Thursday, July 29, 2010

Texas wants Warren Jeffs after Utah conviction is overturned

Warren Jeff's conviction was overturned in Utah earlier this week.
Texas begins new proceedings to extradite Mormon sect leader Warren Jeffs

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Robert T. Garrett

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Tuesday immediately began a new proceeding to extradite Warren Jeffs, a spokesman for Abbott said.

"We are currently working with the Texas governor's office and Utah authorities to bring Warren Jeffs to Texas to stand trial," said the spokesman, Jerry Strickland.

Jeffs was indicted by a Schleicher County grand jury on three sexual offenses, all first-degree felonies, in July 2008. At the time, Abbott said he hoped to extradite Jeffs, then in an Arizona jail awaiting separate charges, to Texas "as quickly as possible."

The rural West Texas county is home to the breakaway Mormon sect's Yearning for Zion ranch. Three months before Jeffs' indictment, Child Protective Services removed 440 children and about two dozen women over allegations the community permitted a culture of sexual abuse and marriages between girls and much older men.

Robert T. Garrett

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Lost" Languages to Be Resurrected by Computers?

"Lost" Languages to Be Resurrected by Computers?

New program can translate ancient Biblical script.

An Ugaritic artifact.
A gift-shop replica of a clay tablet with Akkadian writing from the city of Ugarit, Photograph courtesy S.R.K. Branavan

Tim Hornyak for National Geographic News

A new computer program has quickly deciphered a written language last used in Biblical times—possibly opening the door to "resurrecting" ancient texts that are no longer understood, scientists announced last week.

Created by a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the program automatically translates written Ugaritic, which consists of dots and wedge-shaped stylus marks on clay tablets. The script was last used around 1200 B.C. in western Syria.

Written examples of this "lost language" were discovered by archaeologists excavating the port city of Ugarit in the late 1920s. It took until 1932 for language specialists to decode the writing. Since then, the script has helped shed light on ancient Israelite culture and Biblical texts.

Using no more computing power than that of a high-end laptop, the new program compared symbol and word frequencies and patterns in Ugaritic with those of a known language, in this case, the closely related Hebrew.

Through repeated analysis, the program linked letters and words to map nearly all Ugaritic symbols to their Hebrew

equivalents in a matter of hours.

continue reading here

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Alice Cooper Mormon?

Tackling the Mormon Myth about Alice Cooper Published by Mormon Heretic .  

Alice Cooper at the 2007 Scream Awards

"If you're Mormon, you've probably heard the myth that Alice Cooper was a Mormon.  Most of you have probably dismissed the myth as complete hogwash.  Well, it turns out there is an element of truth to the myth.  For example, his father's middle name is Moroni and his grandfather was an apostle!  Yes it is true!"


Keep reading here

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium

To see information regarding the 2011 Utah Symposium (held in Ogden), click here

4-7 August 2010 at the Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel, 150 West 500 South

Wednesday, 8:00 pm (free and open to the public )
  • The Fate Of New Religious Movements When They Are No Longer New: A Conversation Between Jon Butler And Jan Shipps - Jan Shipps, John Butler

