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Posted by: Soft Machine ( )
Date: September 15, 2020 05:55AM

... Fawn M. Brodie was born :

Fawn McKay Brodie (September 15, 1915 – January 10, 1981) was an American biographer and one of the first female professors of history at UCLA, who is best known for Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History (1974), a work of psychobiography, and No Man Knows My History (1945), an early biography of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement.

That "early biography" remains the best, in my opinion. A courageous woman who sought the truth.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: September 15, 2020 09:26AM

Thanks for this. She deserves a tribute.

Way back when, no one talked about what had really happened with Jefferson and slaves. When I was a kid, my parents took me to Jefferson's Monticello. My parents did not go to the slave areas and not a word was said about these people who actually built the place and lived there. In school the role of his slaves was barely mentioned if at all.

I read Brodie's biography about Jefferson and it gave me a reality check about the rosy portrayals of our founders. Honest facts were there I had to acknowledge for the first time. As much as I admired many things about Jefferson, it was important to realize there was a very troubling side of him that was not being taught.

The same thing happened with her biography of Joseph Smith. She had the spine to tell the truth. I owe her a lot.

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Posted by: iceman9090 ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 12:08AM

Interesting stuff.
I guess you are talking about

Fawn MacKay Brodie

There is some funny stuff written there such as:
Mainstream historians had long denied the possibility of Jefferson's relation with Sally Hemings, although such interracial liaisons were so common that by the late 18th century, visitors remarked on the numerous white slaves in Virginia and the Upper South.[54] "The Richmond Examiner on September 25, 1802, in a rare admission, stated that “thousands” of mulatto children were then being born in the South."

Numerous white slaves?
It is pretty embarrassing. Americans with no moral compass.
Then you have the mormon claims which squeals of racism.

After her book was published, Brodie was contacted by some Eston Hemings Jefferson descendants who recognized his name from her account. His descendants had married white, and this generation appeared to be white. They discovered that their fathers in the 1940s had decided that, to protect their children from racial discrimination associated with descent from Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson, they would tell the children they were descended from Jefferson's uncle. All these Jefferson descendants learned in the 1970s of their alleged descent from Eston Hemings, Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. Brodie wrote a follow-up article about the Jefferson-Hemings grandchildren in 1976, entitled "Thomas Jefferson’s Unknown Grandchildren: A Study in Historical Silences", published in October 1976 in American Heritage magazine. Photographs and other documentary material they gave her have been donated to UCLA archives.[55]

Dear lord! Racism galore!


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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: September 15, 2020 09:59AM

Bless you Soft Machine. I worship accomplishment and that is what F.B. is in spades.

NMKMH changed my life having left the church while at BYU in the early 70's with no knowledge of any of the so-called "anti" facts and trusting my gut. I found Fawn's book some thirty years later on a ten-best-of-all-time list, and it was absolute deliverance to read a book full of verifiable reference, court records, letters, newspaper clippings, diaries, and even some reference coming from the vaults courtesy of Uncle David O.

She gave me the closure I never knew I needed. I thought I had left it all behind.

The brilliance of the book is that she didn't set out to discredit Joseph, but as a biographer her mission was to dig for and present facts on a remarkable person. So valuable that.

"Just the facts, Ma'am." -- Detective Joe Friday

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Posted by: Susan I/S ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 12:14AM

Thanks for this SM. It was sweet of you to mark the day for us :)

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Posted by: Phantom Shadow ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 12:34AM

One of my regrets in this life is that did not go visit her and talk to her when I was a student at UCLA in the late '60s. It didn't occur to me at the time. I just never thought about going and talking to a controversial person. Yes, I'd read her NMKMH by then. I do wish I had.

My Jr. Gleaner teacher had told our class that if we wanted to know if we had a testimony, we should read NMKMH. I was intrigued and went to the library in Sugarhouse, but the card catalogue said it was in the locked cabinet. Since I was only 16 I figured there was no way and didn't ask. Yikes, such a timid girl I was. As a young married in So Cal I then went to the local library and checked it out--no locked cabinet. Now I have a copy in my bookcase.

I have her Jefferson book as well.

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Posted by: librarian ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 10:56AM

Fawn Brodie's book on Smith was the first and only book that I read into a cassette player for a blind man in 1982.
Later, I found the original newspaper account of Smith's trial in New York at the New York library.
When I sent a list of books that I had read on the Mormons to my convert daughter she claimed they were all anti- Mormon books.
They were just the well researched facts.

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Posted by: Kentish ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 03:25PM

My first thought was wow 105 years ago, what a long time. Then I thought, wow my parents were 7 years old then. Sobering.

