What Do Mormons Look Like?

December 3, 2007 | 67 comments
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In 1846 during the Mormon Exodus from Illinois, as the Saints were strung out in various camps across Iowa and farther west, Mormon Warren Foote went in search of a mill to grind some of his grain: “It is quite a curiosity for the inhabitants here to see a “Mormon,” he wrote. “The women and children all came running to the doors to look at us as we passed by. The most of their talk is about the ‘Mormons’ coming down and killing them all off.”

I spent my summer toiling away, day after day, at the Huntington Library in San Marino California on a research fellowship combing the archives looking for sources such as this (okay, we played a lot too and the Huntington is amazing). I’m currently on another fellowship at the Tanner Humanities Center at the U. working on the same research project. In February I will present some of my preliminary findings in a works in progress talk at the THC. For my first post, I thought I’d use the intellectually challenging space of the bloggernacle to vet some of my ideas and let you poke holes in my thinking before I go live at the Tanner Center. Here are some snippets of what I’ve found and some of the arguments that I’m trying to make there from. Have at it.

The day following the above entry, Foote wrote: “[W]e were advised to go to Watson’s Mill which was only eight miles, as they did the most business there, so we took the road to Watson’s. When we arrived within two miles of the mill, we saw a man plowing corn. As we came near he got up on the fence to look at us. There were two boys also with him in the field. We stopped to enquire the road to the mill as the road forked here. He asked if we were ‘Mormons,’ we told him we were. He halloed [sic] to the boys to come and see some ‘Mormons.’ They all came up to the wagon, although the boys were very shy. After looking at us he said to the boys ‘They haven’t got any horns have they’ ‘and they look like other folks don’t they.’ This he said laughing as he told us that the boys had thought that the ‘Mormons’ were terrible looking creatures.”

In an 1855 novel Hubert joins the Mormons to satisfy his lustful desires, but his wife resists. As he begins his acculturation he acquires the requisite knickknacks as a marker of his Mormonness. His wife, however, resists again: “Hubert insisted on having placed among my treasures a bust of Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet. I did not wish this, for to me that countenance is repellant, as it is coarse, cunning, and full of low passions, sensuality, and every mean and cowardly vice.”

An 1857 novel takes on a more evident racial tone as it conflates Mormons and Indians in its description of rural Mormons: “They are coarse and rude in manner, impudent, staring and curious, miserably dressed in a costume half-way between that of the Indian and white man. You are surprised at the unmistakable marks of Indian descent that many of the younger ones exhibit. The straight, well-proportioned figure, long coarse hair, high cheek bones, and wary expression of eye and countenance betray to the most casual observer the mixture of the races.”

The most explicit physical description is that of Dr. Roberts Bartholow, an army doctor stationed at Camp Floyd during the Utah War. He filed a report with the US Senate printed in 1860 in which he wrote: “The Mormon, of all the human animals now walking this globe, is the most curious in every relation.” Mormon physical features included a “striking uniformity in facial expression,” “albuminous and gelatinous types of constitution,” “genital weakness,” “yellow, sunken, cadaverous visage,” “greenish-colored eyes,” “thick, protuberant lips,” a “low forehead” and “light, yellowish hair.” As Bartholow saw it, polygamy and its attendant “moral depravity” had created this “physical degeneracy.” It had spawned an entirely “new race.”

The list could continue, but I hope that you get the point. The underlying assumption was that Mormons somehow looked different, a curious notion given the firm roots of its adherents in American soil. Even 19th century foreign converts came overwhelmingly from northern and western Europe, the same sources of the broader Euro-American population until the “new immigration” of the late 19th and early 20th century.

What are the implications of this? It seems to me that outsiders racialized Mormons in the same way that they did the Irish, Italians, and Jews. These groups, historians argue, were not deemed white on arrival, but went through a protracted process whereby they were racialized and then slowly assimilated to the point that they could pass as white. The Mormons, as I see it, fit well within the emerging literature of white studies. That is, I hope to rethink the long standing Americanization-of-Mormonism-discourse into a racialization discourse and place Mormons along side other undesirable groups who fell outside prevailing standards of what it meant to be an American in the 19th century. Doing so, I hope, will give us a fresh perspective on the Mormons’ suspect spot on the American stage. More significant, I think, is that it was not (initially at least) an immigrant issue with the Mormons, as it was with the Irish, Italians, and Jews. Instead, racializing Mormons turned America’s quintessential inside religious group into outsiders. The combined message was clear, Mormons were a people apart, physically not just religiously, from the rest of America and as such were unfit for the blessings of democracy.

For their part, the Mormons were by no means willing to leave the definition of their identity to outsiders. The Mormon body, thus, became a battleground upon which the LDS hierarchy and the federal government grappled to inscribe very different values, laws, and morality. Mormon leader George Q. Cannon asserted that “here in these [Utah] valleys, we shall raise a race of men who will be the joy of the earth, whose complexions will be the complexions of angels.” Thus, the Mormon body became a contested signifier of either racial ascendancy or racial deterioration, depending upon who inscribed it with meaning.

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67 Responses to What Do Mormons Look Like?

  1. Ivan Wolfe on December 3, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    Terryl L. Givens made much the same argument when discussing representations of Mormons in nineteenth century fiction in his overlooked study “Viper on the Hearth.”

  2. Adam Greenwood on December 3, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    “Genital weakness”–what kind of researches was the good doctor conducting, one wonders?

    As for your racial thesis, I wonder if that would explain some of Mormonism’s unhappy treatment of blacks as it attempted to “become white.” I’d be curious to see if the sources would bear that out.

  3. Ray on December 3, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    I wrote my bachelor’s thesis on Manifest Destiny – using the treatment of the Mormons as a central proof that the heart of the concept was religious rather than racial – that racial statements were more about a way to explain religious inferiority than about “simple racism” based solely on skin color and obvious physical differences (since any physical/racial differences had to be manufactured). I also argued that “Mormonism” was seen as a direct attack on the status of American Protestantism as the chosen people of God to whom Manifest Destiny applied (as it undoubtedly was and still is) – thus creating a real religious need to categorize Mormons as unworthy of God’s recognition and blessings. My thesis was written long, long ago and wasn’t publication worthy (but it did get me a “with honors” designation). I would love to read your finished product.

  4. maria on December 3, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Fascinating. I don’t have much to say, other than that I’d love to see a CRT piece about Mormons. I’ll be watching for you.