  • Devotional. The Call To Praise And Respond - Susan Skoor
  • Eugene England'S Calculated Risk: The Struggle For Academic Freedom And Religious Dialogue - Charlotte Hansen
  • Out Of Context; Using And Abusing Quotations - Barry Laga
  • Maturing Faiths; A Comparison Between Mormonism And Islam During Their First Two Centuries - Ann Chamberlin
  • Money Troubles: Fiscal And Psychological Crises At Kirtland - Richard Delewski
  • One Soul Shall Not Be Lost: A History Of The War In Heaven In Mormon Thought - Boyd J. Petersen
  • Bella'S Body: Physicality, Mortality, Spirituality, And Desire - Holly Welker
  • Authors Meet The Critic Curt Bench, Gary Topping - Polly Aird
  • More Stories From The LDS Borderlands D. Jeff Burton, John Dehlin
  • Francophone Mormons And The Internet: Discovering Space For Religious Expression, Dialogue, And Democracy Carter Charles - Boyd J. Petersen
  • Joseph Smith, Matthew Philip Gill, And The Dynamics Of Mormon Schism - Matthew Bowman
  • Panel: Rediscovering Eugene England In The 21St Century Charlotte Hansen, Charlotte England, Rebeccca England, Jody England Hansen - Dan Wotherspoon
  • Panel: Studies Of Twentieth-Century Utah Mormon Sects - Ryan T. Roos, Christopher Blythe, Christine Magula
  • Panel: Peculiar Portrayals: Mormons On The Page, Stage, And Screen - Michael Austin, Mark T. Decker, Aaron Sanders
  • Panel: Are We Moving Toward Wholenness? Women And The Feminine In Mormonism - Margaret Toscano, Lilly Shults, Alisa Bolander, Tresa Edmunds, Suzann Werner
  • Panel: A Walking Contradiction: Partly Truth And Partly Fiction - Fae Ellsworth, Larry Rigby, Whitney Mower, Richard Terry Lapointe, Paul Swenson
  • Line Upon Line: How The New Personal Progress/duty To God Programs Are Defining Tomorrow'S Leaders - Laura Compton, Tresa Edmunds
  • A Field Guide For Turning History Into Myth - H. Parker Blount
  • Toward An LDS Account Of Physician-Assisted Suicide - Samuel Brown
  • Two Short Plays: Adam & Eve And Prodigal Son - Davey Morrison Dillard, Bianca Morrison Dillard
  • A Crisis Of Faith In Newtonian Mormonism - Michael Farnworth
  • From Seer Stone To Trifocals: A Church'S Journey With Scripture - Robin Linkhart
  • Whose Wife Will She Be? Marriage, Embodiment, And Salvation - Janice Allred
  • Maturity, Meaning, And Mormonism - Lowell Lemesany
  • Adam-Ondi-Ahmen: An American Eden Boyd - J. Petersen
  • From C.s. Lewis To Owen Barfield: An Evolution Of Consciousness, An Evolution Of Faith - Julie J. Nichols
  • Panel: "Those Members Of The Body, Which Seem To Be More Feeble…are Necessary": Placing Disablity At The Heart Of Zion - Dan Wotherspoon, J. Mark Olsen, Anne Leahy
  • Panel: The Stories We Tell: How An Unpleasant Truth Can Be More Inspirational Than A Pleasant Fiction - Tresa Edmunds, Tracy Mckay, Kathryn Lynard Soper, Janet Garrard-Willis, Stephen Marsh
  • Panel: Some Sahd Stories - Stephen Carter, Mark England, John Gustav-Wrathall, Joseph West, Jr.
  • Panel: The Book Of Job - Holly Welker, H. Parker Blount, Joanna Brooks, Richard Delewski
  • Panel: Eternal Perdition? Bureaucratic Limbo? The Theological Ramifications Of Excommunication - Janice Allred, Lavina Fielding Anderson, Marvin Rytting, Margaret Toscano, Paul Toscano
  • Plenary. Double Feature: Performances By Sister - Dottie S. Dixon And Mr. Deity Brian Keith Dalton And Charles Lynn Frost
  • Wrestling Jacob'S Angel: On Trials And Maturing Faith - Michael Vinson
