Date: December 04, 2019 01:30AM
Y'know, I could've phrased that better, you're right. I'm not berating Lucy for mourning Alvin's loss. That's a universal and obvious grief none of us ever want to be made to feel. In families where there is high indication of mental instability, there's an overriding dysfunction that can twist already emotionally intense situations to a point where the natural distress that people are entitled to feel is amplified and used as a weapon to control and abuse others.
What I meant by yammering on about her precious lost Alvin is that I imagine that no matter what the accomplishments JS brought home, they were probably never acknowledged without the token reminder of, well, that's great, but had Alvin been here... he could've done even better. Alvin wouldn't have been tarred and feathered, he'd have preached and converted the mob. Alvin wouldn't have given the lost pages to Martin, he'd have never given in to such vanity. Alvin would've been the Grand Master at the Lodge, not just an initiate. Alvin would've made the bank work, Alvin's temple would've been shinier, Alvin could've dowsed gold right up from the earth. You get my drift?
It strikes me that JS might have felt like Jan on The Brady Bunch, when she wailed, "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!" And then went out, founded a sex cult and went down in a hail of bullets.
Also contributing to my line of thought, there was heavy emphasis on rank assignments in the founding period, both within the community and in the Celestial hierarchy they were dreaming up. Different "keys" of priesthood power, all the different titles and names Great Gazelam was being showered with from heaven and passing out to Brigham and Oliver. I can imagine Lucy asking, well, Joseph Jr., if you're Prophet, Seer, Revelator and President All That and a Bag of Chips, what about Alvin, whom everyone knew was twice the man you are? How can you rule heaven aside YHWH and JC when one has already gone ahead who is better than you?
No decent parent would say this. Perhaps she didn't and I'm vilifying her, but I have read "History of Joseph Smith" and I do not find her to come across as either sane or particularly decent. I also know that there are certain parents who will praise their children to the moon and back in public, yet destroy them in private.
I can see such a conversation leading to a great new revelation coming through the peepstone: sure, Mom, you can be with Alvin again and he will have his exaltation...but the only way now is through me. Me. ME.
This is, as I said before, all conjecture. I have minimal historical sources and have had to read between the lines of a lot of sanitized stuff about old Lucy. But I know narcissists very, very well. I know what it's like inside a dysfunctional and mentally non-typical family. I know the roles kids play and how the emotional fault lines strike and slip against each other as the kids get older. I know the thousand petty vicious quips of parents who skillfully play one child off of another. And how do you win against the hallowed memory of the Golden boy who died? You don't, unless you find yourself the head of a new and imaginative religious movement.
Of course I can't say with real certainly that family sealing came about this way, but I know JS did not get to be the deviant he was without help. There isn't a whole lot more damaging to the psyche than being the Scapegoat child. I am absolutely convinced that the idea that the family was somehow chosen, that they were singular because of the prophetic dreams and visions that came to them, and their exploration of folk magic and the deep belief in personal magical aptitude that permeated the Smith household while JS was growing up are the bedrock upon which the cult was built. More than a century of immeasurable suffering has been unleashed on thousands of people just by one backwoods American household.