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Arts & culture from the fringe. Back to blog home.

  • Writer's pictureGazelem

Behind the Zines - HIVE ZINE-017: A Brief History of the Restoration League

I'm absolutely fascinated by the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know some people have a fraught relationship with it, but I'm a firm believer that every Latter-day Saint ought to become intimately familiar with the stories of our past.

Learning about our successes and failures as a people can deepen your moral capacities; fill you with empathy and understanding; and challenge and expand your worldview. Indeed, exploring Latter-day Saint theology and cosmology through the lives of those who lived it first can broaden your horizons and inspire you to reach for beautiful possibilities that may seem fantastic or impossibly out of reach.

As I read through Saints, Volume 1 recently, my mind and spirit were flooded with remarkable insights. While I had several that affected me deeply, I would say that the most remarkable takeaway was just how much the Carthage Greys and the Nauvoo Legion sounded like bitter rivals in a bizarro baseball league.

So, naturally, I reimagined Church history sites as baseball teams and started designing a h*ckin shiz ton of logos. One thing led to another, and soon there was lore. So much lore.

In our sad reality, our faith is so afraid of internal strife that we've completely gutted a once-flourishing recreational sports culture. Our cultural halls/gyms are shells of their former glory. Our baseball diamonds sit vacant and unkempt, used MAYBE once or twice a year during a ward BBQ or something.

Imagine instead a timeline where we fully embraced that flourishing sports culture. Imagine an alternate past where the beloved prophet and pitcher Heber Jeddy Grant established a professional baseball league to provide wholesome entertainment and meaningful employment to members of the Church during the Great Depression.

Now imagine a present where this semi-professional league is beloved by Saint and Gentile alike. The league has fostered an entertainment economy so influential that it led to The Great Resettlement: a mass redistribution of Latter-day Saints to their former homelands, where they've built up significant, cohesive Mormon population centers all over North America and the Pacific.

Welcome to Deseret League Baseball, where testimonies are built one home run at a time. I hope this zany sports fiction inspires you to love Church history a little more. I hope it makes you strive for a future where Latter-day Saints are culturally prolific; less concerned about proving our truth claims to the world; and more concerned about loving what makes us unique and peculiar and basking in the sheer joy that brings.


About the Author

Once a mighty warrior in the pre-existence, Gazelem retired and came to earth to get a body and explore the arts. Outside of Latter-day Saint art and literature, you can find him writing and editing for and playing keys for Michael Barrow & The Tourists.


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