I’ve been thinking about an alternative Mormon history. What if things had occurred differently. How would the Church be different today? Would there be fewer schisms?
The original apostles were arranged in seniority by age. In 1838, Thomas B. Marsh was president of the Q12. As I’ve learned recently, he went after WW Phelps membership and had him excommunicated in early 1838, but Phelps returned. Following the Mormon-Missouri War of 1838, both Marsh and Phelps produced testimony about Mormon actions of Danite vigilante justice during hostilities. Phelps was excommunicated a second time and came back months later. This time, Marsh left for good. What if the situation was reversed? What if Marsh stayed and Phelps left?
Marsh lived until January 1866. If he had succeeded Joseph, his term of service would have cut into Brigham’s 30 year term of service considerably. (Brigham died in 1877.) Would the saints even have come to Utah under Marsh?
David Patten was second in line after Marsh. What if he hadn’t died during the Battle of Crooked River? Would he have outlived Brigham and Thomas?
What if John Taylor had succumbed to his wounds at Carthage? He obviously wouldn’t have received the 1886 revelation so important to fundamentalists declaring that polygamy was an eternal principle.
For that matter, even if he lived, what if Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt hadn’t been demoted? Hyde survived Brigham by a year, until Nov 1878. Pratt lived until 1881. Taylor lived until 1887. Would succession have changed? The Church functioned without a president for up to 3 years before the first presidency was reorganized during the 19th century. How would Hyde and Pratt have influenced the Church as the top leaders?
What do you think?