  5. J. Stapley on December 3, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Nice. I’m glad that you brought in GQC. That was the first thing I thought of when reading some of those quotations. Cannon’s rhetoric is the polar opposite with polygamy yielding the positive fruits of essentially correct breading. It also reminded me of the popular eugenics movement in the early twentieth century, where Mormons appeared to have received significant praise and may mark your transition (Stirling had an nice write up with some interesting discussion on that).

    Fluhman has some mention of race in his dissy (283), where monogamy was essential to the white race. Perhaps more cogent and dissenting a bit from the paradigm of race is his treatment of mental illness.

  6. Wilfried on December 3, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks, Paul! Interesting! If you read French, you will find a number of descriptions of Mormons by French travellers to Utah between 1850 and 1880, even in remote area’s, in my Anthologie francaise sur les Mormons (BYU, 1974). Those French travellers, at first conditioned by the lurid stories from newspaper articles and novels that appeared in France, approach Mormons with intense curiosity (in the hope to witness spicy polygamous scenes). Invariably they are charmed by the simplicity, generosity, and hospitality of real Mormons. And some end by lauding plural marriage as the way to end vice in France!

  7. Bob on December 3, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    ” Mormons somehow looked different, a curious notion given the firm roots of its adherents in American soil. Even 19th century foreign converts came overwhelmingly from northern and western Europe.”
    I don’t think we need to make our analysis in a vacuum. We have lots of painting, etc. from Nauvoo. This was an Age of the personal portraits, even for the ‘lowest of class’. I have lots of these photos of my poor rural Mormon kin of the 19th C. They look Ok. In fact, my Scandinavian lines, from the Sanpete Valley, were Hot!
    I have the Shipler photos of Salt Lake City at the turn of the century. If anything, these people over dressed, ( as they seem to have done in Nauvoo).

  8. Christopher on December 3, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    Lady Duffus Hardy, the British traveler who visited the Saints in 1881, confirmed Roberts Bartholomew’s assertion that polygamy was largely the cause for the distinct appearance of the Mormons. After remarking that “the Mormon girls, as a rule, are very beautiful, with fine eyes, soft, rich complexions like a peach-blossom,” she concluded by lamenting that “it would be terrible to think they would ever sink into the faded, woe-worn Mormon wife” (Lady Duffus Hardy, Through Cities and Prairie Lands: Sketches of an American Tour (New York: R. Worthington, 1881), 111.

    Fellow British traveler Emily Katherine Bates recorded similar observations:

    One of the arguments for polygamy is that a fine healthy race can be produced by this means alone. I am bound to say that I saw no sufficient justification for the doctrine in the appearance of the Salt Lake City Mormons. As a rule, the men and women are hard-featured careworn and anxious-looking. . . . I never saw so many ‘homely’ (we should call them ugly) looking women in all my life. Polygamy must indeed be looked upon as a sacred duty to induce the men to take more than one wife from amongst them (E. Katherine Bates, A Year in the Great Republic (London: Ward & Downey, 1887), 225.)

    It is perhaps important to note, though, that some travelers who visited Utah didn’t find any evidence for such charges. Thomas Kane’s wife, Elizabeth, for example, was surprised to not find any of the “‘hopeless, dissatisfied, worn’ expressions travelers’ books” had described all Mormon women as possessing” (Elizabeth Wood Kane, Twelve Mormon Homes Visited in Succession on a Journey Through Utah to Arizona (Philadephia: Printed by William Wood, 1874), 46.

  9. J. Stapley on December 3, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    I was curious and so did a quick Google books search. Holy cow there is a lot to draw from. One of the first links, from the Medical Times and Gazette (1861) appears to quote extensively from Dr. Bartholow. Another periodical speak of race annihilation if it weren’t for the influx of converts. But Hubert Howe Bancroft in his history tries to dispel the myth of degeneracy. A lot to draw from, certainly.

  10. Bob on December 3, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    Look at some of the 1860s Civil War portraits and photos of Mathew Brady, for as a comparison.

  11. Paul Reeve on December 3, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Wow! Great feedback.

    Ivan you are correct about Given’s Viper on the Hearth. I started the project before reading it. It confirmed the viability of the project in my mind. He describes Mormonism as a quasi-ethnic group and focuses upon the construction of heresy. I hope to explore Mormonism in terms of its contruction as a “new race.” Givens’ sources are invaluable to me as are his arguments. I’m trying to push it in a new direction and move well beyond the novel to get there.

    Adam, as for the kind of research Bartholow conducted I can’t say, but he develops a fairly elaborate arguement about boys and men. This is how I’ve written it up in my paper: “the progeny of the “peculiar institution” demonstrated its “most deplorable effects” in “the genital weakness of the boys and young men.” Polygamy created a “sexual debility” in the next generation of Mormn men, largely because their “sexual desires are stimulated to an unnatual degree at a very early age, and as female virtue is easy, opportunities are not wanting for their gratification.” Bartholow suspected that if Mormons received no additional converts from “outside sources,” the Mormon problem would “eventually die out” and solve itself. The stream of converts, especially from the dregs of European society, however, provided an influx of new blood and perpetuated “the new race” into the future. As a result, Bartholow foreshadowed the Mormon Question as an immigrant issue which would eventually take on an international dimension.

    As for your other thought, it is similar to mine. I’m not currently working on it, but I project a chapter on the Mormon-Slave body in the project.

    Ray, I should look at your thesis. I will need to create enough context in my introduction that I will acknowledge the existence of much of the animosity towards Mormons being of a religious nature. My focus will be upon when it intersects with the physical. Can I ILL your thesis from somewhere?

  12. Paul Reeve on December 3, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    J. I think you are correct about the Eugenics aspect of this. If I recall, Carman Hardy’s book on polygamy argues that the Mormons were anticipating the eugenics argument by a couple of decades. And I have not yet read Fluman’s dissertation, but it is on my list. Thanks for pointing me to the exact page.

    I was leary when I started the project if would find enough stuff to yield a paper or if there was a book project there. As you describe, J., I think there are more sources than I expected. As I’ve sketched out the potential chapters after my summer at the Huntington, it looks something like this: Mormon-Indian body, Mormon-slave body, Mormon-Oriental body (maybe a seperate chapter on Islam, JS as the American Mohammed), a potential Mormon-leader body and then Mormon-male-, female-, and child, polygamy bodies.

    Wilfried, I don’t read French, but I know someone who does. (Channeling Ardis). The curiosity that you describe I think is the underlying assumption that Mormons must somehow look different. Even when the descriptions are positive (handsome women, instead of ugly) it supports the larger idea that one could tell a Mormon by his/her looks. This touches on what Bob and Christopher are suggesting. And thanks for the great sources Christopher.

