The other day I came across an old mole-skin, black notebook my wife Anne had given me on my birthday when we were dating (including a poem which my friend Nate Drew put music to and which I sang to Anne after I asked her to marry me… a totally different story). Instantly knowing what it was, I reviewed it with fondness.
In its early pages are some overwrought and very loving poems I wrote for Anne. But after several pages nearly all the rest of the notebook is dedicated to things I wrote during mine and Anne’s honeymoon in Nauvoo. Those who know my play The Fading Flowing will also see my pre-occupation on David Hyrum Smith at this time, as I was in the midst of revising the play during that time.
After our wedding we went to Salt Lake City for our honeymoon for the weekend and saved up our major trip to Missouri and Illinois Mormon History sites a few months later in the late Spring. As I looked through the poems, quotes, notes, and drawings that I filled the notebook with, a gentle stirring came back to me. It was a beautiful time during mine and Anne’s early marriage and I wanted to share some of those pressed flowers of my life. This is a simpler time in my life, but a beautiful one.
by Mahonri Stewart
Cramped Cold Creased–
Six men in a prison.
Saints not criminals
A prophet, not a traitor
Like their Ancient Master
afflicts their backs
and cools their lungs.
They’re fed afflicted flesh,
but they will not eat.
They wait for their Father’s feast
when, lifted from cramped dungeons,
they inherit kingdoms.
–May 3, 2005, Liberty Jail Missouri
Continue reading “Leaves of Nauvoo: Reflections of Mormon History From my Honeymoon”
Mormon Drama reached something of a high point in the 1950s. Hundreds of performances of plays occurred in wards and stakes under the auspices of the MIA, which published as many as a dozen or more plays in its annual MIA Book of Plays.
Terryl Givens, in his recent People of the Paradox writes that this anthology contained “offerings largely obtained through national playhouses.”1 However, depending on how you read “largely” this might be misinterpreted. By my count nearly 25% of the plays in these anthologies were Mormon works.
Continue reading “Remembrance of Drama Past”
The third of seven posts and an introduction. See also Part II, Part I, Introduction
The murder of Joseph Smith and subsequent emigration of LDS Church members to Utah interrupted efforts to proselyte in most areas outside of the United States. Prior to the martyrdom, the Church had made some additional attempts to proselyte in other languages. Speakers of several other languages had joined the Church, many of whom were an important part of later missionary efforts, such as Dan Jones (Welsh), Peter O. Hansen (Danish), and Daniel Carn (German). Enough German language speakers joined the saints in Nauvoo that a German-speaking congregation was established there. Continue reading “A Short History of Mormon Publishing: Publishing in Foreign Missions”
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.
Continue reading “Tom Lyne and the Theatre in Nauvoo”