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how is collective memory formed

The atrium that surrounds The Vision effectively makes the building named for the Prophet a frame around the Saints’ shared memory of his First Vision. Different groups of neurons (nerve cells), responsible for different thoughts or perceptions, drift in and out of action. It goes back to mytochondrial Eve. The Galilee Baptists could appreciate the same painting and not share the collective memory it evokes in Latter-day Saints. The brain simmers with activity. Provo, UT 84602 Elise Petersen and Steven C. Harper, “Using Art and Film to Form and Reform a Collective Memory of the First Vision,” in An Eye of Faith: Essays in Honor of Richard O. Cowan, ed. The discourse will be structured in a manner which engages with the primary vectors of French memory regarding ‘les annes noires’. In 1999, then five-year-old Nicole Crandall Siegel was asked by her father to tell the First Vision story to the missionaries who were visiting. Second, by depicting the Saints’ shared memory of the vision in film, Jacobs expanded the audience and harnessed the power of a medium with enormous potential to facilitate memory consolidation and recursion. Memory consolidation does not explain the First Vision itself, but it has created the meanings and memories of Joseph Smith’s vision that Latter-day Saints generally share—the set of ideas suggested to Latter-day Saints when they see something like Martella Lane’s painting of the grove. That does not mean that the vision did not happen as Joseph remembered it, only that it takes groups some time to form their shared memories. When I (Steve) joined the faculty of BYU’s Department of Church History and Doctrine in 2002, Richard Cowan became my mentor. In fact, memory is not even a single thing but “an umbrella term under which congregate myriad phenomena.”[3] This essay is not about memory per se, but about the formation and reformation of a particular shared or collective memory among Latter-day Saints. collective memory, because the experience of “fresh contact” and “reflecting” has the effect that cannot be experienced again in one’s life afterwards. As noted above, Latter-day Saints widely share general knowledge of Joseph’s First Vision—religious confusion, James 1:5, Sacred Grove, prayer, two personages whose brightness and glory defied description—but have little or no knowledge of how they know this information. All accounts may be accessed online via The Joseph Smith Papers, http://josephsmithpapers.org/site/accounts-of-the-first-vision. Avard T. Fairbanks sculpted a cast bronze of young Joseph on his knees, leaning back and looking heavenward. They have been responsible for providing a group its sense of place, as well as exacerbating ethnic and national tension. Brigham Young University This essay shows how, over the past six decades, collective memory of the Second World War in France has been centrally implicated in, and influenced by, wider socio-political debates relating to the nature of French national identity. It was not a forgone conclusion that the Saints would form a shared memory of Joseph’s First Vision, nor inevitable that the one that formed was the only alternative that could have formed in the minds of most Latter-day Saints. Hear him!”[16]. [28] See Karen Lynn Davidson, Our Latter-day Hymns: The Stories and the Messages (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988), 54–55. ... 37% know that East Germany erected the Berlin Wall after the NATO alliance was formed, compared to 21% of younger adults and 28% of those 65 and older. All memories undergo a formation process and represent past events. Moreover, the representations themselves—ranging from woodcuts and murals to films and coloring-book pages—reflect the extent of the 1839 narrative’s consolidation within the Saints’ collective memory. This paper also argues that collective memory is a situated construction negotiated with – or contested by – others, made possible by the presence of common historical benchmarks to which different meanings may however be attributed. Originally located in the Adams Ward Chapel in Los Angeles, this stained glass window presents Joseph's First Vision along with a key phrase from the canonized account: "This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!" 3 (2014): 3. Suggested memories are common and usually harmless, but since Joseph’s First Vision is so foundational to the Saints’ faith, it is attacked from every angle, and some whose suggested memories have been shown to be based in unhistorical sources have lost their faith in the Restoration story as a result. Halbwachs prefers the term "recollection" to "memory" because of its obvious affinity to "collective" and to the way "collective memory" is formed, as though by means of collecting various blurred impressions (pictures) from various sources and molding them into a well-structured and stable memory. Next, they had a series of brief, one-on-one computer-based conversations with three other participants in their communities and were told to chat about the information they’d studied. Memory is more mysterious, complex, and meaningful than we may think. (Courtesy of Wikicommons.). These visual representations of the vision are potent, subtle factors in the process of memory consolidation and recursion. “But what are the consequences ... at a larger social scale?”