  13. Kevin Barney on December 3, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    A couple of articles that may be of interest:

    “Regeneration; Now and Evermore!”: Mormon Polygamy and the Physical Rehabilitation of Humankind
    B. Carmon Hardy, Dan Erickson
    Journal of the History of Sexuality, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Jan., 2001), pp. 40-61

    http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=1043-4070(200101)10%3A1%3C40%3A%22NAEMP%3E2.0.CO%3B2-G

    Bunker, Gary L. and Davis Bitton. “Polygamous Eyes: A Note on Mormon Physiognomy.” Dialogue 12 (3) Fall 1979: 114-119.

  14. Adam Greenwood on December 3, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    What does a 900-lb Mormon look like?

    Any way he wants.

  15. Hans Hansen on December 3, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Mark Twain offers this look at Mormons in Salt Lake City on a visit there when he first went West:

    “Our stay in Salt Lake City amounted to only two days, and therefore we had no time to make the customary inquisition into the workings of polygamy and get up the usual statistics and deductions preparatory to calling the attention of the nation at large once more to the matter.

    I had the will to do it. With the gushing self-sufficiency of youth I was feverish to plunge in headlong and achieve a great reform here—until I saw the Mormon women. Then I was touched. My heart was wiser than my head. It warmed toward these poor, ungainly and pathetically “homely” creatures, and as I turned to hide the generous moisture in my eyes, I said, “No—the man that marries one of them has done an act of Christian charity which entitles him to the kindly applause of mankind, not their harsh censure—and the man that marries sixty of them has done a deed of open-handed generosity so sublime that the nations should stand uncovered in his presence and worship in silence.”

    “Roughing It”, Chapter XIV.

  16. JaNae Quilter on December 3, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    I can’t even begin to believe some of the comments posted. What do Mormons look like? I am a sixth generation American, Utahn, and yes I do happen to be of the Mormon religion, as were most of my ancestors. My third great-grandmother, a widow with 2 small children, who immigrated from LE Harve, France, was the 2nd wife of my third great-grandfather, making him a ‘polygamist’. He was the only one in any of my ancestry that had two wives, both of whom had separate homes and families. There was not any inter-breeding among my familly members to create a new form evolutionary race. I have fair skin, blue eyes and brown hair. Does that make me a mass-product of heretical society, no. This could be from any combinations of my ancestry, Scandinavian, English, Scottish, or French.

    Maybe you could tell me just exactly what you think Mormons should look like when they were mostly produced from the melting-pot immigrants who flooded the country in 1800’s and decided to leave the east to head west. My English lines date back to the 1500’s from New England & Massachsetts, does this improve my standing as a normal looking person/Mormon from Utah? How about the 3 generations of family (a combined total of 9; father, uncles & cousins) that have & are currently serving this country as enlisted men & women? Does that make me any more an ‘equal’ or ‘normal looking’ in your eyes just because I am of the Mormon religion?

    Let’s see, we have had sheep herders, steel mill workers, truck drivers, mechanics and law enforcement officers. Construction workers and government employees, artists, culinary chefs and school teachers, does that make my Mormon-based religious family any more ‘normal looking’ to you? Or are we still believed to be the ‘physical degenerates’ as described by Bartholow. Give me a break, how many people could travel in a wagon (if they were lucky enough to have a wagon) or on foot, pulling a cart with all of your belongings, including food, nearly 1300 miles, over unknown terrain & conditions, start new communities, new lives, and yet they were to look as stout and plump and healthy as ever? Yeah right! I’m sure my 125 pound frame would have looked a little like the Bartholow description, “yellow, sunken, cadaverous visage,” as well. Not to mention that Bartholow’s written findings were in the middle of a war in 1860! Don’t you think the “striking uniformity in facial expression,” & “albuminous and gelatinous types of constitution,” could have been a result of the wartime fatigue, famine and overall self-perserverance?

    Now don’t get me wrong, although polygamy was abolished in the ‘LDS/Mormon Church’ in 1890, I do know that polygamy (FDLS Church) still exsists in some obscure communites locally, but that belief is not the consensus of or not in any way condoned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or ‘LDS/Mormons’. The ‘Fundamental LDS Church’ does have their own rules which may or may not include bizarre racial evolution to make them look a certain way, I would not profess to know since that religion is separate from mine. I have seen plenty of ‘polygamists’ in Utah, Arizona, & Nevada and they do look a certain way, women & girls in full dresses, mostly homemade; no makeup, braided or bunned hairdoes. Men & boys in long sleeved shirts and long pants. By looks they are very easy to pick out in a crowd. However, it should be clarified that they are FUNDAMENTAL LDS. Not to be confused with the ‘LDS MORMONS’.

    My outreach to you would be, not to over-analyze or be critical of a ‘religion’ or it’s people by the way they look.

  17. Ardis Parshall on December 3, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    JaNae, I’m sure Paul will jump in here sooner or later, but in the meantime please accept my invitation to relax. Sometimes scholarship involves looking at what other people have said about us, no matter how ridiculous, or even especially *because* it is ridiculous. Researching something like this in no way means that Paul endorses the malarkey that was written about us in the 19th century.

    A line used by Boyd K. Packer 20 or more years ago strikes me as relevant: “Teachers would do well to learn the difference between studying some things, as compared to studying about them. There is a great difference.” Paul is studying about the attitudes and assumptions of 19th century observers that allowed them to see the Mormons as less than human, or at least as less than themselves, with all the consequences that grew from those faulty ideas. Their beliefs are not his beliefs.

  18. BHodges on December 3, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    Four words: Viper on the Hearth.

  19. Wilfried on December 3, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    JaNae, I see Ardis already jumped in to clarify. But let me say I enjoyed your strong reaction and arguments, because that must be exactly how our Mormon predecessors probably reacted reading the nonsense about them.

    Wow, I see you have an ancestor convert from Le Havre, France! Born there or was it the harbor of departure? There were very very few converts from France in the 1850s-1860s. If she was among the first converts, she might have been taught by John Taylor. Or later by that other hero, Louis Bertrand. Exceptional ancestry to be proud of.

