Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog
 


Keepapitchinin (the Original!) vs. The Cragin Anti-Polygamy Bill

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 26, 2015

This post is an excuse to publish a cartoon from the original Keepapitchinin publication of 1870. This post is not about polygamy, and is not an invitation to debate the origins, blessings, or crimes of historical plural marriage, or present-day fundamentalism, or whether the Church practices polygamy when a widower sealed to a deceased wife marries a second time, nor to speculate about polygamy in the afterlife. This is about a cartoon and its background. Thanks.

Beginning with the 1862 Poland Act, and continuing through the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887, the United States Senate passed a number of legislative acts designed to end the practice of polygamy in Utah. The names of at least some of these laws are probably familiar to you whether or not you know the ins and outs of their regulations. Probably less familiar are the numerous bills that were proposed but never enacted as law. One of the proposed-but-never-passed bills was introduced by Senator Aaron Harrison Cragin (1821-1898) of New Hampshire, first in 1867 and again in December 1869.

The long Cragin Bill – 41 sections – was especially punitive, proposing the abolition of significant elements of the Bill of Rights. It abolished the right to trial by jury in cases involving polygamy. It interfered with the freedom of religion to such an extent that merely attending a sealing ceremony – even when it did not involve a plural marriage – was criminalized. The right of Latter-day Saint clergymen to solemnize marriages – even non-polygamous ones – was abolished. With the exception of constables, who could still be appointed by Territorial law, all other civil officers, from governor to dogcatcher (well, okay, they didn’t have dogcatchers) were to be appointed by federal authority, without the input of local residents – except that residents of the Territory of Utah were to continue to pay the salaries and expenses of offices formerly selected by those residents. The United States Marshal could seize any public building within Utah, and furnish it as a court, and charge the citizens of Utah to pay the expense. All Church property beyond the paltry sum of $20,000 was made taxable – schools, Relief Society halls, granaries and every tiny meeting house in every community would become a financial liability, a source of revenue to enforce actions against plural marriage. The Governor of Utah was, in effect, installed as the Chief Financial Officer of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with the president of the Church required to report annually to the Governor, in minute detail, the financial affairs of the Church.

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The Shining Heart: Chapter 4

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 25, 2015

The Shining Heart

By Sibyl Spande Bowen

(Previous chapter)

Chapter Four

CHARACTERS AND BRIEF SYNOPSIS – 3RD INSTALLMENT

FOURSQUARE, TALL AND GRAY, THE Carey mansion stood on the shores of Puget Sound, towered over by the remnants of great fir forests. but its grandeur had fallen into decay now, as had its owner,

“MISS BRILL” CAREY, gray-haired spinster, who made a meager living as a seamstress. Miss Brill had overdone her frail strength the day she had gone to a wealthy friend of her father’s to ask for a job for her lovely young niece, red-haired

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Ebenezer Beesley

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 25, 2015

Ebenezer Beesley (1840-1906), director of the Salt Lake Tabernacle Choir 1880-1889; hymn composer (11 of his tunes are used in our current hymnbook).

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She Shall Be an Ensign: The History of the Church Told through the Lives of Its Women

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 25, 2015

Think how often the scriptures describe Zion – the land and the people – in feminine terms: “For Zion must increase in beauty and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened,”1  “For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord,”2 “And the Lord will create upon every dwelling-place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night,”3 and “I say unto you that Zion shall flourish, and the glory of the Lord shall be upon her; and she shall be an ensign unto the people, and there shall come unto her out of every nation under heaven.”4

Women have been actively involved in building Zion, and we have a wealth of published material telling us their stories. Much of that takes the form of biography, books and articles focused on the lives of individual women, or collected biography like Women of Faith or Mothers of the Prophets. We have histories of the Relief Society, like Women of Covenant and Daughters in My Kingdom. We have articles in our Church magazines, and papers in our scholarly conferences and journals. We have a growing collection of new stories, historical and contemporary, in the “Women of Conviction” series at history.lds.org.

