Paradox and Discipleship

Terryl L. Givens

Terryl L. Givens, "Paradox and Discipleship," Religious Educator 11, no. 1 (2010): 143–56.

Terryl L. Givens ( held the James A. Bostwick Chair at the University of Richmond, where he was a professor of literature and religion when this was written. 

Adam and Eve KneelingAdam and Eve Kneeling at an Altar, by Del Parson. Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Previous versions of this talk were given to the Association of Mormon Letters Conference on February 2, 2009, and to the BYU Religious Education faculty.

G. K. Chesterton wrote famously that “the circle is perfect and infinite in its nature; but it is fixed for ever in its size; it can never be larger or smaller. But the cross, though it has at its heart a collision and a contradiction, can extend its four arms for ever without altering its shape. Because it has a paradox in its centre it can grow without changing. The circle returns upon itself and is bound. The cross opens its arms to the four winds; it is a signpost for free travelers.”[1]

I am not as much a mystic as Chesterton. For instance, I do not believe, as he wrote in the same passage, that “as long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity.”[2] Nevertheless, I think his remarks on Christianity provide a useful starting point for some reflections about the paradox at the heart of Joseph Smith’s thought. My intention is to suggest some new ways we may want to think about Latter-day Saint faith, doctrine, and culture.

The honeybee has an important place in our culture. Part of Utah’s state seal, the beehive has become so identified with Mormonism that it has become a “communal coat of arms.”[3] Ironically, perhaps, the honeybee also serves as a powerful emblem of the scope and ramifications of the most radical paradigm shift of the nineteenth century: the Darwinian revolution. The honeybee, as Darwin points out in his Origin of Species, has a glaring defect as a creature. Its poison is effective in killing predators, enabling it to defend itself and its nest, but the bee’s sting comes at the cost of its own life. Darwin speculates that this is because the bee’s stinger was originally “a boring and serrated instrument,” probably used for extracting food from fibrous sources. It is therefore “not perfected for its present purpose” of defense.[4] The question is, why not? Why did the evolutionary process cease, and why did natural selection not accomplish its end of making the bee as perfect as possible? Certainly a bee that can kill without sacrificing its life is an improvement over one that cannot. A simple smoothing of the stinger’s serrated edge would do the trick quite nicely and efficiently. Why was the bee’s progress toward species perfection aborted so precipitously and—in the case of a myriad of individual bees and even full hives—calamitously?

This is Darwin’s explanation: “Natural selection tends only to make each organic being as perfect as, or slightly more perfect than, the other inhabitants of the same country with which it comes into competition. And we see that this is the standard of perfection attained under nature.” Then he adds this declaration: “Natural selection will not produce absolute perfection.”[5] What he means is this: the law of natural selection, what Herbert Spencer called “survival of the fittest,”[6] ensures that any competition for limited resources will favor those who are in any way advantaged over their competitors. It will weed out those who are inferior, or even mediocre, and allow those who have greater strength, agility, speed, or survival skills to prevail. The long-term effect of this principle is the creation of beings that are, in Darwin’s terms, “more perfect” than their peers.[7] But the law of natural selection also has a striking limitation, and this is what Darwin means by saying it can never produce absolute perfection. This limitation is perfectly illustrated by the honeybee. In the struggle for survival, the bee’s development, even with a flawed stinger, was sufficient to securely establish its position in the natural world. Once it achieved species equilibrium, it lacked the conflict and opposition required to further challenge, stimulate, and refine its development; its progress was essentially halted.

To some extent, any religious belief that raises its head unabashedly in a secular society is bound to encounter resistance and hostility. The conflicts between Darwinism and supernaturalism, between the intellectual heritage of Enlightenment and liberal humanism on the one hand and Tertullian reveling in absurdity and modern fundamentalist anti-intellectualism on the other; and between the brute authoritarianism of institutionalized religion and the heady freedoms of radical individualism—these and kindred collisions have driven a reasonable, old-fashioned life of faith underground and have driven many Latter-day Saint students and scholars into exile.

