Hyde had quoted these verses in order to deny any further corporate guilt of Jewish people for the death of Christ. Hyde insisted that this passage from Isaiah had been fulfilled.
In his 1871 discourse, Pratt either did not know of Hyde’s pronouncement and mission or was preaching in conscious opposition to it. The Jews, Pratt sermonized, “were once in possession of all the miraculous fruits and blessings and gifts for the kingdom.” But because they had “persecuted, hated, and reviled … [Christ] … and finally succeeded … in crucifying him,” the “Kingdom was taken away from Israel and given to [the gentiles].” “In consequence of the wickedness of the people,” Pratt continued, “and the great transgressions … in rejecting the Lord, their true Messiah, great and severe calamities and judgements came upon them.… In other words, all those curses which are pronounced in the Book of Deuteronomy upon the head of Israel have literally been fulfilled during the past 1800 years.”
Thirty years after Hyde’s mission of territorial dedication, healing, and blessing, Pratt went on to ask, “When will the time come for this great curse to be removed from the Jewish nation? When shall it be said that ‘her iniquity is pardoned…?”‘ His own answer was in accordance with his reading of Luke 2l:24—not “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” “Until that is fulfilled,” Pratt predicted confidently, “Jerusalem can never be rebuilt, and the Jews can never return as a nation.”
At the same time there was another, more positively accented tradition which also found its roots in the pronouncements of Joseph Smith. This tradition favorably cited Jewish institutions, beliefs, concerns, and [p.182] practices, especially when recommending variants of Jewish tradition to the Saints. Smith had begun this tradition when he lauded the “fervor and love and attachment to the Temple” displayed by Jews in “Solomon’s and Nehemiah’s days, which shed still greater lustre on the Jewish nation,” an example Smith recommends that the Saints “in this age would do well to imitate.”26 Continuing in this tradition Brigham Young encouraged completion of the Nauvoo temple despite the setbacks posed by Joseph’s assassination. Young pointed out to the devastated Saints: “If you leave this place [Nauvoo] for fear of the mob before God tells you to go, you will have no place to rest.… We want to build the Temple in this place, if we have to build it, as the Jews built the walls of the Temple in Jerusalem with a sword in one hand and the trowel in the other.”27
The Mormon “exodus” from Illinois and other sites to the Great Basin of the Rocky Mountains was naturally compared to Israel’s exodus from Egypt and its occupation of Canaan. In an article in the Times and Seasons, Brigham Young cited both the Exodus narrative and tale of Esther and Mordecai as precursors and parallels to the LDS “flight out of Babylon.” Elsewhere he wrote, “A crisis of extraordinary and thrilling interest has arrived. The exodus of the Nation of the only true Israel from these United States to a far distant region of the west.” Sam Brannan, a company “captain” in the Mormon hegira, proclaimed in the 31 January 1846 issue of the New York Messenger, “Come On O, Israel, it is time to Go!”28
At approximately the same time, Orson Spencer, the newly appointed president of the England mission for the LDS church, was searching for a more stately cadence to explain the Mormon doctrine of gathering. In a letter to the “Reverend W. Crowel, A.M.,” Spencer invoked the authority of scripture: “The Bible, I trust … informs you not only how God has gathered his people [p.183] in different periods of the world, but also, that He will gather them in the dispensation of the fulness of times.” “Revelation,” Spencer wrote, was given to Moses to gather an oppressed people to a particular place.” “When Jerusalem was about to be destroyed, Jesus instructed his disciples to flee to the mountain.” “The ancient Jews were taught of God to build up Jerusalem as a place of gathering.” In their capital city, “they could interchange hospitalities and friendships, and contract matrimonial alliances.” Their records were “deposited in the archives of the great Temple of the Lord at Jerusalem.”29 The “commonwealth of Israel,” Spencer continued, and the rites and festivals of the Jews all combined in a “great design” to bring “the righteous together in one place.” “By these multiplied means,” he concluded, “the union of the Jews became proverbially strong; and their attachments to their nation and kindred, and national rights and usages, became as enduring as their existence. If, perchance, they should be scattered amongst the remote nations of the earth, still the recollection of their journeyings to Jerusalem in social groups, their royal affinity with the great and good of God’s people, vibrated through their minds with resuscitating power.”30
One of the earliest and most important of Latter-day Saint tracts, Apostle Parley P. Pratt’s A Voice of Warning published in 1837, made clear how Mormonism’s positive accent on the Jewish model was pitted against traditional Christian agendas for the Jews.31 In this pamphlet Pratt denigrated Christian mission societies and their plans for the conversion of Jews: “Behold ye flatter yourselves that the glorious [millennial] day spoken of by the Prophets will be ushered in by your modern inventions and your moneyed plans, which are got up in order to convert the Jews … and you expect when this is done, to behold a Millennium after your own heart. But the Jews … never will be converted as a people to any other plan than that laid down in the Bible, for [p.184] the great restoration of Israel.” Later in the book he continued: “[A]ny man who says that the Jews, as a nation, have been commanded to repent and be baptised for the last seventeen hundred years; says that which he cannot prove.… [N]either will any generation of Jews, which have existed since inspiration ceased, be condemned, for rejecting any message from God [via Christian missionaries], for he has sent no message to”32 them; consequently they have rejected none.…
In the same tract Pratt also turned his attention to the “restoration of Israel to Jerusalem.” Citing Deuteronomy 28:33-38 and 36, he concluded, “On the subject of this restoration, the Prophets have spoken … fully and … repeatedly.” The cumulative effect of these prophecies had meant that “Now in [their] long captivity, the Jews have never lost sight of the promises respecting their return. Their eyes have watched and filled with longing for the day when they might possess again that blessed inheritance, bequeathed to their forefathers; when they might again rear their city and temple, and reestablish their priesthood, and worship as in days of old.”33
There are common threads which stitch all of the preceding comments together and which begin to focus the radical differences which ultimately make of Mormonism an independent Christian tradition. But there are also important differences which amount to two divergent traditions within Mormonism. The differences ultimately have to do with how closely tied various interpreters remain to traditional Christian views. Radically severing such interpretative ties becomes critical then to enabling the crucial differences of Mormonism’s separate tradition to stand forth.