  20. Paul Reeve on December 3, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    JaNae,
    Thanks for your feedback. I think Ardis and Wilfried already noted the nature of the research. I don’t think we need to look for any excuse for why Bartholow “saw” Mormons the way that he did. His comments fit nicely within a broader 19th century context on race that was fluid, illogical, and absurd. Race, in other words, was/is a construct of the mind. The strange thing about constructing Mormons racially was exactly as you point out, they looked no different from their American neighbors, yet outsiders still looked at them and described them as different. I’m trying to figure out why and what the ramifications of such a construction were. Interestingly, as the GQ Cannon quote evidences, Mormons didn’t deny the racial construct, only its outcomes.

    While Bartholow links it all to polygamy, I think that the various “Mormon bodies” that I’m researching had their roots in earlier Mormon contexts that pre-date polygamy. In other words outsiders were creating a Mormon-Indian body in Missouri, before JS started introducing polygamy.

    I’m from southern Utah myself, I might add. I grew up 20 miles from Colorado City/Hildale and my dad ran beef cattle on the Arizona Strip. I’m very familiar with the difference between Fundamentalist Mormons and those who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Your description of the Fundamentalist is very similar to the types of descriptions I’m finding in the 19th Century of mainstream Mormons. I’m studying those descriptions, not attempting to promulgate them. I’m certainly not trying to be critical of anybody by the way they look, but immagine the ramifications of those outsiders in the 19th century who were? They might even use their descriptions in an effort to justify extermination.

  21. Bob on December 3, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    Paul: I wish you a long and happy career. But in the late 60s, when I studied Anthropology, the warning was “Stay away from Race, it’s a career killer!”.
    I agree; looks should not give you away. But, even today, were I to walk in a European city, they would know I was American. How about Mormon in America? I don’t know what it is, but too many people have seen it in me not to sense something is there. (and I don’t even consider myself a a good Mormon type).
    “Physical degeneracy”‘ is to know nothing about Mormon Polygamy, or Mormon Marriage in the 19th Century. Mixing of groups was at it core.This usually makes the group stronger.
    But a study of Mormonism should included ideas of Lineage, Zionism, and even Racism, because they are there.

  22. Hans Hansen on December 3, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    JaNae, we’re related. I am also a descendant of that French widow, Ernestine Douerin Nicholes. Actually, she was wife #3, since wife #1 Harriett Dean, from England died of valley fever shortly after emigrating. Wife #2 Ann Marsh, came from the Isle of Jersey and was best friends with Ernestine. They emigrated together from the docks of Liverpool; Ernestine couldn’t speak English at that time but Ann was bi-lingual. Once in Utah Ernestine bore 10 sons (one died in infancy) with her husband Josiah Nicholes.

    Which of her Nicholes’ sons is your ancestor? I am descended from Edwin Nicholes.

    Wilfried: according to the information that I have, Ernestine Douerin, my 2nd great-grandmother, was born 22 May 1828 in Quimperle, Finesterre, France. She was briefly married to Captain Henry Jacobs, who died at sea in August 1850. She moved to Le Havre where one of her sisters lived. (Ernestine was the 9th of 10 children). She was a seamstress and was known for her fine embroidery.

    I show a baptismal date of 20 Dec 1852. I don’t know who performed the baptism. She arrived in New Orleans by ship from Liverpool on 10 Apr 1853 and arrived in SLC by wagon train about 6 Oct 1853.
    She died in American Fork, Utah on 13 May 1912.

    A tragedy in the life of a French emigrant: She was only able to take one of her sons, Henry (named after his father, Capt. Jacobs), born 1848, on her journey to America. She left the younger son, Eugene, born 1851,(only 3 years old) with her sister in Le Havre. Once in Utah she began saving up money so that Eugene could emigrate. By 1875 she finally had enough money. She wrote her sister with the good news and got the following reply, “Eugene died 5 Sep 1875.” …She never got to see her younger son again. Henry Jacobs, jr. died about 1888, so she outlived both sons from her first marriage.

  23. Bob on December 3, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    Paul: Saying nothing ill against fellow Swede/Dan Hans; But it this not today’s ‘form’ of Mormon”Linage and/or Racism (as in I belong in this group) thought? Note: I too am heavy into MY family history.

  24. David Grua on December 3, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    Paul: You’ve stolen my dissertation topic. I think I’ll drop out of grad school now and work at Barnes and Noble. Haha, just kidding. I’m sure I can think of something else. I do think that this is a fascinating topic and I’m glad that you’re working on it. ;)

    Just a quibble: I’d be careful in saying that “These groups, historians argue, were not deemed white on arrival…” As you probably know, the phrase “white on arrival” comes from Thomas A. Guglielmo’s White on Arrival, where he argued that Italians were actually deemed white when they arrived in the U.S., but that in the late 19th century race and color were two separate categories. Guglielmo was taking on Roediger, and Roediger has since answered Guglielmo in Working toward Whiteness. Definitely, there is potential in fitting Mormonism within whiteness studies.

    Bob: Race may have been a career killer in the ’60s, but now it is definitely a career booster, if done right. Now if Paul can work gender into the equation, I think he’ll be doing very well for himself.

  25. David Grua on December 3, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    Paul: You may be aware of this, but I think it’s fascinating and goes to your point that this racialization was occurring as early as Missouri. This from Parley Pratt:

    [T]his murderous gang when assembled and painted like Indian warriors, and when openly committing murder, robbery, and house burning, were denominated citizens, white people, &c., in most of the papers of the State, while our society who stood firm in the cause of liberty and law, were denominated Mormons, in contradistinction to the appelation of citizens, whites, &c, as if we had been some savage tribe, or some colored race of foreigners. (Pratt, ,28)

  26. David Grua on December 3, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    that’s (Pratt, History of the Late Persecution, 28)

  27. Hans Hansen on December 3, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    23. “Saying nothing ill against fellow Swede/Dan Hans;”

    Them be fightin’ words; I’m Norwegian! (In addition to English, French, German and Scots.)

    Sorry for hijacking the thread. It’s just that I immediately recognized JaNae’s point of reference.

    Actually the Nicholes line is even more interesting. Generations of English gypsies, many on the maternal side who were musicians (violinists or fiddlers) including one who was the “King of the Gypsy Fiddlers” in England. I’ve noticed that among my Nicholes uncles there seems to be a fondness for knives! I wonder if anyone has done a study of Gypsy Mormons?

    /End derail

  28. Ardis Parshall on December 3, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    Hans, I *love* it when people make connections like this via T&S, and I hope JaNae responds to tell you her descent. If the two of you say it’s okay, we can put you in touch with each other from the addresses you left behind the scenes.