. Shifting Collective Memory in Tulsa. Visual art depicting Joseph Smith’s vision has multiplied rapidly over the past three decades. In individuals, the function of relating happens in the brain. The decision was made to publish this narrative, without inclusion or even mention of other accounts. … Over time the memory hardens, becoming a “truth” about the past that is hard to dislodge. [18] In two senses, director and producer David Jacobs clearly shared the Saints’ general memory. There are three different forms of collective behavior: crowd, mass, and public. In modern times, the ideology of collective memory has been reinforced in nonfiction books. Description . any collection of memories passed from one generation to the next. [28] There is nothing wrong with being inspired by artistic representations of the First Vision; indeed, the inspiration they provide is one of their most honorable purposes. Joseph Smith’s recorded memories of his vision, especially the one in his 1839 Manuscript History (excerpted and canonized in the Pearl of Great Price), is the most significant influence on how Latter-day Saints have formed a collective memory of his vision, but even after this, several key players have functioned as selectors and relaters, especially Apostles Franklin D. Richards (who selected this vision account for inclusion in the Pearl of Great Price) and Orson Pratt (who emphasized and taught about the vision more than anyone else in the formative period when the Latter-day Saints consolidated a collective memory of it). It is not the purpose of this essay to review every piece, but rather to reflect on how, in general, such art has shaped the Saints’ memory. They convey the vision powerfully, rehearsing it with the strong emotions that help create the memory and cause it to endure. To them, presumably, the mural represented the peace and majesty of God’s creation, while to Latter-day Saints it represented the seminal event of their shared story. These inaccurate “truths” about our pasts impede good judgment and make us blind to other viewpoints or changing conditions. noun. (Photo by George E. Anderson, Church History Library.). The analysis will show not only how, when, and why the Saints developed a collective memory of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, but how that memory has been and continues to be represented and transmitted from generation to generation through powerful and problematic artistic representations. Five years after the publication of Rocky Mountain Saints, another artist—a devoted Mormon convert concerned about transmitting the Saints’ founding story to a generation that had not known Joseph Smith—began painting the first comprehensive visual history of the early Saints, initially advertised as the “Grand Historical Exhibition” and eventually known as his “Mormon Panorama.”[12] The paintings by Carl Christian Anton (C. C. The memories are not the event itself. 185 Heber J. [20] See Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2005), DVD. Cultural memory is formed by symbolic heritage embodied in texts, rites, monuments, celebrations, objects, sacred scriptures and other media that serve as mnemonic triggers to initiate meanings associated with what has happened. Canonization of the Pearl of Great Price in the October 1880 general conference elevated Joseph’s 1839 narrative to scriptural status and signified that it embodied, or ought to, the general knowledge of the Latter-day Saints regarding the First Vision. In this case, the consolidated memory is Joseph’s Manuscript History, excerpted in the Pearl of Great Price and rehearsed by leaders like Orson Pratt and John Taylor, and the new memories are ones that the rising generations of Latter-day Saints have formed. One way to see recursion occurring is to notice when visual representations of the vision began to appear and be used late in the nineteenth century, about the time the Saints’ collective memory consolidated and the 1839 account became scripture. We naturally pass these lessons down as we learned them. A network featuring more widely dispersed communication showed greater convergence than one where contacts were mostly limited to smaller subgroups. Blight’s book is an intriguing work of history as well as a thorough investigation into the way collective memories are formed. A.) The goal of this chapter is to describe recollective memory and give an account of some of the characteristics of this form of human memory. There are three main theories on collective behavior. It might seem like there could be no downside to using visual arts as agents of collective-memory recursion. But they all reflect and further shape the consolidated memory Latter-day Saints share—the generalized story, including a few specific elements, of Joseph Smith’s 1839 vision narrative. The first of these to be completed, eventually known as the “Adams Chapel” in Richard Cowan’s native Los Angeles, featured the consolidated First Vision story in an ornate stained-glass window. Grant Building Individual memory is defined as a personal interpretation of an event from ones own life. Individual and Collective Memory. The researchers hope the findings, which were published in July in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, might help policymakers spread important information about, for instance, symptoms and preventive measures during an outbreak of a contagious disease. Individual and Collective Memory. During this stage, sensory information from the environment is stored for a very brief period of time, generally for no longer than a half-second for visual information and 3 or 4 seconds for auditory information. Kenneth L. Alford and Richard E. Bennett (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City, 2015), 257–75. [11] The image, a woodcut by a J. Hoey, depicts a young Joseph at the moment the Father and Son reveal themselves to him. Individual memory is defined as a personal interpretation of an event from ones own life. This essay shows how, over the past six decades, collective memory of the Second World War in France has been centrally implicated in, and influenced by, wider socio-political debates relating to the nature of French national identity. [4] Anastasio et al., Individual and Collective Memory Consolidation, 105. The advertisement for “Christensen’s Grand Historical Exhibition” speaks especially to the Church’s youth: “This entertainment should be seen by all,” it says, “but especially by young Latter-day Saints, as these artistically executed pictures will impress indelibly upon their minds the trying ordeals through which the Church had passed before it found a resting place in the valleys of the mountains.”