Whether it is E. T. Benson’s sermon “which would have done honor to a speaker of the Hebrew persuasion” or Orson Spencer’s open admiration for Israel’s religious culture during the second temple period or John [p.185] Taylor’s harsh assessment of Mosaic legislation or Orson Pratt’s recourse to curses and imputation of guilt, all draw from the source and authority of the Bible as it was read and understood by the Saints. Thus considering how Mormons interpreted the Bible is the first step in understanding disputes which continued within Mormonism during the nineteenth century and which still have issue on the contemporary Mormon stage.
We have seen that the early Saints were not naive about the imperfections of Holy Writ, but Mormons in contrast to most orthodox Christians insisted nonetheless on a “literal” interpretation of scripture. What Mormons meant by this advocacy of ‘literal” interpretation and how such interpretative strategies affected their approach to religion and life thus is crucial to an investigation of Mormonism’s view of Jewish people.
The Book of Mormon warned that “many plain and precious things” had been excised by gentile Christians after the scripture had “gone forth in purity from the Jews” (contrast this to the writings of Justin, Chrysostom, and Pratt), and Joseph Smith had qualified his trust in the Bible: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.” But Mormon authors writing in the half century between 1830 and 1880 were insulated from the disclosures of historical-critical scholarship of the Bible.34 Their “literal” interpretation of canon did not equip the Saints’ leaders to analyze critically the process of collection, composition, and redaction of scripture. Nor were they attuned to complex rhetorical, ecclesiastical, and theological intentions of biblical authors and editors.
For example, in spite of the traditional Christian reading of selected passages of the New Testament, there is no indication that it was Jesus’ or Paul’s intention to have their contextually specific criticism of fellow Jews translated by gentiles into a negation of Israel’s covenant, law, and election. But this is exactly what [p.186] occurred. Jesus’ critique of his fellow Jewish sectarian contemporaries and Paul’s running battle with critics of his gentile mission have been misunderstood by Christians as authoritative warrants for anti-Judaic theology and actions. Mormons were not immune to this interpretive mistake.
Orson Pratt’s 1859 sermon illustrates this point. He could embrace without compunction the most skeptical conclusions of the “lower” or text/manuscript critics of biblical canon: “All, therefore, is uncertainty, not only in the Hebrew manuscripts, but also the Greek.”35 And yet it would scarcely occur to him or his colleagues to question the “literal” meaning of the text backed by a long-lived theological and exegetical tradition negating “old” Israel as a whole.
