JOSEPH SMITH/EMMA HALE SMITH

    In American Crucifixion, Alex Beam tells how Smith went from charismatic leader to public enemy: How his most seismic revelation—the doctrine of polygamy—created a rift among his people; how that schism turned to violence; and how, ultimately, Smith could not escape the consequences of his ambition and pride.

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    One of four major biographies of Joseph Smith, Donna Hill’s award-winning book is the most comprehensive. Hill cautiously rejects the simplistic reductionism of either/or characterizations in favor of a broader, more humanistic view that takes Smith on his own terms as both prophet and as man.

    Foremost among Hill’s concerns is the spiritual drama that defined Smith’s controversial life, as well as his theologically motivated sexuality and the apocalyptic assumptions that fueled his political and military activism. Her intent is not to validate Smith’s actions, only to understand them. Equal attention is given to the environmental influences that shaped Smith’s 1830’s New York upbringing. Add th these Hill’s impeccable scholarship, the result of nine years of research, and her talents as a novelist, and the significance of her achievement is apparent. Her quest for authenticity provides a vivid portrait of an extraordinary life.

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    Founder of the largest indigenous Christian church in American history, Joseph Smith published the 584-page Book of Mormon when he was twenty-three and went on to organize a church, found cities, and attract thousands of followers before his violent death at age thirty-eight. Richard Bushman, an esteemed cultural historian and a practicing Mormon, moves beyond the popular stereotype of Smith as a colorful fraud to explore his personality, his relationships with others, and how he received revelations. An arresting narrative of the birth of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling also brilliantly evaluates the prophet’s bold contributions to Christian theology and his cultural place in the modern world.

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    Rarely does a biographer capture the sense of being in a different time and mindset to the extent that readers feel they are reliving events through the eyes of the biographer’s subject. This is the skill of Dan Vogel—after twenty-five years of researching Joseph Smith’s life and publishing on such related issues as Seekerism, the Book of Mormon, views of Smith’s contemporaries about Indian origins, and the existing documents pertaining to Smith family experiences.

    Vogel weaves together strands of evidence into a complete fabric including, among other aspects of Smith’s environment, the content of his daily dictation of scriputre and revelation—all contributing to a nearly complete view of what occurred on any given day in Smith’s lfie. The result is as much intellectual history as traditional biography. Readers will feel engaged in the dramatic, formative events in the prophet’s life against a backdrop of theology, local and national politics, Smith family dynamics, organizational issues, and interpersonal relations. One can form a mental picture, and many will find themselves carrying on an internal dialogue about the issues raised.

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    Joseph Smith (1805-1844), was the founding prophet of Mormonism. Smith claimed revelations and established his church in Manchester, Ontario County, New York (USA). Most of the early revelations were written for his followers. To understand Mormonism it is necessary to know something about its founder. His stories and revelations are the bases of this movement. From Smith comes the religious authority for all fragments of the Latter-day Saint movement. More importantly some of his commandments were revised and expanded. The emendations included reinterpretation of economic matters, adding offices that existed at the time of revision, and inserting references to priesthood restoration. Comparison with the second printing is included in the volume. Joseph Smith’s 1828-1843 Revelations contains public and private revelatory documents from handwritten manuscripts, including the newly released Book of Commandments and Revelations. The Canadian copyright revelation, long rumored to be in existence, receives special attention. Two revelations on plural marriage are in the book. Joseph Smith made changes to his revelations and his early story. This book shows the transformation over time of church doctrine.

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      Emma Smith did not document her life in a diary or journal. This book is a biographical reconstruction of Emma Smith’s life from documents and evidence other than the few letters and one page of blessings she left behind.

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      The first paperback edition of the classic biography of the founder of the Mormon church, this book attempts to answer the questions that continue to surround Joseph Smith. Was he a genuine prophet, or a gifted fabulist who became enthralled by the products of his imagination and ended up being martyred for them?

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      The problem of understanding who Joseph Smith was, what his personality was like, is not so hopeless, but nevertheless real. For while the Mormon prophet produced a sizable collection of papers, the question remains as to how clearly they reflect his own thoughts and personality. The answer lies in the documents themselves and becomes particularly clear when we note that the sources are not the past but only the raw materials whence we form our conception of the past, and in using them we inherit the limitations that produced them—the lack of personal writing, the wide use of clerks taking dictation or even being assigned to write for him, and the editorial reworking of reports of what he did and said. For example, Howard Coray, employed with E. D. Woolley in 1840 to work on the Prophet’s History, relates that Joseph furnished all the material and that “our business, was not only to combine, and arrange in chronological order, but to spread out or amplify not a little, in as good historical style as may be.”

      When Joseph Smith began his record-keeping career in the early 1830s, he tenaciously sought to preserve records of personal and public value and to hand down to posterity an accurate picture of his life and the work in which he was engaged. The history he produced is of monumental importance. But limitations inherent in record keeping and history writing have had a screening effect upon our understanding of the Prophet. The very sources that inform also tend to obscure.

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      Unraveling the complexities of Joseph Smith’s character and motives is difficult, but before the puzzle can be solved, all the pieces must be gathered and correctly interpreted. Parts of the picture are still missing only because they have been overlooked, ignored, or mishandled—pieces which reveal previously hidden features of Smith’s complex, conflicted, and gifted personality.
      Some of the contributors to this anthology look at the religious side of the prophet and explore his inner, spiritual world. Others look at secular issues. Some view the relevance of his activity as a treasure seer since this is one part of the puzzle that has not been fully investigated by Mormons generally.

      In pursuing the prophet puzzle, contributors seek to understand Joseph Smith, not to judge him, knowing that he is an enigma for believer and skeptic alike. As non-Mormon historian Jan Shipps, a contributor to this collection, observes, “The mystery of Mormonism cannot be solved until we solve the mystery of Joseph Smith.”

      Contributors include Thomas G. Alexander, Robert D. Anderson, Gary James Bergera, Newell G. Bringhurst, Richard L. Bushman, Eugene England, Lawrence Foster, Ronald V. Huggins, Lance S. Owens, Karl C. Sandberg, Jan Shipps, Joseph Smith, Susan Staker, Alan Taylor, Richard S. Van Wagoner, Dan Vogel, and Steven C. Walker.

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      This book contains a full collection of Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo discourses in the mature and climatic years of his life – many have never been published.

      They are reproduced in this book in exact fidelity to their original written sources in diaries and journals, including spelling and grammatical deviations.

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      BOOK OF MORMON/BOOK OF ABRAHAM

        A fine line divides scripture from non-scripture, writes Robert M. Price in American Apocrypha. There are books that are not in the Bible that are as powerful and authoritative as anything in the canon. At the same time, much of the Bible was written centures after the events it narrates by scribes using fictitious names. Clearly, the hallmark of scripture is not historical accuracy but rather its spiritual impact on individuals; exclusion from the canon is not reason to dismiss a book as heretical.

        Consider the Book of Mormon, first published in 1830. The nature of this volume—in particular its claim to antiquity—is the theme of nine ground-breaking essays in American Apocrypha. Thomas W. Murphy discusses the Book of Mormon’s view that American Indians are descendants of ancient Hebrews. In recent DNA tests, Native Americans have proven to be of Siberian ancestry and not of ancient Jewish or Middle Eastern descent. Nor is the Book of Mormon a traditional translation from an ancient document, writes David P. Wright, as indicated by the underlying Hebrew in the book’s Isaiah passages. Other contributors to American Apocrypha explore the evolution of ideas in the Book of Mormon during the course of its dictation.

        Editors Dan Vogel and Brent Metcalfe have chosen essays by authors who represent a wide range of disciplines and perspectives: Robert Price edits the Journal of Higher Criticism; Thomas Murphy chairs the anthropology department at Edmonds Community College; David Wright teaches Hebrew Bible at Brandeis University. They are joined by Scott C. Dunn; Edwin Firmage, Jr.; George D. Smith; and Susan Staker—all of whom explore what can be reasonably asserted about the Book of Mormon as scripture.

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        First published in 1830, the Book of Mormon is the authoritative scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its estimated 13 million members. Over the past twenty-one years, editor Royal Skousen has pored over Joseph Smith’s original manuscripts and identified more than 2,000 textual errors in the 1830 edition. Although most of these discrepancies stem from inadvertent errors in copying and typesetting the text, the Yale edition contains about 600 corrections that have never appeared in any standard edition of the Book of Mormon, and about 250 of them affect the text’s meaning. Skousen’s corrected text is a work of remarkable dedication and will be a landmark in American religious scholarship.

        Completely redesigned and typeset by nationally award-winning typographer Jonathan Saltzman, this new edition has been reformatted in sense-lines, making the text much more logical and pleasurable to read. Featuring a lucid introduction by historian Grant Hardy, the Yale edition serves not only as the most accurate version of the Book of Mormon ever published but also as an illuminating entryway into a vital religious tradition.

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        A survey of the controversy surrounding Mormon founder Joseph Smith’s claim that he translated the Book of Abraham from an ancient Egyptian papyrus.

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        With over 100 million copies in print, the Book of Mormon has spawned a vast religious movement, but it remains little discussed outside Mormon circles. Now Terry L. Givens offers a full-length treatment of this influential work, illuminating the varied meanings and tempestuous impact of this uniquely American scripture.

        Givens examines the text’s role as a divine testament of the Last Days and as a sacred sign of Joseph Smith’s status as a modern-day prophet. He assesses its claim to be a history of the pre-Columbian peopling of the Western Hemisphere, and later explores how the Book has been defined as a cultural product–the imaginative ravings of a rustic religion-maker. Givens further investigates its status as a new American Bible or Fifth Gospel, one that displaces, supports, or, in some views, perverts the canonical Word of God. Finally, Givens highlights the Book’s role as the engine behind what may become the next world religion.

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        The Book of Mormon was presented to the world as the translation of an ancient text engraved on golden plates more than 180 years ago. However, the faithful assurance that it is a translation has not had an accompanying understanding of how that translation took place. How could the ill-educated Joseph Smith translate the ancient text on the golden plates into the English Book of Mormon upon which so many base not only their faith, but a willingness to completely change their lives?

        The Gift and Power: Translating the Book of Mormon examines the various issues surrounding that translation. How does the fact of the translation fit into a magical worldview in which Joseph had a place as a village seer? What might that context mean for our understanding of the text?

        This work explores the kind of translation the Book of Mormon represents. Did Joseph Smith or the marvelous instruments do the actual work of translation? Is it a tight or loose translation? How closely tied is the English text to the source text from which it was translated? What about Hebraisms in the text? What about the lengthy passages of King James English in it?

        The volume concludes with the most puzzling and persistent questions: How did the seer stones work? Why didn’t Joseph retranslate the Book of Lehi? How did revival language make its appearance in the book? Why couldn’t Oliver Cowdery translate? Brant Gardner offers answers to these questions. The result is a faithful description of how God used a human prophet to translate a transcendentally important scriptural text.

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        Gregkofford.com

        This book marks the publication of the first, full translation of the so-called Joseph Smith Egyptian papyri translated into English. These papyri comprise “The Breathing Permit of Hor,” “The Book of the Dead of Ta-Sherit-Min,” “The Book of the Dead Chapter 125 of Nefer-ir-nebu,” “The Book of the Dead of Amenhotep,” and “The Hypocephalus of Sheshonq,” as well as some loose fragments and patches. The papyri were acquired by members of the LDS Church in the 1830s in Kirtland, Ohio, and rediscovered in the mid-1960s in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. They served as the basis for Joseph Smith’s “Book of Abraham,” published in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1842 and later canonized.

        As Robert K. Ritner, Professor of Egyptology at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, explains: “The translation and publication of the Smith papyri must be accessible not merely to Egyptologists but to non-specialists within and outside of the LDS religious community for whom the Book of Abraham was produced.” Dr. Ritner provides not only his own original translations but gives variant translations by other researchers to demonstrate better the “evolving process” of decipherment. He also includes specialized transliterations and his own informed commentary on the accuracy of past readings. “These assessments,” he notes, “are neither equivocal nor muted.” At the same time, they do not have a “partisan basis originating in any religious camp.”

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        Joseph Smith and his associates created two manuscripts of the Book of Mormon. The original manuscript was created while the text of the Book of Mormon was actually being dictated. Only roughly thirty percent of this original manuscript survives as a result of extensive water damage. The printer’s manuscript, which is almost entirely complete, is a copy of the original that was created to facilitate the publication of the first edition of the Book of Mormon. This volume is a facsimile edition of the printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon. The manuscript is presented here with full-color photographs of each page and color-coded transcripts that show which revisions were made by which scribe. This book gives readers unprecedented access to this early text of the Book of Mormon.

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          For the past 175 years, the Latter-day Saint Church has taught that Native Americans and Polynesians are descended from ancient seafaring Israelites. Recent DNA research confirms what anthropologists have been saying for nearly as many years, that Native Americans are originally from Siberia and Polynesians from Southeast Asia. In the current volume, molecular biologist Simon Southerton explains the theology and the science and how the former is being reshaped by the latter.
          In the Book of Mormon, the Jewish prophet Lehi says the following after arriving by boat in America in 600 BCE:

          Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves (2 Ne. 1:9).

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          When the Book of Mormon first appeared for sale in early 1830, questions surfaced regarding its claim to be an ancient history of the Americas. New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology outlines the broad contours of contemporary scholarship which continue to examine issues of antiquity. Drawing from a variety of disciplines, contributors discuss historicity from the standpoint of physical and cultural anthropology, geography, linguistics, demographics, literary forms, liturgical context, theology, and evolution of the original manuscript to published work.

          The message of the Book of Mormon is one of socio-economic equality and divine intervention. That message can sometimes be obscured by polemical use of the book as a prooftext for elitist and institutional agendas over personal religious experience. The Book of Mormon has become an icon that is revered more than understood, according to the contributors. Attempts to make the book relevant often gloss over context. Returning to a nineteenth-century understanding of the text restores the book’s spiritual rather than symbolic importance.

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          A controversial account of Thomas Stuart Ferguson’s efforts to confirm the archaeology of the Book of Mormon and his final rejection of the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

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          Available for the first time fifty years after the author’s death, Studies of the Book of Mormon presents this respected church leader’s investigation into Mormonism’s founding scripture. Reflecting his talent for combining history and theology, B. H. Roberts considered the evident parallels between the Book of Mormon and Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews, a book that predated the Mormon scripture by seven years. If the Book of Mormon is not historical, but rather a reflection of the misconceptions current in Joseph Smith’s day regarding Indian origins, then its theological claims are suspect as well, Roberts asserted.

          In this and other research, it was Roberts’s proclivity to go wherever the evidence took him, in this case anticipating and defending against potential future problems. Yet the manuscript was so poorly received by fellow church leaders that it was left to Roberts alone to decide whether he had overlooked some important piece of the puzzle or whether the Mormon scripture’s claims were, in fact, illegitimate. Clearly for most of his colleagues, institutional priorities overshadowed epistemological integrity.

          But Roberts’s pathbreaking work has been judged by the editor to be methodologically sound–still relevant today. It shows the work of a keen mind, and illustrates why Roberts was one of the most influential Mormon thinkers of his day. The manuscript is accompanied by a preface and introduction, a history of the documents’ provenances, a biographical essay, correspondence to and from Roberts relating to the manuscript, a bibliography, and an afterword–all of which put the information into perspective.

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          Traditions about the Early Life of Abraham represents the first in a series of books in the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) collection at Brigham Young University. Here the authors have assembled and translated more than 100 ancient and medieval stories from their original Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Persian, Coptic, and Egyptian sources, all in an effort to piece together the early life of Abraham. This unprecedented compilation sheds new light on the Book of Abraham as an authentic ancient text and will be a welcome resource for biblical and religious studies scholars.