But there are reasons to think that such conflicts may be particularly acute in Mormonism. First is the simple anecdotal evidence that graduate programs take a heavy toll on Latter-day Saint intellectuals; delving into Church history, professionally or otherwise, takes a further toll. Second, there is the problem of Latter-day Saints’ antipathy to theologizing. Unlike Catholic and Protestant traditions, which have spent centuries systematizing their belief systems, sorting out wrinkles, resolving contradictions, and moving toward a harmonious whole, Latter-day Saints long considered theology a dirty word, resisted dogma, and even debated whether publishing Joseph Smith’s revelations was a bad precedent. Orson and Parley P. Pratt made tentative steps in the direction of a grand synthesis, but B. H. Roberts’s further work was stymied, and subsequent leaders have not shown particular interest in synthesis, reconciliation, or clarification of historical and theological discontinuities. Finally, I want to argue that many of these cultural and personal consequences might be construed as a tragedy of misapprehension. We may have mistaken tension and discordance for richness and dynamism, insolubility for complexity, and intractable contradiction for mere paradox. But paradox, I believe, only seems to be contradiction. Paradox is the sign of a healthy universe, voracious enough to insist on having its cake and eating it too. Paradox is a sign of richness and plenitude. It is Adam and Eve reaching for both godly aspiration and childlike submission; it is priesthood that is power without compulsion; it is an infinitely powerful God who is sovereign of the universe but is also as vulnerable to pain as the widow with a wayward son; it is a triumphant Christ whose victory was in his meekness.

Those not intellectually adventuresome enough to embrace such paradox find easy refuge falling to one side or the other of the tightrope. Capitulating to blind faith is no faith, and posturing as the enlightened apostate who grew out of his innocence is neither enlightened nor innocent. Eliminating alternatives is certainly easier than finding a way to “stretch as high as the utmost Heavens, and search into and contemplate the lowest considerations of the darkest abyss.”[8] I am reminded of a country church I passed on a road to Boston a few months back. On the marquee outside the church the pastor had put these words: “Soft pews; No hell.” How comforting to body and mind alike!

A biographer said of the great philosopher Spinoza, “He rejected the orthodoxy of his day not because he believed less, but because he believed more.”[9] That, in a nutshell, is my challenge to you. Be as voracious as Mercy’s father in the monumental work of Virginia Sorenson, A Little Lower Than the Angels. Incredulous at her father’s capacity for belief, Mercy asked enviously, “‘But you believe it, Father, you really do?’ ‘I believe all I can, Mercy girl, all I can. Everywhere I go I’m looking for more good things to believe. Even if it’s the be-all and the end-all here, then we’d better keep busy believing good things. Hadn’t we?”[10]

Fredrick Barnard quotes Herder’s observation that a people “may have the most sublime virtues in some respects and blemishes in others . . . and reveal the most astonishing contradictions and incongruities.” Therefore, Barnard writes, “A cultural whole is [not] necessarily a way of referring to a state of blissful harmony; it may just as conceivably refer to a field of tension.”[11]

A field of tension seems to be a particularly apt way to characterize Latter-day Saint thought. It may be that all belief systems that are rooted in the notion of a God who dies have, as Chesterton suggests, “a collision and a contradiction” at their heart.[12] Yet Mormonism, a system in which Joseph Smith collapsed sacred distance to bring a whole series of opposites into radical juxtaposition, seems especially rife with paradox, or tensions that only appear to be logical contradictions.

Freedom and Authority

There are four paradoxes that have been powerful catalysts in the formation of Latter-day Saint identity and culture.[13] The first paradox is the polarity of authoritarianism and individualism. It is in the context of these two competing values that Latter-day Saint artists and intellectuals have had to negotiate their place in our culture. The consequence of these two traditions—one emphasizing individual freedom and the other authority—is an ever-present tension, without parallel in modern Christianity, in Latter-day Saint culture. This tension leads to contention between submission to ecclesiastical authority, and an emphasis on and veneration for the principle of individual moral agency so pronounced that it leads even careful observers into major misperceptions (we are frequently accused of Pelagianism, for example). Without moral independence, “there is no existence” (D&C 93:30). Compare this with Adam’s answer to the angel who asks him, “Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord?” Adam replies, “I know not, save the Lord commanded me” (Moses 5:6). For intellectuals and artists, this tension is especially stark. Intellectual inquiry and artistic exploration should thrive in a culture that opposes any “attempt to deprive us in the slightest respect of our free agency.”[14] At the same time, Latter-day Saint artists and intellectuals find themselves constrained by the Church’s insistence that all inspiration is not equal, and may feel that the same prophetic prerogatives that impeded Oliver Cowdery’s exercise of autonomy cramp the style of maverick intellectuals and artists today.