  • The Cost Of Discipleship: Thoughts On What It Means To Be A Mature Believer - Robert A. Rees
  • Sacred Secrecy In The Teachings Of President Boyd K. Packer - Hugo Olaiz, D. Michael Quinn
  • Joseph Smith Iii: From Reorganization To Community Of Christ - Lachan Mackay
  • Meditations On William H. Chamberlin And Why One Should Remain Mormon - James Mclachlan
  • Rachel Ann Nunes'S Ariana Series: A Fictional View Of Latter-Day Saints In Modern-Day France - Helynne Hollstein Hansen
  • Relief Society And The Invisible Hand Of Patriarchy - Tamara Taysom, Ellen Decoo
  • Instrumental Mysticism: The Inspired Fictionalization Of The Untied Firm Revelations - Christopher C. Smith
  • Spaceship Earth - Dennis Clark
  • Why Elijah (Or The Baptist) Must Come Before Christ'S Return - Paul Savage, Steve ShieLDS
  • Same-Gender Marriage & Religious Freedom: A Call To Quiet Conversations And Public Debates - Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy
  • Plenary Session: Why We Stay Alan Eastman - Carol B. Quist, Mark D. Thomas, Suzann Werner, Ron Frederickson
  • Responses To The Documentary 8: The Mormon Proposition - Laura Compton, Reobert A. Rees
  • In Memoriam: Linda Sillitoe - John Sillito, Paul Swenson, Phyllis Barber, Allen Roberts
  • What Was Responsible For The Willie And Martin Handcart Disaster? One Small Cow - Trent D. Stephens, Kevin HoLDSworth
  • Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil Vs Tree Of Life - Richard C. Russell
  • Life After: The Journey From Active Mormon To Reflective Unitarian - Marvin Rytting
  • More Precious Things: Evidence For Women'S Priesthood In The Earliest Christianity - Bridget Jack Jeffries
  • Is The Afghanistan War Just? A Book Of Mormon Approach - Joshua Madson, William Van Wagenen
  • In Memoriam: C. Jess Grosbeck - Karl Schnibbe, Reed Hunter, Susan Buhler Taber Anne Wilde, Beverly Hoppe, Karen Rosenbaum, Douglass Taber
  • The Big Fan: Joseph Smith And The Danites In Missouri - Todd Compton, D. Michael Quinn
  • The Will To Power And Exaltation: An Exploration Of Mormon And Nietzschean Conceptions Of Power - Rachel Morris
  • Film: Screening The Sonosopher, An Experimental Journey Through The Mind Of Sound Wizard And Poet - Alex Caldiero Alex Caldiero, Torben Bernhard, Travis Low
  • Panel. Our Voices, Our Visions: A Mormon Women'S Literary Tour Encore Performance - Julie J. Nichols, Whitney Mower, Elisa Pulido, Elizabeth Pinborough, Holly Welker, Joanna Brooks
  • Panel: Persistence Of Polygamy: A Mormon Anthology - Newell G. Bringhurst, Jeffery O. Johnson, Patricia Scott, Christopher Blythe, Todd Compton
  • Exit, Voice, And Loyalty In The Mormon Community - Kaimipono Wenger, Kristine Haglund, Bridget Jack Jeffries, John Dehlin
  • Developments From The Community Of Christ 2010 World Conference - William D. Russell, Mark A. Scherer
  • Plenary. Pillars Of My Faith - Eric Samuelson, Tracy Mckay
  • Devotional. Gratitude: A Contagious Choice - Frances Lee Menlove
  • Film: Trouble In Zion, A Documentry - Kenneth Ballentine
  • The Descent Of Dissent: Or On The Origin Of Speciousness - Paul Toscano, Vickie Steward Eastman
  • Church, Priesthood, And The Gay/lesbian Journey Toward Spiritual Maturity - John. D Gustav-Warthall
  • Dating Fanny Alger: The Nature, Timing, And Consequences Of An Early Polygamous Relationship - Don Bradley
