Book review: Dennis' next work captures 'one heart, one mind' community fostered by Zion's Trumpet
"ZION'S TRUMPET: 1851 Welsh Mormon Periodical," edited by Ronald D. Dennis, BYU Religious Studies Center, $25.99, 416 pages (nf)
When Mormon converts were making their way from various regions of Europe to America, some — including President John Taylor — took the opportunity to use journalism to create a connection with new fellow church members. As "Zion's Trumpet: 1851 Welsh Mormon Periodical" shows, those early migrants not only fostered that community feel, they were successful in the process.
Ronald D. Dennis' new compilation, "Zion's Trumpet," chronicles some of those stories, including the 1851 versions of the newspaper managed by John S. Davis, who used the periodical to tell the stories of Welsh converts like himself who were making the journey across the Atlantic. As opposed to his second book in the series, which was published last year, Dennis didn't take 10 years to produce the installment that followed. We can be grateful for that, since it is enjoyable to use a still-fresh memory of last year's book to connect the events, articles and passages found in the 1851 publications.
Three favorites this time around: a prediction from the New York Picayune that in just a decade, the Mormon pioneers would develop a "wealthy and powerful state, having a form of government and a religious establishment as remarkable as anything that has ever existed in past times"; narratives of each of the sons of Jacob, titled "Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs" (based on what we learn of them in the Old Testament); and the conversion stories of two ministers, found less than halfway through the book.
A newly married man, Davis did anything but slow down with the third volume, instead publishing it twice monthly in 16-page issues, rather than 12 monthly issues, with a four-page printed wrapper used in the first two volumes. Readers may expect to read a larger corresponding book from Dennis, but it slows down the pace only marginally.
Rhett Wilkinson is a student at Utah State University, cofounder and managing editor of Aggie BluePrint and a Capitol Hill intern. He has previously worked for the Deseret News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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