The resulting collision of views and valuations is inevitable. No consensus is ever likely to emerge in the Latter-day Saint community about the proper reconciliation of authority and independence, faithfulness and freedom. The cultural divide between so-called “Iron Rodders” and “Liahona Mormons” is not always neat and precise, but more importantly (according to Richard Poll), the divide is one that, at some level, operates within thoughtful Mormons as much as among them.[15] That is why both institutional conflict and personal anguish will continue to characterize artists and intellectuals who struggle to find a comfortable place within a culture where proponents of opposing views each cite scripture and prophetic precedent for support.

Exile and Election

The Latter-day Saint emphasis on election is traceable to the first recorded spiritual experience of the young Joseph Smith. Long before he ever heard the word Mormon or had an inkling of what his life or ministry would stand for, he learned what he was to be set against. Having knelt in a wooded grove on his family’s farm and inquired of God what church he should join to find salvation, he learned that he was not to be a member of any Christian congregation then existing: “I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt” (Joseph Smith—History 1:19). Like many religious revolutionaries, Joseph early on saw his relationship to the world in thoroughly adversarial terms. “I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of [Satan’s] kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?” (Joseph Smith—History 1:20). Less than two years before his death, Joseph wrote, “Deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation” (D&C 127:2). Jonathan Edwards similarly gloried, “I am born to be a man of strife,”[16] and Luther’s self-conception was famously an embattled one.

What was different about Joseph’s posture was how effectively he imbued an entire people with this same sense of hostile separation from the world. Individually and institutionally, Latter-day Saints continue to work through the paradox of an existence that is both Eden and exile, that embraces difference even as it yearns for integration. The cost of a “chosen” status appears recurrently in the Latter-day Saint psyche as both nostalgia and alienation; Mormon art and literature reveal a recurrent unease with such differences. Isolation is often felt as a burden of exclusion and is frequently transformed into a quest for connections and universal truths. Latter-day Saints insist on the need for a gospel restoration, but then feel the sting of being excluded from the fold of Christendom.

Millennia ago, the ancient Israelites were faced with a similar challenge. They too were imbued with a belief that they were “an holy people unto the Lord [their] God . . . chosen ... to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6). Yet, exclusivity and self-sufficiency are hard to maintain through a history of bondage, occupation, and the realpolitik of international affairs. Israel found a powerful solution and potent type for resolving such tension as they prepared to depart from Egypt. At God’s urging, the fleeing Hebrews availed themselves of their captors’ “jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment” (Exodus 3:22), and thus accrued the heathen materials that they would mold and fashion into the accoutrements, wealth, and resources of their exiled civilization. Centuries later, artists and intellectuals of Europe would justify their emulation of pagan models by referencing this archetypal “spoiling of the Egyptians.”

In the dispensation heralded by Joseph Smith, the Saints were, like the Hebrews before them, admonished to “stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” (D&C 78:14). At the same time, as Brigham Young declared, “We believe in all good. If you can find a truth in heaven, earth or hell, it belongs to our doctrine. We believe it; it is ours; we claim it.”[17] So like their exiled predecessors, without the benefits of social stability, abundant resources, or a prosperous prehistory, the Saints were surrounded by the cultural riches of a host culture that offered both temptation and promise. Once again, the challenge would be to exploit the accoutrements of that host culture without suffering contamination or loss of mission and identity in the process. The difficulty in “spoiling the Egyptians” has always been the same: to turn the plundered riches into temple adornments rather than golden calves.

