Happy Nauvoo Expositor Day!
In an act requiring the 19th-century equivalent of steel cahones, dissident Mormons published an expose of the secret and dramatically non-Christian rituals and teachings of Joseph Smith in Nauvoo - in Joseph's hometown.
On June 7th, 1844, William Law and William Marks printed a newspaper documenting and publicizing the eccentricities of theology and practice that Joseph Smith was publicly denying (while privately teaching), first among them: "spiritual wifery," aka, polygamy. They were loyal, believing Mormons who felt convicted that what was being taught in Nauvoo did not reflect the gospel of Jesus Christ, and said so.
Although the publication of the Nauvoo Expositor led the way to a series of tragic events, the motivation behind the act is important to lift up. Since this auspicious beginning, those scattered and diverse believers in a restored gospel and church have felt a reverence for the revelation of God at work in the lives of the early church leaders, but their fundamental loyalty was to the gospel of Jesus. No matter how highly they held their leaders - even the Prophet Joseph Smith - they did not surrender their principle conviction: Jesus is the fullest revelation of God, and what nurtures discipleship to Jesus is good, what draws us away from the Lordship of Christ is bad. And there is a duty of dissenters within community to faithfully object, and state their reasons. And, there is no room for secret rituals or teachings in a community of Christ followers.
These are the underlying principles that were present at the publication of the Nauvoo Expositor. These are the seeds of our denomination, planted in the rich (and weird) history of Mormonism and the Second Great Awakening.
So, Happy Birthday, church. Happy Nauvoo Expositor Day!
(Note: "Nauvoo Expositor Day" is not a "holiday" officially recognized, endorsed or promoted by the Community of Christ. It is the creation of weird Mormon-history buffs, and eccentric Seminary students. This tongue-in-cheek post is not intended to offend or slight our Utah (LDS) cousins, who by and large view the publication of the Expositor and the ensuing events quite differently, and would not approve of making light of it this way.)