  • Toward A Mormon Theological Justification For Environmental - Activism Roger D. Hansen, Dan Wotherspoon
  • The Future Of Catholic-Mormon Dialogue: Bridges Between Rome And Salt Lake City - Donald Westbrook,
  • Film: Trouble In Zion, A Documentry - Kenneth Ballentine
  • Gender Differences In The Early Patriarchal Blessings Of The LDS Church 1834-1845 - Gordon Shepherd, Gary Shepherd, Natalie Shepherd
  • Getting It Right: Changes In The Gospel Principles Manual From 1979 To 2009 - Steve Warren, Laura Compton
  • From "System Of Beliefs" To "Way Of Life": Fifty Years Of Transformation In Community Of Christ - Steve ShieLDS
  • Mormon Women Had The Priesthood In 1843 - Joshua Gillon
  • Joseph Smith'S Meditation On Power: Clear Evidence Of A Maturing Faith - Dennis Clark
  • Panel: Glenn Beck: Likely Mormon Or Unlikely Mormon - Robert A. Rees, Eric Samuelsen, Joanna Brooks, David King Landrith
  • Panel. The Gay Mormon Literature Project - Johnny Townsend, Alan Michael Williams, Gerald S. Argetsinger
  • Panel: The Role Of In The "Maturing" Of Mormon Feminism Lisa Butterworth - Melanie Franti, Shelah Miner, Tresa Edmunds
  • Panel. The Pros And Cons Of Writing Confessional Memoir In The Mormon Milieu - Phyllis Barber, Holly Welker, Keven Holdworth, Stephen Carter, Bruce Jorgensen
  • Panel. Mormonism And Radical Politics - Cory Bushman, Katy Savage, Tristan Call, Fernando R. Gomez
  • Growth And Dispersion Of Latter-Day Saints In "Zion" And "Babylon": The Consequences Of Mormon Demographic Transition - Rick Phillips, Ronald Lawson
  • Toeing The Line: Is The LDS Church A Moral Agent Or A Political Machine? - Laura Compton, Joseph West, Jr.
  • The Epistle Of Paul: Homosexual Spirituality And The Redemption Of Pleasure Paul Toscano - Michael J. Stevens
  • Faith In The Midst Of The Difficulties Of Life - Susan Skoor
  • Joseph Smith'S Personal Polygamy - Brian Hales, George D. Smith
  • The Mormon Bibles William D. Russell - Kim Mccall
  • 356: Lockean Ideology And D&c Section 134: The Adoption Of American Political Ideology As Scripture - Chris Henrichsen
  • Hindering The Saints: Taking Away The Key Of Knowledge - Philip G. Mclemore
  • Panel: The Mormon Feminist Community Of Exponent Ii: Its History, Its Legacy, Its Future - Barbara Taylor, Aimee Evans Hickman
  • Film: Two Loves: Documenting Gay Mormons' Stories - Michelle Ripplinger
  • Oliver Cowdery'S Rod Of Nature - Clair Barrus, D. Michael Quinn
  • Reasons For Technological Interpretations Of Mormonism - Lincoln Cannon, J. Mark Olsen
  • Bash: Mormonizing Euripides - Dai Newman
  • Panel. Gay And Mormon On The Stage And Screen - Charles Lynn Frost, Eric Samuelsen, Gerald S. Argetsinger
  • Panel. Seeing As Believing - Alex Caldiero, Cheryl L. Bruno, Paul Swenson
  • Panel: Men And The Priesthood: Taking On The Feminine - Tom Kimball, Holly Welker, Robin Linkhart, Lisa Butterworth
  • Where Is Your Faulkner? Mormon Fiction And America - Elbert Eugene Peck, Jane Barnes, Karen Rosenbaum, Ellen Fagg Weist, Steve Williams
  • Panel: No More Fellow Citizens But Still Strangers: Twenty Years Of Strangers In Paradox: Explorations In Mormon Theology - Janice Allred, Mark D. Thomas, Margaret Toscano, Paul Toscano
  • Faith And Narrative - Sheila Taylor, Sara Burlingame, Joanna Brooks
  • Banquet: LDS Women In The Twentieth Century: Witnesses To A Changing Church. - Claudia L. Bushman, Lisa T. Clayton, Lauren Kennard, Caroline Kline, Bethany Saunders