  29. Hans Hansen on December 3, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    Thanks, Ardis. Let’s wait and see if JaNae responds. Another Nicholes cousin went to France a few years back to do family research on the Douerin line. I’ve lost touch with her but I monitor the IGI and so far she hasn’t submitted anything new. Oh well!

  30. smb on December 3, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    Paul, a timely addition to a longstanding discussion. Most of the relevant sources have been mentioned in prior comments, and of course your work on southwestern miners’ conflation of Mormons and Indians is relevant here (Paul’s first book is recommended reading for those interested in group identity and conflict in Deseret’s SW border region). I think the racial narrative may overpower narratives more relevant to the actual participants, though. I’m thinking of piety and the body as a mirror of the soul (the reason Mormons were physically degenerate was that they were lascivious–the accusations of sexual immorality dramatically antedate wide public knowledge of polygamy and were a favored form of character assassination) as well as the physiognomy of poverty. A major accusation levied against the LDS, and one they rallied against throughout their first decades, was that they were drawn from the lowest classes of Britain and the American rural expanse. Such people were widely believed, regardless of race (though, of course, it was always better to associate immigrants with the problem) to be dirty, deformed, and genitally corrupted. Third, you should be careful not to wander past the question of intelligence, reason, and common sense. For a nation hoping to bootstrap itself on the native intelligence of the common man, the Mormons, unless they were cretinous, represented a serious threat. If they were cretinous, a religion of angels, prophets, and plural wives was no indictment of the common sense of the common man, and how much better would it be if Mormon cretinism were associated with physiognomic abnormalities? Incidentally, there is an enjoyable if probably flawed analysis of horned Mormons as representing an English tradition about cuckolds as growing horns (I believe it’s BYUS in the 1990s).

    While I’m fascinated by and sympathetic to the meaning of race and particularly our constructive responses to racism, I worry that an attempt to bend physiognomic prejudice against the early Mormons to the mold of race studies will miss several elements of the worldview of participants. I think if you asked the participants, they would be most likely to invoke the body as a mirror of the soul explanation for physiological anti-Mormonism (I see Spencer’s delightful treatment of psychiatric explanations as describing another facet of this train of thought).

    On the topic, I’m remembering from the Nauvoo papers an account from a British missionary who applies similar physiognomic prejudice to the lowest classes in Britain. It would be worth slogging through the persecution tirades to see whether Mormons characterized the Missouri rabble as physiologically impaired in some way. Off the top of my head, I don’t recall it as being terribly common, but I suspect it will show up once or twice in a careful review.

    And for people interested in race, I would recommend watching Jared Hickman, who is finishing up his PhD now and has just completed a wonderful dissertation on the Prometheus myth and its relevance to American slavery and abolition discourse. His work has not been specifically on Mormons and race, but he’s wonderfully bright and well-read.

  31. David Grua on December 3, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Paul: SMB’s right about the persecution narratives containing race-based descriptions of the Missourians. For example, an editorial note from the Times and Seasons describes the Missourians thus: “[T]hrough the tender mercies of a kind Providence, who by his power has sustained, and once delivered them from the hands of the blood-thirsty and savage race of beings in the shape of men that tread Missouri’s delightful soil…He [JS] has no business with them, they have not escaped from justice, but from the hands of a cursed, infuriated inhuman, set, or race, of beings who are enemies to their country, to their God, to themselves and to every principle of righteousness and humanity…” (T&S, September 1840, 170). If you’re interested in pursuing this route, I’d be willing to share some research with you. I’m writing my MA thesis on Mormon memory of persecution, and so I’ve “slogged” through these persecution narratives. Let me know and we can get in touch.

  32. Bob on December 4, 2007 at 12:06 am

    #24: Race/Gender…how can you do it right? Either you say we are all one Race, or not. If not, you then start listing the differences. Boys and girls are the same, or not. If not, then you must start listing the differences. Where does the ‘career boost’ came in?
    #27: I can understate why you waited until post #27 for your ‘coming out’. But thank you, thank you, for the lead on the Nicholes! That’s my wife’s Grandmother maiden name, and has been a brick wall for me.
    #28: You may open my name to either.
    #30: smb: This is personal to me. My Family History contains some that “were drawn from the lowest classes of Britain and the American rural expanse” Out of these came my G/Uncle Waldermer P. Reed, Prof. at U of U for about 40 years.

  33. Tatiana on December 4, 2007 at 12:07 am

    I can’t speak for history, but as a convert and former investigator, I can testify to you that Mormons look wonderfully nerdy. Even the really hip ones are … you know …. you can just tell they’re Mormon. = )

  34. Bob on December 4, 2007 at 12:17 am

    #31: Do we have a book or story on the Missourian Mormons in ” Dixie” Utah?

  35. Christopher on December 4, 2007 at 12:55 am

    Race/Gender…how can you do it right? Either you say we are all one Race, or not. If not, you then start listing the differences. Boys and girls are the same, or not. If not, then you must start listing the differences.

    Bob, if someone were to publish that kind of analysis of race and gender in the 1960s that would probably kill one’s career. The topics of race and gender are much more complex than that, and are used to deal with issues of identity, power, and class.

  36. E on December 4, 2007 at 1:04 am

    What I’d like to know is how we went from barely human to beautiful people, with great hair, perfect teeth, and flawless skin in only 150 years?

  37. David Grua on December 4, 2007 at 1:04 am

    Do we have a book or story on the Missourian Mormons in ” Dixie” Utah?

    Bob: I’m not exactly sure what you mean. Are you refering to the folks that settled in southern Utah that had been in Missouri during the persecutions of the 1830s? If you are, then the best work that I’m aware of is found in Will Bagley’s work, as he tries to identify all those that participated in the Mountain Meadows massacre that also had connections to the Missouri persecutions. It isn’t a comprehensive study though of those Mormons that had been in Missouri earlier that settled in southern Utah.

    Paul mentions in his book a southern Utah community named Shoal creek. Shoal is the name of the creek by which the Haun’s Mill massacre occurred, which makes me wonder if there isn’t some connection there too.

    If that’s not what you’re refering to, please explain.

  38. Bob on December 4, 2007 at 1:34 am

    #36: 30,000 Scandinavians from 1840 to 1890….”priceless”.

  39. Paul Reeve on December 4, 2007 at 1:39 am

    David, I hope I really didn’t steal your dissertation topic. That can be a terrible feeling. I recall when Martha Knack’s book on the Southern Paiutes came out as I was writing the last half of my dissertation. I was in a panic for three days waiting for Amazon to ship it to me. When it arrived I found plenty of space still for my study to proceed.

