September 2008

I’ve been busy lately, haven’t had much time to post anything. Here is a quick post. I ran across this video the other day. It’s a clip from a German movie Downfall, a movie about the last few days of Hitler’s life. The scene is one where the chief officers of the Third Reich finally give Hitler the grave truth on the imminent fall of Berlin and the Reich instead of sugar-coating all the reports to him as they had been. It’s a very intense and grave scene, but there are several videos where people have added subtitles that are completely non-sequitur: this one is where Hitler learns about the production for the live-action Dragonball Z.

I don’t know why, but I couldn’t stop laughing. Maybe the thought that there really are people as passionate about DBZ as a dictator is about his power. There’s also a hilarious comment on the YouTube page: “For the first time in my life, I completely agree with Hitler.”

I mentioned in my last post that there was one other interesting thing that I would mention. Among the various artifacts in the museum was an old desk. Looking at it, it had this sign on the front:
mormon desk
Mormons? In Texas in the 1850’s? This was news to me, and I’m a 5th generation Mormon. There was a photograph also:
mormon mill
(click for larger version)
Fortunately, the desk also had a newspaper clipping on it that gave a brief explanation of what exactly happened. The print was too fine for me to take an effective picture of the article, but the account can be found elsewhere online. This site had a good explanation of what happened. For those familiar with Mormon history in general, you can skip down to a couple of paragraphs before the section “Enter Texas”. For those not willing to spend the time to read the whole article, Lyman Wight was one of the leaders (a member of the Quorum of the 12) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (i.e. the Mormon church) during Joseph Smith’s time. After the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, the majority of the saints went with the leadership of Brigham Young, the president of the Quorum of the 12. There were several groups that did not acknowledge his leadership, however. The largest group felt that leadership should be passed onto Joseph Smith’s sons, that group later became the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (changed to the Community of Christ in 2001). Another group went with James Strang, and they had their own very interesting history culminating in Beaver Island, Michigan.

Anyway, Wight had been living a little seperated from the main body of the saints in Nauvoo, having headed up a community that ran a sawmill up in Minnesota to produce all the lumber used in building the temple in Nauvoo. According to Wight, the last thing Joseph Smith had asked him to do was to move the saints to a safe haven in Texas. So Wight took the families that he had been the leader over and took them down to Texas. They first ended up in present day Austin, but moved on after a few seasons. One part of the legacy they left behind in Austin is two prominent streets in Austin, Exposition and Far West, both retain names originally given by these Mormons. They next moved to Fredricksburg, where a community of recent German immigrants had established a town. The German immigrants welcomed Wight and his followers, as the Mormons built a sawmill there that was of great benefit to the community, and also the Mormons there taught them how to farm and such, since many of the immigrants were poor urban Germans that had not farming experience themselves.

Things were fine for a few years, but a flood destroyed the sawmill and broke the Mormons there financially. They ended up mortgaging all their property, and moving about 50 miles north to Burnet. There they again built a sawmill and were very industrious, but Wight didn’t seem able to manage the finances of the group very well, and were again in deep debt. They group moved one more time to a settlement named Zodiac. A few years later, Wight died and no leader emerged among the group to take his place. Some of the families returned to Missouri and joined the saints that had remained there under the leadership of Joseph Smith’s son. Others stayed there and slowly blended into the local community, no longer distinguishing themselves as Mormons. It would be almost a century until there was again a population of Mormons in the central Texas area.