Mormon preachers and publicists insisted on biblical interpretation being governed by its “literal” reading. The term “literal” is used frequently by LDS authors throughout a wide range of sources, and from its use it would appear that they shared certain assumptions about its meaning. However, the concept of a “literal” reading for scripture is not self-evident to contemporary readers.36
The guiding principle in early LDS hermeneutics was the belief that biblical authors themselves intended their writing to be understood in a “literal” or historic sense. Adopting the terms of the two great patristic “schools,” their reading was Antiochene rather than Alexandrian: Mormon authors stressed the “historical” over the “allegorical” sense of the text. This tendency falls under the medieval hermeneutical category of “literal” as opposed to allegorical, tropological, and anagogical options. Therefore they would have been more at home with Andrew of St. Victor’s use of Jewish sources in the search for the historical sense of scripture and Aquinas’s insistence that ‘The first signification whereby words signify things belongs to the first sense, [p.187] the historical or literal and that the ‘spiritual sense’ of scripture is based on the literal and presupposes it.”37
“Spiritualizers” or “allegorizers” would have it just the other way around. For them, according to one scholar, the “literal sense of scripture” was the “shadow which the body casts … [a] divinely authorized veil covering” that was the truly significant meaning.38 Thus “Barnabas” held that the Jews of Jesus’ time never penetrated the veil, that they were “beguiled by the literal sense of scripture” and thus rejected the spiritual message and kingdom taught by Jesus. Allegorizing allowed Justin in his polemic against the Jews to see Leah and Rachel as prefiguring the synagogue and the church. Augustine’s interpretation of the parable of the good Samaritan is of a piece with this method, where he identifies the traveller as Adam, Jerusalem with the Heavenly City from which he fell, and the priest and Levite as the “ineffectual ministrations of the old covenant.”39
The allegorical or spiritual method has been extremely influential and long lived in the Christian churches. This method, what early Mormons criticized as “spiritualizing,” has also been employed by clergy as a principal tool for anti-Jewish theology as the brief references from “Barnabas,” Justin, and Augustine suggest. Thus the Mormon attack on “spiritualizing” was entwined with its polemic against certain Christian views of Israel and with Mormonism’s “correction” of Christian understanding of “Old” Testament passages dealing with the restoration of Israel. The interpretation of these passages was a matter of intense debate, for their “resolution,” many believed, provided keys to reading the pattern imprinted on unfolding apocalyptic events. To whom did the term “Jew” refer? Which city did “Jerusalem” signify? What was actually meant by “restoration”? Deploying allegorical or spiritual principles of interpretation, Christians concluded frequently that Jerusalem was the “heavenly city” or the church of [p.188] Christ, that Israel pointed to the “New” Testament church or an apocalyptic one comprised of Jews converted en masse to a gentile church. To draw such conclusions, Mormons believed, meant concluding as well that the historical covenants and promises of God to a historical people—whether Jew or Mormon—were feckless and uncertain at best, malicious at worst.
The Mormon confrontation with Millerite adventism in the early 1840s provided a prime example of this concern for a historical reading of Israel in the latter days. According to Miller’s exegesis, the “dispensation” of Israel’s ancient covenant had ended with the rise of the Church of Christ. If Israel had been effectively displaced by the Church of Christ, then all of Israel’s covenants, its promises, and all prophetic pronouncements concerning the end of its exile, its return, salvation, and restoration referred exclusively to Christians. Mormons were openly arrayed against such an approach to the scriptural record.
“I attended a Millerite meeting in the forenoon,” reports Brigham Young on 6 August 1843 in his “Manuscript History”: “Mr. Litz preached from Jeremiah, 24th chapter, concerning the good and bad figs. In speaking of the covenants made to Abraham, giving him the land of Canaan, Lits [sic] said is was not seeds, but seed, which was Christ, Hence the land belonged to Jesus, and not to the Jews … the land has been taken away from the Jews, who shall have [it]? Not the Jews, the natural seed, but those who are baptized unto Christ, his spiritual children. The Kingdom … will take place when Christ comes with his church and body, and they will take possession of Jerusalem. The Jews, as a nation, will not go to Jerusalem, neither will they any more be His people, but the Jews will join other nations, and go against Jerusalem to battle and fight against the Lord and his Saints.” Young concludes, “These were the arguments used by this Millerite to do away with literal [p.189] fulfillment of the Bible concerning the return of the Jews and the rebuilding of Jerusalem.” Much like his colleagues in other venues and other pages, Young denounces adventist understanding of the scripture as being “false and contrary to the restoration of the house of Israel, as predicted by all the Prophets.”40
In the same year Mormon writer William Appleby attacked Miller’s millennial calculations by asking, “Why believe that the world will come to an end this year … when the Jews are to be literally gathered back to Jerusalem.”41 Another Mormon missionary, Moses Martin, in his “A Treatise on the fulness of the everlasting Gospel …,” also insisted on the historical gathering and restoration of “Judah and Israel.” Trying among other things in this “treatise” to prove that “God is unchangeable” and that his kingdom and laws are “immutable,” Martin singled out as his most powerful argument the Lord’s everlasting promises to the “literal seed of Abraham.” In contrast to the Millerites, Martin wrote that “The seed of Abraham, together with all those who are grafted in, and numbered among the literal seed are to be gathered in the last days unto Zion and Jerusalem” and that “the literal seed of Abraham, not converted Gentiles” would be particularly favored in the latter days to come.42
Latter-day Saints contended with any who tried to usurp Israel’s concrete scriptural promises and covenants as if these interlopers were modern Marcionites.43 If Israel’s covenant and worship had come to naught and its home in this world was acquired by an upstart church, despite all the promises and prophecies recorded in scripture, then the Saints’ own community and worship and the “covenants” on which they were grounded would become similarly tenuous.44 Devotion to a literal/historically interpreted scripture instilled in the Saints a trust in the integrity of God’s promises and [p.190] a respect for the example of Israel, its institutions, laws, and narratives.