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          Mark Twain once derided the Book of Mormon as “chloroform in print.” Long and complicated, written in the language of the King James version of the Bible, it boggles the minds of many. Yet it is unquestionably one of the most influential books ever written. With over 140 million copies in print, it is a central text of one of the largest and fastest-growing faiths in the world. And, Grant Hardy shows, it’s far from the coma-inducing doorstop caricatured by Twain.

          In Understanding the Book of Mormon, Hardy offers the first comprehensive analysis of the work’s narrative structure in its 180 year history. Unlike virtually all other recent world scriptures, the Book of Mormon presents itself as an integrated narrative rather than a series of doctrinal expositions, moral injunctions, or devotional hymns. Hardy takes readers through its characters, events, and ideas, as he explores the story and its messages. He identifies the book’s literary techniques, such as characterization, embedded documents, allusions, and parallel narratives. Whether Joseph Smith is regarded as author or translator, it’s noteworthy that he never speaks in his own voice; rather, he mediates nearly everything through the narrators Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni. Hardy shows how each has a distinctive voice, and all are woven into an integral whole.

          As with any scripture, the contending views of the Book of Mormon can seem irreconcilable. For believers, it is an actual historical document, transmitted from ancient America. For nonbelievers, it is the work of a nineteenth-century farmer from upstate New York. Hardy transcends this intractable conflict by offering a literary approach, one appropriate to both history and fiction. Regardless of whether readers are interested in American history, literature, comparative religion, or even salvation, he writes, the book can best be read if we examine the text on its own terms.

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          Bringing together fifteen timely and thought-provoking discussions of Mormon canon, The Word of God asks to what extent scripture is historical and infallible and what it tells us about the nature of revelation. Among the selections are the following essays:

          “The Translation of the Book of Mormon” by James Lancaster; “Early Nineteenth-Century America and the Book of Mormon” by Susan Curtis; “The Mormon Christianizing of the Old Testament” by Melodie Moench Charles; “Isaiah Updated” by George D. Smith; “The Joseph Smith Translation and Ancient Texts of the Bible” by Kevin L. Barney; “Latter Day Saint Scriptures and the Doctrine of Propositional Revelation” by Richard P. Howard; “A Reinterpretation of Inspiration, Revelation, and Scripture” by Geoffrey F. Spencer; “Beyond Literalism” by William D. Russell; “Reducing Dissonance: The Book of Abraham as a Case Study” by Edward H. Ashment; “Joseph Smith’s Scriptural Cosmology” by Dan Vogel and Brent Lee Metcalfe

          “In gathering essays for The Word of God,” explains Dan Vogel, “I have not attempted to resolve competing, even contradictory, approaches, believing instead that readers will discover for themselves the strengths and weaknesses of differing views. After all, this is the challenge of both faith and scholarship. I simply hope to leave readers with a heightened understanding of how various aspects of Mormon

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        CHURCH HISTORY/DEVELOPMENT

          “The past few decades have witnessed an increasing reaction of the Mormons against their own successful assimilation, ” Armand Mauss writes in The Angel and the Beehive, “as though trying to recover some of the cultural tension and special identity associated with their earlier ‘sect-like’ history.” This retrenchment among Mormons is the main theme of Mauss’s book, which analyzes the last forty years of Mormon history from a sociological perspective. At the official ecclesiastical level, Mauss finds, the retrenchment can be seen in the greatly increased centralization of bureaucratic control and in renewed emphases on obedience to modern prophets, on genealogy and vicarious temple work, and on traditional family life; retrenchment is also apparent in extensive formal religious indoctrination by full-time professionals and in an increased sophistication and intensity of proselytizing. At what he refers to as “the folk or grassroots level, ” Mauss finds that Mormons have generally been compliant with the retrenchment effort and are today at least as “religious” on most measures as they were in the 1960s. A sizable segment of the Mormon membership, Mauss asserts, has gone beyond “Mormon” retrenchment to express itself in a growing resort to Protestant fundamentalism, both in scriptural understanding and in intellectual style. The author calls on a wide array of sources in sociology and history to show that Mormons, who by mid-century had come a long way from their position as disreputable “outsiders” in a society dominated by the mainline religions, seem now to be adopting more conservative ways and seeking a return to a more sectarian posture.

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          The massacre at Mountain Meadows on September 11, 1857, was the single most violent attack on a wagon train in the thirty-year history of the Oregon and California trails. Yet it has been all but forgotten. Will Bagley’s Blood of the Prophets is an award-winning, riveting account of the attack on the Baker-Fancher wagon train by Mormons in the local militia and a few Paiute Indians. Based on extensive investigation of the events surrounding the murder of over 120 men, women, and children, and drawing from a wealth of primary sources, Bagley explains how the murders occurred, reveals the involvement of territorial governor Brigham Young, and explores the subsequent suppression and distortion of events related to the massacre by the Mormon Church and others.

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          Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith had both millennial and temporal aspirations for the organization he called the Council of Fifty, named after the number of men who were intended to comprise it. Organized a few months before Smith’s death in June 1844, it continued under Brigham Young as a secret shadow government until 1851. Minutes from the earliest meetings are closed to researchers but contemporary accounts speak of a deliberative body preparing for Christ’s imminent reign. It also helped to sponsor Smith’s U.S. presidential bid and oversaw the exodus to present-day Utah.

          One member downplayed the significance of this secret legislative body in 1849 as “nothing but a debating School.” On the contrary, a typical meeting included decisions regarding irrigation, fencing, and adobe housing, after which the group sang a song written by Parley P. Pratt: “Come ye sons of doubt and wonder; Indian, Moslem, Greek or Jew; … Be to all a friend and brother; Peace on Earth, good will to men.” Two weeks later, the council called for “blood to flow” to enforce its laws.

          As the nineteenth century waned and the LDS Church moved toward the American mainstream, ending its emphasis on the imminent End of Days, there was no longer a need for a Church-managed municipal group destined to become the millennial world government. The council became irrelevant but survives today as a historical artifact available in fragmented documentary pieces which are presented here for the first time.

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          In this ground-breaking book, D. Michael Quinn masterfully reconstructs an earlier age, finding ample evidence for folk magic in nineteenth-century New England, as he does in Mormon founder Joseph Smith’s upbringing. Quinn discovers that Smith’s world was inhabited by supernatural creatures whose existence could be both symbolic and real. He explains that the Smith family’s treasure digging was not unusual for the times and is vital to understanding how early Mormons interpreted developments in their history in ways that differ from modern perceptions. Quinn’s impressive research provides a much-needed background for the environment that produced Mormonism.

          This thoroughly researched examination into occult traditions surrounding Smith, his family, and other founding Mormons cannot be understated. Among the practices no longer a part of Mormonism are the use of divining rods for revelation, astrology to determine the best times to conceive children and plant crops, the study of skull contours to understand personality traits, magic formula utilized to discover lost property, and the wearing of protective talismans. Ninety-four photographs and illustrations accompany the text.

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          Mormonism’s formative years in the West have never been evaluated with the clarity and objectivity David L. Bigler brings to the story of our nation’s most unique territory and its proud and peculiar people. Forgotten Kingdom combines an insightful understanding of the theology of early Mormonism with a lifetime of research into federal and LDS church sources to forge a creative reinterpretation of this fascinating and contentious history.

          Early settlement, Indian affairs, the Reformation, handcart migration, and much more are discussed in the early chapters. Forgotten Kingdom objectively evaluates some of the most troublesome puzzles in Mormonism’s history and presents some intriguing solutions to many of its mysteries. The bitter political battle between the federal government and the Mormon church is told with special emphasis on the forgotten men and women who lived with its consequences. Meeting the standards of the most demanding scholarship, Forgotten Kingdom tells a story so odd and interesting that it both challenges and entertains. Bigler’s gentle wit seldom misses the high irony of a story that has entertained Western observers since Samuel Clemens.

          A fascinating cast of little-known Latter-day Saints, including Hannah Tapfield King, Joseph Morris, Jeter Clinton, Sylvanus Collett, George Reynolds, Lydia Spencer Clawson, and George Hill, shows both the diversity of opinion within the faith and the devotion of its people to their institutions.

          The Utah War of 1857 was a pivotal episode in Utah’s history. This event and those which led up to it are often given scant treatment in previous histories of the period. The reader will find the author’s meticulous research and clear prose enlightening on this topic and others.

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          The slaughter of a wagon train of some 120 people in southern Utah on September 11, 1857, has long been the subject of controversy and debate. Innocent Blood gathers key primary sources describing the tangled story of the Mountain Meadows massacre. This wide array of contrasting perspectives, many never before published, provide a powerful and intimate picture of this “dastardly outrage” and its cover-up. A fine addition to the Kingdom in the West Series.

          The documents David L. Bigler and Will Bagley have collected offer a clearer understanding of the victims, the perpetrators, and the reasons a frontier American theocracy sought to justify or conceal the participants’ guilt. These narratives make clear that, despite limited Southern Paiute involvement, white men planned the killing and their church’s highest leaders encouraged Mormon settlers to undertake the deed.

          This compelling documentary record presents the primary evidence that tells the story from its contradictory perspectives. The sources let readers evaluate and track the evolution of such myths as the Paiutes’ guilt, the emigrants’ provocation of their murderers, Brigham Young’s ignorance of what happened, and John D. Lee’s sole culpability. Clearly revealed is the part Utah authorities took in blocking the investigation until it became expedient to sacrifice Lee.

          Together, these narratives show how the massacre’s story has been continually distorted and then revealed over 150 years—and how the obfuscation and cover-up continue. Innocent Blood conveys the encompassing impact the atrocity had on people’s lives, then and for generations after. It is a valuable sourcebook sure to prove indispensable to future research.

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          Over the past thirty years, an enormous amount of research has been conducted into Mormon origins—Joseph Smith’s early life, the Book of Mormon, the prophet’s visions, and the restoration of priesthood authority. Longtime LDS educator Grant H. Palmer suggests that most Latter-day Saints remain unaware of the significance of these discoveries, and he gives a brief survey for anyone who has ever wanted to know more about these issues.

          He finds that much of what we take for granted as literal history has been tailored over the years—slightly modified, added to, one aspect emphasized over another—to the point that the original narratives have been nearly lost. What was experienced as a spiritual or metaphysical event, something from a different dimension, often has been refashioned as if it were a physical, objective occurrence. This is not how the first Saints interpreted these events. Historians who have looked closer at the foundational stories and source documents have restored elements, including a nineteenth-century world view, that have been misunderstood, if not forgotten.

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          Historians with the Joseph Smith Papers Project have made available for the first time ever the complete minutes created in Nauvoo, Illinois, of an organization called the Council of Fifty. Joseph Smith, founder and first president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, formed this council in March 1844. The Nauvoo-era record contains minutes of meetings held under the direction of Joseph Smith and later Brigham Young, through January 1846, immediately before the mass Mormon migration out of Illinois. The minutes have never previously been published or available to researchers.

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          The first book is a survey of the church story from 1820 to 1844. It draws on research and writing of the best scholars of Mormon history and follows the life and times of founder Joseph Smith Jr. until his death in 1844. The second book covers the Reorganization and its leaders, search for identity, and the growing of a faith movement into a viable denomination.

          Heraldhouse.org

          The official journal of the Brigham Young pioneer company is made available for the first time in this book. The arrival of Latter-day Saints in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake is one of the major events in the history of the LDS church and the West. Thomas Bullock, the author of this account, was the official journal keeper of that party of pioneers.

          Bullock was the “Clerk of the Camp of Israel,” an English scribe who is perhaps more responsible than any other person for the vast documentary record of the LDS church in the the mid-nineteenth century. Though he wrote thousands of pages ultimately released under other men’s names, he remains a relatively obscure figure in Western History.

          An intensely personal document, Bullock’s account rises above its status as the “official” journal. He shares his doubts, his complaints, his personal assessments of his fellow travelers throughout the pages of the journal. This remarkable record presents in detail the daily reality of a journey that has become an American legend.

          From Nauvoo to Salt Lake and back to the Missouri River, Bullock’s journals from September 1846 to October 1847 paint a colorful and personal picture of both the Mormon Trail and the suffering of the poverty-stricken Saints during their struggle across Iowa in 1846. They tell the legendary tale of Brigham Young’s pioneer company–the beginning of a great exodus across the Plains and Rockies to the Great Basin Kingdom.

          Life at Winter Quarters, the renowned “miracle of the Quail” at the Poor Camp on the Mississippi River, detailed accounts of buffalo hunts, dances and celebrations, and other trail events are recorded.

          Jim Bridger’s famous meeting with Brigham Young and other leaders of the pioneer party was described in detail by Bullock. Bridger’s comments on the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, the Indians, agriculture and the West in general show the breadth of knowledge of mountain men like Bridger. The interview also gives evidence of the unanswered questions still plaguing the Saints as they neared their destination.

          With maps, illustrations, bibliography and index, this work is a major contribution to the history of overland migration, the LDS church, and the wider West. The book provides insight into the impressions of a devout European immigrant of the great American West. An appendix containing biographical data on Mormon pioneers is included.

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          Line Upon Line brings together for the first time in one book some of the most thoughtful and compelling essays on Mormon doctrine and theology that have appeared in recent years.
          Among the contributors are Thomas G. Alexander, Peter C. Appleby, George Boyd, David John Buerger, Van Hale, Boyd Kirkland, Blake Ostler, Stephen L Richards, Kent E. Robson, Thaddeus E. Shoemaker, Vern Swanson, Dan Vogel, and Linda P. Wilcox.

          For anyone who has assumed that Mormon doctrine appeared whole-cloth in a single revelation, Line Upon Line is an important primer. No issue, however central to Latter-day Saint theology, is exempt from gradual development over time. This includes the nature of God, the progression of the soul, free agency, the possibility of repentance and forgiveness through a divine sacrifice, the creation of the world, evolution of the species, and the nature and origin of evil.

          In Line Upon Line, sixteen thoughtful, compelling essays offer reflective historical discussions of the development of Mormon doctrine from the statements of church leaders to the writings of LDS theologians to canonized scripture, rather than on the authors’ personal speculations. Noting the relative strengths and weaknesses of various theological or doctrinal teachings due to limited human understanding, the contributors suggest that differences of opinion can indicate the presence of genuine and sincere faith that God’s truth is nevertheless present in scriptural metaphor.

          Amazon.com

          On September 11, 1857, a band of Mormon militia, under a flag of truce, lured unarmed members of a party of emigrants from their fortified encampment and, with their Paiute allies, killed them. More than 120 men, women, and children perished in the slaughter.

          Massacre at Mountain Meadows offers the most thoroughly researched account of the massacre ever written. Drawn from documents previously not available to scholars and a careful re-reading of traditional sources, this gripping narrative offers fascinating new insight into why Mormons settlers in isolated southern Utah deceived the emigrant party with a promise of safety and then killed the adults and all but seventeen of the youngest children. The book sheds light on factors contributing to the tragic event, including the war hysteria that overcame the Mormons after President James Buchanan dispatched federal troops to Utah Territory to put down a supposed rebellion, the suspicion and conflicts that polarized the perpetrators and victims, and the reminders of attacks on Mormons in earlier settlements in Missouri and Illinois. It also analyzes the influence of Brigham Young’s rhetoric and military strategy during the infamous “Utah War” and the role of local Mormon militia leaders in enticing Paiute Indians to join in the attack. Throughout the book, the authors paint finely drawn portraits of the key players in the drama, their backgrounds, personalities, and roles in the unfolding story of misunderstanding, misinformation, indecision, and personal vendettas.

          The Mountain Meadows Massacre stands as one of the darkest events in Mormon history. Neither a whitewash nor an exposé, Massacre at Mountain Meadows provides the clearest and most accurate account of a key event in American religious history.

          Amazon.com

          The best history of the Latter-day Saints addressed to a general audience now includes a new preface, an epilogue, and a bibliographical after-word.

