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FLAGSTAFF HISTORIAN PROBES TROUBLED LAST SON OF JOSEPH SMITH 01/17/99 When the youngest son of the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith was disabled by mental illness in 1877, at the age of 32, the church lost a charismatic leader, a poet, musician and fervent missionary. But it also lost David Hyrum Smith's ameliorating influence between the battling Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's a split that exists to the present day, said Valeen Tippetts Avery, the author of the newly released book, ``From Mission to Madness: Last Son of the Mormon Prophet.'' ``The fact is when he died, they lost the best chance they had for reconciliation,'' Avery said. As it was, David had a profound effect on the history of the church in the 15 years before the illness progressed, she said. ``...(He) was so effective a missionary for his church he was placed in its presidency, so good a poet that his hymns are still sung, so compelling a preacher in Utah that it was rumored he would supplant Brigham Young ...'' writes Avery in her book. ``From Mission to Madness,'' published in October by the University Illinois Press, chronicles the life of David Hyrum Smith, his devotion to his religion, his family's struggle with his mental illness and his 27 years in an asylum before he died in 1904. Avery's 1984 book on Smith's mother and wife of the prophet Joseph Smith, Emma Hale Smith, earned Avery a partial banishment by the Mormon Church. It remains to be seen how this book on a key but neglected figure in early Mormon history will be received by church fathers. Avery, a professor of history at Northern Arizona University, writes that before his illness, David approached his religion with warmth, humor and intellectual curiosity. He was a painter, philosopher, naturalist, missionary, singer, poet and composer, which led church leaders to call him ``Sweet Singer of Israel.'' At the same time, David dabbled in seances and spiritualism, challenged the Utah Mormons about polygamy even as he came to realize that his father had introduced it, and argued for reason in a religion based on revelation, Avery said. ``He was a most fascinating individual in his own right _ charismatic and brilliant _ who became an emissary between the Midwest `Mormons' (the RLDS church) who were arguing for a more mainstream theology, and that of Brigham Young's Mormons in the West (the LDS church) that established a theology that involved temple ceremonies and embraced polygamy,'' Avery said. Today, members of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints number about 250,000; members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have grown to about 10 million. David Hyrum Smith was born in 1844 in Nauvoo, Ill., five months after his father, Joseph Smith, and his uncle, Hyrum, were assassinated. David worked with his brothers _ Joseph Smith III and Alexander _ to carry on their father's work in the church, although they denied that it included polygamy. In 1860 at the age of 16, Joseph III agreed to lead the RLDS church, which was in competition with the LDS church led by Brigham Young in Utah. The rivalry between the two factions was great, Avery writes, pitting leaders and believers against one another to see who would lead the church in the decades after Joseph Smith's death. Avery, former president of the Mormon History Association, first learned of David Hyrum Smith when she co-authored in 1984 ``Mormon Enigma,'' a biography of Emma Hale Smith. David's story intrigued her and she knew she wanted to delve into it further. ``I discovered that this mother had to face two years before her death placing an adult child in a mental institution, but that also the larger story was the battle of which church was to define Mormonism,'' she said. ``The irony of all this is that this is the story that's never been written,'' said Avery, noting that both sides of the church blamed the other for the onset of David's insanity. ``Mormon Enigma'' offended the leadership of the LDS Mormon church for taking a non-traditional view of Joseph Smith, and leaders banned Avery and co-author Linda King Newell from speaking about any topic having to do with Mormon history in any venue belonging to the Mormon church. The ban of Avery and Newell from the church tripled the sales of their book. Avery discovered the existence of David during research on his mother and used the basic collection to write her doctoral dissertation. But she had to wait until the death in 1995 of David's grandson, who was in his 80s, for the release of the bulk of personal correspondence relating to David to complete her book. In David's letters and diary she found out more about his wife, Clara, and their child. She also learned more about his relationship with his friend Charles Jensen, ``who loved him as a friend and perhaps beyond friendship,'' writes Avery in ``From Mission to Madness.'' ``The letters revealed an extraordinary friendship that was the defining association of this man's life,'' said Avery. ``Interestingly, David's letters to Charley are all preserved, but every single one of Charley's has been destroyed.'' Avery said ``From Mission to Madness'' is meaningful for its contribution to religious history but also because it studies a 19th-century family's response to mental illness. She said David was fortunate because some mental health care reform had already begun at the time of his institutionalization. Avery said she does not expect any official response to her book from the leaders of the Mormon church, but she thinks the Mormon people will respond to it much like they did to ``Mormon Enigma.'' ``I think that the story will spread mouth to mouth and they will probably find it compelling and captivating,'' she said. ``We are all interested in stories of people, but this is a most unusual one. It was one of those irresistible accounts and you say to yourself, `Why do we not know about this?'''
