Mormonism and America as Promised Land in Joseph Smith's Letter from Liberty Jail
Edwards, Jason A.,Weiss, David
The Rhetoric of American Exceptionalism
McFarland & Company Inc.
"The present chapter is a rhetorical analysis of Smith's letter from Liberty Jail. It aims to contextualize the letter within the American exceptionalist rhetoric of Mormon Scripture, of which the letter became a canonized part in 1876 (see Jessee and Welch, 2000), as well as the pressing context of the Missouri Mormon conflict. Part of Smith's criticism of Missouri rests on his claim that Missourians are denying Mormons basic rights, including property rights, voting rights, and religious rights. Part of his defense rests on his capacity to show that he has no treasonous intentions toward the United States or the state of Missouri. Simultaneously, then, his criticism of the failure to defend religious liberty is held in tension with his praise of American Promise." [From author's introduction]