The Sacred and the Banal

The third paradox refers to one of the most culturally and theologically potent innovations of the Mormon worldview, one that is more a collapse of polarities than a tension between them: the disintegration of sacred distance. With God as an exalted man, man as a God in embryo, the family as a prototype for heavenly sociality, and Zion as a city with dimensions and blueprints, Joseph rewrote conventional dualisms as thoroughgoing monisms. The resulting paradox is manifest in the recurrent invasion of the banal into the realm of the holy, and the infusion of the sacred into the realm of the quotidian. Brigham Young saw this paradox in highly favorable terms. “When I saw Joseph Smith,” he wrote, “he took heaven, figuratively speaking, and brought it down to earth; and he took the earth, brought it up, and opened up, in plainness and simplicity, the things of God; and that is the beauty of his mission.”[18] The New York Herald’s James Gordon Bennett expressed the situation a little differently; he said that the Mormons “are busy all the time establishing factories to make saints and crockery ware, also prophets and white paint.”[19]

The principal danger here is that the sacred as a category threatens to disappear altogether (and with it, perhaps, worshipful reverence). That is because in this metaphysical monism transcendence is virtually annihilated as a possibility. As the poet Samuel Coleridge put the case, “The very ground of all Miracle [is] the heterogeneity of Spirit and Matter.”[20] But even this ontological distinction is vanquished by Joseph’s unrelenting metaphysical monism: “There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter” (D&C 131:7–8).

If God is shorn of ineffability and transcendence, or is construed in human terms, how does one find the reverential awe that moves one to true worship? If Jesus is our “big brother,” how can he be our Lord and God? Reverence before the Almighty demands new ways of conceiving in such a reconfigured heaven and earth. But the dilemmas for the artist are especially vexing: in a universe devoid of transcendence and sacred distance (at least as conventionally constructed), how can wonder flourish?

Elizabeth Barrett Browning made this poetic observation:

Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God;

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes—

The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.[21]

Our own experience in cultural Mormonism would seem to attest that only burning bushes can tolerate such proximity to unmasked glory without becoming consumed on the one hand, or too familiar on the other.

Certainty and Searching

The Prophet Joseph emphasized the possibility of epistemological certainty even as he elaborated a theology of audacious scope and a program of eternal learning. Smith made intellectual pursuit a quest of holiness, founding the School of the Prophets, establishing a fledgling university, and devoting himself to the study of ancient languages and lore even as he claimed to bypass the learning systems of men with his powers of seership and translation.[22] So it is that Latter-day Saints today inherit a tradition that is relatively recently rooted in concrete artifacts like gold plates verified by eleven witnesses, in accounts of resurrected beings laying physical hands on founding prophets, and in Joseph Smith’s testimony of the audible words and visible appearance of Deity. Latter-day Saints inhabit a rhetorical world where members do not give assertions of fervent belief, but public testimony that they have spiritual knowledge of those events as historical realities. At the same time, such credentials do not attest to personal salvation or blessedness, but only betoken the commencement of an eternal quest for saving knowledge and the burden of endlessly seeking perfection. The mix of intellectual certitude and intellectual insatiability Joseph exuded has left a mixed heritage for aspiring Latter-day Saint artists and intellectuals to reckon with. While Joseph’s relentless eclecticism, syncretism, and system building could provoke and inspire, great works of the mind and heart have seldom emerged in the context of the spiritual complacency and sense of plenitude that his system building could provoke.

That which Latter-day Saints know, they are sure they know, and personally and institutionally it is beyond compromise or negotiation. But that which they do not know will occupy them in schoolrooms of the life beyond for “a great while after [they] have passed through the veil.”[23] One problem is, in a church almost entirely lacking creeds or formal theology, the two realms—the settled and orthodox, and the unfixed and unfathomed—are not clearly demarcated.

This tension is perhaps the most urgent one facing our religion because it is the one with the highest spiritual stakes and it is productive of some of the most profound spiritual, emotional, social, and cultural angst. Of all the paradoxes, this is the one that I find to be most lopsided, most weighted in favor of certainty, and least appreciative of its counterpart: seeking and searching faith. I fear we often make too little room for those who say in the anguish of their heart, not “I know,” but “I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24). We read that “to some is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”; but some stop reading just before coming to the counterweight: “and to others it is given to believe on their words” (Doctrine and Covenants 46:13–14; emphasis added).

