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T.VO CONTRASTING MEANINGS OF THE WORDS "MORMON COMMUNITY*
by Joseph A. Geddes
People define their big words by what they do with then. Mormonism
touched the imagination of people and some large concepts emerged. It
would be difficult to over-estimate the significance of such pioneer words
as (1) irrigation, (2) Word of Wisdom, (3) United Order, (4) Joint
stewardship, (5) Zion, and (6) community, among others. The Mormon
concept of the good, successful community achieved significance early.
Yet, although much used, none of these big ideas have come to be clearly
defined. Efforts to clarif y community are found in four LDS YMMIA Senior
Manuals which may be briefly described as follows:
(1) Senior Manual Number 1 for the year 1933-34 by Joseph A. Geddes,.
called "The Community High Road to Better Things." This manual followed
the .Missouri interpretation as closely as the author could clarify it.
The manual stirred people's thinking widely.
(2) Senior Manual Number 2 called by the same name, llowver, the YMMIA
Senior Manual Committee's request to Joseph A. Geddes to write the Senior
Manual for 1934-35 of a more advanced nature was rejected and Frank L.
'.Vest, the new commissioner of education and Henry B. Eyring were ordered
to write the manual for that year. Both these men were exact scientists
and, while the manual which they wrote had many good qualities in it, it
did not further clarify the Joseph Smith interpretation.
(3) A third Senior Class Manual dealing with the community included papers
written by Lyman Daynes and Harrison R. Merrill, neither of whom had
training that fitted them for clarification of the term community. This manual,
•••Many major students of Sociology offered their services in leading the
Mutual classes. Among many letters was one from Utah State University
President E.G. Peterson : Dear Joseph; Your Community Road has got me
stirred up. I suggest you have some copies bound for it will live for
a long time. I'm glad this manual came from Utah State University.