Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Nauvoo Pageant 2007...Just Who is Jane Manning?
Joseph Smith’s faithful servant...is it possible that what you see in the Nauvoo pageant here this summer is not just what it appears?
Joseph Smith, Afterlife Slaveowner...Could this be true?
There is a whole sad story out there about Jane Elizabeth Manning James, a devout Mormon woman of color denied the “blessings” of the religion she was loyal to, but just what is it?
If you have come to Nauvoo and watched the Nauvoo pageant have you wondered why Jane walked to Nauvoo? It was because white Mormons would not allow her to ride with them or assist her in paying for passage. And once she arrived in Nauvoo the Beautiful, that “Zion on the Mississippi,” she was either rebuffed or ignored by her fellow Saints, until finally someone pointed out Joseph Smith’s home to her. Once she finally did meet Smith, he made Jane his house servant, and when Smith was murdered in 1844, Brigham Young then took in Jane James as his servant as well. Despite her faithful service to the church and its wealthy presidents, she lived most of her life in abject poverty. She arrived in the new Zion of Utah among the first of the Saints in September 1847, the first free black woman in the territory, only to find that slavery was already being practiced there. Mormon Apostle Charles C. Rich owned slaves in Utah, which must have been a great trial of her faith. The only Western State or Territory to practice slavery was Utah.
She wished to be “sealed” to her loved ones for all eternity just like the white-skinned members of the congregation were allowed to be. For all of her sacrifice, the highest eternal blessing the Mormon church could offer Joseph Smith’s former house servant was to “seal” her to Joseph Smith as his servant forever.
“The words recited at this ceremony were that she was “to be attached as a Servitor for eternity to the prophet Joseph Smith and in this capacity be connected with his family and be obedient to him in all things in the Lord as a faithful Servitor.” In essence, an eternal slave, bound to service a white master for eternity.”
“On April 1, 2005, members of the Genesis Group, along with members of the Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation (MMFF) and others, joined together in the Salt Lake Cemetery (where Jane was laid to rest in 1908) to honor this faithful pioneer sister and to dedicate the Jane Manning James monument”.
“In the dedicatory prayer, Elder Morrison said, ‘Jane wore out her life in patient humble service to others. May this be a sacred place–a place of peace and contentment, a place where generations may come to contemplate the goodness of a humble, faithful, compassionate soul.’”
Eternal servitude… just the ticket for one who “wore out her life”.
For anyone who might watch this pageant, do some research on just what is being put forth...there is more to the story than what is on stage. Racism promoted and advocated by God's direct oracles on earth - Mormon Prophets and Apostles. Jane's story really is sad and is a despicable display of racism.