What we don’t have is a history of the Church itself that incorporates the contributions of Latter-day Saint women to any significant extent. The active, achieving, contributions of women are largely reported as the history of women, segregated from the history of the Church itself.

It’s time to change that.

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  1. Doctrine and Covenants 82:14. []
  2. Isaiah 51:3. []
  3. 2 Nephi 14:5. []
  4. Doctrine and Covenants 64:41-42. []

Saturday Remix, 1909

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 23, 2015

Very Popular with the Ladies

He: “You don’t appear to care much for music. Don’t you even like the popular airs?”

She: “No. The only popular air with me is the millionaire.”

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The Shining Heart: Chapter 3

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 22, 2015

The Shining Heart

By Sibyl Spande Bowen

(Previous chapter)

Chapter Three

CHARACTER DESCRIPTION AND RESUME—2ND INSTALLMENT

In the moldy decay of the Carey family mansion on Puget Sound lives

“MISS BRILL” CAREY, spinster of 55, who once had wealth but now earns a meager living as a seamstress for herself and her lovely niece, red-haired

NELL CAREY, who longs to be an artist, but lacks the money to study, and so has drifted into an engagement with

FRED NAGLE, successful, unromantic young chicken farmer, whose bank account is dearer to him than is Nell. He strenuously opposes Nell’s artistic ambitions.

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Salt Lake Theater, circa 1862

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 22, 2015

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She Shall Be an Ensign: The Heroine’s Journey

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 22, 2015

We have looked at three different ways women often – but, of course, not always– appear in general Church histories. These portrayals are not satisfying to many of us, not because we don’t recognize the historical truth that some women have been less than praiseworthy; not because we don’t recognize that Mormon women have endured extraordinary hardship because of the peculiar history of our people; and not because we don’t value the love and loyalty and personal service for which we are sometimes inordinately and indiscriminately praised. Rather, we don’t find these stories satisfying because we sense they are incomplete, and they don’t adequately represent our own sense of ourselves, and don’t give us many women to cheer for. We don’t see ourselves in our own history very often. We sense that the women in our histories are valued for reasons that we don’t find especially inspiring, or we find that the qualities we most value in ourselves are not the ones that seem to be valued by those who tell the stories.

None of us aspires to be a Witch, to be destructive or cause others to stumble – or, if we have somehow found ourselves in that role for some reason, we know that we are more than our Witchiness, and we suspect the same is true about the Witches in our history.

We generally don’t aspire to be a Damsel in Distress, either. Trials and suffering, at times acute, come into our lives as a natural feature of mortality, some of them directly connected to our religious belief or practice. We don’t want to be celebrated for our suffering, or celebrate the suffering that women in our history have endured. What matters isn’t the suffering – what matters is the way someone faces that difficulty, and works to overcome it, and becomes a better, stronger woman because of it. History that emphasizes the trouble and neglects the triumph leaves us uneasy.

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To Any Wife

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 21, 2015

To Any Wife

By Rosannah Cannon

As long as you are speaking, I have found
Our minds converge upon a common ground;
The price of food, the way the ivy grows,
Familiar topics any stranger knows.

Then suddenly you cease to speak and lapse
Into a shrouded silence, whence perhaps
You later come a little less enthralled
Than you had been before the quiet called.

A little less irrevocably mine,
Though not by any outward sound or sign
Could I divine that restless hidden spring,
At once so fearful and disquieting.

Our life seems quite the same, yet I can sense
Your world is growing somehow more immense.
There is a part of you I never shared,
Where your soul wanders, mine has never fared.

Never am I to know what thoughts are yours,
Hidden from me beyond what unseen doors.
These are the secrets no man yet has known,
Too frail and fine, too utterly your own!

(1932)

Unfold the Spirit

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 21, 2015

From 1928 —

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