Online missionaries

Excerpts of Mormon missionary work moving online, Deseret news


ROCHESTER, N.Y. — For a dozen Mormon missionaries in upstate New York, the iconic tasks of "tracting" and knocking on doors are things of the past.

Instead, they're spreading the good word in high-tech fashion, posting on sites such as Blogger, WordPress and Facebook.

The church's missionary department is experimenting with its missionaries, using social networking to make contacts and create conversations with individuals who might be interested in the LDS faith.

Or, in social-networking terms, to get connected.

The preliminary test program — which is currently called "Missionaries on the Internet" — was started in late May in the LDS Church's New York Rochester Mission.

A companionship of two missionaries sits side-by-side at the computer, one safeguard being that they work in tandem in composing posts and reviewing responses.

Another security is what Wilson calls "community policing." All participating missionaries are Facebook "friends" with each other and the mission president, meaning all their Facebook activity is easily accessible by the others.

The online activity is a deviation from church policy for its missionaries, which restricts computer use to exchanging e-mails with home and accessing church Web resources and

The other exception is the "chat" missionaries — based at the Provo Missionary Training Center — who answer questions and queries at the LDS Church's website.

Wilson calls the Missionaries on the Internet program "a raw test" that could grow to other missions and other nations. But the missionary department will need to study it for much longer than its current existence of single-digit weeks.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

FAIR Conference

FAIR conference
August 5–6, 2010
Sandy UT

More info:

  • David Bokovoy, "Joseph Smith and the Biblical Council of Gods"
  • Jeffrey Bradshaw, "The Apocalypse of Abraham: An Ancient Witness for
  • the Book of Moses"
  • William Duncan, "Religion in the Legal Controversy Over Marriage"
  • Craig Foster, "Like Two Crazy Aunts in the Attic: Latter-day Saints
  • and Popular Polygamy Stereotypes"
  • John Gee, "Marginal Characters in the Book of Abraham Manuscripts"
  • Brian Hales, "Controversies in Joseph Smith's Polygamy: New
  • Evidences and New Observations"
  • Valerie Hudson, "The Two Trees"
  • Gary Lawrence, "How Americans View Mormonism and What We Can Do
  • about It"
  • Steve Mayfield, "Big Love: The Truth, the Whole Truth, and. . .Well, Maybe Not?"
  • Daniel Peterson, "The Obligation to Do Apologetics"
  • William Schryver, "The Meaning and Purpose of the Kirtland Egyptian
  • Papers"
  • Shirley Ricks, "Editing Hugh Nibley: From Manuscript to Book"
  • Stephen Ricks, "Proper Names in the Book of Mormon"
  • Matthew Roper, "Joseph Smith and the Question of Book of Mormon
  • Geography"
  • Royal Skousen, "Restoring the Original Text of the Book of Mormon"
  • Peter Watkins, "A Mormon in the White House"

1st Presidency letter against gay marriage in Argentina

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English text of First Presidency letter
6 July 2010
For: Area Seventies, stake presidents, district presidents and mission presidents, bishops, branch presidents and Buenos Aires, Argentina, area president
Dear Brothers,
Strengthening the Family
Concerns have been raised regarding the proposed legislation which would change the definition of marriage in Argentina. The doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is absolutely clear: Marriage is between a man and a woman and is ordained of God. We recommend that together as families you review The Family: A Proclamation to the World to understand more fully the doctrine of the church in regards to this topic.
The First Presidency
Thomas S. Monson
Henry B. Eyring
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Judge rules Fed Gay Marriage ban unconstitutional

Excerpts of Judge Rules Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional
BOSTON (AP) -- A U.S. judge in Boston has ruled that a federal gay marriage ban is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define marriage.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro on Thursday ruled in favor of gay couples' rights in two separate challenges to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA.

The state had argued the law denied benefits such as Medicaid to gay married couples in Massachusetts, where same-sex unions have been legal since 2004.

Tauro agreed, and said the act forces Massachusetts to discriminate against its own citizens.

