Skip to main content

“Quell the Raging Ocean’s Wave”: Thomas L. Kane and the Utah War

Thomas L. Kane
In the Spring 2014 semester, one of my classes was a Utah history course. As with essentially any upper-division history course, I had to write a term paper. I chose to write mine on Thomas L. Kane’s involvement in preventing the Utah War. Kane is arguably the most important and influential non-Mormon in Mormon history. As such, I figured it might be worth re-posting the paper here for public consumption (I have reformatted it so it looks fairly professional).



Unlike most of the historical topics taken up here on my little web space, this is not especially controversial or faith shaking; I’ve made no extended (and boring) argument and analysis of evidence. This is just some good, ole’-fashioned narrative history, folks. I’ve not really added anything substantive to our body of knowledge on Kane and the Utah War (it is just an undergrad term paper, after all). This paper won’t place me in the ranks of the great Kane scholars, or Utah War historians or anything of the sort. But I tell a little piece of what is, I think, a rather interesting story. I opted to leave the works cited pages attached so as to make a convenient list of additional sources one can pursue to get the rest of the story on either Kane or the Utah War. And (I think) it’s an easy read. So if you are even slightly into history, and specifically Mormon/Utah history, then this little piece might interest you.

On a personal note, I would like to formally dedicate the paper to Roger C. Blomquist, who was my teacher for the course, but was let go at the end of the semester. He was a phenomenal teacher who showed great passion for the subject matter, and gladly presented it on a level that the lowly masses could understand, rather than just address academics in increasingly irrelevant “in-house” conversation. We need more professors like him, not less. 

Comments

  1. "Kane is arguably the most important and influential non-Mormon in Mormon history."

    I may be biased since my work with the Joseph Smith Papers was on the Missouri War, but if you ask me Alexander Doniphan was more influential than Kane.

    He just, like, you know, stopped Joseph Smith from being illegally executed in 1838. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I did say "arguably." There are certainly a number of other candidates. But while Doniphan stopped the execution of Joseph Smith and a handful leaders, Kane stopped what potentially would have turned into the slaughter of many, many Saints, with the leaders like Brigham Young being prime targets. Seriously, without Kane's intervention, I don't know that the Church survives.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The 15 “Best Books” to Read BEFORE Having a Faith Crisis

Elder M. Russell Ballard recently stressed that it is important for Gospel educators to be well-informed on controversial topics, not only by studying the scriptures and Church materials, but also by reading “the best LDS scholarship available.” I personally think it is imperative in today’s world for every Latter-day Saint—not just Gospel educators—to make an effort to be informed on both controversial issues as well as knowing reliable faith-building information as well.
(Given that Elder Ballard’s CES address was published to general Church membership in the Ensign, I think it’s safe to say that Church leadership also feels this way.)
An important step in the process of getting informed is reading the 11 Gospel Topic essays and getting familiar with their contents. But what’s next? How can a person learn more about these and other topics? What are the “best books” (D&C 88:118) or “the best LDS scholarship available”?
Here are 15 suggestions.
1. Michael R. Ash, Shaken Faith S…

Responding to the New Video on Nahom as Archaeological Evidence for the Book of Mormon

Many of my (few) readers have probably already seen the new video by Book of Mormon Central on Nahom as archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon, starring my good friend (and co-author on a related paper) Stephen Smoot. If you haven’t, check it out:


As usual, comments sections wherever this video is shared have been flooded by Internet ex-Mormons insisting this not evidence for the Book of Mormon. I’ve actually had a few productive conversations with some reasonable people who don’t think Nahom is, by itself, compelling evidence—and I can understand that. But the insistence that Nahom is not evidence at all is just, frankly, absurd. So I’ll just go ahead and preempt about 90% of future responses to this post by responding to the most common arguments against Nahom/NHM now:
1. The Book of Mormon is false, therefore there can be no evidence, therefore this is not evidence. First, this is circular reasoning. It assumes the conclusion (Book of Mormon is false) which the evidence pre…

New Paper on Isaiah in the Book of Mormon

Joseph M. Spencer, an adjunct professor at the BYU religion department, recently published a paper in the non-LDS peer review journal Relegere: Studies in Religion and Reception, titled, “Isaiah 52 in the Book of Mormon: Note’s on Isaiah’s Reception History.” Spencer is a young scholar who is doing exciting stuff on the Book of Mormon from a theological perspective.
The paper is described as follows in the abstract: Despite increasing recognition of the importance of Mormonism to American religion, little attention has been given to the novel uses of Isaiah in foundational Mormon texts. This paper crosses two lines of inquiry: the study of American religion, with an eye to the role played in it by Mormonism, and the study of Isaiah’s reception history. It looks at the use of Isa 52:7–10 in the Book of Mormon, arguing that the volume exhibits four irreducibly distinct approaches to the interpretation of Isaiah, the interrelations among which are explicitly meant to speak to nineteent…