Published in the Journal of Burma Studies

In 1853 British generals thought they had rid the world of all written evidence of dissent against their colonial objectives in Burma (Myanmar).
They didn’t know about a Mormon missionary in town (Rangoon) with a rogue tendency to write about anything but his religious mission…
[Update 6/4/17: In the context of the recent terror attacks in the U.K., I want to be clear that this article is not an anti-British piece. Turns out British soldiers themselves dissented. Burmese fought bravely against their aggressors. This article nuances and humanizes the war.]

This is the first major publish on my journey to publishing a full book about Elam Luddington’s unique observations, and at least at one point, major participation in, Asian colonial history during his Mormon mission. This article is the accumulation of 4 1/2 years of research. 

A special thanks to Joseph StuartAmanda Hendrix-Komoto, and Saskia Tielens for helping me revise early editions of this article. Thank you to Tosawan Malabuppha for traveling to Myanmar (Burma) to research there. Thanks to my mom Helen Horton for helping me find creative ways of paying for the research trips. Thank you to Brigham Bastian for helping me revise my very first draft which I presented at the Mormon History Conference several years ago. (Gosh, when was that, exactly? Three years ago, I think. 2014)

This link will allow you to read an excerpt. If you’re interested in reading the whole article, you can access it through an academic institution or, I believe, a library with a Project Muse account.


A new source reveals Burmese bravery at the Shwedagon pagoda following the hostilities of the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1853. Once buried in the Mormon archives in Salt Lake City a brief journal describing events in and around the Shwedagon Pagoda of that period has surfaced. The journal, written by a man situated in the Shwedagon Pagoda, strengthens postcolonial scholarship focusing on counter narratives to colonial conquest and dominance not easily found in primary sources to date. Destruction or suppression of primary sources served a strategic agenda as another type of bayonet for colonial conquest. Through this new eye witness, we can now glimpse amidst desecration and hostilities into Burmese rebellion against their aggressors.