On 5 January 1882 the Deseret News featured a lengthy editorial on the development and outbreak of anti-Jewish activity in Germany. The editorial, “Germany and the Jews,” described the latest round of anti-Jewish activity as a “crusade against the Jews,” which the paper viewed with “a feeling of indignation.” The “Court Chaplain,” Hans Stoeckler, was identified as the “principal figure in the present agitation,” leading a wave of “prejudice,” “jealousy,” and “race antipathies” against the Jews’ “remarkable growth into power through the force of their ability, thrift, and eminent business qualifications. “Reason” and “justice” are being cast aside by the “ignorance” of the masses and the “envy” of “the educated.” The News concluded: “The truth is, that the ‘times of the Gentiles’ are nearly fulfilled. The day of Israel is dawning. Judah must come forth out of the dust and ashes and take a leading place in the affairs of the world.”45
The phrase “the times of the Gentiles” focused on a commonly held tenet within the Mormon faith. Invoking this passage from Luke 21:24 was part of the stock-in-trade of Mormon preaching and prophesying.46 “The meaning of this suggestive phrase is not clear,” wrote biblical scholar A. B. Bruce,47 and later commentators tend to agree that the passage is a subsequent “editorial elaboration.”48 However, Mormons understood that “times of the Gentiles” referred to a literal space of “time.”49 In this case Mormons believed the passage implied that a season had been accorded the gentiles, first to become “adopted seed of Abraham” or to enter the Church of Christ and second to exercise worldly, political supremacy over the nations, especially over the Jewish people.
This phrase constituted a repeating accent in the prosody of Mormon prophetic preaching about the “last [p.191] days.” From the outset of Smith’s career, it was the belief of Mormons that the “times of the Gentiles” was coming to a close. In 1855 Apostle Parley Pratt discoursed: “Now there was a time allotted for the Gentile powers to reign, for their corruptions to bear rule … the times of their polity, of their nationality, their religion, and to prove them and to see what they would do with the power committed unto them.” According to Pratt, that season, designated by Daniel as the “fourth monarchy,” was in its final phase. He warned: “Now when that time arrives, ye nations look out.… [W]hen the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled there will be an uprooting of their governments and institutions, and of their civil, political, and religious polity. There will be a shaking of nations, a downfall of empires, an upturning of thrones and dominions.”50
In the nineteenth century, abundant “signs” pointed to the imminent demise of the “fourth monarchy.” The “restoration of the fulness of the gospel,” the founding of the Latter-day Saint church, was one unmistakable sign. Natural convulsions, disasters, and the “wars and perplexities of the nations” all contributed to an accumulating weight of evidence pointing to the passing of the age. A public and unambiguous sign, according to many Saints, was the resurgence of Jewish aspiration for a return to Palestine and the restoration of a state. The return and restoration of the Jewish people would, Mormons confidently expected, confirm their reading of biblical prophecy,51 vouchsafe the words and promises of God, add luster to the credentials of the Saints and their prophets, and inaugurate the last messianic/millennial dispensation.
The “prophetic,” apocalyptic significance of Israel’s restoration was an essential plank in many religious platforms in Great Britain and antebellum America. Latter-day Saints shared an assurance with other “prophetic” factions that Israel would be “gathered” and that [p.192] their gathering was a condition for, a harbinger of, the Millennium. However, Saints and “prophetic” Christians diverged over the interpretation, Mormons foreseeing a “restored” Israel on the one hand and a separate “restored” church, or Zion, distinct from Israel, on the other.52
“[It] is a sight some of you will see,” Parley Pratt prophesied in 1855. “This is the day of redemption … when Jerusalem and the Jews are about to be restored, and the full end of all Gentile polity is about to usher it.” In other words, “Jerusalem is to be rebuilt, to be no more trodden down nor governed by them [the gentiles].” “The Jews,” Pratt continued, “while wandering among the nations of the earth from age to age,” while “the Gentile powers bear rule,” are suffering through a period of “captivity.” In words that would have resonated particularly within a Mormon audience, Pratt described the sign of the end of captivity as establishment of a Jewish “national polity: a national … form of government, a national priesthood, a national house of worship.”53
Israel’s fortunes were beginning to be reversed. The time of waiting “for the redemption of their nation and national polity, and for their triumph over their enemies … and for the establishment of the reign of righteousness on the earth” was, Pratt insisted, nigh at hand. “Do you believe this, ye young people, ye boys and girls,” he demanded of the junior members of the congregation that autumn day, “Do ye believe this? All the prophetic sayings … have been fulfilled, down to this day… it is right before your eyes in its fulfillment.”54