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Posted by: Gordon B. Stinky ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 04:05PM

Yes, sobering. It was only 11 years after the “second manifesto.” When you consider things like 9/11 having been 19 years ago, and the Berlin Wall coming down 31 years ago, it’s clear that polygamy as a practice and an issue was still pretty current at the time. Frankly, people are still practicing it today, and have all along, but at that 11 year mark it had been swept further under the rug, and, to be fair, largely swept out of the main group, but looming large nonetheless. They’d simply drawn more distinct (but penetrable) boundaries around the various groups.

My guess is that at that time Mormons weren’t so much in denial (or in the dark) about polygamy as the koolaid drinking TBMs had become in the interim.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 07:37PM

Wow. That raises the possibility that you have memories of the Second World War.

Is that possible?

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 09:34PM

Yes LW. I think I've read mentions of it from kentish. Amazing huh?

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 09:52PM

And I thought EOD was old. . .

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: September 20, 2020 01:59PM

Ha LW. He'll get you for that.

I see kentish as being young at heart and going strong.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 20, 2020 02:09PM

Yep. Kentish strikes me as young and spritely.

EOD is doing his best too. He's the oldest client at the Barre studio.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: September 20, 2020 02:16PM

I'm just a happy idiot who punches above his weight for reasons too personal to reveal...and is inordinately fond of beetles.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 20, 2020 02:20PM

I'm sure the beetles are very. . . happy. . . about that.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 03:47PM

Fawn Brodie and Juanita Brooks: two intellectual and moral giants.

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Posted by: Soft Machine ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 06:16PM

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Posted by: Kentish ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 04:34PM

I receive frequent postings from a Christian group called The Resistance Prays. A beautiful message today on another in that category RBG and her stand for "equality, justice, fairness..."

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 06:56PM

There are too many individuals & groups who (would) tolerate , endorse subtle & non-subtle racism & sexism: neo-nazis, kkk, perhaps a portion of the NRA.

SORRY / SAD as it is, seems these extremes are difficult if not impossible to eliminate.

For once, I don't reflect - comment on DJT in thinking about this.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: September 20, 2020 02:00PM

Thank you Tom. I'll look for this book, at long last.

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Posted by: Soft Machine ( )
Date: September 20, 2020 02:37PM

Having read on RfM that TSCC had denounced it and mounted a major "project" against Fawn Brodie, very inelegantly trying to denigrate her work as a historian and her character, I was expecting it to be basically an acerbic denunciation. I was wrong.

When I started it, I was expecting it to be much more condamnatory, but Fawn Brodie is scrupulously balanced, in my opinion. In particular, she never totally dismisses the possibility that Smith believed what he was saying.

I'm sure that, privately, she considered him a total fraud, but she kept it quite "soft" so as not to lose mormon readers too early on.

And she also writes very very well, so it's a pleasure to read and she does a good job of evoking the atmosphere of the time, bringing together a lot of information about Nauvoo, in particular.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did :-D

Tom in Paris

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/20/2020 02:39PM by Soft Machine.

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Posted by: esias ( )
Date: September 22, 2020 07:48AM

Thanks for the tribute, Tom. Professor Brodie remains a standout writer and biographer, and even if you're not a fan of biographies, her cool assessment of the crook Smoothie Smith is a worthy exception.

Hope you're well and best regards, Tom and all


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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: September 22, 2020 10:10AM

Seemed like FB left no stone unturned. The one I enjoyed most was the one that destroyed the myth Mormons perpetuate about the persecution. Talking about the persecution of the Mormons was my father's calling card as he saw it as proof of the church being the one true one---because Mormons, and lots of others, take it as a given that one *has* to be true. They are not capable of entertaining even for a second the thought that perhaps it is all a man-made control device.

Turns out the Mormons weren't persecuted as much as they begged for retaliation and comeuppance for their selfish, entitled, and greedy behavior. They gave as good as they got.

Some people just reach out and grab and though Americans often tolerate or admire that nowadays, they didn't back then out there on the frontier.

The persecution was orchestrated by Satan himself, the very Adversary, at the Mormons exclusively, because he was trying to stop the restoration of the ONE True Church, as I was taught over and over. Battle of the Eternities.

When I was a kid the brother's and sisters used to weep at the pulpit with hearts of sorrow for all that the Saints had to endure at the hands of Satan.

Thank you, Fawn.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: September 22, 2020 10:28AM

> When I was a kid the brothers
> and sisters used to weep at the
> pulpit with hearts of sorrow
> for all that the Saints had to
> endure at the hands of Satan.

"Iffin they was a sayin' that Brigham Young was Satan, then they was a right to be a mourning!"

--Olde Timey Judic a West, tobacco spitter

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: September 22, 2020 11:40AM

Ha ha. I know. Lucifer could have learned a few things from ole Briggy!

Too bad Fawn didn't do Brigham as well. That could have been scorching.

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