For those who have so readily pounced on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for sending its famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir to sing at the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, there is a case to be made for the choir’s appearance based on LDS history, doctrine and ethos.

First, take a look at LDS history. It was the Fourth of July 1857 and a large group of New City-area Mormons gathered at Norwalk, Connecticut. They boarded a sloop that sailed into Long Island Sound toward an islet they called “Nauvoo Island.” The moniker honored the faith’s one-time headquarters in Illinois during the 1840s near where the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred. The island became the scene of a patriotic celebration filled with orations, a “clam bake” and, of course, singing. A small brass band accompanied hymns and patriotic songs. It became front-page news when reporters from the leading newspapers of the day, The New York Herald and New York Times, both sent reporters to cover the event.

Ironically, while Mormons put on a show of unparalleled nationalism, an expedition of several thousand U.S. soldiers was already being organized to go the Utah territory to put down the perceived “rebellion” and Brigham Young’s anti-nationalism. While there wasn’t praise for President James Buchanan’s “Utah Expedition” that July Fourth on Nauvoo Island, there was effusive praise for the ideals of America and its Constitution.

One LDS leader said of U.S. Constitutional laws: “The terror of despots, the wonder of the world, the boast of Columbia’s sons, when administered according to their spirit and letter.” There were toasts to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Brigham Young. There was no toasting James Buchanan.

Read full article at Meridian Magazine.