    In #24, you are absolutely correct to point to a more complicated historiography than what I presented. When I write it up I’ll need to pay close attention to the points that you make. I’m still working my way through some of that literature. I’m now reading Eric L. Goldstein, The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity. It’s mostly 20th century, but the chapter on the late 19th century and Jewish-Americans is insightful and relevant to Mormon ideas about race. Also, have you seen Mark Smith’s new book, How Race is Made: Slavery, Segregation, and the Senses? His point that race, even in terms of black and white, was a “visually unstable category,” is helpful in creating space for a study on Mormons and a helpful way to think about race that might satisfy the questions Bob raises.

    Thank you also for the great quotes. I am currently working on the Mormon-Indian body chapter and have been slogging through the Missouri stuff myself, with that theme in mind. The quote from Pratt fits nicely. I have noticed the Mormons using some of the same language used against them to characterize the Missourians. It is interesting to note that JS attempted to combat the charges of Mormon-Indian conspiracy in Missouri, stating, “We have never had any communication with the Indians on any subject; and we, and all the Mormon church, as we believe, entertain the same feelings and fears towards the Indians that are entertained by other citizens of this state.” In other words, hey, don’t look at us, we’re racist toward the Indians like the rest of America.

    I must admit that I am much less familiar with the sources for the Missouri period than I am for Utah. Your offer is generous. I will contact you privately. Thank you again for some wonderful feedback.

  40. Hans Hansen on December 4, 2007 at 1:59 am

    Ardis, you may open my address and make it available to both Bob and JaNae. My mother’s maiden name is Nicholes.

    30,000 Scandinavians? Ja sure, you betcha! That explains my blond (now white) hair, blue eyes, and fair skin!

  41. Paul Reeve on December 4, 2007 at 2:10 am

    #30
    “I think the racial narrative may overpower narratives more relevant to the actual participants, though.”

    SMB, this is an excellent point and a fear that I have in doing this study. I am trying to be cognizant of it as I write, but I’m not entirely sure how to avoid it, simply because it will be a racial narrative after all. I don’t think that the racial aspect was all consuming to the actual participants and was only A factor. In fact, in reading some of the Missouri documents, many of the charges against the Mormons as they are expelled from Jackson County are religious, not racial. But we know that already, so I’m trying to say, hey, lets look at some other pieces of the puzzle. But when a whole project focuses on only the racial pieces, then the other pieces are automatically obscured. It’s a dilemma that I’ll have to confront as I write.

    Your other points are also well taken. My post only used the explicit body examples, but I think you are correct regarding the other “cultural” aspects that all blended in the 19th century mind into a racial construct. Missourians complained that Mormons were “of the very dregs of that society from which they came, lazy, idle, and vicious”–the same words that Euro-Americans used time and again to characterize Indians. The point that you make about intelligence, I noticed most in reading the Huntington’s collection of anti-Mormon Protestant tracts. The tracts became quite formulaic, with a core aspect centered upon explaining how Mormonism continued to grow despite it being a fraud. The answer was simply that Mormons were preying upon the uneducated masses that were beyond rational thought and therefore easily duped. The Mormon body, in other words, was dumb too.

    Thanks for your kind words on Making Space. This project actually grew out of the research for that. I kept finding references to physiognomic abnormalities from the miners and so I started a file on it.

    Your comments are very helpful and much appreciated.

  42. Bob on December 4, 2007 at 2:12 am

    #37: For me, it is a lack of understanding. I never understood going into Missouri in the first place, a study of the private Civil War between Kansas and Missouri shows it was a tinder box. It is my understanding (I could be wrong), BY sent the *converts* from Missouri into ‘Dixie’ to grow cotton(?) creating a very conservative/tough population. Most of the ‘tough guy’ Mormons lived there. (Rockwell, etc,) My people were in Idaho ( from Maine or Kirkland) or Sanpete Valley ( Scandinavians growing wheat).

  43. Paul Reeve on December 4, 2007 at 2:35 am

    #36 and # 33
    E’s question goes to an earlier comment by J. Stapley, in #5, in terms of when do Mormons become white? I don’t know the answer to that yet. J. points to the Eugenicists for a possible solution. I’ll have to pursue that and look into the timing of it in relation to the Smoot hearings. I do know that the Smoot hearings dredge up a significant amount of Mormon body stuff.

    And to bring it up to the exciting political news of this week, I’m keeping a file on the ways that Mitt Romney’s body is being politicized. The discourse has transformed considerably from the 19th century and is not race based to the same degree that it was earlier, but the barrage of references to Mitt’s “Mormon magic underwear” seems to signal that Mormon bodies are still different.

    Tatiana’s notion that “you can just tell they’re Mormon. = ) ” reminded me of two anecdotes:

    One took place in Ward Council meeting while I was still working on my PhD. The HP group leader reported on a new move in to the ward and he said, “I think they are Mormon.” I asked how he knew. He replied, “Well, they look Mormon.”

    Just last month, a woman in my current ward had an experience while giving a tour on temple square. When the tour finished a tourist hung around and finally got up the courage to ask, “So when do we get to see some Mormons?”

  44. manaen on December 4, 2007 at 4:05 am

    Just a thought re: “creating a new race” — maybe natural selection’s culling of 1 of 11 pioneers on the plains fostered that. I’ve wondered how much Utah’s comparatively favorable life expectancies and other vital statistics are the result of WoW obedience and how much from natural selection.

  45. smb on December 4, 2007 at 9:22 am

    I was reading the paper last night and ran into a couple of relevant quotes. Times and Seasons 4: 60, after winning the Boggs accessory to murder case, the Mormon proudly advertised that they had been inspected and found to have neither horns nor hooves (making explicit the idea of moral corruption evinced by diabolical physical traits) and Times and Seasons 4: 80, a major conference in Britain at which the WoW was held to transform physiognomy, making them “beautiful” and an Elder Ward clarifies that perfect beauty can only come from perfect purity, emphasizing the body as a mirror of the soul.

    I personally believe all of these narratives are part of dealing with the Other, and race is one of component of it. You can always argue that the other components are modes of establishing and alienating the Other as an alternative race.

  46. JA Benson on December 4, 2007 at 10:11 am

    Not all of the Mormon Pioneers were blond, blue eyed and of fair complexion. See http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2007/04/dna-mormons/ They were beautiful as well.