However, Parley Pratt’s younger brother, Apostle Orson Pratt, proposed an interpretation of the last days which emphasizes the ultimate subordination of Judaism to Mormonism. In an important sermon delivered 26 March 1871, Orson Pratt confessed that fixing the precise time for the fall and rise of dispensations had [p.193] always proved difficult: “chronology is so imperfect that many hundreds who have spent their lives … differ from each other in their conclusion …. We are utterly at a loss.”55 Nevertheless he was convinced that “you young men who sit here on these seats will live to see the times of the Gentiles fulfilled.”56 At that time these young Mormon men would “take up [a] mission to the scattered of Israel.… You will go in the Lord’s power.… You will tell them [Israel] that their warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned.”57
Once again in ignorance or defiance of Orson Hyde’s words and mission thirty years earlier, Orson Pratt signalled his belief that Israel or the Jewish people continued to labor under the burden of divine retribution for their sins. Moreover, according to Pratt, the ultimate destiny of the Jewish people was identity with the Saints through their conversion to the Church of Christ and its gospel message as taught to them by Mormon elders. “The everlasting gospel” dispensed from heaven was universal in its scope and was therefore to be taught indiscriminately to all nations: “Gentiles and Jews, all must hear it … it is to be preached to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people. This of course includes Gentiles as well as Jews.”58
Pratt predicted that a display of power “that will eclipse [that of] the Exodus” would attend this last great missionary endeavor: “They are not willing now and have not been willing for eighteen centuries past.… But when the day of his power comes they will be willing to hearken.…” The “set time for their deliverance and restoration will have come … in which the Gospel shall be proclaimed to them.”59 In describing the future of Mormon and Jewish peoples, Pratt would have considered mutual sovereignty to be out of the question. For him the destiny of these communities was convergence and virtual identity in the “last days.”
[p.194] But the tradition persisted within Mormonism that Israel would have autonomy after the “times of the Gentiles.” Thus Erastus Snow, who was to become a prominent apostle and colonizer in Utah, asked a Mormon congregation in 1857: “How was it with Israel of old.… What think you … ye that are called Latter-day Saints, were they, as a people, more wicked than the rest of mankind, that God should have dealt with them thus? I answer, No. But of a truth they were the best people upon the face of the earth, and the only people that had the Priesthood of God among them.… [A]nd by his power, they were the only people God could make use of. They had faith sufficient that he could govern and control them…; but upon them rested the responsibility [to preserve God’s word among them].…”60 In an earlier sermon Snow had averred that “Israel must yet become a kingdom of priests, on their native land” and had cited Isaiah 1:26 to defend the restoration of autonomous Jewish cultic and political institutions.61
“The work of building up Zion,” Brigham Young preached in 1862, “is in every sense a practical work; it is not a mere theory.… To possess an inheritance in Zion or Jerusalem only in theory—only in imagination—would be the same as having no inheritance at all.”62 A year later, Young asked a Mormon assembly: “Is the Lord going to convince the people … beautify [city and temple] and then place them there without any exertion on their part? No. He will not come here to build a Temple … or to set out fruit trees, make aprons of fig leaves or coats of skins, or work in brass and iron, for we already know how to do these things.… We have to build up Zion, if we do our duty.”63
The work of building the foundations for the kingdom reposed on the Saints and on Israel if they were ever “to possess an inheritance in Zion or Jerusalem.” Each community had its responsibilities and tasks. The labor and sacrifices of covenant communities would, [p.195] the Saints hoped, then be capped by the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ who would reign personally on the earth for a thousand years from the messianic capitals of Jerusalem and Zion.
It was the task of the Saints, Brigham Young preached in May 1863, “to build up [the] Zion of our God, to gather the House of Israel, restore and bless the earth with our ability and make it as the Garden of Eden, store up treasures of knowledge and wisdom in our own understandings, purify our … hearts and prepare a people to meet the Lord when he comes.”64 Meanwhile “Jerusalem,” Young opined, “is not to be redeemed by our going there and preaching to the inhabitants.”65 “We have a great desire for their [the Jewish people’s] welfare,” Young affirmed on another occasion, “and are looking for the time soon to come when they will gather to Jerusalem, build up their city and the land of Palestine.…”66 Young, an avid disciple of Smith, varied from the tradition established by Joseph earlier in Nauvoo which construed Israel’s restoration as temple-centered and independent from the church.