"The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state, and in doing so, offends the Tenth Amendment. For that reason, the statute is invalid," Tauro wrote in a ruling in a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Ruling in a separate case filed by Gays & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Tauro found that DOMA violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The law was enacted by Congress in 1996 when it appeared Hawaii would soon legalize same-sex marriage and opponents worried that other states would be forced to recognize such marriages. The lawsuit challenges only the portion of the law that prevents the federal government from affording pension and other benefits to same-sex couples.

Since then, five states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A brief look at the prophet Isaac Bullard

In Canada, Isaac Bullard had been healed from a partial paralysis which proved instrumental in his calling as a prophet.  "Before he began his mission, he had a severe spell of sickness, when he fasted 40 days, (as he said, and his disciples believed;) after which he recovered very suddenly, by the special interposition of the Divine Spirit, and being filled with enthusiasm, he declared that he was commanded to plant the church of the Redeemer in the wilderness."[1]

After Bullard prescribed a remedy that was thought to have killed a child, he and his group left Canada to Vermont and then settled in Woodstock, New York.  Oliver Cowdery's grandfather lived in Woodstock when "The Pilgrims" settled there in 1817.  "Although the Joseph Smith, Sr. family had departed Vermont by the time the Bullard Pilgrims arrived on the scene, Oliver Cowdery's Grandfather, (William Cowdery, Sr.) then lived in Woodstock and Oliver himself lived in an adjoining county ... It is not unlikely that members of the Cowdery family had some first-hand knowledge of Bullard's cult."[2]

His group was particularly known for their lack of hygiene, a practiced mandated by Bullard who found no edict to wash in the Bible.  They wore leather girdles and bear skins (later a revelation changed their clothing to colorfully patched clothing).  Bullard boasted he had not bathed in seven years, and the women of the group were sometimes observed rolling around on dusty roads.  Raw bacon was the only allowed meat, and food was eaten while standing, sucked through a quill straw from a community bowl.  For a period of time, when they traveled, they did not walk erect, but used short walking sticks forcing them to walk humped over.  Sometimes the men pretended to ride ponies because of the biblical injunction to become like little children.  Extreme fasting was common and the prophet enacted other bazaar mandates (and punishments) to ensure his followers were not partaking in any of the luxuries of the world.[3]

While their beliefs and particularly their practices were quite different from the Mormon church (organized over a dozen years later) there were some interesting parallels.

Bullard felt he and his followers were the "the only true followers of Jesus Christ and his gospel, and [were] in a special manner called of God"[4]

"[T]he Pilgrims were in revolt against the prevailing denominationalism of the time. They viewed the established churches as being formal, lacking in piety and inspirational warmth, and corrupt. With a romantic yearning for the lost simplicity, universality, and purity of the primitive New Testament Church, these restorationers separated themselves in the hope of forming a more holy and perfect communion after the apostolic model of the Book of Acts."[5]

'Bullard did not "believe himself possessed of the powers he professed." Like any prophet worth his salt, he received divine revelation and professed to govern by immediate inspiration from Heaven. His authority was unquestioned, and he ruled "the sect as an absolute monarch in all things spiritual and secular."[6]

Bullard considered himself the prophet Elijah[7] and was referred to as a "second Moses" and "high priest."[8]

He felt God was "holding forth the power of his holy spirit, as communicated unto them, saying that the millennium is near at hand, and that the lost tribe of Judah is now beginning to be gathered in, and the way is fast opening, when the four quarters of the world will be gathered into one fold, of such as will receive the true spirit of faith: not the faith which is received by christians of the present day, but such as is accompanied by holy fire."[9] Non-believers were referred to as "gentiles."

