Wallace Stegner on Dinosaur National Monument.
Item 70 is a look back at the institution that made Mormonism so controversial in the 19th century - polygamy. The title is Why We Practice Plural Marriage by a "Mormon" Wife and Mother - Helen Mar Whitney,
published in 1884. Whitney was a daughter of Heber Kimball, one of the early followers of Church founder Joseph Smith. At the age of 14, she, like many other women, was married to Smith. Her father encouraged the marriage as he believed it would connect their families and provide all of his family with eternal salvation. Young Helen was at first shocked and displeased with the idea, but as this book confirms, she came to be a strong supporter. Smith was murdered just a year later, and Helen was then married "for time" to Horace Whitney (meaning she would return to Smith for eternity). Ms. Whitney provides strong condemnation for those who attack plural marriage, a spirited defense of the institution, and bolsters her argument by maintaining that greater suffering on earth leads to greater rewards in the world to come. That was an argument used on slaves as well. Ms. Whitney's arguments were of little avail, as just 6 years later, the Mormon Church outlawed the practice. $350.
Item 72 is one of those non-Southwestern items: The Complete Herbal, to Which is Now Added Upwards of One Hundred Additional Herbs, with a Display of Their Medicinal and Occult Qualities Physically Applied to the Cure of All Disorders Incident to Mankind… Those are some rather bold promises, on which I am quite sure author Nicholas Culpepper could not deliver. Culpepper attempted to use reason in determining his "cures," but in his day (17th century), reason involved such things as the influence of the planets on your health. At least he did not recommend terrible surgeries or the use of horrible poisons as would more likely have been the advice of his day. Offered is one of the later editions of a book that was in vogue for two centuries, published in 1835. $700.
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