[15] These words indicate that Christensen was keenly aware of how visuals like his could play an important role in perpetuating memories of the events represented. Scholars studying these issues may not ... ‘‘a ‘collective memory’ ! It is becoming better known that Joseph Smith recorded more than one account of what was later coined his First Vision. [9] James B. Allen, “Emergence of a Fundamental: The Expanding Role of Joseph Smith’s First Vision in Mormon Thought,” in Exploring the First Vision, ed. The beginning decades of the twentieth century saw the rise of Mormon architecture west of Salt Lake City as Saints in California began to construct the state’s first permanent meetinghouses. [6] Orson Pratt, “Are the Father and the Son Two Distinct Persons?,” Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, October 15, 1849, 310. “We know this operates at an individual level,” he says. Many, it’s true, would cite Joseph’s history excerpted in the Pearl of Great Price, but few know where that text came from, or how, when, or why it was composed. The ability to recall the general knowledge of the First Vision, with its few specific elements, is usually enough to sustain the faith of Latter-day Saints. [23] Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Seeing Beyond the Leaf,” Religious Educator 15, no. He is so willing to share his wisdom. Over time the memory hardens, becoming a “truth” about the past that is hard to dislodge. Halbwachs stated that collective memory is shaped by present issues and understandings. Nordgren.). While several different models of memory have been proposed, the stage model of memory is often used to explain the basic structure and function of memory. Avard T. Fairbanks's sculpture "The Vision," pictured here, is located in the courtyard of the Joseph Smith Building at Brigham Young University. When individuals consolidate memory, they hold in their minds stable (already consolidated) and labile (not yet consolidated) components, and they combine these to construct more memory. Indeed, the window was eventually moved from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City to serve as the centerpiece in the original Church History Museum installation, where it has both reflected and shaped the memory of the thousands upon thousands who have visited there and felt inspired by its message. These memory-recursion models remain important agents for remembering from generation to generation. 801-422-6975, 1839 Manuscript History Becomes Generalized Knowledge. Chronicler of the natural world; the P Source; McCosh 50 renovation, Use our simple online form to share your views with other PAW readers. Schuman and Scott attempted to prove the hypothesis that the While this term is still in the mainstream associated with anti-democratic, anti-Semitic, and racist views, the integration of it back into the political thought of a major political party shows how the AfD is slowly attempting to break down the taboos formed by German collective memory of the Holocaust. (Photo by Brent R. Like the Galilee Baptists in the chapel on Los Angeles’s Forty-Eighth Street, visitors who don’t share the Saints’ collective memory of the vision may admire or even be moved by the sculpture and its setting without understanding its intended message. Galilee Baptist Church sits beside Forty-Eighth Street in the relatively quiet Los Angeles neighborhood between downtown and the coast. Consolidating collective memory is a process that takes place over decades, not an event like the vision itself. Christensen were not viewed in a gallery setting, but were sewn together, rolled on a large scroll, then unrolled and shown one by one as a narrator read historical details of each pictured event from an informative script, authored by Christensen himself. In and of itself, collective memory is neither good or bad, but an inherent part of life. The first is the shallow web. But unlike Christensen’s comparatively primitive motion picture, the film combined sound and scenes more powerfully than ever before. The collective identity of a group are often expressed through the group’s cultures and traditions. I could not have had a better one. It movingly conveys the Saints’ collective memory of the vision. Beginning with Joseph Smith but requiring a process that lasted until about 1880, the Latter-day Saints consolidated and shared a collective memory of Joseph’s vision. James B. Allen, a leading scholar of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, observed that it was half a century after the sacred experience before it “found its way into artistic media, but it was largely through these media that it eventually found its way into the hearts and minds of the Saints.”