One of his followers noted "we began to preach that the coming of the Lord was at hand, that darkness had covered the land and gross darkness the people but God was now about to establish his kingdom on earth."[10]

"The property of all who joined was put into a common stock, amounting to some $8,000 or $10,000. As the undisputed ruler, Bullard distributed the common stock as he saw fit." They also practiced healing, believed in freewill, followed the ancient patriarchs, and practiced speaking in tongues (considered to be quite the spectacle by observers).[11]

The Pilgrims rejected traditional marriage.  "He rejects sirnames, and abolishes marriage, and allows his followers to cohabit promiscuously."[12]

He 'controlled his followers most intimate social relations, "marrying and unmarrying, ... according to his sovereign pleasure." ... Most likely Bullard did conjure up some form of spiritual wifedom, for one Shaker diarist learned "they pretend to marry a woman in God & by daoing [sic] sanctify the flesh."'  In fact, '[a]ccompanying the Prophet were his wife and an infant son -- an alleged holy child who was called "Christ" or the "Second Christ"'[13]

The Pilgrims left Woodstock, New York in search of a "New Jerusalem."  Bullard used a rod to determine the direction of their promised land.[14]

'[T]he Pilgrims "knew not where they were going being led & directed by the spirit. According to later accounts, each morning Bullard would throw his staff on the ground to learn the direction of the day's travel. Unerringly, the staff always pointed to the southwest.[15]  The story is probably legend, but there is no question that Bullard, like many of the social architects of the epoch, was lured on by a romantic vision of the glories of the American Garden of Eden, the transappalachain West. Surely, if God had [ever] prepared a primitive paradise where his chosen people would live in millennial happiness, the great American West was such a place."'[16]

They traveled through the Finger Lakes region (near Fayette and Palmyra) in the Autumn of 1817, to Ohio and onto Missouri. "The whole company pursued their journey down the Ohio, in search of the good country which the Prophet had taught them to believe, they should certainly find: -- he said that Providence directed their steps, and he should infallibly know the place when they arrived at it."[17]

In Missouri Bullard had a revelation that they had found the promised land.[18]

One gentleman reported "I was told that their prophet led them westward to the Allegheny river, where they took a large boat, and went down that river in search of the 'promised land,' to which their pretended prophet was conducting them; that on their arrival at a certain island, they disembarked, and the prophet began to penetrate the soil with his staff, to discover if there were any indications of their approach to his uptopian Canaan. He at length announced to his deluded followers that this island was in very deed, the sought for land; in proof of which, his staff, which he left in the ground, would, at a given hour, put forth buds and blossom! but that in the mean time, himself, and priest must go to the main land, ' and seek the Lord.' They accordingly took the boat together with all the provisions and money (of both which they had picked up a considerable quantity on the road) and departed; leaving the rest of the party, augmented to about 70 persons, on the island to wait the issue of the prophet's miracle. The given hour however went by, and the prophet's staff remained but a barren stick. Neither bud nor blossom, prophet nor priest, appeared; and what was still worse, they had neither bread nor meat nor the means of procuring either.[19]

When they "landed at the Little Prairie, [Missouri]. The prophet's staff, which by the direction of its fall had hitherto pointed out the way, now stood still; and he declared that here he was commanded to settle and build a church;"[20]

Because the property owner was reluctant to allow them to settle, they continued south out of Missouri into the territory of Arkansas where a new swampy location was identified with the rod.  Their journey away from civilization coupled with Bullard's harsh measures, particularly continual fasting, proved difficult, and many of Bullard's followers died or deserted.  Bullard's fate is unsure, but he may have prophesied his future resurrection. "[H]e promised to return to them in two years, and for them to continue their journey.[21]

By 1824 only two followers remained in his New Jerusalem, still dedicated to his teachings.

While the many of the Pilgrims beliefs and practices differed from those of Joseph Smith, similarities invited this 1831 comparison of Isaac Bullard's Pilgrims to Joseph Smith's Latter Day Saints.  Discussing the “Mormon Delusion” the author notes, "Our readers will recollect a similar delusion which raged some ten years ago in the case of the 'Pilgrims.' Their Prophet -- Old Isaac, as he was called -- came from Canada with a few, and encamped in Woodstock. Here outraging not Christianity only but humanity, by their absurd opinions and absurder practice -- by taking the assertions of their infatuated leader for divine revelation... they induced many decent people who should have known better to join them, under the empty practice of being led to the holy land... From the resemblance between the Pilgrims and the Mormonites in manners and pretensions, we should think Old Isaac had re-appeared in the person of Joe Smith, and was intending to make another speculation."[22]