“Art is born of humiliation,”[24] and it may be in that very space surrounding the security born of possessing precious certainties, the abject smallness before the magnitude of an almost unquenchable ignorance, and the groping in the darkness that Latter-day Saint thought finds a tension productive of a genuinely religious art and intellectual expression.

Originality and Assimilation

I want to add a fifth paradox to those I have surveyed. I would refer to it as a hallmark of the modus operandi of Joseph Smith—the twin imperatives of originality and assimilation, or revelation of what is new and syncretism based on what is already present. I see this duality beautifully enacted in the way Joseph Smith commences his exposition of doctrinal belief, the Articles of Faith. He begins by affirming an entirely conventional Christian deity: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:1). How reassuring. How consoling. How bridge-building. How utterly orthodox. Nothing original there; it is transparently familiar doctrine. Then he immediately follows this up with the second article of faith, an utter repudiation of the doctrine of original sin. Unlike virtually every Christian denomination extant during his time, Joseph propounds a theory of man as inherently innocent, at odds with centuries of orthodoxy and predicated only upon revelations vouchsafed to him as an ordained prophet and authorized oracle of God. Joseph the syncretist; Joseph the Prophet.

In seeing our day, the prophet Moroni seemed to fear that we would be too quick to condemn, criticize, or ignore those inspired words and teachings that come from sources other than the Ensign or Church manuals. Moroni’s admonishment is an injunction to discretion in what voices disciples of Christ should listen to. But notice that Moroni is as concerned about us refusing the good and beautiful as he is about us imbibing the corrupt: “Every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which . . . is good and of God to be of the devil.” And then he adds, “If ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ” (Moroni 7:13–14, 19).

I recently completed a major study of the idea of premortality in Western thought. You are familiar with this idea as one of the doctrines of the Restoration. In May of 1833, Joseph Smith received a revelation (see D&C 93) that covered a smattering of subjects: the testimony of John, the Spirit of truth, and Christ’s presence with the Father from the beginning. And then, with no warning or elaboration, comes this bombshell: “Ye were also in the beginning with the Father” (v. 23). Only a few additional words of clarification are provided: “Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be” (v. 29). Then, before Joseph or the reader of the revelation can digest the impact of one of Joseph’s most momentous revealed truths, the section goes on to give a reprimand to Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams, directions about translating the Bible, and so forth. The section contains no elaboration of the doctrine of premortal existence, no exploration or discussion of its relevance to a host of perplexing theological dilemmas, just a casual observation left to float in intellectual isolation.

The Latter-day Saint faith may be the only Christian denomination teaching this doctrine today. But it turns out that dozens—perhaps even hundreds—of poets, mystics, philosophers, theologians, and pastors have taught this same principle across the centuries. Together, this symphony of inspired men and women have provided a diverse—and profoundly inspired—series of insights and lessons that can enrich and expand our understanding of and appreciation for this sublime teaching. “It is the business of the Elders of this Church,” said Brigham Young, “to gather up all the truths in the world pertaining to life and salvation, . . . wherever [they] may be found in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, and bring it to Zion.”[25]

We want to think that Joseph Smith started with a clean slate, repudiating the entire Christian past and starting out afresh, only teaching that which came to him directly from the heavens. But he emphatically resisted any such conception. His was a generous mind, unafraid to embrace truth wherever he found it and bring it home to Zion. It takes humility of spirit to be taught; but notice the example of Joseph in this regard. He showed the world he could translate gold plates written in reformed Egyptian then hired a Jewish schoolmaster to teach him Hebrew. He took practices of the Masons and openly adapted them to the temple ceremony, putting them back into what he considered their proper and inspired context. He planned a library and museum for Nauvoo that he wanted to fill with all the choicest fruits of Western culture. A Nauvoo newspaper described his plans: The Seventies’ Library “has been commenced on a footing and scale, broad enough to embrace the arts and sciences, every where: so that the Seventies’ [sic] while traveling over the face of the globe, as the Lord’s ‘Regular Soldiers,’ can gather all the curious things, both natural and artificial, with all the knowledge, inventions, and wonderful specimens of genius that have been gracing the world for almost six thousand years.”[26]

