From Mission to Madness: Last Son of the Mormon Prophet

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University of Illinois Press, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 357 pages
Brilliant and charismatic,
David Hyrum Smith was a poet, painter, singer, philosopher, naturalist,
and highly effective missionary for the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints. In this richly detailed biography, Valeen Tippetts
Avery chronicles the life of the last son of Joseph Smith and his first
wife, Emma.
Avery draws on a large body
of correspondence for details of David's life and on his poetry to reveal
his personality and emotional struggles. She tells of his mental deterioration,
starting with a probable breakdown early in 1870 and ending with his death
in 1904 in the Northern Illinois Hospital and Asylum for the Insane in
Elgin, where he had been confined for twenty-seven years.
"This is an astonishing
accomplishment which not only tells the reader about a neglected historical
figure, but about myriad neglected dimensions of both Mormon history and
the history of religion in general."
-- Jan Shipps, author of Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious
Tradition
"This will stand alone
as a biography of David H. Smith. . . . But it is also an insightful look
at the times and environment from which the Smith family, and its ideas,
emerged."
-- Paul M. Edwards, author of Our Legacy of Faith: A Brief History
of the Reorganized Church
 

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Contents

Mormonism Established 183044
1
Exodus and Aftermath The Smiths in Nauvoo 184450
21
Childhood in a River Town 185063
37
Becoming a Josephite 186365
56
Preacher on the Prairies 186668
72
The Son of Promise in Utah 1869
87
David and Clara 186971
114
The Wanderer Outward Bound 187172
144
The Feeble Light of Reason 187273
198
So Sore a Broken Joint on Which to Lean 187377
214
David and Charley 187277
232
The Asylum for the Insane 187780
243
The Sweet Singer in Decline 18801904
258
Notes
285
Selected Bibliography
337
Index
349

The Sins of the Father 1872
164
Seances in Zion 1872
180

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