A Short History of Mormon Publishing: The English Period

The second of seven posts and an introduction. See also Part I, Introduction

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The exodus of most of the Mormons in the United States to a part of “Upper California” (now Utah) starting in 1846 interrupted publishing by Mormons throughout that country. Of the Church’s three official publications, the Times and Seasons closed down that year, as did the New York Messenger (successor to the Prophet). This left the LDS Church, under the leadership of Brigham Young, with just one official publication, the Millennial Star, published in Manchester, England.

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Tom Lyne and the Theatre in Nauvoo

We don’t often delve into the history of Mormonism in the arts, although I don’t think that is by design. More likely, this history is simply not very well known among even those of us who write about Mormon culture, and, I suspect, many details simply aren’t known. Other details were known at one time, but have largely been forgotten.

In the latter vein, I came across the story of perhaps the first major Mormon actor, Tom Lyne, who already had a substantial reputation as an actor in Philadelphia when he joined the Church. Here is an account of his relationship with the Church.

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To Build a Fence

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To Build a Fence

a public service message from

The Institute for Marital Concerns

Brigham Young Chapter


As all you RM gospel scholars know, Brigham Young once said:

    I will give each of the young men in Israel, who have arrived at an age to marry, a mission to go straightway and get married to a good sister, fence a city lot, lay out a garden and orchard and make a home.  This is the mission that I give to all young men in Israel.

This presents us with a distinct problem, if we 1) do not want to get married, 2) don’t want to get married, or 3) would really rather not get married.  If this sounds like you, then rest assured that we at the IMC are here to help you get out of what, at first glance, seems like a direct commandment from a prophet of God to get married. Continue reading “To Build a Fence”

Ric Estrada: Call me the “Trailblazer”

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Hello? Hello, is this Ric Estrada?

This is Ric Estrada.

Hi, my name’s Eric Jepson. Sal Velluto gave me your phone number, I hope you don’t mind.

No, I don’t mind.

Oh, great. I work with a Mormon criticism site called Motley Vision and Sal and other people call you the Father of Mormon comics. I was wondering if I could talk to you about that a little bit. I don’t know when a convenient time would be.

Who calls?

Oh, Sal does. Sal Velluto?

He calls me?

That’s what he calls you: the Father of Mormon Comics.

Oh my goodness! Wow. Another honor.

When I wrote my seminal much heralded totally awesome somewhat overhyped survey of Mormon comics for Motley Vision last year, all I had to say about Ric Estrada was that he had written a Mormony story for a national comics publisher. I said: “‘The “Mormon” Battalion’ was a six-page sequence in Our Fighting Forces #135, 1972, by Ric Estrada (not LDS, presumably).” Ends up this was incorrect. As DC and The Friend artist Sal Velluto wrote me the same day, “Ric Estrada is the first LDS artist in the history of comics. His story needs to be the heart of your piece.” So I did a bit of research and, well, my original comment would have been somewhat like saying “The Journal of Discourses includes many sermons by Brigham Young (not LDS, presumably).” The grossness of this error requires some serious restitution, even if Brother Estrada himself is a marvelous person who doesn’t seem to hold my sins against me.

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