Event—Scholarly Seminars

Megan Stanton, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Many Joseph Smiths: Sectional Competition and the "Mormon Question," Megan Stanton

As nineteenth-century critics questioned whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was compatible with United States political culture, they considered solutions including a proposal to diminish Brigham Young’s authority by bringing Joseph Smith III to Utah Territory. Smith was the son of the Mormon movement’s founder and president of the rival Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This paper argues for the significance of sectional competition in the evolution of ideas about Mormon authority. Reactions to Smith’s Reorganized Church reshaped debates about religious governance, both within and without Young’s Latter-day Saint Church.

Respondent: David Walker, UC Santa Barbara