Year of Polygamy: Melissa Lott, Episode 32

Written by Lindsay Hansen Park on . Posted in year of polygamy

Join Lindsay for the primer series on Mormon Polygamy that will begin with the wives of Joseph Smith and eventually broaden to contemporary strains of the practice today. This episode deals with Melissa Lott. Links mentioned in this podcast:

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Comments (9)

  • liz johnson

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    Hey! Melissa is my 4th-great-grandaunt! Her sister, Alzina Lucinda, is my 4th great-grandmother.

    I love this series.

    Reply

  • Larry

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    Hi Lindsay. I enjoy your podcasts and was especially interested in the Melissa Lott podcast #32 as she was a relative of mine and I remember my Grandfather telling us about her as he was in her home often as a child! I have read todd Compton’s book where he talks about her, but your podcast has much more information! Would you mind sharing your sources?
    I was disappointed tthat you did not get her husbands name right. His name was Ira Willes and he and his brother Sydney Willes served in the Mormon Battalion, his brother married Melissa’s sister Alzinda Lott.

    Reply

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  • David

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    Concerning Danites:

    Joseph Smith tells us, “Doctor Sampson Avard who had been in the Church but a short time,…was secretly aspiring to be the greatest of the great, and become the leader of the people” (HC vol. 3 pg. 178). “He began by holding secret meetings, the room being well guarded by some of his followers, where he claimed that he had the sanction of the heads of the Church…and proceeded to administer to the few under his control, an oath, binding them to everlasting secrecy. Speaking as a true religious enthusiast, he would often affirm to his company that the principal men of the Church had put him forward as a spokesman, and a leader of this band, which he named Danites. After daily preliminary meetings, he held meetings to organize his men into companies of tens and fifties…He then called his captains together and taught them as basic doctrine, ‘the riches of the Gentiles shall be consecrated to my people, the house of Israel; and thus you will waste away the Gentiles by robbing and plundering them, …and in this way we will build up the kingdom of God.’ This he followed up with dire threats against any who should jeopardize the secrecy of the society. At this lecture all of the officers revolted, and when Avard protested that a new dispensation called for a new moral code, he was unanimously voted down and gave way. Avard suggested that they had better drop the subject, although he had received his authority from Sidney Rigdon the evening before. The meeting then broke up; the eyes of those present were opened, and henceforth very little confidence was placed in him, even by the warmest of the members of his Danite scheme. When a knowledge of Avard’s rascality came to the Presidency of the Church, he was cut off from the Church, and every measure proper used to destroy his influence, at which he was highly incensed, and went about whispering his evil insinuations, but finding every effort unavailing, he again turned conspirator, and sought to make friends with the mob” (Hist. of the Church vol. 3 pgs. 178-181).

    Reply

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