  47. David Grua on December 4, 2007 at 11:49 am

    Paul (#39): I was joking, for the most part, although I do have interests in whiteness studies that I hope to apply in my dissertation (whatever it ends up being). I haven’t read the two books that you mention, but they’re on my list. Also, are you also looking at the “criminalizing” of the Mormon body? I’ve come across quotes from Jackson County, Caldwell County, Nauvoo, and in Utah where outsiders ascribe to Mormons a criminal identity. Feel free to contact me and I’ll do what I can to share relevant sources.

    Bob (#42): Perhaps it would be better to direct this question to Paul. I’m not as familiar with Utah historiography, but I’m sure that there are histories of southern Utah’s Dixie and the role of southern converts in settling it.

  48. Wilfried on December 4, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Paul (43) mentioned: “Just last month, a woman in my current ward had an experience while giving a tour on temple square. When the tour finished a tourist hung around and finally got up the courage to ask, “So when do we get to see some Mormons?”

    There is a long and delightful story in the French review Le monde moderne, from 1904, where journalist Jean d’Entraigues is sent to Salt Lake City to make a full report on the Mormons. He published his article, with sublime irony, as his “private notes not meant for publication”: he tells how he arrived in Salt Lake and describes all the beauties of the city and its inhabitants. He wonders how he’s going to find any Mormons, as these “adventurers, who are being hunted down like wild beasts, these outlaws because of their fanaticism and immoral life, must be hiding somewhere”. But he is sure he will be able to find some of them, thanks to their “repulsive faces and coarse beards”.

    He then describes in great detail the magnificence of SLC, how he is introduced into wonderful families, meets cultivated people who have traveled over the world, spends time with them at Lagoon, enjoys great holidays at the expense of his publisher. No restraint to admit it, since “these notes are only for me”. But days go by and he starts to worry about his assignment to find those horrible Mormons. He makes the acquaintance of a young brilliant lady who has studied in Paris… “Suddenly I have a masterful idea. Since it seems I can trust her, I dare to express to her my immense desire to meet one of those bizarre beings who endanger the security of the United States and whom they call a Mormon….”

    Laughter all over! He’s deeply embarrassed to discover that all the people he has been in contact with are Mormons. He is introduced to polygamists of the older generation and is astounded to find they are normal people, wise, cultivated… “My goodness, to see savage customs, all I had to do was to remain in Paris” is his reaction.

    But he had been sent out to make a sensational article… So he concludes: “Last night I sent my article on the Mormons to the editor, everything fantasized as expected and perfectly credible. But… what is this? Oh no, my article is still here! I made a mistake, I sent my personal notes! What’s the publisher going to say? I’m lost, I’m fired!”

  49. Zina W on December 4, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    #43 — I used to watch a show on TLC called A Baby Story” where they would follow a pregnant woman through labor and delivery. One time a young woman was shown and within moments I was saying to myself, “She *has* to be Mormon.” The biggest giveaway was when the camera showed a photo portrait of her large family of origin, all arrayed in matching outfits.

    Paul, I was jarred by “in a . . . novel, Hubert” without more information about what the novel was or who Hubert was, but I’m assuming you’ll take care of providing that kind of information when you formally write it all up.

    (I don’t have more to add than that, but my above comment I guess could support an idea that what makes modern Mormons (and probably also Mormons in the past) recognizable, to the extent that they’re recognizable, could be cultural markers as much as or more than actual physical differences.) (Well, that, and the light in their eyes . . . but I can’t say whether that one’s a cultural marker or a physical difference . . .)

  50. Bob on December 4, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    #47: ( See #42) To Paul or anyone: What I am looking for is/are a book(s) like unto “Homeward to Zion”, by Wm. Mulder, or “Three Frontiers” by Dean May, on “Dixie” Utah.
    #46: Very,very true! That said, my Scandinavian Grandfather came here in 1868, and we are STILL having blond, blue eyed babies 6 generations later.(?)

  51. Paul Reeve on December 4, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    #50, Bob, I’m not sure that the exact study you are looking for exists. Nels Anderson’s Desert Saints has some demographic info on Dixie, as does Doug Alder’s and Karl Brooks’ history of Washington County. Andrew Karl Larson’s I Was Called to Dixie is dated, but the best comprehensive history of the Cotton Mission. Most of these talk about the Swiss population of Santa Clara, and of native born and foreign born populations, but if I recall, do not get specific in terms of state of birth of the native born population. Larry Logue’s book, A Sermon in the Desert might be your best bet, but it is so long since I’ve read it, that I don’t recall him addressing the kind of question you are after.

    #49, yes, it will have full citations and more complete context. I was simply trying to offer a few snippets here.

    #48, Wilfried, your story from Le monde modeme is great. Is it in your study at BYU?

    #45, SMB, thanks for the additional sources.

  52. Wilfried on December 4, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Yes, Paul, that article is in my 1974-anthology at BYU. It’s an amazingly well written story, fun to read.

  53. Ardis Parshall on December 4, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Wilfried, your summary was so delightful that I called for it this morning at LDS Archives. It’s wonderful!

  54. Bob on December 4, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    #51, Paul, thanks for the leads. ” What does a Mormon look like?” To change sides a little, and also be over simplistic; On my Mission to Montana in the late 60s, there were only two types of Mormon: ‘Utah’ or ‘Californian’. One of each was placed in each ‘Elder Set’. When you saw a different Set, it was always * clear on sight * who was from Utah and who was from California.

  55. Wilfried on December 4, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    (#53) Suggestion, Ardis: would you translate it in English and post it at T&S? I think it’s worth it.

  56. Ardis Parshall on December 4, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    Wilfried, we’re thinking alike again. If I can make the English as charming as the original, I will.

  57. john f. on December 4, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Wilfried, that’s hilarious (# 48). Thanks for sharing that.