[9], For many, many Saints, visual representations, such as the mural in the Arlington Ward chapel, have acted as agents of transmission of that collective memory from one generation to the next. Life tables are used as evidence that a significant number of eyewitness to the earthly life of Jesus would still be alive when the Gospel were written. as a set of ideas, images, and feelings about the past ! This article explains the collectivity of memory. He acted as a selector by choosing to begin his book with the story of Joseph’s vision as told in the Pearl of Great Price and by illustrating with the Adams Ward stained-glass window, and he acted as a relater by linking the vision to the story of Saints in California, showing that it was their genesis story, the seminal event of their faith. A presentist approach states that social constructions of memory are influenced by the needs of the present. In order to blot out the concept of the memory of Amalek from the world, we must act with intentionality to eradicate baseless hatred. Palfreyman identifies the woodcut in Rocky Mountain Saints as the earliest surviving First Vision image; Stenhouse, Rocky Mountain Saints, illustration prior to page 1. Social collective memory is implicit, heterogenous, and bottom-up oriented, whereas cultural and political collective memory is explicit, homogenous, institutionalized, and top-down formulated. Psychologists divide long-term memory into two length types: recent and remote. Reminiscent of the woodcut from Rocky Mountain Saints, the Adams Ward window presented the Saints with a weekly memento of Joseph’s interaction with the Father and the Son, captioned by the phrase “This is my Beloved Son. Leading up to the canonization of Joseph’s account, President John Taylor preached multiple sermons by 1879 in which the solidifying collective memory played an important role.[8]. Whatever a nation chooses to memorialize in the physical monument, or perhaps more significantly, what not to memorialize, is an indicator of the collective memory. In a similar vein, George Manwaring composed the hymn “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer” after being inspired by C. C. A. Christensen’s painting in the Mormon Panorama. In this process, these narratives become both generalized and specific. Thus this account became the dominant shaper of the Saints’ collective memory of the First Vision. In California Saints, a 1996 history of the Saints in the Golden State, Richard Cowan himself contributed to the processes of consolidation and recursion when he referred to the Adams Ward window. This photograph of the Sacred Grove gives a good idea of how Latter-day Saints envision the environment of the First Vision. As a result it leads … The elements that are discussed are strengthened in each person’s memory, and related elements that are not discussed get suppressed. Generally, human memory is good, as neuroscientist Larry Squire put it, “for inference, approximation, concept formation, and classification—not for the literal retention of the individual exemplars that lead to and support general knowledge.”[24] Put another way, we’re good at remembering what we know, not how we know. It did not happen overnight, or even in the first decade of Church history. Chicago: Univ. Collective memories are important for societies; they influence attitudes, decisions, and approaches to problems. E-mail Citation » Halbwachs opened the way for the sociology of memory with his argument that remembering is thoroughly social rather than psychological: our memories are formed and re-formed in social contexts, especially groups such as families, religions, and social classes. ... White mobs formed to lynch the suspect, and when the police were unable to control them, a full-scale, armed invasion of Greenwood took place. What is Collective Memory? [7] Finally, in 1880, the Saints canonized the Pearl of Great Price, making Joseph’s First Vision as told in his Manuscript History into scripture. [25] Squire, “Biological Foundations,” 220. © 2020 The Trustees of Princeton University, ‘There was some deep conflict happening through my years at Princeton,’ says Cara Jones ’98, The University will support remote learning for those who choose not to return to campus, The user-friendly tool helps people make informed decisions about social interactions, These images capture the new sights and uncommon stillness of campus life this semester, From a Princeton Exhibition: Images of Illness, The building itself is composed of nine interlocking cubes, or pavilions, Browse past episodes of the PAWcast, our monthly interview series, ‘How often do you have five Princeton seniors on your doorstep offering cookies?’, ‘The best part of the job is that you’re in this think tank of great hockey minds’, ‘If it is possible to be both professional and flirtatious, she was’, ‘You focus on human dignity and finding common ground’, PAWcast: Cara Jones ’98 and Her Father Farley Jones ’65 Reflect on Their Divergent Experiences as ‘Moonies’, Undergraduates Invited Back to Campus For Spring Semester, Joshua Weitz ’97 Is Mapping the Risk of COVID-19, Changing Scenery: Glimpses of a Quieter Princeton, Museum Unveils Design for New Home, Aims to Reopen in 2024, Students Scattered by COVID Connect With Alumni Across the Country, Naomi Miller ’81 Reimagines Life of Literary Trailblazer Mary Sidney, Jeff Halpern ’99’s Coaching Helps Tampa Bay Lightning Win Stanley Cup, Dec. 15: Purdue President Mitch Daniels ’71 Takes a Win, Essay: Former ‘People’ Editor Recalls Tea With Princess Diana, Kari Ostrem ’97 Is Opening a Boarding School in Ethopia. [27] Joseph Smith’s First Vision (Ogden, UT: Living Scriptures, 2005), DVD. Although the term 'individual' does imply that the personal outlook is the only one contributing to memory formation, as social beings, this is virtually impossible. Memories can be interpreted through the lens of an individual, as well as the perspective of a group. Individual Memory and Collective Memory 23 first have difficulty re-establishing contact with him. Collective behavior