TODAY IN ARIZONA HISTORY Sunday, Jan. 17< On this day in 1888, the first Pullman train arrived in Tucson. On this day in 1805, Spanish troops, commanded by Lt. Antonio Narbona, invaded Canyon de Chelly, killing 93 Navajo warriors and 45 women and children. The bones of the slain were left in the cave where they were killed. The area became known as the Canyon de Muerto. Monday, Jan. 18< On this day in 1854, the ``General Jessup'' river steamer was the first to reach the Black Canyon on the Colorado River. On this day in 1952, the Great Seal of the Navajo Tribe was adopted by the Tribal Council. The winning entry was submitted by John Claw, Jr. Tuesday, Jan. 19< On this day in 1921, the Phoenix police chief issued an order that all pedestrians on the street after 8 p.m. were to be stopped and searched for concealed weapons in an effort to combat crime. On this day in 1926, Margaret Rowe Clifton, author of Arizona's state song, died. Wednesday, Jan. 20< On this day in 1912, 44 delegates representing every labor organization met in Phoenix and formed the Arizona State Federation of Labor. On this day in 1912, work also began on the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad terminal in Tucson. An 8 track yard round house, repair shops and coal sheds were scheduled for construction. Thursday, Jan. 21< On this day in 1921, the first serious accident in the +history+ of Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon occurred. Three pack horses loaded with hay, grain, provisions, bedding and 116 pounds of TNT fell over the wall of the canyon and were killed on the rocks below. The supplies were for a construction camp at the foot of the trail where the National Park Service was building a bridge across the Colorado River. On this day in 1934, Jesse W. Ellison, who established the Q ranch in Gila County, died. Friday, Jan. 22< On this day in 1903, a head-on collision of the Southern Pacific east and west bound passenger trains at Vail Station killed 22 people and injured 45. On this day in 1864, Gov. John Goodwin and his party of newly appointed Territorial officials arrived at Fort Whipple, where they set up the first temporary capital for Arizona territory. Saturday, Jan. 23< On this day in 1916, a levee on the Colorado River broke, covering the City of Yuma with four feet of water.
MELUNGEONS, OTHERS WANT RECOGNITION 01/17/99 Tennesseans claiming American Indian ancestry say the state's definition of a Native American is so limiting that it has excluded nearly everyone who considers themselves one. About 40 people, including many who call themselves Melungeons, went before the state Commission on Indian Affairs Saturday to tell their stories and ask that restrictions be loosened. An estimated 12,000 Tennessee residents consider themselves Indians, but fewer than 100 are officially recognized under state guidelines, The Tennessean reported. Cards designating people as American Indians carry minority status, qualifying them for scholarships and special government business contracts. Gene Edwards of Goodlettsville told the commission that state guidelines have marginalized the Indian community to the point that it has no political clout or economic impact. ``We need strength,'' he said. ``When the blacks go to do something, they go in numbers. When we go, we go in two cars.'' Any transformation must begin with the various Indian social groups, clans, drum circles and sweat lodges learning to cooperate, audience members said. ``Throughout the years, different tribes warred amongst themselves. What we really need is to stick together,'' said Kenny Petty of Ashland City. The public hearing, attended by two of the commission's five members, was one of the first forums for people who complain that state policy has left them without an identity. In the audience were people wrapped in bone beads, some with feathers on hats and hairbands. Prominent in the crowd were Melungeons, descendants of interbred Turkish, North African, Portuguese, American Indian and other blood lines. With their dark skin and blue eyes, many of their ancestors were ridiculed by both European settlers and native tribes and sought refuge in the Appalachian Mountains. There, the mysterious mountain people came to be called Melungeons. Although historians have struggled to trace the group's roots, one commissioner who is a Melungeon said the time has come to accept the Melungeons' Indian ancestry. ``We're still here and we need to be counted,'' said commissioner Eddie Nickens.
http://deseretnews.com:80/dn/view/0,1249,30006889,00.html? Cowboy poets from all over the world from Alaska to Australia and California to Wales have gathered for the midwinter festival the past 15 years to spin tales. This year's event is Jan. 23-30.
http://www.nps.gov/morningreport/msg00178.html http://www.ridgecrestca.com/news/N18Trchdi9583.html A treasure trove filled with gold and silver coins - some dating back to 1700 - along with a gun, hunting knife and hand-written journals was recently discovered inside a Death Valley cave by archaeologists. The historical find has been turned over to the Death Valley National Park Service and will be authenticated by expert archaeologists from Arizona, said Terry Baldino, a Death Valley Park ranger. "Everything will be done to ensure the safety and preservation of these artifacts."
http://www.amcity.com:80/boston/stories/1999/01/18/smallb1.html Squid Country Safari is a multimedia company specializing in creating computer-based interactive museum exhibits.
http://www.montrealgazette.com:80/PAGES/990118/2191647.html Every year, the New Zealand magazine holds an international Bad Writing Contest. The contest aim is to ridicule the worst excesses of academic writing. Entries must be real examples from academic books and journals. The judges have just announced their prizes for 1998.