          Amazon.com

          The Mormon church today is led by an elite group of older men, nearly three-quarters of whom are related to current or past general church authorities. This dynastic hierarchy meets in private; neither its minutes nor the church’s finances are available for public review. Members are reassured by public relations spokesmen that all is well and that harmony prevails among these brethren.

          But by interviewing former church aides, examining hundreds of diaries, and drawing from his own past experience as an insider within the Latter-day Saint historical department, D. Michael Quinn presents a fuller view. His extensive research documents how the governing apostles, seventies, and presiding bishops are likely to be at loggerheads, as much as united. These strong-willed, independent men–like directors of a large corporation or supreme court justices–lobby among their colleagues, forge alliances, out-maneuver opponents, and broker compromises.

          There is more: clandestine political activities, investigative and punitive actions by church security forces, personal “loans” from church coffers (later written off as bad debts), and other privileged power-vested activities. Quinn considers the changing role and attitude of the leadership toward visionary experiences, the momentous events which have shaped quorum protocol and doctrine, and day-to-day bureaucratic intrigue from the time of Brigham Young to the dawn of the twenty-first century.

          The hierarchy seems at root well-intentioned and even at times aggressive in fulfilling its stated responsibility, which is to expedite the Second Coming. Where they have become convinced that God has spoken, they have set aside personal differences, offered unqualified support, and spoken with a unified voice. This potential for change, when coupled with the tempering effect of competing viewpoints, is something Quinn finds encouraging about Mormonism. But one should not assume that these men are infallible or work in anything approaching uninterrupted unanimity.

          Amazon.com

          Converts to Joseph Smith’s 1828 restoration of primitive Christianity were attracted to the non-hierarchical nature of the movement. It was precisely because there were no priests, ordinances, or dogma that people joined in such numbers. Smith intended everyone to be a prophet, and anyone who felt called was invited to minister freely without formal office.
          Not until seven years later did Mormons first learn that authority had been restored by angels or of the need for a hierarchy mirroring the Pauline model. That same year (1835) a Quorum of Twelve Apostles was organized, but their jurisdiction was limited to areas outside established stakes (dioceses). Stakes were led by a president, who oversaw spiritual development, and by a bishop, who supervised temporal needs.

          At Smith’s martyrdom in 1844, the church had five leading quorums of authority. The most obvious successor to Smith, Illinois stake president William Marks, opposed the secret rites of polygamy, anointing, endowments, and the clandestine political activity that had characterized the church in Illinois. The secret Council of Fifty had recently ordained Smith as King on Earth and sent ambassadors abroad to form alliances against the United States.

          The majority of church members knew nothing of these developments, but they followed Brigham Young, head of the Quorum of the Twelve, who spoke forcefully and moved decisively to eliminate contenders for the presidency. He continued to build on Smith’s political and doctrinal innovations and social stratification. Young’s twentieth-century legacy is a well-defined structure without the charismatic spontaneity or egalitarian chaos of the early church.

          Historian D. Michael Quinn examines the contradictions and confusion of the first two tumultuous decades of LDS history. He demonstrates how events and doctrines were silently, retroactively inserted into the published form of scriptures and records to smooth out the stormy, haphazard development. The bureaucratization of Mormonism was inevitable, but the manner in which it occurred was unpredictable and will be, for readers, fascinating.

          Amazon.com

            Early in the twentieth century, it was possible for Latter-day Saints to have lifelong associations with businesses managed by their leaders or owned and controlled by the church itself. For example, one could purchase engagement rings from Daynes Jewelry, honeymoon at the Hotel Utah, and venture off on the Union Pacific Railroad, all partially owned and run by church apostles.

            Families could buy clothes at Knight Woolen Mills. The husband might work at Big Indian Copper or Bullion-Beck, Gold Chain, or Iron King mining companies. The wife could shop at Utah Cereal Food and buy sugar supplied by Amalgamated or U and I Sugar, beef from Nevada Land and Livestock, and vegetables from the Growers Market. They might take their groceries home in parcels from Utah Bag Co. They probably read the Deseret News at home under a lamp plugged into a Utah Power and Light circuit. They could take out a loan from Zion’s Co-operative and insurance from Utah Home and Fire.

            The apostles had a long history of community involvement in financial enterprises to the benefit of the general membership and their own economic advantage. This volume is the result of the author’s years of research into LDS financial dominance from 1830 to 2010.

            Amazon.com

            For two centuries, Jesus has connected the Latter-day Saints to broader currents of Christianity, even while particular Mormon beliefs have been points of differentiation. From the author of the definitive life of Brigham Young comes a biography of the Mormon Jesus that enriches our understanding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

            Amazon.com

            With Mormonism on the verge of an unprecedented cultural and political breakthrough, an eminent scholar of American evangelicalism explores the history and reflects on the future of this native-born American faith and its connection to the life of the nation.

            In 1830, a young seer and sometime treasure hunter named Joseph Smith began organizing adherents into a new religious community that would come to be called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (and known informally as the Mormons). One of the nascent faith’s early initiates was a twenty-three-year-old Ohio farmer named Parley Pratt, the distant grandfather of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. In The Mormon People, religious historian Matthew Bowman peels back the curtain on more than 180 years of Mormon history and doctrine. He recounts the church’s origin and development, explains how Mormonism came to be one of the fastest-growing religions in the world by the turn of twenty-first-century, and ably sets the scene for a 2012 presidential election that has the potential to mark a major turning point in the way this “all-American” faith is perceived by the wider American public—and internationally.

            Mormonism started as a radical movement, with a profoundly transformative vision of American society that was rooted in a form of Christian socialism. Over the ensuing centuries, Bowman demonstrates, that vision has evolved—and with it the esteem in which Mormons have been held in the eyes of their countrymen. Admired on the one hand as hardworking paragons of family values, Mormons have also been derided as oddballs and persecuted as polygamists, heretics, and zealots clad in “magic underwear.” Even today, the place of Mormonism in public life continues to generate heated debate on both sides of the political divide. Polls show widespread unease at the prospect of a Mormon president. Yet the faith has never been more popular. Today there are about 14 million Mormons in the world, fewer than half of whom live inside the United States. It is a church with a powerful sense of its own identity and an uneasy sense of its relationship with the main line of American culture.

            Mormons will surely play an even greater role in American civic life in the years ahead. In such a time, The Mormon People comes as a vital addition to the corpus of American religious history—a frank and fair-minded demystification of a faith that remains a mystery for many.

            Amazon.com

            In the summer and fall of 1838, animosity between Mormons and their neighbors in western Missouri erupted into an armed conflict known as the Mormon War. The conflict continued until early November, when the outnumbered Mormons surrendered and agreed to leave the state.

            In this major new interpretation of those events, LeSueur argues that while a number of prejudices and fears stimulated the opposition of Missourians to their Mormon neighbors, Mormon militancy contributed greatly to the animosity between them. Prejudice and poor judgment characterized leaders on both sides of the struggle. In addition, LeSueur views the conflict as an expression of attitudes and beliefs that have fostered a vigilante tradition in the United States. The willingness of both Missourians and Mormons to adopt extralegal measures to protect and enforce community values led to the breakdown of civil control and to open warfare in northwestern Missouri.

            Amazon.com

            “A classic study of an influential American religion. . . . Provides both the specialist in religion and the general reader with a thoughtful history of this complex religion.” — Colleen McDannell, University of Utah

            “A must read for any serious student of this ‘peculiar people’ and Western history.” — Stanley B. Kimball, Journal of the West

            “Thoughtful. . . . An objective examination of the church’s changing position on political involvement, plural marriage, business relations, administrative reorganization, doctrinal redefinition, missionary work, and education.” — N. J. Bender, Choice

            “Will be required reading for all historians of Mormonism for some time to come.” — William D. Russell, Journal of American History

            “This is by far the most important book on this crucial period in LDS history.” — Jan Shipps, author of Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition

            “A work of careful and prodigious scholarship.” — Leonard J. Arrington, author of Brigham Young: American Moses

            “Clearly fills a tremendous void in the history of Mormonism.” — Klaus J. Hansen, author of Mormonism and the American Experience
            Amazon.com

            Mormonism is one of the fastest growing, most misunderstood, and most debated religions of recent times. Even the simple act of defining WHAT Mormonism is (or should be) has been filled with controversy. The author reconstructs the signal events of early Mormonism as perceived from INSIDE the faith.
            Amazon.com
            In the Fall of 1857, some 120 California-bound emigrants were killed in lonely Mountain Meadows in southern Utah; only eighteen young children were spared. The men on the ground after the bloody deed took an oath that they would never mention the event again, either in public or in private. The leaders of the Mormon church also counseled silence. The first report, soon after the massacre, described it as an Indian onslaught at which a few white men were present, only one of whom, John D. Lee, was actually named.

            With admirable scholarship, Mrs. Brooks has traced the background of conflict, analyzed the emotional climate at the time, pointed up the social and military organization in Utah, and revealed the forces which culminated in the great tragedy at Mountain Meadows. The result is a near-classic treatment which neither smears nor clears the participants as individuals. It portrays an atmosphere of war hysteria, whipped up by recitals of past persecutions and the vision of an approaching “army” coming to drive the Mormons from their homes.

            Amazon.com

            Two incidents are particularly dramatic in this volume, thanks to the careful work of clerks who took the minutes, bringing to life some key moments in LDS history. One of the most memorable meetings of the city council occurred on June 10, 1844; the minutes capture the emotions as members debate whether to detroy the opposition newspaper, the Nauvoo Expositor. The publisher of the paper, Sylvester Emmons, had been a councilman until his June 8 expulsion for having “lifted his hand against the municipality of God Almighty.” As the hawkish councilmen became increasingly agitated, they began shouting slogans, asking whether the others had the neve to do what was right and crush the newspaper. The answer was a sustained, raucous cheer.

            Yes resounded from every quarter of the room,” the clerk, Willard Richards, wrote. “Are we offering … to take away the right[s] of anyone [by] this [action] [to]day?” one of the city councilmen, William Phelps, shouted. “No!!!” was the answer “from every quarter.” Should they also tear down the barn of newspaper editor Robert Foster? Yes! they said. By the time the meeting was over, the Nauvoo police, assisted by 100 soldiers of the Nauvoo Legion, had “tumbled the press and materials into the street and set fire to them, and demolished the machinery with a sledge-hammer.

            Another gripping event occurred on September 8, 1844, when the high council gathered outdoors to accommodate large crowds for the trial of Sidney Rigdon of the First Presidency. A behind-the-scenes power struggle became evident as Brigham Young stepped forward to take control of the meeting, culminating in a request for a vote from the audience. Young asked everyone to “place themselves so that [he] could see them, so he would “know who goes for Sidney.” There followed a flurry of denunciations of various Church members who were summarily excommunicated by acclimation rather than by trial in a meeting lasting six hours.

            Amazon.com

            The New Mormon History is the banner under which many professional historians today approach Latter-day Saint historiography. Scholars who embrace this term attempt to put significant events into context rather than bracketing data that might seem challenging to traditional assumptions. These scholars are also as interested in the experience of the rank-and-file as in the lives and edicts of the leaders, and pursue questions about women, minorities, domestic life, diet, fashion, and the common church experience. They employ statistical analysis and theories and methods of the social sciences in their work.

            In this collection, D. Michael Quinn has selected fifteen essays which demonstrate the methods of this new history. Contributors include Thomas G. Alexander, James B. Allen, Leonard J. Arrington, Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, Eugene E. Campbell, Kenneth L. Cannon II, Mario S. DePillis, Robert B. Flanders, Klaus J. Hansen, William G. Hartley, Stanley S. Ivins, Dean L. May, Linda King Newell, B. H. Roberts, Jan Shipps, and Ronald W. Walker. Participants offer new ideas and give readers the opportunity to determine for themselves the relative success of these approaches by presenting examples. The collection demonstrates areas of interpretation that may be considered revisionist as well.

            Amazon.com

            Founded in 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was initially perceived as a movement of polygamous, radical zealots; now in parts of the U.S. it has become synonymous with the establishment. In reevaluating its preoccupation with issues of church and state, Abanes uncovers the political agenda at Mormonism’s core: the transformation of the world into a theocratic kingdom under Mormon authority. This illustrated edition has been revised and offers a new postscript by the author.

            Amazon.com

            The culmination of more than twenty-five years of research by one of Mormonism’s premier historians, this insightful new interpretation of the Latter-day Saint movement explains Mormon religious and political developments in terms of class struggle and a rejection of American pluralism. According to Hill, the Mormon attempt to develop a communal utopia under a theocratic government during the 1830s and early 1840s was in large measure a reaction to the diminishing role of religion in an emerging democratic, competitive, and increasingly secular world. Quest for Refuge skillfully details the religious, economic, political, social, and psychological challenges facing Joseph Smith and other early Mormons in their attempt to build a New Jerusalem in anticipation of the second coming of Jesus Christ.

            “From 1827 on,” Hill writes, “Joseph Smith had little good to say about contemporary religion, and his calling as prophet became increasingly important to him. To satisfy his own religious conscience, to escape contending denominations, to reconcile his parents’ differences on religion, to please his new bride, he had to find a church that he could accept and that would accept him. Joseph Smith at this point became a religious seeker. But he began with a much stronger sense of alienation from society than most other seekers of his day. His poverty, his much disparaged career as a money digger, his court trial, and his expulsion from the Methodist church left him outside the usual religious and social circles. He would of necessity have to pursue a course radically different from that of the ordinary seeker.”

            Amazon.com

            A revised and enlarged edition of Howards landmark book, published originally in 1969. This comprehensive guide to the Community of Christ canon of scripture includes facsimile manuscript pages from the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smiths “New Translation of the Bible” (Inspired Version). A third section of this book deals with the Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Abraham. Appendices include several Doctrine and Covenants sections removed by World Conference action and all of the Inspired Version prefaces since 1867.

            Heraldhouse.org

            Here is an open, honest, and refreshing history of the foundational years of the Latter-day Saint restoration movement including Joseph Smith’s fourteen-year ministry.

            Amazon.com

            This fascinating volume contains sixteen original essays on different expressions of the Latter Day Saint movement that have emerged since Joseph Smith organized his church in 1830. Included are groups which trace their path through Sidney Rigdon, James J. Strang, Alpheus Cutler or Granville Hedrick. Also included are historic (no longer extant) branches of the movement that were led by David Whitmer, William Smith and Amasa Lyman. Finally, Scattering of the Saints outlines the history of fundamentalist Mormonism and recent schisms within the Reorganized Latter Day Saint tradition.

            Amazon.com

            This comprehensive,one-volume history of the Church by James B. Allen and Glen M. Lenord features historical maps, documents, and more than one hundred photographs.

            Amazon.com

            The principal doctrines defining Mormonism today often bear little resemblance to those it started out with in the early 1830s. This book shows that these doctrines did not originate in a vacuum but were rather prompted and informed by the religious culture from which Mormonism arose. Early Mormons, like their early Christian and even earlier Israelite predecessors, brought with them their own varied culturally conditioned theological presuppositions (a process of convergence) and only later acquired a more distinctive theological outlook (a process of differentiation).In this first-of-its-kind comprehensive treatment of the development of Mormon theology, Charles Harrell traces the history of Latter-day Saint doctrines from the times of the Old Testament to the present. He describes how Mormonism has carried on the tradition of the biblical authors, early Christians, and later Protestants in reinterpreting scripture to accommodate new theological ideas while attempting to uphold the integrity and authority of the scriptures. In the process, he probes three questions: How did Mormon doctrines develop? What are the scriptural underpinnings of these doctrines? And what do critical scholars make of these same scriptures? In this enlightening study, Harrell systematically peels back the doctrinal accretions of time to provide a fresh new look at Mormon theology.“This Is My Doctrine” will provide those already versed in Mormonism’s theological tradition with a new and richer perspective of Mormon theology. Those unacquainted with Mormonism will gain an appreciation for how Mormon theology fits into the larger Jewish and Christian theological traditions.

