April 21, 2015 at 12:43 pm #143
Bob Call started a discussion on the comments to my vision post (specifically to one of the footnotes), so I thought it should continue here:
How can we unambiguously refer (by name or code) to the original Church, from 1830 until the succession crisis in 1844? For a variety of reasons, we want to be neutral to the claims of the many successor denominations (the “Latter Day Saint Movement” collectively), so using the current corporate names of any of those (e.g., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is problematic. At least three official names, plus the nickname “Mormons” were used during Joseph’s lifetime.
Why do we care? In our databases, it is often useful to track how members went through various denominations, so we will need a way to code that they were a member of the Church 1834-1844, then a follower of Brigham Young or Strang, or the Reorganization thereafter. Here are some possibilities:
- Church of Christ (1830): the original name of the Church
- The Early Church
- The Church
- Early Mormons
- Joseph Smith Era or Administration
- The Restoration Period
Additions? Thoughts?April 21, 2015 at 5:16 pm #155
The Joseph Smith Papers Project has a useful entry on the subject:
We’ve also documented various stages of church organization on the Latter Day Saint Movement wiki (forgive the formatting!):April 21, 2015 at 8:58 pm #156
I think these are some good suggestions Brandon. I prefer “Joseph Smith Administration” if we are referring specifically to the organization of which he was the head.
“Joseph Smith Administration” will allow us to talk effectively among ourselves about the same time period and group of people. Similarly, it will allow the public or others who might be interested in our work to understand our jargon with little effort and virtually no confusion.
Here are a few reasons:
1) “Joseph Smith Administration” immediately convey’s a time period (1830-1844) and specific group, regardless of name changes, by naming its leader.
2) Using the original name of the church seems to exclude the later Smith organizations that we all want to include when we talk about the early church.
3) Various denominations also used (and still use) the name “Church of Christ,” which could cause confusion.
4) “Joseph Smith Era” could include the denominations that formed from his teachings while he was still alive.
5) The other suggestions are too vague. They don’t convey a specific group (“church” is a broad term) or time period (“early” is undefined as is also when the “restoration period” actually took place, which is subject to doctrinal interpretation).
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