I have encountered several “specimens of genius” in my studies, inspired fragments from a church in the wilderness. Generations of theologians, philosophers, mystics, and inspired seekers have found premortality to be the key to explaining “the better angels of our nature,”[27] including the human yearning for transcendence and the sublime. Premortality makes sense of why we know what we should not be capable of knowing, whether in the form of a Greek slave’s grasp of mathematics, the moral sense common to humanity, or the human ability to recognize universals. Well beyond the borders of the restored Church, premortality has been invoked to explain human bonds that seem to have their own mysterious history, has salved the wounded sensibility of a host of thinkers who could not otherwise account for the unevenly distributed pain and suffering that are humanity’s common lot, and has been posited by philosophers and theologians alike to salvage the principle of human freedom and accountability.

Latter-day Saints may be under an injunction to appreciate what is powerful, authoritative, and unique about Joseph Smith’s revelations. At the same time, we must work toward capacious minds and generous hearts, following the admonition of Moroni to love and celebrate truth, goodness, and beauty wherever they are to be found and bring these truths home to Zion.

So we add one more tension to the mix. The tension and disequilibrium between exceptionalism and generous universalism, the paradox that caused Joseph Smith to be called upon to bring lost ordinances and authority back to earth from heaven, even as he was inspired to find and assemble scattered gems of truth from a thousand earthly gardens. This sometimes confusing burden that Saints feel called upon to bear, to teach with conviction even as they are enjoined to learn with humility, like the tensions between searching and certainty or independence and discipleship, is to be celebrated, not lamented. It is a sign that we are, as we should be, unwilling to relinquish either worthy ideal. The agonizing struggle to pursue both, bears testimony to our love of both. God’s heart is infinitely capacious. Our mind must stretch accordingly. That will, of necessity, be a little painful.


[1] Gilbert K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (New York: John Lane, 1909), 50.

[2] Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 48.

[3] Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism (New York: MacMillan, 1992), s.v. “beehive symbol.”

[4] Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909), 214.

[5] Darwin, Origin of Species, 213.

[6] Herbert Spencer, Principles of Biology, (London: Williams and Norgate, 1864), 444–45.

[7] Darwin, Origin of Species, 213.

[8] Joseph Smith, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, ed. Dean C. Jessee (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2002), 436; spelling modernized.

[9] Matthew Stewart, The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza, and the Fate of God in the Modern World (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2006), 38.

[10] Virginia Sorensen, A Little Lower Than the Angels (New York: Knopf, 1942; Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1997), 55.

[11] Frederick Barnard, “Culture and Civilization in Modern Times,” in Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas, ed. Philip P. Wiener (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1973), 1:618.

[12] Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 50.

[13] See Terryl L. Givens, People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).

[14] Henry D. Moyle, in Conference Report, October 1947, 46.

[15] Richard D. Poll, “What the Church Means to People Like Me,” in History & Faith: Reflections of a Mormon Historian (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1989), 1–15.

[16] George M. Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), 349.

[17] Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses (Liverpool: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854–86), 13:335.

[18] Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 5:332.

[19] James Gordon Bennett, New York Herald, August 4, 1842.

[20] Samuel T. Coleridge, Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Major Works, ed. H. J. Jackson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 555.

[21] Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh (London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1898), 286.

[22] See, for example, Milton V. Backman Jr., The Heavens Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1830–1838 (Salt Lake City: Desert Book, 1983), 262–75.

[23] Joseph Smith, Encyclopedia of Joseph Smith’s Teachings, ed. Larry E. Dahl and Donald Q. Cannon (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997), s.v. “progression.”

[24] Charles Osborne, W. H. Auden: The Life of a Poet (New York: M. Evans & Co., 1995), 52.

[25] Young, in Journal of Discourses, 7:283.

[26] “Seventies’ Library,” Times and Seasons, January 1, 1844, 762.

[27] Abraham Lincoln, first inaugural address, March 4, 1861.