            Amazon.com
            Gregkofford.com

          FAITH/DOUBT/DISSENT

            “Both wise and clever, full of fun and surprise about a topic so central to our lives that we almost never even think about it.”
            —Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

            In the tradition of The Wisdom of Crowds and Predictably Irrational comes Being Wrong, an illuminating exploration of what it means to be in error, and why homo sapiens tend to tacitly assume (or loudly insist) that they are right about most everything. Kathryn Schulz, editor of Grist magazine, argues that error is the fundamental human condition and should be celebrated as such. Guiding the reader through the history and psychology of error, from Socrates to Alan Greenspan, Being Wrong will change the way you perceive screw-ups, both of the mammoth and daily variety, forever.

            Amazon.com

            Synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist and science historian Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world. Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow. The brain, Shermer argues, is a belief engine. Using sensory data that flow in through the senses, the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning, forming beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, accelerating the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop.

            In The Believing Brain, Shermer provides countless real-world examples of how this process operates, from politics, economics, and religion to conspiracy theories, the supernatural, and the paranormal. And ultimately, he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not our beliefs match reality.

            Amazon.com

            Life here in mortality has a generous number of challenges for every one of us, and frequently we find ourselves longing for some of the peacefulness and safety of heaven. The Savior expressed not only the wish of his own heart but also that of every one of his disciples when he prayed to his Father, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Until we can be safely home in heaven, with God and with each other, surely there is nothing higher for which we could hope than that his will and way and divine influence would be fully felt here on earth.

            Such a pure and strong society will probably never be possible until Christ’s millennial reign as King of kings and Lord of lords-but that is no excuse not to try to make his “kingdom come” sooner wherever that may be possible. And although heavenly circumstances may not come broadly and generally until that second advent, there are profound ways in which they can come to us personally, to our families, and to clusters of believers who live the gospel in their hearts and homes and neighborhoods.

            Surely the key to any success in time or eternity is through obedience to the Son of God and his teachings, even as he was totally obedient to the will of his Father “in all things.” This book, a collection of some of our talks and essays, is devoted to those aspects of life near at hand in which we have the opportunity to make God’s will our will and his ways our ways. It is devoted to the ideal of making life here “on earth” as much as possible as it is “in heaven.”

            Amazon.com

            “A book that brings people together on the firm grounds of shared values, reminding us why the Dalai Lama is still one of the most important religious figures in the world.” —Huffington Post, “Best Religious Books of 2011”

            Ten years ago, in the best-selling Ethics for a New Millennium, His Holiness the Dalai Lama first proposed an approach to ethics based on universal rather than religious principles. With Beyond Relgion, he returns to the conversation at his most outspoken, elaborating and deepening his vision for the nonreligious way—a path to lead an ethical, happy, and spiritual life. Transcending the religion wars, he outlines a system of ethics for our shared world, one that makes a stirring appeal for a deep appreciation of our common humanity, offering us all a road map for improving human life on individual, community, and global levels.

            amazon.com

            Life can be sweet. Our relationships with friends, spouses, colleagues, and family members can be wonderfully rewarding. They can also bring heartache, frustration, anxiety, and anger. We all know the difference between times when we feel open, generous, and at ease with people versus times when we are guarded, defensive, and on edge.

            Why do we get trapped in negative emotions when it’s clear that life is so much fuller and richer when we are free of them?

            Bonds That Make Us Free is a ground-breaking book that suggests the remedy for our troubling emotions by addressing their root causes. You’ll learn how, in ways we scarcely suspect, we are responsible for feelings like anger, envy, and insecurity that we have blamed on others. (How many times have you said, “You’re making me mad!”)

            Even though we fear to admit this, it is good news. If we produce these emotions, it falls within our power to stop them. But we have to understand our part in them far better than we do, and that is what this remarkable book teaches.

            Because the key is seeing truthfully, the book itself is therapeutic. As you read and identify with the many true stories of people who have seen a transformation in their lives, you will find yourself reflecting with fresh honesty upon your relationships. This will bond you to others in love and respect and lift you out of the negative thoughts and feelings that have held you captive. You will feel your heart changing even as you read.

            “It would not be accurate to describe this book as supplying the truths upon which we must build our lives,” writes author C. Terry Warner. “Instead it shows how we can put ourselves in that receptive, honest, and discerning condition that will enable us, any of us, to find these truths on our own.”

            Finding these truths is the key to healing our relationships and coming to ourselves, and Bonds That Make Us Free starts us on that great journey.

            Amazon.com

            When Nicole Hardy’s eye-opening “Modern Love” column appeared in the New York Times, the response from readers was overwhelming. Hardy’s essay, which exposed the conflict between being true to herself as a woman and remaining true to her Mormon faith, struck a chord with women coast-to-coast.

            Now in her funny, intimate, and thoughtful memoir, Nicole Hardy explores how she came, at the age of thirty-five, to a crossroads regarding her faith and her identity. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Nicole had held absolute conviction in her Mormon faith during her childhood and throughout her twenties. But as she aged out of the Church’s “singles ward” and entered her thirties, she struggled to merge the life she envisioned for herself with the one the Church prescribed, wherein all women are called to be mothers and the role of homemaker is the emphatic ideal.

            Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin chronicles the extraordinary lengths Nicole went to in an attempt to reconcile her human needs with her spiritual life–flying across the country for dates with LDS men, taking up salsa dancing as a source for physical contact, even moving to Grand Cayman, where the ocean and scuba diving provided some solace. But neither secular pursuits nor LDS guidance could help Nicole prepare for the dilemma she would eventually face: a crisis of faith that caused her to question everything she’d grown up believing.

            In the tradition of the memoirs Devotion and Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin is a mesmerizing and wholly relatable account of one woman’s hard-won mission to find love, acceptance, and happiness–on her own terms.

            Amazon.com

            Faith is the first principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So what happens when a person has doubts?

            Questioning is not the problem, according to authors Terryl and Fiona Givens. “After all,” they write, “the Restoration unfolded because a young man asked questions.” The difficulty arises when questions are based on flawed assumptions or incorrect perceptions, which can “point us in the wrong direction, misdirect our attention, or constrain the answers we are capable of hearing.”

            This insightful book offers a careful, intelligent look at doubt—at some of its common sources, the challenges it presents, and the opportunities it may open up in a person’s quest for faith. Whether you struggle with your own doubts or mostly want to understand loved ones who question, you will appreciate this candid discussion. You’ll come away feeling more certain than ever of the Lord’s love for all of His children.

            Amazon.com

            In this sweeping narrative that takes us from the Stone Age to the Information Age, Robert Wright unveils an astonishing discovery: there is a hidden pattern that the great monotheistic faiths have followed as they have evolved. Through the prisms of archaeology, theology, and evolutionary psychology, Wright’s findings overturn basic assumptions about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and are sure to cause controversy. He explains why spirituality has a role today, and why science, contrary to conventional wisdom, affirms the validity of the religious quest. And this previously unrecognized evolutionary logic points not toward continued religious extremism, but future harmony.

            Nearly a decade in the making, The Evolution of God is a breathtaking re-examination of the past, and a visionary look forward.

            Amazon.com

            Believers and scientists have long wrestled over the relationship between science and faith. Acclaimed Latter-day Saint author and scientist Steven L. Peck demonstrates that both are indispensable tools we can use to navigate God’s strange and beautiful creation. Evolving Faith: Wanderings of a Mormon Biologist is a collection of technical, personal, whimsical essays about Mormon theology, evolution, human consciousness, the environment, sacred spaces, and more. With the mind of a scientist, the soul of a believer, and the heart of a wanderer, Peck provides companionship for women and men engaged in the unceasing quest for further light and knowledge.

            Amazon.com

            Faith Beyond Belief gives a much-needed voice to the “good” people who have left their church but whose spirituality continues to mature. Johnston uses first-person stories as well as known spiritual authorities in describing various stages of religious growth. Some of these real-life accounts are by nonbelievers; others are by those among the growing numbers of the “spiritual but not religious.” All are thoughtful people with too much integrity to live what they consider a lie.

            The stories of the nonbelievers-including an ex-Catholic, a former Mormon, and a clandestine Muslim apostate who left his community after the attacks of 9/11-show how complete confidence in human reason can lead away from literal religious interpretation. But, while that step is a necessary one on the spiritual path, it is only intermediate. Her second set of stories are of people at the “mystic” level who can tolerate paradox and see truth and reality as multidimensional.

            Johnston’s book will help doubters to see things in a new light as well as those who are struggling to clarify their own spiritual vision. It also points beyond the atheist/believer controversy wrecking such divisive havoc in our culture today.

            Amazon.com

            This wry memoir tackles twelve different spiritual practices in a quest to become more saintly, including fasting, fixed-hour prayer, the Jesus Prayer, gratitude, Sabbath-keeping, and generosity. Although Riess begins with great plans for success (“Really, how hard could that be?” she asks blithely at the start of her saint-making year), she finds to her growing humiliation that she is failing – not just at some of the practices, but at every single one. What emerges is a funny yet vulnerable story of the quest for spiritual perfection and the reality of spiritual failure, which turns out to be a valuable practice in and of itself.

            Amazon.org

            New York Times bestselling author and Bible expert Bart Ehrman reveals how Jesus’s divinity became dogma in the first few centuries of the early church.

            The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first.

            A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman reveals how an apocalyptic prophet from the backwaters of rural Galilee crucified for crimes against the state came to be thought of as equal with the one God Almighty, Creator of all things. But how did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? In a book that took eight years to research and write, Ehrman sketches Jesus’s transformation from a human prophet to the Son of God exalted to divine status at his resurrection. Only when some of Jesus’s followers had visions of him after his death—alive again—did anyone come to think that he, the prophet from Galilee, had become God. And what they meant by that was not at all what people mean today.

            Written for secular historians of religion and believers alike, How Jesus Became God will engage anyone interested in the historical developments that led to the affirmation at the heart of Christianity: Jesus was, and is, God.

            Amazon.com

            Latter-day Dissent is the first single volume to document the turbulent relations between the LDS (Mormon) Church and its recent intellectual dissenters, giving voice to those disciplined and charting their respective histories. The book’s core features an historical treatment of LDS disciplinary practice, and exclusive interviews with members of the September Six – six prominent academics, writers, and activists charged with “apostasy” and officially purged from the LDS Church in September of 1993. Those interviews are complimented by the stories of intellectuals who subsequently faced discipline in 1995, 2000, and 2003, as well as a conversation with Donald B. Jessee, formerly of the LDS Public Affairs Department, who responded for the Church when LDS authorities declined to comment.

            The inquiry of Dr. Philip Lindholm (Oxford) isolates the common cause of tension between LDS authorities and members of the intelligentsia, and unfolds a stimulating exchange of penetrating questions and thoughtful answers that speak to the very core of what it means to be, and not to be, a Latter-day Saint. As the Church continues to exponentially diversify, there is no matter more relevant.

            Amazon.com
            Gregkofford.com

              This book by psychologist Marlene Winell provides valuable insights into the dangers of religious indoctrination and outlines what therapists and victims can do to reclaim a healthier human spirit…. Both former believers searching for a new beginning and those just starting to subject their faith to the requirements of simple common sense, if not analytical reason, may find valuable assistance in these pages. -Steve Allen, author and entertainer

              Amazon.com

              As “Mormon royalty” within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Martha Beck was raised in a home frequented by the Church’s high elders in an existence framed by the strictest code of conduct. As an adult, she moved to the east coast, outside of her Mormon enclave for the first time in her life. When her son was born with Down syndrome, Martha and her husband left their graduate programs at Harvard to return to Utah, where they knew the supportive Mormon community would embrace them.

              But when she was hired to teach at Brigham Young University, Martha was troubled by the way the Church’s elders silenced dissidents and masked truths that contradicted its published beliefs. Most troubling of all, she was forced to face her history of sexual abuse by one of the Church’s most prominent authorities. The New York Times bestseller Leaving the Saints chronicles Martha’s decision to sever her relationship with the faith that had cradled her for so long and to confront and forgive the person who betrayed her so deeply.

              Leaving the Saints offers a rare glimpse inside one of the world’s most secretive religions while telling a profoundly moving story of personal courage, survival, and the transformative power of spirituality.

              Amazon.com

              If you’ve considered leaving your religion, you are not alone. Each year over two million adults in the United States decide to no longer identify themselves with a specific religion. In 2012, according to the annual Pew Forum American Religious Identity Survey, over 45 million (20%) of the adults in the United States no longer claimed a religious tradition. For a variety of reasons, many are discovering religion doesn’t work for them any longer. Unfortunately, for those becoming post-religious, there is very little being written by them or for them. In this book, James Mulholland – a former Christian minister and author of several best-selling religious books – offers practical advice to those struggling to make the shift from a religious to a non-religious life. Regardless of your religious background, there are common challenges in this transition. Understanding your losses, obstacles and opportunities can ease your pain and speed your development as a post-religious person. Leaving Your Religion guides those leaving a religious tradition through the process of leaving home, walking away and moving forward. When you think about your religious life or your understanding of God, if you struggle with persistent doubts, growing discomfort and feelings of sadness or anger, Leaving Your Religion may be for you. If you’re already journeying away from religion, it may be a helpful travel guide. The book provides direction for those on the cusp of leaving, those who’ve walked away and those who – though they’ve left their religion – still struggle with sadness or anger. There are questionnaires, reflection questions, exercises, quotes and advice for the journey away from religion. Leaving Your Religion offers a gentle word of encouragement and hope for those seeking to create a non-religious life.

              Amazon.com

              What if we understood faith crisis as part of a natural cycle of spiritual growth, a breaking open to make room for new life and new faith? In the new book Navigating Mormon Faith Crisis, Thomas McConkie draws on the study of adult development to provide a map for people who find themselves in faith crisis, fearing they might have taken a wrong turn in their spiritual progression. This developmental perspective helps readers understand that they haven’t necessarily drifted off course; they might have simply run up against the edge of their current map. Understanding how humans-and faith-grow and mature over time can offer tremendous stability and confidence to those who would press forward in the discovery of their own changing identity. This new framework enables the LDS community, and indeed any faith community facing similar struggles, to view faith crisis not as a symptom of apostasy, but of a deeper and fuller redemption. The reader finds that crisis may represent the awakening of a new kind of faith, one beyond mere belief, that may very well represent a new dawn in the unfolding of the world’s religious traditions.

              Amazon.com

              An important inspirational debut, Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome is much more than a memoir about reclaiming faith and overcoming chronic illness. Written with humor and personality, it tackles the universal struggle to heal what life has broken. This is a book for questioners, doubters, misfits, and seekers of all faiths; for the spiritual, the religious, and the curious.

              Reba Riley’s twenty-ninth year was a terrible time to undertake a spiritual quest. But when untreatable chronic illness forced her to her metaphorical (and physical) derriere on her birthday, Reba realized that even if she couldn’t fix her body, she might be able to heal her injured spirit. And so began a yearlong journey to recover from her whopping case of Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome by visiting thirty religions before her thirtieth birthday. During her spiritual sojourn, Reba:

              -Was interrogate by Amish grandmothers about her sex life
              -Danced the disco in a Buddhist temple
              -Went to church in virtual reality, a movie theater, a drive-in bar, and a basement
              -Fasted for thirty days without food—or wine
              -Washed her lady parts in a mosque bathroom
              -Was audited by Scientologists
              -Learned to meditate with an urban monk, sucked mud in a sweat lodge with a suburban shaman, and snuck into Yom Kippur with a fake grandpa in tow
              -Discovered she didn’t have to choose religion to choose God—or good

              For anyone who has ever longed for transformation of body, mind, or soul, but didn’t know where to start, Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome reminds us that sometimes we have to get lost to get found.