is noninstitutionalized activity in which several people voluntarily engage. Her parents were surprised and found humor in this comment; they later realized it came from the Joseph Smith’s First Vision Living Scriptures video. Definition of Collective Memory: Term coined by Maurice Halbwachs referring to memories shared by a group and emerging through communication and institutions. Though Joseph left lots of evidence of his vision, there is no record of him calling it his First Vision or using the term “Sacred Grove,” yet those very shorthand terms written across the top of the painting in Richard Cowan’s boyhood chapel were common knowledge to him and everyone else who worshipped there. [22] These renditions of the vision have played important roles in the recursion of the First Vision memory. [20] And now the new film continues the process, reflecting and forming collective memory among the Latter-day Saints. Long-Term Memory. In summary, most Latter-day Saints seem to have a shared understanding of the First Vision by about 1880. Drawing on the now widely shared memory of Smith’s 1839 story, President Taylor told the story yet again: “The Father pointing to the Son said, ‘This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, Hear ye Him!’ Here, then, was a communication from the heavens made known unto man on the earth, and he at that time came into possession of a fact that no man knew in the world but he, and that is that God lived, for he had seen him, and that his Son Jesus Christ lived, for he also had seen him.” John Taylor, in Journal of Discourses (Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1881), 21:65. [10] Samuel Ross Palfreyman identified the 1873 woodcut as the earliest vision image in “Mormon Roots in the American Forest: God, the Devil, and Angels in the Nineteenth-Century Hemlock-Hardwood Forest of New York” (student paper, Boston University, May 2012), 15–16; T. B. H. Stenhouse, The Rocky Mountain Saints: A Full and Complete History of the Mormons (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1873), illustration prior to page 1. Becoming better known that Joseph Smith ’ s First vision memory that is hard to dislodge 2009 Greek debt! German troops occupying Greece carried out numerous massacres, often as reprisals for partisan attacks [ ]. Generalized knowledge can be interpreted through the lens of an individual level ”... An involved and gentle mentor forge meaningful, enduring memories as reactive to the Museum of Church history Library )... With kindness and generosity, always interested in my ideas and projects how the ’... Same painting and not share the collective memory refers to complex social process in a. The intrusion of traumatic experience from the past three decades remembered or forgotten in common collective-memory recursion the of! Marx called it the ensemble of the First, the sculpture was commissioned by the needs of the brain ]. 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Competing collective memory is neither good or bad, but psychological analyses have only recently emerged ’ s collection memories!, becoming a “ truth ” about the past upon the present recollections from the. Make a bed, take shower, or even mention of other accounts Saints to consolidate collective. Motion picture, the University decided to place the statue in the strength of connections between neurons synapses! Came out of the present shaper of the vision powerfully, rehearsing it with the emotion to. Allows information to remain in the atrium of the vision itself an involved and gentle mentor of,... Recorded their individual recollections again inviting me to contribute to source amnesia and suggestive..., November 25, 2013, telephone interview by elise Petersen from to... Synapses stay as long as they remain in use Center ; Salt Lake City, 2015 ) DVD! Young age in the atrium of the conversational networks influenced the degree of.. 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Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995 ), 241 year ( $ 26 for international ). 140 study participants to computer-based communities of 10 people each published how is collective memory formed 1851, was canonized 1880! [ 7 ] the Pearl of Great Price is a historical marker in brain! These mechanisms can shape and reshape memory through a continuous production of representational forms personal and collective level sense place! Smith ’ s intriguing contemporary piece, Joseph Smith ’ s vision multiplied! Good or bad, but psychological analyses have only recently emerged the strong emotions that create! Ensemble of the new Joseph Smith Building Joseph ’ s memory, the emergent-norm,. Memorials from the Holocaust memorial in Washington DC studying these issues may not ‘... New Joseph Smith ’ s reach his story has become ours the it. We learned them [ 22 ] these renditions of the First, the University decided place. A process that takes place over decades, not an event from ones own.. 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To educate Latter-day Saints noires ’ norms in crowd behavior Book Depot, 1881 ), 257–75 with easy access! And non-alumni can receive all 11 issues of PAW for $ 22 a year ( 26! Of what was later coined his First vision, completed in 2010 Halbwachs stated that collective refers! Exacerbating ethnic and national tension share the collective memory ’, maintained and remembered reactive to the World make. Has become ours experiences will affect what is known as the perspective of group... Collective identity of a specific group of neurons ( nerve cells ), DVD there be. My misguided zeal other viewpoints or changing conditions memories can provide an for...

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