  58. JaNae Quilter on December 4, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    Hans, my Nicholes name is from Sydney Nicholes, Edwins brother, both sons of Josiah & Ernestine. My great-grandfather was Emery, and his home is still located in American Fork just down the street from where Sydney and Josiah both lived. I also know that Ernestine along with some of her siblings lived in a convent after their parents died, we used to have some of the records from the convent, (maybe from the same cousin who traveled to France), but even my French friend from Marseille couldn’t interpret the old language French. I would be very interested in anything else that you have! Thanks so much for your comments–hope to hear more, JaNae

  59. Sterling on December 4, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    Paul,

    Have you read Coyote Nation by Pablo Mitchell? I think you might find a lot of good ideas for your own research. The methodology, if nothing else, could prove useful. Here are a couple of questions that come to mind. Have you looked at how the Gentile residents of Corinne and Ogden, as opposed to tourists who passed through Utah, perceived and described the bodies of Mormons? Did the black population in Ogden play a role in how Utah Mormons fashioned their racial hierarchy? Would Mitchell argue that the Mormon experience with polygamy is another example of how sexuality was an important component of American racialization? What kinds of advertisements did the Salt Lake Tribune carry that were pitched to (but also designed to transform the bodies of) Mormon consumers? At what point, if ever, did the residents of Utah pride themselves on being native-born citizens of the U.S. rather than foreign-born? Was the process of racialization in Utah part and parcel of the process of social stratification? Would Mitchell argue that it is no coincidence that your most “explicit physical description” comes from a physician? Did the Utah Mormons feel the need to contrast their bodies with those of local or adopted Indians as a means of asserting their racial superiority? Would the records of rape trials provide a fruitful source for analyzing how the bodies of Mormon women were described? Did passage of the Edmunds Tucker Act increase the numbers of people in Utah who were prosecuted for the newly-regulated federal crimes of adultery, incest, and fornication? Did the increasing federal regulation of Utah public schools in the 1880s and 1890s represent an attempt on the part of the government to racialize the bodies of Mormon children? Did the courts or legislatures in Utah ever attempt to define racial categories, perhaps through laws that regulated education, marriage, voting, or worship across racial boundaries?

  60. JA Benson on December 4, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    #50 Bob People tend to marry others who are similar to them in appearance and similar nationalities. It has to do with a subconcious need to pass on to offspring desirable traits. I don’t have a source. I heard about it on the BYU channel by a biologist studying dna at BYU. Also my oldest son was taught this concept in HS biology.

  61. DD Brown on December 5, 2007 at 1:48 am

    As a counter-point to the various descriptions of Utah/Western Mormons from the travelogues of Eastern US or European commentators, you might consider the records of the Japanese Iwakura Mission. Wide-eyed about all things Western, they arrived in SLC after spending a few days in San Francisco and ended up spending nearly 2 weeks among the Mormons since their eastward journey was blocked by heavy snows. I believe that it was 1872 and they were feted with balls and parties, and shown the blessings of democratic institutions, western medicine, and the American genius for transforming the desert.

    It might be interesting to contrast their views of the Mormons with what they saw in SFO, Chicago, and New York or Paris and London. This from the vantage point of obvious outsiders looking in, versus insiders looking for the strange and outlandish…

    If you’re interested I can find the reference for the BYU Masters Thesis dealing with this, or the recent book. As I remember there was also an Ensign article published a few years back…

  62. Paul Reeve on December 5, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    #59
    Stirling, I have not read Coyote Nation, but it sounds like I should. You offer a variety of great questions, some of which I have thought of, and others that I have not. I’ve only scratched the surface at Corinne and Ogden. I’m much more familiar with the Mormon body as articulated at Pioche, Nevada in southeastern Nevada. A graduate student here at the U, Alan Morrell, did pass on a couple of body quotes from the Corinne Reporter, one on Mormon women, an echo of the famous Mark Twain quote: “It is ‘assault and battery’ to have them look at you. What Brigham or any other man would want of seventeen such looking creatures I cannot imagine. One of them, I should think, would be a great horror. Such dislocation of noses, and misplacement of mouths, and ruin of eyebrows, are not gathered together in any other place on this planet. There must be a good many witches among them. . . . With these Mormon women it is a vicious and outrageous uncomeliness, indicative of moral disfirgurement.” And speaking of a Mormon boy the Corrinne Reporter wrote, “The fact was that the child looked like a half-breed Indian, and gave no promise of ever being bright enough to learn his letters.”

    The question on the black population is an interesting one. There is definitely a Mormon-slave body narrative. Several political cartoons depict a black wife among the many Mormon wives, or a black child among the many polygamous babies. I can’t help but think that this had an impact on the LDS Churches racial policy that was hardening at the time.

    “Did the Utah Mormons feel the need to contrast their bodies with those of local or adopted Indians as a means of asserting their racial superiority?”

    Yes, definitely, but these assertions tended to be audience specific. If a federal official was present, Mormons developed a narrative that painted themselves as the true Jeffersonian agrarians who had tamed the wilderness as a part of American progress, even in the face of the brutal savages. To Mormon crowds the Indian narrative sometimes shifts to the fallen Israel must be redeemed narrative, but as I note in Making Space, there is also a Gadianton Robber discourse that complicates this.

    The rest of your questions I have not considered, but may prove fruitful avenues to pursue. They are great suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to offer feedback. I have added Coyote Nation to my list.

    #61 DD Brown, yes I’d be interested in the Japanese visit. Was there an article on it in the UHQ a few years back, or am I thinking of something else?

  63. smb on December 19, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Paul, search for “beast” in Times and Seasons vol 4 (somewhere in the first couple hundred pages). a reasonable situation of diabolical physiognomy in the beast of the apocalypse, a way to situate mormons as anti-christs. bumped into it a couple days ago as i keep slogging my way through T&S.

  64. Paul Reeve on December 19, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    SMB, Thanks. I’m intrigued. I’ll look it up.

  65. smb on January 2, 2008 at 12:25 am

    Methodist minister Samuel Prior describes his neighbors as the kind of people “who look upon a Mormon as a being of quite another race, from the rest of mankind, and holding no affinity to the human family.” He reports being “disappointed, when, instead of the heads and horns of the beast” he beheld Joseph Smith, a “common man.”

    Samuel Prior, “A Visit to Nauvoo,” Times and Seasons 4, no. 13 (May 15, 1843): 197.

    is one of them.

  66. Carol P. Warnick on April 12, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    If you want to know what Mormons look like you can find out for yourselves. You don\’t need someone else describing their features. Just look for those clean cut young men in dark suits with white shirts and ties that spend two years of their own time and expense to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. You will find equally beautiful young women who wear the name tags of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) doing the same thing. You will also be able to see how they look as they toil away whenever there is a disaster of any kind helping others. I can best explain their look as a glow of goodness and service.

  67. Carol P. Warnick on April 12, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    If you want to know what Mormons look like you can find out for yourselves. You don\’t need someone else describing their features. Just look for those clean cut young men in dark suits with white shirts and ties that spend two years of their own time and expense to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. You will find equally beautiful young women who wear the name tags of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) doing the same thing. You will also be able to see how they look as they toil away whenever there is a disaster of any kind helping others. I can best explain their look as a glow of goodness and service.