              Amazon.com

              “Responsible dissent possesses the spiritual power to awaken consciousness, raise awareness, create paradigms, alter opinions, heal wounds, and bring wholeness and holiness to our community. But it must be remembered that dissent raises the stakes. It is by nature confrontational. Even when carefully and artfully advanced, truth telling and dissent are usually not well-received. One of the recurring mistakes of my life has been my silly belief that I would somehow endear myself to others by telling them what I believe to be the truth. Jesus, however, did not say that the truth would make us well-liked. He said that ‘the truth shall make you free’ (John 8:32). What he did not say was that it would first make everybody madder than hell.”

              Paul James Toscano traces in ten eloquent speeches the odyssey of his life from conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1963 to excommunication in 1993. Included are the sermons that resulted in church action against him.

              “Authority is adored as the dominant divine characteristic” in contemporary Mormonism, Toscano alleges; “patriology blows unimpeded through the church like a cold wind, chilling compassion, hope, and faith.” He worries that “unless there is a spiritual revival of mythic dimensions, (Mormonism) is doomed to resolve itself into yet another sect full of ethical pretension and xenophobic aspiration.”

              Toscano, who considers himself a latter-day Saint-in-exile, remains confident that Christian love may yet “overflow the banks of righteousness, sweep away respectability, turn dignity into mud, lay waste the levees of our vaunted invulnerability, and contaminate us with holiness.” Mormonism, according to Toscano, will yet become an open, compassionate, and forgiving religious community dedicated to the spiritual empowerment of each individual, the celebration of diversity, and the sanctity of dissent.

              Amazon.com

              In today’s world an increasing number of Latter-day Saints are encountering anti-Mormon material. Since most members don’t have all the answers at their fingertips, LDS-critical claims can be unsettling or can create doubt. Some arguments have caused a few members– even members with strong testimonies– to lose their faith.

              Backed by extensive research and decades of experience dealing with anti-Mormon allegations, Michael Ash explores how we can be both rational thinkers and devout believers.

              This second edition of Ash’s widely popular book adds more than 50 additional pages of material that includes highlights from scholarly studies that support the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham, more discussion on the emotional and mental distress that frequently accompanies faith-based challenges, and a brand new chapter on race issues and the Church. This new edition also includes more discussion on DNA science and archaeology and how they relate to Book of Mormon studies.

              Amazon.com

              From a rare insider’s point of view, Unveiling Grace looks at how Latter-day Saints are “wooing our country” with their religion, lifestyle, and culture. It is also a gripping story of how an entire family, deeply enmeshed in Mormonism, found their way out and what they can tell others about their lives as faithful Mormons.

              Amazon.com

              For the millions of Americans who want spirituality without religion, Sam Harris’s latest New York Times bestseller is a guide to meditation as a rational practice informed by neuroscience and psychology.

              From Sam Harris, neuroscientist and author of numerous New York Times bestselling books, Waking Up is for the twenty percent of Americans who follow no religion but who suspect that important truths can be found in the experiences of such figures as Jesus, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Rumi, and the other saints and sages of history. Throughout this book, Harris argues that there is more to understanding reality than science and secular culture generally allow, and that how we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the quality of our lives.

              Waking Up is part memoir and part exploration of the scientific underpinnings of spirituality. No other book marries contemplative wisdom and modern science in this way, and no author other than Sam Harris—a scientist, philosopher, and famous skeptic—could write it.

              Amazon.com

              What do you do when your beliefs differ from your spouse, parent, child, sibling, or friend? For many Mormons, these differences can be heartbreaking. This book explores how the pursuit of truth, beauty, and goodness can save our relationships even when we disagree with those we love.

              Amazon.com

              This classic essay makes the case for the Church being as (or even more) important than the gospel for our salvation because of its role as a “school of love.” It serves us this way by forcing us to interact with and giving us opportunities to learn to love those we might otherwise never choose to associate with. The earliest version of this essay was presented at the 1985 Sunstone symposium in Salt Lake City and then later published in Sunstone 10, no. 10 (March 1986), which version is also available through this website

              Eugeneengland.org

              In this first volume of his magisterial study of the foundations of Mormon thought and practice, Terryl L. Givens offers a sweeping account of Mormon belief from its founding to the present day. Situating the relatively new movement in the context of the Christian tradition, he reveals that Mormonism continues to change and grow.

              Givens shows that despite Mormonism’s origins in a biblical culture strongly influenced by nineteenth-century Restorationist thought, which advocated a return to the Christianity of the early Church, the new movement diverges radically from the Christianity of the creeds. Mormonism proposes its own cosmology and metaphysics, in which human identity is rooted in a premortal world as eternal as God. Mormons view mortal life as an enlightening ascent rather than a catastrophic fall, and reject traditional Christian concepts of human depravity and destiny. Popular fascination with Mormonism’s social innovations, such as polygamy and communalism, and its supernatural and esoteric elements-angels, gold plates, seer stones, a New World Garden of Eden, and sacred undergarments-have long overshadowed the fact that it is the most enduring and even thriving product of the nineteenth century’s religious upheavals and innovations.

              Wrestling the Angel traces the essential contours of Mormon thought from the time of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young to the contemporary LDS church, illuminating both the seminal influence of the founding generation of Mormon thinkers and the significant developments in the church over almost 200 years. The most comprehensive account of the development of Mormon thought ever written, Wrestling the Angel will be essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the Mormon faith.

              Amazon.com

            POLYGAMY

              A stunning and sure-to-be controversial book that pieces together, through more than two dozen nineteenth-century diaries, letters, albums, minute-books, and quilts left by first-generation Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, the never-before-told story of the earliest days of the women of Mormon “plural marriage,” whose right to vote in the state of Utah was given to them by a Mormon-dominated legislature as an outgrowth of polygamy in 1870, fifty years ahead of the vote nationally ratified by Congress, and who became political actors in spite of, or because of, their marital arrangements. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, writing of this small group of Mormon women who’ve previously been seen as mere names and dates, has brilliantly reconstructed these textured, complex lives to give us a fulsome portrait of who these women were and of their “sex radicalism”–the idea that a woman should choose when and with whom to bear children.

              Amazon.com

              Beginning in the 1830s, at least thirty-three women married Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. These were passionate relationships which also had some longevity, except in cases such as that of two young sisters, one of whom was discovered by Joseph’s first wife, Emma, in a locked bedroom with the prophet. Emma remained a steadfast opponent of polygamy throughout her life.

              The majority of Smith’s wives were younger than he, and one-third were between fourteen and twenty years of age. Another third were already married, and some of the husbands served as witnesses at their own wife’s polyandrous wedding. In addition, some of the wives hinted that they bore Smith children—most notably Sylvia Sessions’s daughter Josephine—although the children carried their stepfather’s surname.

              For all of Smith’s wives, the experience of being secretly married was socially isolating, emotionally draining, and sexually frustrating. Despite the spiritual and temporal benefits, which they acknowledged, they found their faith tested to the limit of its endurance. After Smith’s death in 1844, their lives became even more “lonely and desolate.” One even joined a convent. The majority were appropriated by Smith’s successors, based on the Old Testament law of the Levirate, and had children by them, though they considered these guardianships unsatisfying. Others stayed in the Midwest and remarried, while one moved to California. But all considered their lives unhappy, except for the joy they found in their children and grandchildren.

              Amazon.com

              Few American religious figures have stirred more passion among adherents and antagonists than Joseph Smith. Born in 1805 and silenced thirty-nine years later by assassins’ bullets, he dictated more than one-hundred revelations, published books of new scripture, built a temple, organized several new cities, and became the proclaimed prophet to tens of thousands during his abbreviated life.

              Among his many novel teachings and practices, none is more controversial than plural marriage, a restoration of the Old Testament practice that he accepted as part of his divinely appointed mission. Joseph Smith taught his polygamy doctrines only in secret and dictated a revelation in July 1843 authorizing its practice (now LDS D&C 132) that was never published during his lifetime. Although rumors and exposés multiplied, it was not until 1852 that Mormons in Brigham Young’s Utah took a public stand. By then, thousands of Mormons were engaged in the practice that was seen as essential to salvation.

              Victorian America saw plural marriage as immoral and Joseph Smith as acting on libido. However, the private writings of Nauvoo participants and other polygamy insiders tell another, more complex and nuanced story. Many of these accounts have never been published. Others have been printed sporadically in unrelated publications. Drawing on every known historical account, whether by supporters or opponents, Volumes 1 and 2 take a fresh look at the chronology and development of Mormon polygamy, including the difficult conundrums of the Fannie Alger relationship, polyandry, the “angel with a sword” accounts, Emma Smith’s poignant response, and the possibility of Joseph Smith offspring by his plural wives. Among the most intriguing are the newly available Andrew Jenson papers containing not only the often-quoted statements by surviving plural wives but also Jenson’s own private research, conducted in the late nineteenth century.

              Telling the story of Joseph Smith’s polygamy from the records of those who knew him best, augmented by those who observed him from a distance, may have produced the most useful view of all.

              Amazon.com
              Gregkofford.com

              More Wives Than One offers an in-depth look at the long-term interaction between belief and the practice of polygamy, or plural marriage, among the Latter-day Saints. Focusing on the small community of Manti, Utah, Kathryn M. Daynes provides an intimate view of how Mormon doctrine and Utah laws on marriage and divorce were applied in people’s lives.

              Amazon.com

              Mormons and non-Mormons all have their views about how polygamy was practiced in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Embry has examined the participants themselves in order to understand how men and women living a nineteenth-century Victorian lifestyle adapted to polygamy. Based on records and oral histories with husbands, wives, and children who lived in Mormon polygamous households, this study explores the diverse experiences of individual families and stereotypes about polygamy.The interviews are in some cases the only sources of primary information on how plural families were organized. In addition, children from monogamous families who grew up during the same period were interviewed to form a comparison group. When carefully examined, most of the stereotypes about polygamous marriages do not hold true. In this work it becomes clear that Mormon polygamous families were not much different from Mormon monogamous families and non-Mormon families of the same era. Embry offers a new perspective on the Mormon practice of polygamy that enables readers to gain better understanding of Mormonism historically.

              About the author: Jessie L. Embry is the associate director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies and an associate research professor at Brigahm Young University. She is the author of eight books and over 100 articles on oral history, western American history, and ethnic Mormon history. She has just published a book, Mormons and Polygamy, as part of a series to answer questions about Mormonism.

              Amazon.com

                In this comprehensive survey of Mormon Polygamy, Richard Van Wagoner details, with precision and detachment, the tumultuous reaction among insiders and outsiders to plural marriage. In an honest, methodical way, he traces the origins, the peculiarities common to the midwestern and later Utah periods, and post-1890 new marriages. Drawing heavily on first-hand accounts, he outlines the theological underpinnings and the personal trauma associated with this lifestyle.
                What emerges is a portrait that neither discounts nor exaggerates the historical evidence. He presents polygamy in context, neither condemning nor defending, while relevant contemporary accounts are treated sympathetically but interpreted critically. No period of Mormon history is emphasized over another. The result is a systematic view that is unavailable in studies of isolated periods or in the repetitions of folklore that only disguise the reality of what polygamy was.

                Scattered throughout the western United States today are an estimated 30,000 fundamentalist Mormons who still live “the principle.” They, too, are a part of Joseph Smith’s legacy and are included in this study.

                Amazon.com

                When Joseph and Emma Smith arrived in Ohio in 1831, several families offered them lodging, as did the Whitneys, whose five year-old daughter, Sarah Ann, and her eleven-year-old neighbor, Mary Elizabeth Rollins, would later play a role in Mormon polygamy. The Smiths soon moved in with the Johnsons, where Joseph met fifteen-year-old Marinda Nancy. In 1836, seven-year-old Helen Mar Kimball attended school near the Smith home. Each of these girls, whom Joseph met during the 1830s, would later marry him in the 1840s gathering place of Nauvoo, Illinois, on the east bank of the Mississippi River. In this thoroughly researched and documented work, the author shows how the prophet introduced single and married women to this new form of “celestial marrige” a granted to the elect men of Nauvoo. Through their journals, letters, and affidavits, the participants tell their stories in intimate detail before polygamy was forcibly abandoned and nearly forgotten.

                Amazon.com

                The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints renounced the practice of plural marriage in 1890. In the mid- to late nineteenth century, however–the heyday of Mormon polygamy–as many as three out of every ten Mormon women became polygamous wives. Paula Kelly Harline delves deep into the diaries and autobiographies of twenty-nine such women, providing a rare window into the lives they led and revealing their views and experiences of polygamy, including their well-founded belief that their domestic contributions would help to build a foundation for generations of future Mormons.

                Polygamous wives were participants in a controversial and very public religious practice that violated most nineteenth-century social and religious rules of a monogamous America. Harline considers the questions: Were these women content with their sacrifice? Did the benefits of polygamous marriage for the Mormons outweigh the human toll it required and the embarrassment it continues to bring? Polygamous wives faced daunting challenges not only imposed by the wider society but within the home, yet those whose writings Harline explores give voice to far more than unhappiness and discontent.

                The personal writings of these women, all married to different husbands, are the heart of this remarkable book–they paint a vivid and sometimes disturbing picture of an all but vanished and still controversial way of life.
                Amazon.com

                In his famous Manifesto of 1890, Mormon church president Wilford Woodruff called for an end to the more than fifty-year practice of polygamy. Fifteen years later, two men were dramatically expelled from the Quorum of Twelve Apostles for having taken post-Manifesto plural wives and encouraged the step by others. Evidence reveals, however, that hundreds of Mormons (including several apostles) were given approval to enter such relationships after they supposedly were banned. Why would Mormon leaders endanger agreements allowing Utah to become a state and risk their church’s reputation by engaging in such activities–all the while denying the fact to the world? This book seeks to find the answer through a review of the Mormon polygamous experience from its beginnings. In the course of national debate over polygamy, Americans generally were unbending in their allegiance to monogamy. Solemn Covenant provides the most careful examination ever undertaken of Mormon theological, social, and biological defenses of the principle. Although polygamy was never a way of life for the majority of Latter-day Saints in the nineteenth century, Carmon Hardy contends that plural marriage enjoyed a more important place in the Saints’ restorationist vision than most historians have allowed. Many Mormons considered polygamy a prescription for health, an antidote for immorality, and a key to better government. Despite intense pressure from the nation to end the experiment, because of their belief in its importance and gifts, polygamy endured as an approved arrangement among church members well into the twentieth century. Hardy demonstrates how Woodruff’s Manifesto of 1890 evolved from a tactic to preservepolygamy into a revelation now used to prohibit it. Solemn Covenant examines the halting passage followed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as it transformed itself into one of America’s most vigilant champions of the monogamous way.
                Amazon.com

              RACE

                During the last half of the nineteenth century, several thousand African Americans moved to the American western frontier. Before the Civil War, some went west to California as slaves of gold miners and to Utah as slaves of Mormons. Later, free black men joined the U.S. Army and served in frontier outposts while others were hired on as cowboys on western ranches and cattle trails. Once Reconstruction ended in the South, discrimination and segregation caused more African Americans to seek better opportunities elsewhere where prejudice was less evident.

                The significant role played by African Americans in the settlement and development of the West has largely been ignored and neglected until now. African Americans on the Western Frontier remedies that historic neglect with fifteen essays that explore the contributions that African American men and women made to the western frontier-as miners, homesteaders, town builders, entrepreneurs, and as ordinary, civic-minded citizens. This rich and diverse story of the African American western experience during the frontier era is for scholars and students of western history as well as anyone interested in African American history, and is an important work for all Americans to read.

