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Friday, May 18, 2007

Joseph Smith for President

by Sharon

There's another movie about Mormonism in the works. A French magazine reports,
A Mormon President, the first documentary film to explore the Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith's campaign for the US Presidency and its implications for the candidacy of another Mormon, Mitt Romney, has begun production and is slated for a fall 2007 release.

Filmmaker Adam Christing grew up in the Community of Christ Church (formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), studied theology at Biola University, and is currently a member of the Mormon History Association. Mr. Christing spoke about A Mormon President:
This film may be upsetting to "anti-Mormons" because it shows what a generous man and visionary leader Joseph Smith was. It may shock some Mormons because it documents the untold story of Smith's secret marriages to more than 30 women and his campaign for President which led directly to his murder in 1844...

This is a serious piece, but it will be very engaging. I've been fascinated by Joseph Smith's story ever since I was a kid. Here's a man who started a religion, built a city bigger than Chicago in its day, became a Master Mason, and ran for President. He packed more adventure into 3 years than most people experience in a lifetime.

This sounds like it will be an interesting film, as the history of Joseph Smith's politics is very intriguing. For instance, many people don't know that Smith was secretly crowned king on April 11, 1844. His campaign for president of the United States was much more complicated than most would imagine.

About Smith's ordination as king, former LDS historian D. Michael Quinn wrote:
William Marks...stated that the [LDS] Council of Fifty performed an ordinance "in which Joseph suffered himself to be ordained a king, to reign over the house of Israel forever."

Some have been uncomfortable with the assertion that Smith became a king. They have claimed that Marks and other critics either confused or misrepresented Smith's reception of the strictly religious ceremony of the second anointing as "king and priest."...

In fact a later revelation to the Council of Fifty affirmed that God called Smith "to be a Prophet, Seer and Revelator to my Church and Kingdom; and to be a King and Ruler over Israel." (The Mormon Hierarchy, Origins of Power, 124)

Joseph Smith told the press that he wanted to create a "Theo-democracy." Quinn wrote,
The phrase was catchy, but what precisely did he mean by "Theo-democracy"? In the spring of 1844 Smith gave the public only an indistinct foreshadowing of the new world order he was formulating in his secret meetings with the Council of Fifty. (125)

I'm not sure how a monarchy fits with a theocracy, a theo-democracy, or a republic. But the subject of the film A Mormon President holds the promise of being fascinating indeed.



  • At May 19, 2007 1:51 PM, Blogger Emmaline said…

    Periodically, Christian reform movements that have aimed at rebuilding Christian doctrine based on the Bible alone (sola scriptura) have at least temporarily accepted polygamy as a Biblical practice. For example, during the Protestant Reformation, in a document referred to simply as "Der Beichtrat" ( or "The Confessional Advice" ), Martin Luther granted the Landgrave Philip of Hesse, who, for many years, had been living "constantly in a state of adultery and fornication," a dispensation to take a second wife. The double marriage was to be done in secret however, to avoid public scandal. Some fifteen years earlier, in a letter to the Saxon Chancellor Gregor Brück, Luther stated that he could not "forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict Scripture." "Ego sane fateor, me non posse prohibere, si quis plures velit uxores ducere, nec repugnat sacris literis."

    "On February 14, 1650, the parliament at Nürnberg decreed that because so many men were killed during the Thirty Years’ War, the churches for the following ten years could not admit any man under the age of 60 into a monastery. Priests and ministers not bound by any monastery were allowed to marry. Lastly, the decree stated that every man was allowed to marry up to ten women. The men were admonished to behave honorably, provide for their wives properly, and prevent animosity among them."
    refer to --

  • At May 21, 2007 8:23 PM, Blogger Arthur Sido said…

    Well that is all very interesting, but what is your point?


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