In an editorial in the church’s Deseret News published in Salt Lake City after Young’s death, the independence of Jerusalem was reiterated: “That Jerusalem will be rebuilt by the sons of Jacob, and that the [Davidic] kingdom will be established … is as definite a tenet of the ‘Mormon’ faith as the gathering of the Saints from ‘the four quarters’ of the earth to the Zion of God on this continent.”67 This “definite tenet” of “Mormon faith” fueled a keen and durable interest among the Latter-day Saints for news about Jewish affairs, movements, persecution, and immigration. An editorial in the Deseret News of 10 September 1879 entitled “A General Jewish Convention” is representative of this coverage. “The objects of this convention are not yet declared,” the editor wrote. “But we hope some steps will be taken for the full emancipation of the Jews in all civilized nations, [p.196] and that something will be done leading to the future occupation and redemption of the land of their forefathers. Prophecy points to this as one of the certain events of the latter times, and all things seem propitious for the speedy fulfillment of their sayings.”68
The Pratts, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and others who studied or at least were acquainted with theological traditions from Christian communities “outside” of and older than the community of the Saints inherited exegetical principles and prejudices from those sources. Cowdery and Orson Pratt in particular expected the triumph of the church’s mission and doctrine. Due to their active and turbulent lives and times, their theologies never found expression in achieved and systematic multi-volumed works. But they believed that every knee would bow, every tongue confess, and Jew and gentile alike would be compelled by the logic of events and the gospel preached by the Saints to embrace the radiant body of the Church Triumphant. These hopes and expectations, shorn of their Mormon particularity, were of a piece with both the rapt theologies of revivalists and the dispassionate systems of the seminary professors who were their contemporaries.69
Those in Mormonism’s second tradition which began with Joseph Smith and Orson Hyde were largely self-taught and grew up with only the most tenuous ties to organized Christian bodies. They expressed positive and independent ideas about the relation between Zion and Jerusalem. Ignorant of or underwhelmed by theologies and practices directed at the Jews by the Christian tradition, these other Saints, unlike Pratt and Cowdery, felt no obligation to respond to and had no reason to imitate this tradition. They felt compelled by events, by the word of scriptures and of living Jews, to search in the metaphors and language they possessed for an affirmation of the existence and integrity of the Israel of God, as well as that of the Saints.
[p.197] Brigham Young, Joseph Smith’s successor and disciple, was clearly in this second, “naive” tradition. He was a frequent critic of Orson Pratt.70 Pratt’s speculative erudition and frequent reference to what Young characterized as “gentile” schools of philosophy irked the self-educated church president. Young admonished the Saints: “With regard to doctrinal points, that which we do not understand should not be talked about in this stand; and the Elders of Israel should never contend about any point of doctrine that does not pertain to the present day’s salvation.”71 The exemption to this rule was of course Young himself. Yet he also down-played his own calling as “prophet, seer, and revelator”: “I am not going to interpret dreams; for I don’t profess to be such a Prophet as were Joseph Smith and Daniel; but I am a Yankee guesser.” Or: “I have never particularly desired any man to testify publicly that I am a Prophet; but, if I am not, one thing is certain, I have been very profitable to this people.”72 And his sermons generally dwelt more on issues of settlement, colonization and education, agriculture, home industry and care for the poor than on the “sons of perdition,” foreordination, heaven, and the Millennium.73
On occasion he felt constrained to speculate on the nature of the great millennial age. “Many of our Elders,” Young remarked, “labor under … erroneous expectations when reading over the sayings of the Apostles and Prophets in regard to the coming of the Son of Man.” Young’s corrections to “these erroneous expectations” were voiced on three separate occasions: 8 July 1855, 23 December 1866, and 16 August 1868.74 In opposition to Pratt, Cowdery, and some of his own successors to the presidency of the church, Young foresaw a remarkably pluralistic future in the age to come.
In the 1855 discourse Young bluntly asked, “When the Kingdom of Heaven spreads over the whole earth, do you expect that all people composing the different [p.198] nations will become Latter-day Saints?” The term “Kingdom of Heaven” on earth is later referred to as the “Kingdom of God” (1866) and “Zion” (1868), and becoming “Latter-day Saints” is restated as “joining the church” (1866). But the question remained the same. Young’s answer was always negative: “If the Latter-day Saints think, when the Kingdom of God is established on the earth, that all the inhabitants of the earth will join the church … they are egregiously mistaken.”75
Many Saints harbored hopes that their cause and their hardships would be vindicated unequivocally in the millennial age. Foes would be vanquished, the church would be crowned with laurels, rival religious traditions would wither away or collapse under the weight of millennial events, and the earth would once again be a paradise to humankind. Here finally beyond the horizon of the “times of the Gentiles,” all the doctrines and opinions of the Saints would be verified. But Brigham Young in deference to his mentor and prophet, Joseph Smith, denied the Saints even this last sanctuary. And in his sermons he indicated to the Saints that the “truth” and integrity of their religion did not depend on their exclusive triumph in this age or in the age to come.