                Amazon.com

                “All Abraham’s Children” is Armand L. Mauss’s long-awaited magnum opus on the evolution of traditional Mormon beliefs and practices concerning minorities. He examines how members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have defined themselves and others in terms of racial lineages. Mauss describes a complex process of the broadening of these self-defined lineages during the last part of the twentieth century as the modern Mormon church continued its world-wide expansion through massive missionary work. Mauss contends that Mormon constructions of racial identity have not necessarily affected actual behavior negatively and that in some cases Mormons have shown greater tolerance than other groups in the American mainstream. Employing a broad intellectual historical analysis to identify shifts in LDS behavior over time, “All Abraham’s Children” is an important commentary on current models of Mormon historiography.

                Amazon.com

                The year 2003 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the lifting of the ban excluding black members from the priesthood of the Mormon church. The articles collected in Newell G. Bringhurst and Darron T. Smith’s Black and Mormon look at the mechanisms used to keep blacks from full participation, the motives behind the ban, and the kind of changes that have–and have not–taken place within the church since the revelation responsible for its end. This challenging collection is required reading for anyone concerned with the history of racism, discrimination, and the Latter-day Saints.

                Amazon.com

                You have read the title, and now you re scratching your head, wondering if this book is for real, right? It is. Yes, the authors are bona fide Mormons. And hilarious, too! They call themselves Sistas in Zion. Did we mention they have got enough faith to move mountains? Well, they have not moved any mountains just yet, but that is not stopping them from keeping right on praying and believing and knowing that the gospel of Jesus Christ is worth it. Their unique perspective on their own diary entries will have you laughing one minute and exclaiming Amen! the next. They talk about personal experiences and lessons they have learned about relationships, sisterhood, standing up for what you believe, embracing diversity, and dealing with adversity what being a Christian is all about. The Sistas humorous and poignant outlook on life will strengthen your faith and remind you of the joy to be found in living a Christ-centered life. You will soon realize that the authors are not mad-mad they are crazy-mad, funny, and inspiring!

                Amazon.com

                You have read the title, and now you re scratching your head, wondering if this book is for real, right? It is. Yes, the authors are bona fide Mormons. And hilarious, too! They call themselves Sistas in Zion. Did we mention they have got enough faith to move mountains? Well, they have not moved any mountains just yet, but that is not stopping them from keeping right on praying and believing and knowing that the gospel of Jesus Christ is worth it. Their unique perspective on their own diary entries will have you laughing one minute and exclaiming Amen! the next. They talk about personal experiences and lessons they have learned about relationships, sisterhood, standing up for what you believe, embracing diversity, and dealing with adversity what being a Christian is all about. The Sistas humorous and poignant outlook on life will strengthen your faith and remind you of the joy to be found in living a Christ-centered life. You will soon realize that the authors are not mad-mad they are crazy-mad, funny, and inspiring!

                Amazon.com

                  Winner of the 2014 Mormon History Association Best Book Award

                  This book broaches one of the most sensitive topics in the history of Mormonism: the story of the LDS community’s turbulent relationship with the black population. For the Cause of Righteousness: A Global History of Blacks and Mormonism, 1830-2013 promises to tell a story of how an American religious community could wander through the rocky landscape of American racial politics, all while hoping to hold onto its institutional integrity in the face of attacks from both within and without. Drawing on a rich array of archival documents and oral testimonies, For the Cause of Righteousness suggests that understanding race and Mormonism requires far more than watching the movements of well-dressed men on North Temple; it calls for understanding the dynamics of global Mormon communities ranging from Mowbray to Accra, from Berkeley to Rio Di Janeiro. But as any historian will say, primary sources matter. Thus, For the Cause of Righteousness offers up not only a narrative history of the global black Mormon community but also an anthology of primary source transcripts: letters, newspaper articles, and speech transcripts, all in hopes that readers might take one more step toward understanding a story that simultaneously inspires, troubles, and urges Latter-day Saints into understanding a provincial religion that has reached global proportions.

                  Amazon.com

                  The year 1978 marked a watershed year in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as it lifted a 126-year ban on ordaining black males for the priesthood. This departure from past practice focused new attention on Brigham Young’s decision to abandon Joseph Smith’s more inclusive original teachings. The Mormon Church and Blacks presents thirty official or authoritative Church statements on the status of African Americans in the Mormon Church. Matthew L. Harris and Newell G. Bringhurst comment on the individual documents, analyzing how they reflected uniquely Mormon characteristics and contextualizing each within the larger scope of the history of race and religion in the United States. Their analyses consider how lifting the ban shifted the status of African Americans within Mormonism, including the fact that African Americans, once denied access to certain temple rituals considered essential for Mormon salvation, could finally be considered full-fledged Latter-day Saints in both this world and the next. Throughout, Harris and Bringhurst offer an informed view of behind-the-scenes Church politicking before and after the ban. The result is an essential resource for experts and laymen alike on a much-misunderstood aspect of Mormon history and belief.

                  Amazon.com

                  During the turbulent 1960s and 1970s no issue so vexed the Mormon church and its members as the categorical denial of the priesthood to black males. This subservient status of blacks in Mormon life and thought became a matter of national attention and internal stress. Leaders and members who are troubled by this paradox in a religion that had suffered its share of discrimination, and was otherwise committed to Christian ethics, scrambled for their scriptures and histories to explain what had become an acutely painful reality. There were those who found justification in Old Testament passages and in the Pearl of great Price. Others, reading such Book of Mormon passages as II Nephi 26:33, found reason to believe-or hope-that the church’s position was not rooted in doctrine. Those who searched the historical record found as many questions as answers. The denial of priesthood to blacks was easily traced to the era of Brigham Young, but evidence for the proscription in Joseph Smith’s time was hardly convincing. In the ensuing years, some loyal members of the church urged leadership to reconsider the prevailing priesthood policy. At the same time, the Mormon community was the object of increasingly disdainful attacks from other sectors of the American community, as they too became more sensitive to the injustices of racial discrimination. A serious reassessment began. It was in this environment that Lester Bush, Armand Mauss, and Newell Bringhurst moved rationally to the center of the issue and sought, as scholars, to unravel the historical, theological, and sociological threads of the dilemma. Their articles, published in “Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought” from 1967 to 1981 are such an enduring interest that the editorial boards of “Dialogue” and Signature Books now deem them worthy of reprinting in this special collection, complemented by introductory and concluding chapters that are published here for the first time.

                  Amazon.com

                  Mormonism is one of the few homegrown religions in the United States, one that emerged out of the religious fervor of the early nineteenth century. Yet, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have struggled for status and recognition. In this book, W. Paul Reeve explores the ways in which nineteenth century Protestant white America made outsiders out of an inside religious group. Much of what has been written on Mormon otherness centers upon economic, cultural, doctrinal, marital, and political differences that set Mormons apart from mainstream America. Reeve instead looks at how Protestants racialized Mormons, using physical differences in order to define Mormons as non-White to help justify their expulsion from Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. He analyzes and contextualizes the rhetoric on Mormons as a race with period discussions of the Native American, African American, Oriental, Turk/Islam, and European immigrant races. He also examines how Mormon male, female, and child bodies were characterized in these racialized debates. For instance, while Mormons argued that polygamy was ordained by God, and so created angelic, celestial, and elevated offspring, their opponents suggested that the children were degenerate and deformed.

                  The Protestant white majority was convinced that Mormonism represented a racial-not merely religious-departure from the mainstream and spent considerable effort attempting to deny Mormon whiteness. Being white brought access to political, social, and economic power, all aspects of citizenship in which outsiders sought to limit or prevent Mormon participation. At least a part of those efforts came through persistent attacks on the collective Mormon body, ways in which outsiders suggested that Mormons were physically different, racially more similar to marginalized groups than they were white. Medical doctors went so far as to suggest that Mormon polygamy was spawning a new race. Mormons responded with aspirations toward whiteness. It was a back and forth struggle between what outsiders imagined and what Mormons believed. Mormons ultimately emerged triumphant, but not unscathed. Mormon leaders moved away from universalistic ideals toward segregated priesthood and temples, policies firmly in place by the early twentieth century. So successful were Mormons at claiming whiteness for themselves that by the time Mormon Mitt Romney sought the White House in 2012, he was labeled “the whitest white man to run for office in recent memory.” Ending with reflections on ongoing views of the Mormon body, this groundbreaking book brings together literatures on religion, whiteness studies, and nineteenth century racial history with the history of politics and migration.
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                  Proud, intelligent, stubborn, rebellious Mary Frances Sturlaugson was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the fifteenth child in a black family of twenty-four children. Mary’s father scraped and clawed through life, carving out a meager subsistence for his wife and children. The family was a close one, though, and Mary’s mother bound them all together with a faith and trust in God that her family often didn’t appreciate. In A Soul So Rebellious Mary portrays vividly and forthrightly her struggle to survive in a hostile environment. Surrounded by intolerance and injustice, Mary learns to lie and to hate – a hate that sustains her when there is no food to eat. Mary shares, from the depths of her soul, her conversion from her own carefully nursed prejudices to the gospel of love and her total acceptance of the Church.
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                TEMPLES

                  Over the years, the LDS Church has struggled with how best to convey information about the temple to its members. “We recommend that a definition be given in the temple of the symbolism and significance of the various marks in the garment,” a committee of apostles wrote to the First Presidency in 1936. “We are very concerned that our people [who are] going to the temple for the first time have a better introduction to the temple,” said Apostle Mark E. Petersen to regional representatives in 1969.

                  In that spirit, historian Devery S. Anderson has brought together a comprehensive collection of official documents on temple ceremonies, limited only by what would be inappropriate to discuss publicly. The documents include rulings by the First Presidency on changes to the ceremonies, letters to temple and stake presidents and bishops reminding them of temple policies, minutes of Quorum of the Twelve meetings, excerpts from sermons and Church publications, and commentary by apostles and temple presidents in diaries, letters, oral histories, and temple scrapbooks.

                  Yes, the temple ceremonies have changed since their inception in Nauvoo in the 1840s. The liturgy was originally conveyed as a memorized, oral tradition, then in 1877 the leadership committed it to writing to guarantee consistency among several temples and facilitate changes they wanted to make at that time. This was repeated in 1922 when George F. Richards and a committee of apostles was charged with reviewing and rewriting the ceremonies—again in the 1950s when the dramatic presentation was replaced with a motion picture and the script was shortened. One comes away from these documents with a better understanding of what constitutes the essence of the temple and what, by contrast, is malleable: staging, costumes, wording of the dramatic portions, and practical details such as whether marriage proxies should kiss across the altar.

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                  This awe-inspiring book is a tribute to the perseverance of the human spirit. A House for the Most High is a groundbreaking work from beginning to end with its faithful and comprehensive documentation of the Nauvoo Temple’s conception. The behind-the-scenes stories of those determined Saints involved in the great struggle to raise the sacred edifice bring a new appreciation to all readers. McBride’s painstaking research now gives us access to valuable first-hand accounts that are drawn straight from the newspaper articles, private diaries, journals, and letters of the steadfast participants.

                  The opening of this volume gives the reader an extraordinary window into the early temple-building labors of the besieged Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the development of what would become temple-related doctrines in the decade prior to the Nauvoo era, and the 1839 advent of the Saints in Illinois. The main body of this fascinating history covers the significant years, starting from 1840, when this temple was first considered, to the temple’s early destruction by a devastating natural disaster. A well-thought-out conclusion completes the epic by telling of the repurchase of the temple lot by the Church in 1937, the lot’s excavation in 1962, and the grand announcement in 1999 that the temple would indeed be rebuilt. Also included are an astonishing appendix containing rare and fascinating eyewitness descriptions of the temple and a bibliography of all major source materials. Mormons and non-Mormons alike will discover, within the pages of this book, a true sense of wonder and gratitude for a determined people whose sole desire was to build a sacred and holy temple for the worship of their God.

                  About the Author:
                  Matthew McBride is the Manager of Online Development at Deseret Book Company and was a major contributor to the GospeLink series of electronic library products. He has written for both the Ensign and the Journal of Mormon History and is an obsessive reader. He and his wife Mary are the proud parents of four children and live in American Fork, Utah.

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                  Despite the secrecy imposed upon members of the Anointed Quorum, word of the gatherings above Joseph Smith’s store soon spread. In one instance, housekeeper Maria Jane Johnston helped prepare the special ceremonial clothing for John Smith to wear at the group’s meetings. In another, Ebenezer Robinson innocently opened the upstairs door at the mercantile and was startled to see church apostle John Taylor in a long white robe and “turban,” carrying a sword. Only Nauvoo’s elite were invited to participate in these new ceremonies?never more than ninety individuals and even fewer during Joseph Smith’s lifetime?and, as the editors of the current volume write, only those who had been introduced to the prophet’s doctrine of plural marriage.

                  An unusual aspect of the Quorum of the Anointed, compared to the membership in the Nauvoo Masonic Lodge, was that women were initiated as regular members. However, the women effectively disappear after Brigham Young’s assumption of leadership in 1844, following Joseph Smith’s death, and remain virtually absent until the Nauvoo Temple is completed nearly a year and a half later. Readers will also note some of the differences in protocol between what Smith instigated and what Young eventually settled on, for instance that members could be washed and anointed repeatedly but were “endowed” only once. There were not yet proxy ordinances.

                  Among Latter-day Saints today, temple worship is a sensitive topic; but the editors of this volume do not reveal anything that would be considered invasive or indelicate. In fact, the accounts, which come almost exclusively from the early LDS leadership itself, manifest discretion about what to report.

                  Never before have these primary, authoritative sources been correlated by date for comparison and fuller understanding of the gradual development of the temple ceremonies. Readers may find an added benefit in discovering some of their own ancestors’ names included in these records; but in fact, anyone interested in LDS temple worship will find this compilation of primary documents to be invaluable.

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                    The apparent parallels between Mormon ritual and doctrine and those of Freemasonry have long been recognized. That Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other early church leaders were, at least for a time, Masons, is common knowledge. Yet while early historians of the LDS Church openly acknowledged this connection, the question of influence was later dismissed and almost became taboo among faithful church members. Just as Mormons have tried to downplay any ties to Freemasonry, Masons have sought to distance themselves from Mormonism. In Joseph’s Temples, Michael Homer reveals how deeply the currents of Freemasonry and Mormonism entwined in the early nineteenth century. He goes on to lay out the later declining course of relations between the two movements, until a détente in recent years.

                    There are indications that Freemasonry was a pervasive foundational element in Mormonism and that its rituals and origin legends influenced not just the secret ceremonies of the LDS temples but also such important matters as the organization of the Mormon priesthood, the foundation of the women’s Relief Society, the introduction and concealment of polygamy, and the church’s position on African Americans’ full membership. Freemasonry was also an important facet of Mormons’ relations with broader American society.

                    The two movements intertwined within a historical context of early American intellectual, social, and religious ferment, which influenced each of them and in varying times and situations placed them either in the current or against the flow of mainstream American culture and politics. Joseph’s Temples provides a comprehensive examination of a dynamic relationship and makes a significant contribution to the history of Mormonism, Freemasonry, and their places in American history.

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                    For the two months the Nauvoo temple was in operation (December 1845-February 1846), scribes carefully documented all activities and events taking place inside, including lectures on the endowment ceremony drama and sealing rituals. Their narratives begin with the lighting of fires and hauling of water each morning at 3:00 a.m. (many ordinance workers slept overnight in the temple) to late-night celebratory dancing (“We danced unto the Lord,” Brigham Young explained) and Sunday sermons delivered to the recently endowed.

                    Historians, biographers, and genealogists will find the names and dates of the initiates and documentation of sealings (including polygamous unions) to be of significance. Others will turn to the narrative portions of the records, including first-person accounts and minutes of meetings. For instance, as women cleaned the ceremonial robes for the next day’s endowment “companies” (or sessions), church officials would read from John C. Fremont’s published journal, anticipating their imminent exodus from Nauvoo for the Great Basin.