-Clair Barrus
[1]Wayne Sentinel May 26, 1826
[2]Dale Broadhurst, "Uncle Dale's readings in early Mormon History: Newspapers of New York," note 3,, accessed June 2010.  Broadhurst has assembled an impressive collection of newspaper articles and other materials regarding Bullard (primarily used to assemble this post).
[3]"The Prophet and the Mummyjums: Isaac Bullard and the Vermont Pilgrims of 1817," F. Gerald Ham, Wisconsin Magazine of History, Vol. 56, No. 4 (Summer, 1973)
[4]"Unknown Sect," The Sussex Register, Newton, New Jersey, September 15, 1817
[5]Ham, pp. 290-293
[6]ibid. He felt "his authority as paramount to any other human or divine" [Zadock Thompson's 1842 History of Vermont, section on "Fanatical Sects"
[7]Wayne Sentinel May 26, 1826
[8]"Conducted Meeting in Front of Courthouse: Bearded Prophet Visited Zanesville in 1817," Norris F. Schneider, The Sunday Times Recorder Vol. 106, Zanesville, Ohio, Sunday, July 6, 1969
[9]"Modern Fanatics, September 15, Unknown Sect," New Jersey Journal, Vol. XXXIII. Elizabeth-Town, N. J., October 28, 1817. No. 1774
[10]Fanny Ball to the Brethren and Sisters at New Lebanon, April 30, 1820, in Union Village Shaker Letters, Western Reserve Historical Society, quoted in Ham, pp. 290-293.
[11]"Conducted Meeting in Front of Courthouse: Bearded Prophet Visited Zanesville in 1817," Norris F. Schneider, The Sunday Times Recorder Vol. 106, Zanesville, Ohio, Sunday, July 6, 1969; Ham, pp. 290-293
[12]"More of the Vermont Pilgrims," Washington Whig, Vol III, Bridgeton, New Jersey, November 3, 1817,  No. 120
[13]Ham, pp. 290-293; "Conducted Meeting in Front of Courthouse: Bearded Prophet Visited Zanesville in 1817," Norris F. Schneider, The Sunday Times Recorder Vol. 106, Zanesville, Ohio, Sunday, July 6, 1969
[14]Oliver Cowdery's had a "rod of nature" (later called "gift of Aaron") in D&C 8.  Other Mormon leaders apparently used rods including Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith Sr., Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde and Sidney Rigdon (see my forthcoming presentation, "Oliver Cowdery's Rod  of Nature," Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium, August 2010).
[15]Compare to the Liahona used by Lehi in the Book of Mormon to find the promised land of America
[16]Ham, pp. 290-293.  Upon leaving Woodstock, they split into two groups, later rejoining.
[17]"The Pilgrims", Saturday Evening Post., Vol. I., No. 62, Philadelphia, October 5, 1822
[18]'Strange "Pilgrims" Camp Here; They Don't Work, Wash, or Comb,' The Arkansas Gazette, Arkansas Post, A. T., early 1820s?; Ham, pp. 290-293
[19]"Extract of a letter from a gentleman in the interior of New York to a friend in this vicinity," Christian Watchman, Boston, Ma.,  January 1820.  This account is called into question  "the person who gave this information was undoubtedly misinformed himself," "The Vermont Pilgrims," The  Philadelphia  Union, Philadelphia, January 26, 1820
[20]"Wonderful Infatuation: Modern Pilgrims," Wayne Sentinel, Vol. III No. 35, Palmyra, N.Y., Friday May 26, 1826 [whole No. 139] likely reprinted from the Western Balance
[21]"Warren County Local History: The Passing Through Of The Pilgrims," Dallas Bogan, Dallas Bogan's Warren County, Ohio and Beyond (Bowie, MD: Heritage Press, 1979) p. 100
[22]Vermont Chronicle, June 24, 1831