Young opposed those who maintained that all but the Saints would be swept from the earth’s landscapes or that the earth’s natural order would be miraculously transfigured “into a sea of glass, as John described it.” “Will this be the millennium?” Young thundered, “No.” Only a few fundamental changes would distinguish the millennial era from the present age. In the Millennium, Young opined, “there will be every sort of sect and party, and every individual following what he supposes to be the best in religion, and in everything else, similar to what it is now.” The only essential differences between one age and the next would be that the nations would pay tribute “to the Most High, who created … and preserved” them. And finally “under the influence and [p.199] power of the Kingdom of God, the Church of God will rest secure and dwell in safety.”76
Young believed that even when “the veil of covering may be taken from before the nations, and all flesh see His glory together … at the same time [they will still be free to] declare they will not serve him.” “Seeing the Lord does not make a man a Saint,” Young concluded. Many of the Saints took the final confession of the nations—”every knee shall bend, and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ”—as a signal of the end of religious diversity and the final triumph of the mission of the Latter-day Saint church. But the ever-realistic Young believed that after bowing the knee and tripping the tongue in confession, people would yet “worship the sun, moon, a white dog, or anything else they please.” “There may be more societies than 666 for aught I know,” Young told his audience in 1868.77
Young learned from Joseph Smith that human free agency was an irreducible fact and birthright bestowed on all the children of God. Latter-day Saint theology and practice hinge to a significant degree on this agency and the related principle of accountability. Any social order be it mortal or celestial in which these principles were forfeited or suppressed was in principle repugnant to Young. He remembered the Saints’ bitter experience of persecution and Smith’s teachings on human agency and his vision of plural, temple-ordered societies. Thus Young felt compelled to oppose those within the church who projected a future, monolithic order dictated or enjoyed exclusively by the Saints.
It is not the case that Young considered all religious traditions of equal value or above criticism. He lived and died a staunch advocate of the Latter-day Saint cause and never failed to level withering blasts, solemn and satirical, at the follies of other religions when he deemed it fitting to do so. Yet for all his lack of ecumenical spirit, Brigham Young’s ideas about the coexistence of plural [p.200] religious societies display a wisdom that only now Latter-day Saints are beginning to appreciate. Contemporary members of the LDS church come from around the world. As the church thus inevitably confronts other religious traditions and communities, Young’s opinions on the continued existence of a multitude of religions throughout the Millennium may yet enable the LDS church to reassess the integrity and staying power of the gentiles and the Jews.
Interreligious dialogue and sympathetic yet critical inquiry into other religious traditions were sanctioned by Young’s unusual sermons on the Millennium and the “last things.” After telling the congregation that “Jews and gentiles” will not “be obliged to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Young went on to construe human, religious, and cosmic orders as eternally pluralistic. “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘in my father’s house are many mansions.’ … There are mansions in sufficient numbers,” Young then concluded, “to suit the different classes of mankind, and a variety will always exist to all eternity requiring a classification and an arrangement into societies and communities in the many mansions which are in the Lord’s house, and this will be for ever and ever “78 Young confessed that this may be “a strange doctrine to outsiders. But what do they know about the Bible, heaven, angels, or God?”79 Contrary to fervent expectations of many, Young taught the Saints that membership in the church was not the inexorable, universal goal of humankind.
Mormon/Jewish encounter has been handicapped by the tradition of Cowdery, Pratt, and their ideological descendants. According to this tradition, the “seed” of the covenant with Judah will wither and lose its particular vintage when the millennial dawn erupts and will be grafted into the perennial, unfading growth of the Church of Christ. According to this reading, Jewish autonomy is provisional, Jewish religion and institutions [p.201] ephemeral, and the restoration and gathering of Israel merely an instrumental means to an ultimate end—the vindication and triumph of the Church of Christ, a millennial body identical with and inclusive of the Kingdom of God. All of the good will, respect, support, kinship, and deference manifested by the church to the Jewish people is vitiated by this provisional grant. Young’s eschatology is to be recommended in relations between Jews and Mormons and is crucial for the development of Mormon thought.
When Joseph Smith encountered Joshua Seixas, when Orson Hyde walked through the streets of Jerusalem the night before his “dedicatory prayer,” and when Young encountered and analyzed the persisting distinctions between Jew and Mormon, Mormon and gentile, Mormon “theoretical” religion came face to face with an inherited, bewilderingly plural world.
Increasingly these men found that differences could not be defined or imagined away. Living Jews of the nineteenth century and their religion were not identical with those described in the pages of Chronicles, Leviticus, and Luke. Thus Smith began to report the concerns and thoughts of contemporary Jews unadorned with Mormon doctrine. Smith, Hyde, and Young began to perceive the Jewish and Mormon communities as essentially autonomous. But they also believed that “Saint” should cleave to Israel and that together they could labor for a just, equitable, and diverse world, a world vigorously at peace, a world coextensive with the domain of the Kingdom of God. “It is necessary,” Young wrote, “to get a deed of it to make an inheritance practical, substantial and profitable. Then let us not rest contented with a mere theoretical religion.”80
In the eyes of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young the promises and responsibilities of the covenant bestowed on Israel, as recorded in scripture and reiterated in the formative doctrine of the LDS church, argued forcefully [p.202] for the independence, integrity, and continuity of the particular witness and reality of the Jewish people. After 1830, Latter-day Saints professed that another covenant community had been convoked from the nations to help lay the foundations of the coming messianic, millennial age. Thoughtful Mormons did not presume to denigrate or claim exclusive rights to Israel’s covenant. Neither displacement of nor identity with the Jewish people characterize Mormon thought. Historically and emotionally, however, Mormon thought and practice have been grounded in the vision of two communities of covenant, who strive to approach a common value which limits, defines, and draws them both. That value is the Kingdom of God on earth. The dream of it, the pilgrimage toward and the work and sacrifice for it, may yet bring us into the house of our father, with its eternally pluralistic “arrangement into societies and communities” in the age to come.