                    The sources extracted in this companion volume to Joseph Smith’s Quorum of the Anointed and The Development of LDS Temple Worship, include original temple ledger books and summaries of data compiled by early church scribes, including the “Book of Anointings”; “Book of Adoptions”; “Book of Proxey [sic]”; “General Record of the Seventies, Book B”; and William Clayton’s diary kept for Heber C. Kimball; as well as diary entries from Thomas Bullock, William Hyde, George Laub, Newel Knight, Franklin D. Richards, Abraham Owen Smoot, Erastus Snow, Hosea Stout, and others; and the autobiographies of Harrison Burgess, Rhoda Ann Fullmer, Joseph Holbrook, Joseph Hovey, Norton Jacob, Noah Packard, George Albert Smith, John Spiers, Nancy Ann Wilson, and others

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                    A veil of secrecy surrounds Mormon temple worship. While officially intended to preserve the sacredness of the experience, the silence leaves many Latter-day Saints mystified. What are the derivation and development of the holy endowment, and if these were known, would the experience be more meaningful? Modern parishioners lack context to interpret the arcane and syncretistic elements of the symbolism.

                    For instance, David Buerger traces the evolution of the initiatory rites, including the New Testament-like foot washings, which originated in the Ohio period of Mormon history; the more elaborate Old Testament-like washings and anointings, which began in Illinois and were performed in large bathtubs, with oil poured over the initiate’s head; and the vestigial contemporary sprinkling and dabbing, which were begun in Utah. He shows why the dramatic portions of the ceremony blend anachronistic events—an innovation foreign to the original drama.

                    Buerger addresses the abandonment of the adoption sealing, which once linked unrelated families, and the near-disappearance of the second anointing, which is the crowning ordinance of the temple. He notes other recent changes as well. Biblical models, Masonic prototypes, folk beliefs, and frontier resourcefulness all went into the creation of this highest form of Mormon Temple worship. Diary entries and other primary sources document its evolution.

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                  WOMEN

                    This collection of original documents explores the fascinating and largely unknown history of the Relief Society in the nineteenth century. The story begins with the founding of the Nauvoo Female Relief Society, and the complete and unabridged minutes of that organization are reproduced in this book for the first time in print. The large majority of the volume covers the lesser-known period after the Relief Society was reestablished in territorial Utah and began to spread to areas as remote as Hawaii and England. Not only did Relief Society women care for their families and the poor, they manufactured and sold goods, went to medical school, gave healing blessings and set apart Relief Society officers, stored grain, built assembly halls, fought for women’s suffrage, founded a hospital, defended the practice of plural marriage, and started the Primary and Young Women organizations. Prominent in the documents are the towering figures of Mormon women’s history from this period, including Emma Smith, Eliza R. Snow, Emmeline B. Wells, Zina D. H. Young, and many others.

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                    The twelve essays in this anthology provide a refreshing array of female perspectives, personalities, and circumstances. Along with an introduction by Jamie Zvirzdin, the essays invite readers to recognize and own their personal struggles, gifts, faults, and desires and to accept where they stand on the spectrum of humanity. Fresh Courage Take demonstrates that the road to heaven is not a conveyor belt powered by a checklist of religious obligations, cooked casseroles, and a collection of children. If anything, it is a complex network of interchanges and decisions … including long, often solitary paths.

                    The authors span a wide range of views and situations in life: politically conservative to progressive, single to married with many children, highly educated to working-class, stay-at-home moms to the professionally successful, of European or African heritage, religiously orthodox to heterodox. In short, they define, from their diversity, what being a Mormon woman means and what type of path they feel they must take to be true to themselves and their beliefs.

                    Authors include Carli Anderson, Rachael Decker Bailey, Erika Ball, Rachel Brown, Karen Critchfield, Ashley Mae Hoiland, Sylvia Lankford, Marcee Ludlow, Brooke Stoneman, Camille Strate Fairbanks, Colleen Whitley, and Jamie Zvirzdin.

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                    Sonia Johnson’s roots in the Mormon church went back for five generations. She’d been married for twenty years, was a dedicated homemaker and the mother of four children. Then, suddenly, her life began to come apart. Awakening feminism brought her into conflict with the church fathers who, finding her guilty of promoting false doctrine, excommunicated her. Her husband wanted a divorce, because he was, he said, “tired of working on our marriage.” Sonia Johnson was shattered. But she prevailed. Sonia Johnson is now a heroine of the Equal Rights movement. And she begins her dramatic true story with the realization “of being happier than I have ever been in my life.” FROM HOUSEWIFE TO HERETIC is much more than her account of that heartrending year. It is an insider’s view of the present-day Mormon church and its male-dominated hierarchy. It is a fascinating account of a woman’s gradual, even unwilling, progression from self-denial to activism. It is, above all, a story of loss and rebirth, despair and fulfillment–a book for millions of women trying to reconcile their belief in feminism with their belief in the family and religion.

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                    This groundbreaking collection gathers together for the first time the essential writings of the contemporary Mormon feminist movement–from its historic beginnings in the 1970s to its vibrant present, offering the best Mormon feminist thought and writing.

                    No issue in Mormonism has made more headlines than the faith’s distinctive approach to sex and gender. From its polygamous nineteenth-century past to its twentieth-century stand against the Equal Rights Amendment and its twenty-first-century fight against same-sex marriage, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has consistently positioned itself on the frontlines of battles over gender-related identities, roles, and rights. But even as the church has maintained a conservative position in public debates over sex and gender, Mormon women have developed their own brand of feminism by recovering the lost histories of female leadership and exploring the empowering potential of Mormon theology. The selections in this book-many gathered from out-of-print anthologies, magazines, and other ephemera–walk the reader through the history of Mormon feminism, from the second-wave feminism of the 1970s to contemporary debates over the ordination of women.

                    Collecting essays, speeches, poems, and prose, Mormon Feminism presents the diverse voices of Mormon women as they challenge assumptions and stereotypes, push for progress and change in the contemporary LDS Church, and band together with other feminists of faith hoping to build a better world.

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                    This new edition includes many new illustrations, an updated reading list, and an introduction by Anne Firor Scott. It is a valuable reference for anyone studying women’s pioneer history.

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                    The Claremont Women’s Oral History Project has collected hundreds of interviews with Mormon women of various ages, experiences, and levels of activity. These interviews record the experiences of these women in their homes and family life, their church life, and their work life, in their roles as homemakers, students, missionaries, career women, single women, converts, and disaffected members. Their stories feed into and illuminate the broader narrative of LDS history and belief, filling in a large gap in Mormon history that has often neglected the lived experiences of women. This project preserves and perpetuates their voices and memories, allowing them to say share what has too often been left unspoken. The silent majority speaks in these records.
                    This volume is the first to explore the riches of the collection in print. A group of young scholars and others have used the interviews to better understand what Mormonism means to these women and what women mean for Mormonism. They explore those interviews through the lenses of history, doctrine, mythology, feminist theory, personal experience, and current events to help us understand what these women have to say about their own faith and lives.

                    Gregkofford.com

                    Almost from the beginning, the women’s movement has been divided into two factions–those wanting full equality with men (Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul) and those seeking legal protections for women’s particular needs (Julia Ward Howe, Eleanor Roosevelt). Early Utah leaders such as Relief Society President Emmeline B. Wells walked hand-in-hand with Anthony and other controversial reformers. However, by the 1970s, Mormons had undergone a significant ideological turn to the mainstream, championing women’s unique roles in home and church, and joined other conservatives in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment.
                    Looking back to the nineteenth century, how committed were Latter-day Saints of their day to women’s rights? LDS President Joseph F. Smith was particularly critical of women who “glory in their enthralled condition and who caress and fondle the very chains and manacles which fetter and enslave them!” The masthead of the church’s female Relief Society periodical,

                    Woman’s Exponent, proudly proclaimed “The Rights of the Women of Zion and the Rights of Women of All Nations!” In leading the LDS sisterhood, Wells said she gleaned inspiration from The Revolution,published by Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

                    Fast-forward a century to 1972 and passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) by the United States Congress. Within a few years, the LDS Church, allied with Phyllis Schlafly, joined a coalition of the Religious Right and embarked on a campaign against ratification. This was a mostly grassroots campaign waged by thousands of men and women who believed they were engaged in a moral war and that the enemy was feminism itself.

                    Conjuring up images of unisex bathrooms, homosexuality, the dangers of women in the military, and the divine calling of stay-at-home motherhood—none of which were directly related to equal rights—the LDS campaign began in Utah at church headquarters but importantly was fought across the country in states that had not yet ratified the proposed amendment. In contrast to the enthusiastic partnership of Mormon women and suffragists of an earlier era, fourteen thousand women, the majority of them obedient, determined LDS foot soldiers responding to a call from their Relief Society leaders, attended the 1977 Utah International Women’s Year Conference in Salt Lake City. Their intent was to commandeer the proceedings if necessary to defeat the pro-ERA agenda of the National Commission on the International Women’s Year. Ironically, the conference organizers were mostly LDS women, who were nevertheless branded by their sisters as feminists.

                    In practice, the church risked much by standing up political action committees around the country and waging a seemingly all-or-nothing campaign. Its strategists, beginning with the dean of the church’s law school at BYU, feared the worst—some going so far as to suggest that the ERA might seriously compromise the church’s legal status and sovereignty of its all-male priesthood. In the wake of such horrors, a take-no-prisoners war of rhetoric and leafleteering raged across the country. In the end, the church exerted a significant, perhaps decisive, impact on the ERA’’s unexpected defeat.

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                      The inexorable movement toward gender equality in the modern world has taken root in the consciousness of many Latter-day Saints and has publicly emerged as a major concern for the LDS Church. Spearheaded by a new generation of internet-savvy feminists, equality issues in Mormonism attained high public visibility in 2013 through online profiles posted by the Ordain Women organization and its plea to Church authorities to pray about an expanded role for LDS women. The June 2014 excommunication of OW co-founder Kate Kelly generated increased international media attention. This volume is the first book to provide a comprehensive examination of these issues and is based on chapters written by both scholars and activists. Its twenty-five authors explore in detail theological debates about gender and priesthood authority, the historical and cultural context of these debates, and the current role played by lay activists seeking to stimulate change in the Church.

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                      From admired historian—and coiner of one of feminism’s most popular slogans—Laurel Thatcher Ulrich comes an exploration of what it means for women to make history.

                      In 1976, in an obscure scholarly article, Ulrich wrote, “Well behaved women seldom make history.” Today these words appear on t-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers, greeting cards, and all sorts of Web sites and blogs. Ulrich explains how that happened and what it means by looking back at women of the past who challenged the way history was written. She ranges from the fifteenth-century writer Christine de Pizan, who wrote The Book of the City of Ladies, to the twentieth century’s Virginia Woolf, author of A Room of One’s Own. Ulrich updates their attempts to reimagine female possibilities and looks at the women who didn’t try to make history but did. And she concludes by showing how the 1970s activists who created “second-wave feminism” also created a renaissance in the study of history.

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                      Mormon women today might be surprised to learn about their foremothers’ views on feminist theology and women’s issues, according to Maxine Hanks.
                      In 1842, founder Joseph Smith foresaw the LDS Women’s Relief Society as “a kingdom of Priests,” that he “would ordain them to preside over the society…just the Presidency preside over the church.” Originally, the LDS Women’s Relief Society paralleled the LDS men’s priesthood quorums. Women were “ordained” to various positions, as well as set apart to be healers “with power to rebuke diseases.”

                      In the 19th-century, Mormon theology also spoke of a Mother God, having “all power and glory” with the Father in Heaven. Mormon doctrine also hinted at the divine status of Eve, Mary, and Mary Magdalene.

                      The 19th-century Woman’s Exponent, published by the LDS Women’s Relief Society, editorialized in favor of “equal rights before the law, equal pay for equal work, equal political rights.” The magazine’s masthead read, “The Rights of the Women of Zion and the Rights of Women of All Nations.”

                      One Relief Society founder, Sarah Kimball, referred to herself as “a woman’s rights woman,” while another leader, Bathsheba Smith, was called on a Relief Society mission in 1870 to preach “woman’s rights” throughout southern Utah. According to the Woman’s Exponent, a woman’s place was not just “in the nursery” but “in the library, the laboratory, the observatory.”

                      Women were encouraged to pursue formal education and career opportunities, study medicine and involve themselves in politics. Mormon women were assured that “when men see that women can exist without them, it will perhaps take a little of the conceit out of some of them.”

                      Women who served inside LDS temples were termed “priestesses,” while LDS Women’s Relief Society president Eliza R. Snow was known as a “prophetess.” Snow discouraged women from confiding their personal issues to male bishops, saying that such matters “should be referred to the Relief Society president and her counselors.”

                      In 1875, LDS Women’s Relief Society president, Emmeline B. Wells, could say with confidence: “Let woman speak for herself; she has the right of freedom of speech. Women are too slow in moving forward, afraid of criticism, of being called unwomanly, of being thought masculine. What of it? If men are so much superior to women, the nearer we come up to the manly standard the higher we elevate ourselves.”

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                      Women at Church is a practical and faithful guide to improving the way men and women work together at church. Looking at current administrative and cultural practices, the author explains why some women struggle with the gendered divisions of labor. She then examines ample real-life examples that are currently happening in local settings around the country that expand and reimagine gendered practices. Readers will understand how to evaluate possible pain points in current practices and propose solutions that continue to uphold all mandated church policies. Readers will be equipped with the tools they need to have respectful, empathetic and productive conversations about gendered practices in Church administration and culture.

                      All proceeds from this book go to supporting the Mormon Women Project.

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                      “When I was getting ready for bed one night . . . a light dropped down on the floor before me. . . . It was the same year . . . that the Lord brought the glad news of salvation to Joseph Smith. . . . I prayed so loud that my husband was afraid [the neighbors] would all hear me.” Sarah Studevant Leavitt’s account is only one of twenty-five personal stories from Mormon women who valiantly served the Lord during the early days of the Restoration through the turn of the century. These remarkable women–many first-generation Mormons–often left behind traditions and family to anchor themselves to the Church. Through personal records, detailed letters, and thoughtful journals, come these women’s voices, shouting out strong testimonies that still ring true today.

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                    MISC

                      “Brilliant, Clever, Tragic,” “Laugh out loud funny,” “A Terrifically Insightful Work.” Described as The Office meets The Bible, the tale told here is hardly to be believed. The Question: What happens when God and Mammon are made to synergize? In answer, this book opens the doors to Mormon corporate offices, most secret of spaces, and invites you inside. At the Church Office Building (it’s actual name) spiritual ambitions speak through HR evaluations, missionary mission statements, digital converts, and scripture marketing campaigns. Hear employees chant “cultural beliefs” and test if a new DVD hits your “spiritual hot buttons.” Watch us market food storage “solutions” to religious consumers! Read about the “best practices” of the corporate side, from smuggling underwear into banana republics to Mitt Romney’s role in a billion dollar Church Mall. The author, an Ivy League trained cultural anthropologist, “works” (sometimes) as a media evaluator with the Mormon Church’s corporate arm. During long lunches he traces the ins and outs of a religion being consumed by corporate culture, and you, Dear Reader, are invited along for the insights, laughs, and revelations. A compelling, light-hearted but serious memoir, sometimes fictional ethnography, and, yes, even apocalypse, this book crosses genres, fact, fancy, and everything between. Not for the faint of heart, dumb persons, or the casual reader.

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                      Farewell to Eden is the first comprehensive reference book that examines virtually every aspect of LDS doctrine relating to the world of science. From subjects as diverse as the age of the earth, extinction, evolution, quantum mechanics, and ancient American archeology, this book captures the essential elements of LDS doctrine and illustrated in clear and concise prose the gulf that exists between it and science. The book’s layout includes five chapters that deal individually with specific issues relating to Mormonism and science. Within each chapter, Anderson first describes Mormon doctrine regarding the subject, and then describes what we know of the matter from science. Summary sections at the end of each chapter contrast the two, pointing to specific and important areas of disagreement. Farewell to Eden also describes the personal toll taken upon the lives of individuals who strive to hold to their Mormon up bringing while pursuing a carrier in science. A seminal work on the subject, Farewell to Eden is an essential reference guide destined for the personal libraries of every intellectual associated with or interested in the subject of Mormon theology and modern science.

