Tuesday, May 14, 2013

John Tanner's Book of Mormon

I've been having a conversation with a John Tanner descendant, a distant cousin, on Facebook, and while conversing I started to wonder something about the film about John Tanner, so I went to Treasure in Heaven: The John Tanner Story to find an answer and in the process, watched a "behind the scenes" feature that's included on the DVD. The feature notes that John Tanner's first edition Book of Mormon has been donated to the University of Utah Marriott Library. I can't find it in the catalog, but it probably wouldn't be listed there anyway. The computer wouldn't let me get a screen shot of the film, but here's a picture of the screen. (Yes, you can see my ironing board reflected in the first picture!)



Here's the picture of the Book of Mormon from John Tanner and His Family. At the time John Tanner and His Family was written this Book of Mormon was in the possession of Patience Thatcher of Logan, Utah. This picture shows the slightly burnt edges from the fire in Winter Quarters.

From John Tanner and His Family (George Tanner, 1974), 44.

The film also mentions that John Tanner's original home is still standing in Cottonwood, and shows pictures. The exterior of the structure doesn't look original; the chimney and siding and construction materials definitely don't date to 1848, but the underlying structure could certainly have dated to that time. Unfortunately no address is given.

The film feature also notes that Tanner Lane (1810 East) in South Cottonwood (now Murray) is named after John Tanner. Karen Bray Keeley links the name of the road to Clarence Laverne Tanner, a son of John Joshua Tanner and grandson of John Tanner, who owned a farm in the area.


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All in all, although a few details can be quibbled over, Treasure in Heaven is surprisingly accurate for historical fiction, and I do appreciate the note about the Book of Mormon.

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