5. Ibid., 143. As an admirer of Isaac Leeser, Carvalho would have been especially interested in this experiment in colonization of an arid region. Leeser’s own views on Jewish settlement in Palestine were becoming increasingly “secular” and practical. See Maxine S. Seller, “Isaac Leeser’s Views on the Restoration of a Jewish Palestine,” American Jewish Historical Quarterly, 63 (Sept. 1968): 118-35. Leeser was the editor of The Occident and minister/hazzan of Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia.
15. Examples of Woodruff’s writings and sermons on the subject can be found in the following entries of the multi-volume Journal of Discourses, first published in Liverpool between 1 Nov. 1853 and 17 May 1886: 8:262,263; 1:245; 13:161; 18:220-21, 225; 21:300-301, 343; 23:128 (hereafter JD); and in the Journal History entries for 27 Feb. 1857 and 50 June 1878.
20. For a detailed bibliography, see Chad J. Flake, ed., A Mormon Bibliography: 1830-1930 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1978), 512-20; and Breck England, The Life and Thought of Orson Pratt (Salt Lake City: University of Utah, 1985), 339-41.
29. Orson Spencer, Letters Exhibiting the Most Prominent Doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints … (1848; reprt., Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon and Sons, Co., 1891), 104, 7, 105, 112. Spencer was a graduate of Union College and the Baptist Theological Seminary. He was a “professor of languages” for the University of the City of Nauvoo and first chancellor of the University of Deseret founded in 1850 in Salt Lake City. Spencer died in 1855.
31. Parley P. Pratt, A Voice of Warning and Instruction to All People …, (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1952) was described by Peter Crawley and Chad J. Flake as “the most important of all noncanonical Mormon books … it was the first to emphasize the difference between Mormonism and traditional Christianity. More important, it erected a standard for all future Mormon pamphleteers.… Before the close of the century, Voice of Warning went through more than thirty editions in English and was translated into Danish, Dutch, French, German, Spanish, and Swedish.” Item number 7 in Peter Crawley and Chad Flake, A Mormon Fifty: An Exhibition in the Harold B. Lee Library in Conjunction with the Annual Conference of the Mormon History Association (Provo, UT: Friends of the Brigham Young University Library, 1984).
34. They were also on the far side of theological disputations raised because of discoveries in the natural sciences. For a discussion of the impact of Darwin on theology, see Ian G. Barbour, Issues in Sciences and Religion (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), 80-114.
36. For example, James Barr has pointed out both the ambiguity and misuse of this term by contemporary scholars of “fundamentalist” and “liberal” perspectives when promoting their presuppositions, methodologies, and conclusions—or attacking those of rivals. See James Barr, Fundamentalism (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1978), 40-89, 120-59.
43. Marcion, who died around 160 C.E., was an extremely influential early Christian “heretic.” His work, Antitheses, proposed that the God of the Hebrew scriptures was a malign demiurge dedicated to law rather than love. Thus the God of Christianity and of the apostolic writings and the God of the Hebrew scriptures were not one and the same. Jesus came to reveal the “Supreme God of Love.… It was his purpose to overthrow the Demiurge.” See The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 2d ed. (London: Oxford University Press, 1974), 870-71. In a modem context “marcionite” would mean interpretations of Christianity and scripture, which “undervalue or … misunderstand the place of the Old Testament in the eluncidation of the Christian revelation.” See Alan Richardson, “Marcionism,” The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology, eds. Alan Richardson and John Bowden (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1983), 344-45.
44. Brigham Young in a sermon recorded in JD 12:242-43 noted that the delivery of Israel was a result of the faithfulness of God to his promises to the patriarchs and not the on-going state of Israel’s righteousness and faith.
52. The pursuit by Mormon readers of a “literal” reading of scripture did violence to the poetic devices of prophetic authors. The apposite titles of Zion and Jerusalem, twinned frequently together in Hebrew scriptures, pointed to a single territorial referent. Mormon exegetes split the single referent in two and contrived reference to more than one place. Zion and Jerusalem were two distinct capitals of the coming millennial age.
60. JD 5:287-88, from a sermon delivered 4 October 1857. He went on to say that “They [the children of Israel] were set forth as examples of all who should live after.… The history of all religious generations and dispensations is similar, and shows this fact to us, that human nature is the same in every age, country … and among every people,—that men are subject to like weaknesses and have to be taught gradually.”
69. An excellent representative, non-LDS source is Charles Hodge, Sytematic Theologly vol. 3 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1872), especially “Part IV, Eschatology, chapter III, Second Advent,” 791-92,807-812.