A Ministry of Meetings

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The Apostolic Diaries of Rudger Clawson

Edited by Stan Larson

Rudger ClawsonRudger Clawson (1857-1943) was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the third child of Hiram B. Clawson and his second polygamous wife, Margaret Gay Judd. Born just ten years after Mormons arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, Clawson’s eighty-six years spanned almost equal periods in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

In 1879 Clawson became a folk hero when his missionary companion, Joseph Standing, was murdered at Varnell’s Station, Georgia. After returning to Salt Lake City, Clawson married his first wife, Florence Ann Dinwoodey, in 1882 and his second, Lydia Elizabeth Spencer, the next year. In 1884 Clawson again gained notoriety when he became the first polygamist Mormon to be convicted and imprisoned for violation of the Edmunds law of 1882. He served one of the longest continuous sentences of any Mormon “cohab” in the Utah Territorial Penitentiary. He was released by presidential pardon on 12 December 1887.

Stan Larson received his B.A., M.A., and M.L.I.S. degrees from Brigham Young University and his Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham in England. His previous publications include Unitarianism in Utah: A Gentile Religion in Salt Lake City (coauthored with Lorille Miller) and Prisoner for Polygamy: The Memoirs and Letters of Rudger Clawson at the Utah Territorial Penitentiary, 1884-97.

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