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                      The true story of a wife, her homosexual husband, and a love that transcended tragedy.

                      Gerald Pearson had been honest with Carol Lynn about his homosexual past, but both of them had faith that marriage and devotion to their religion would change his orientation. Love would conquer all. Then, after eight years of apparent happiness and the birth of four children, Gerald was no longer able to deny what he considered to be his essential self. Carol Lynn was shattered, her self-esteem all but destroyed. Their divorce, however, could not erase a lifetime of love and mutual support. Carol Lynn courageously stood by her former husband’s side. Even when he contracted AIDS – and came home to die.

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                      Each year thousands of scrubbed young men and women set out to bring Mormonism to the world. Beyond the faith-promoting stories told among Mormons and the parodies of Broadway musicals, the reality of what it is to be a missionary-why they leave home and family, and what they do-is a mystery to most people. Heaven Up Here is one young American’s account of leaving his family in Southern California to spend two years preaching in Bolivia, the poorest country in South America. Neither an attempt to glorify the missionary experience nor tear it down, the book recounts the good and the bad, and the struggle not only to survive brutal conditions but to make sense of it all. Beginning with the discovery of a body on a bridge on a cold winter night, the book brings the reader into a world that is far different from the stereotypes and PR images. Beneath the white shirts and ties are young people trying to bless the lives of others, even if they don’t understand how.

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                      Francis (“Frank”) Hammond was not an average Mormon pioneer. After breaking his back working on a whaling ship off the coast of Siberia in 1844, he was set ashore on the island of Maui to heal. While there he set up shop as a shoemaker and learned the local language. Three years later, he converted to Mormonism in San Franciso, and in 1851 he was sent back to Hawaii as a missionary along with his new wife, Mary Jane. In the 1860s he returned to the islands as mission president.

                      Through all this, he and his wife kept extensive and fascinating journals, documenting their adventures on land and sea, as well as relations (some prickly) with fellow missionaries and non-Mormon caucasians and Hawaiians. Hammond established a Mormon gathering place on the island of Lana’i, and in the 1860s he traveled by stagecoach from Utah to the west coast with a satchel of $5,000 in gold coins to purchase the land that became the site in O’ahu of the LDS temple, church college, and Polynesian Culture Center.

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                      From their earliest days on the American frontier through their growth into a worldwide church, the spatially expansive Mormons made maps to help them create idealized communities, migrate to and colonize large parts of the American West, visualize the stories in their sacred texts, and spread their message internationally through a well-organized missionary system. This book identifies many Mormon mapmakers who played an important but heretofore unsung role in charting the course of Latter-day Saint history. For Mormons, maps had and continue to have both practical and spiritual significance. In addition to using maps to help build their new Zion and to explore the Intermountain West, Latter-day Saint mapmakers used them to depict locations and events described in the Book of Mormon.

                      Featuring over one hundred historical maps reproduced in full color—many never before published—The Mapmakers of New Zion sheds new light on Mormonism and takes readers on a fascinating journey through maps as both historical documents and touchstones of faith.

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                      Who Are the Mormons?

                      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

                      Has over 12.5 million members worldwide and is one of the fastest-growing and most centrally controlled U.S.-based religions;
                      Is by far the richest religion in the United States per capita, with $25 to $30 billion in estimated assets and $5 to $6 billion more in estimated annual income;
                      Boasts such influential members as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

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                      What do Americans really think about Mormons, and why? Through a fascinating survey of Mormon encounters with the media, including such personalities and events as the Osmonds, the Olympics, the Tabernacle Choir, evangelical Christians, the Equal Rights Amendment, Sports Illustrated, and even Miss America, J.B. Haws reveals the dramatic transformation of the American public’s understanding of Mormons in the past half-century.

                      When the Mormon George Romney, former governor of Michigan, ran for president in 1968, he was admired for his personal piety and characterized as “a kind of political Billy Graham.” When George’s son Mitt ran in 2008, a widely distributed email told hundreds of thousands of Christians that a vote for Mitt Romney was a vote for Satan. What had changed in the intervening four decades? Why were the theology of the Latter-day Saints and their “Christian” status mostly nonissues in 1968 but so hotly contested in 2008? For years, the American perception of Mormonism has been torn between admiration for individual Mormons-seen as friendly, hard-working, and family-oriented-and ambivalence toward institutional Mormonism-allegedly secretive, authoritarian, and weird.

                      The Mormon Image in the American Mind offers vital insight into the complex shifts in public perception of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its members, and its place in American society.

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                        This engaging, hard-hitting overview of Mormon beliefs and history illuminates one of the most critical issues in the 2012 race: WHAT DOES THE RISING INFLUENCE OF MORMONISM MEAN FOR AMERICA?

                        “If a man’s faith is sincere, it is the most important thing about him and it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life.” –Stephen Mansfield

                        Mormons and Mormonism are moving into the spotlight in pop culture, politics, sports, and entertainment: including presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Mormonism has now emerged as one of the fastest-growing religions and a high-impact mainstream influence. Stephen Mansfield, the acclaimed New York Times bestseller, writes this important story at a pivotal moment in American history.

                        The Mormonizing of America is critical to understanding our times, our culture–and our future as a country. Backed by up-to-date research, personal anecdotes, and a 16-page photo section, Mansfield examines the influence of the LDS church–past, present, and future. He debunks common myths, expounds on the Church’s beliefs, and unveils many of the mysteries surrounding this influential religion and its loyal members.

                        Amazon.com

                        A collection of anecdotes and letters from current and former gay and lesbian Mormons and their families explores the effects of their ostracization from Mormon faith communities, discusses Mormon attitudes about homosexuality, and argues for increased acceptance and sensitivity for gay members.

                        Amazon.com

                        Between 1901 and 1907, a broad coalition of Protestant churches sought to expel newly elected Reed Smoot from the Senate, arguing that as an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Smoot was a lawbreaker and therefore unfit to be a lawmaker. The resulting Senate investigative hearing featured testimony on every peculiarity of Mormonism, especially its polygamous family structure. The Smoot hearing ultimately mediated a compromise between Progressive Era Protestantism and Mormonism and resolved the nation’s long-standing “Mormon Problem.” On a broader scale, Kathleen Flake shows how this landmark hearing provided the occasion for the country–through its elected representatives, the daily press, citizen petitions, and social reform activism–to reconsider the scope of religious free exercise in the new century.

                        Flake contends that the Smoot hearing was the forge in which the Latter-day Saints, the Protestants, and the Senate hammered out a model for church-state relations, shaping for a new generation of non-Protestant and non-Christian Americans what it meant to be free and religious. In addition, she discusses the Latter-day Saints’ use of narrative and collective memory to retain their religious identity even as they changed to meet the nation’s demands.

                        Amazon.com

                        In 2012, Mormon General Authority Marlin K. Jensen acknowledged that members are leaving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “in droves.” Access to the internet is often credited and blamed for this mass exodus, where members learn about problematic doctrines and cover-ups of LDS history.

                        Many are happy as Mormons. And many are not. Those who leave, and those doubters who stay, face struggles that few others can understand. Much of this suffering is caused by manipulative and controlling techniques pervasive throughout LDS doctrines and culture. Understanding these techniques will help recovering Mormons overcome the effects of belonging to a high-demand group.

                        As a former Mormon, Luna Lindsey experienced this coercive persuasion firsthand. Recovering Agency presents years of research into social psychology and the science of cult dynamics, to describe 31 mind control techniques, alongside examples of their use in Mormon scripture, lessons, and from the pulpit.

                        Even if you have never been Mormon, chances are that coercive influence techniques have been used to manipulate you at some point. Turn the pages and learn the answers to longstanding questions about this unique American religion and about the human mind.

                        Amazon.com

                        Does science have anything to contribute to Mormon theology?

                        Peck argues that it does, and offers this book as an attempt to start a conversation on that notion. But fair warning: The theology ahead will be chaotic, emergent, ecological, and evolutionary. There will be few answers and much with which to argue.

                        If you find yourself arguing with the book as you read it, the book’s purpose will have been fulfilled. Peck hopes the questions you are left with will leave you curious, excited, or angry enough to keep the conversation going.

                        bccpress.org

                        After a highly publicized and controversial exit from Mormonism, Lamborn intertwines the story of his awakening with psychological aspects of religious belief.

                        Amazon.com

                      ACADEMIC/HISTORICAL JOURNALS

                        The original Mormon Studies journal has been published continually for over 50 years. In this quarterly journal, you will find articles from experts in a variety of disciplines – from Church history and ancient scripture to art, music, and literature.

                        BYU Studies is dedicated to publishing scholarly religious literature in the form of books, journals, and dissertations that is qualified, significant, and inspiring. We want to share these publications to help promote faith, continued learning, and further interest in our LDS history with those in the world who have a positive interest in this work.

                        byustudies.byu.edu

                        The Mormon Studies program is part of an initiative of the Religion Department (formerly School of Religion) at Claremont Graduate University to establish academic chairs and programs in many of the world’s major religions, thereby creating a climate of serious academic study as well as interfaith dialogue.

                        Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is unique in American higher education in being devoted entirely to graduate studies. CGU is part of the prestigious Claremont University Consortium. The Claremont Colleges, following the Oxford model, are comprised of various undergraduate colleges (Pomona, Scripps, Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Harvey Mudd), as well as Claremont Graduate University and the Keck Graduate Institute.

                        The Latter-day Saint Council for Mormon Studies was formed in 2002 to help advance Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University. For more than a decade the Council has fulfilled its mission by sponsoring a wide range of courses, lectures, conferences, and other events. Most significantly the Council reached a major milestone in 2008 with the establishment of the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies, occupied first by Dr. Richard L. Bushman and since 2011 by Dr. Patrick Q. Mason.
                        claremontmormonstudies.org/newsletters

                        An Independent quarterly established to express Mormon culture and to examine the relevance of religion to secular life.

                        dialoguejournal.com

                        Element:
                        a Journal of Mormon Philosophy and Theology
                        Element, the journal of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology, provides a forum for philosophical and theological reflection related to the beliefs and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In keeping with the purpose of the Society, the journal takes seriously both the commitments of faith and the standards of scholarship, encouraging academically productive dialogue between various theoretical perspectives both within and beyond the Latter-day Saint community.

                        smpt.org/element.html

                        The purpose of Exponent II is to provide a forum for Mormon women to share their life experiences in an atmosphere of trust and acceptance. This exchange allows us to better understand each other and shape the direction of our lives. Our common bond is our connection to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and our commitment to women. We publish this paper as a living history in celebration of the strength and diversity of women.

                        Exponent II is a non-profit organization that is made possible by countless volunteer hours and the generosity and support of our faithful readers. Your involvement and financial gifts help assure a strong future for this safe haven of discussion, learning, and sharing. Ours is a forum dedicated to the diverse voices and ideas of Mormon women.

                        www.exponentii.org/magazine

                        The International Journal of Mormon Studies is a European based internationally focused, peer-reviewed online and printed scholarly journal, which is committed to the promotion of interdisciplinary scholarship by publishing articles and reviews of current work in the field of Mormon studies. With high quality international contributors, the journal explores Mormon studies and its related subjects. In addition, IJMS provides those who submit manuscripts for publication with useful, timely feedback by making the review process constructive.

                        www.ijmsonline.org

                        Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, a nonprofit, independent, peer-reviewed educational journal focused on the scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its publications are available free of charge, with our goal to increase understanding of scripture.

                        www.mormoninterpreter.com/journal

                        JWHA Journal is published twice a year. There are opportunities for scholars, young and old, professional and armchair, to contribute their ideas, essays, and papers. Specific focus of interest for the Journal is Community of Christ history and culture, as well as the “divergent paths” of the movement.

                        johnwhitmerhistoricalassociation.org/publications

                          The Journal of Book of Mormon Studies is the primary venue for scholarly work on the Book of Mormon. It is generously supported by the Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies.

                          maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/periodicals/jbms

                          The Mission Statement of the Mormon History Association: The Mormon History Association is an independent organization dedicated to the study and understanding of all aspects of Mormon history. We welcome all who are interested in the Mormon past, irrespective of religious affiliation, academic training, or world location. We promote our goals through scholarly research, conferences, awards, and publications.

                          The Journal of Mormon History exists to foster scholarly research and publication in the field of Mormon history. Manuscripts dealing with all aspects of Mormon history are welcome, including twentieth-century history and contemporary history, regional and local history, folklore, historiography, women’s history, and ethnic/minorities history.

                          usu.edu/mormonhistory

                          Mormon Historical Studies is an independent periodical that includes essays, biographies, documents, book reviews, historical site descriptions, indexes, and archival listings relevant to subjects of general interest to Latter-day Saints, while striving for high scholarly standards. From 1989-1999 the periodical was published under the title of the Nauvoo Journal.

                          mormonhistoricsites.org/publications

                          The Mormon Studies Review proposes to track what is now a vibrant, varied, and international academic engagement with Mormon institutions, lives, ideas, texts, and stories. The Review chronicles and assesses the developing field of Mormon studies with roundtable discussions, review essays, and book reviews related to the academic study of Mormonism. It ranges across disciplines and seeks to gather voices from a broad cross-section of the academy—both LDS and non-LDS—in order to provide scholars and interested non-specialists with a one-stop source for discussions of current developments in Mormon studies.

                          maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/periodicals/msr

                          Studies in the Bible and Antiquity is an annually published peer-reviewed journal dedicated to original research on the Bible and religion in antiquity.

                          maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/periodicals/sba

                          The mission of The Sunstone Education Foundation is to sponsor open forums of Mormon thought and experience.

                          We examine and express the rich spiritual, intellectual, social, and artistic qualities of Mormon history and contemporary life. We encourage humanitarian service, honest inquiry, and responsible interchange of ideas that is respectful of all people and what they hold sacred.

                          sunstonemagazine.com

                          BIOGRAPHIES/AUTOBIOGRAPHIES

                            William Clayton is best remembered today for his hymns, especially “Come, Come Ye Saints.” But as one of the earliest Latter-day Saint scribes, he made intellectual as well as artistic contributions to his church, and his records have been silently incorporated into official Mormon scripture and history. Of equal significance are his personal impressions of day-to-day activities, which describe a social and religious world largely unfamiliar to modern readers.

                            In ministering to the sick, for instance, Clayton anointed with perfumed oil and rum. He performed baptisms to heal the sick. Church services, held irregularly, were referred to as “going to meeting” and seemed to be elective. He testifies of people speaking in tongues and of others “almost speaking in tongues.” When introduced to plural marriage, he was reluctant but eventually became one of its most enthusiastic proponents, marrying ten women and fathering forty-two children.

                            Since polygamy was initially secret, Clayton spent much of his time putting out the fires of innuendo and discontent. He caught his first plural wife rendezvousing with her former fiancé; later, when she became pregnant, her mother–his unaware mother-in-law–was so overwrought that she attempted suicide. Joseph Smith reassured him: “Just keep her at home and brook it and if they raise trouble about it and bring you before me I will give you an awful scourging and probably cut you off from the church and then I will set you ahead as good as ever.” Clayton was also the object of Emma Smith’s attentions, allegedly part of a jealous wife’s plan to make a cuckold of her errant husband.

                            Amazon.com

                            From her days of feeling like “a root beer among the Cokes”—Coca-Cola being a forbidden fruit for Mormon girls like her—Joanna Brooks always understood that being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints set her apart from others. But, in her eyes, that made her special; the devout LDS home she grew up in was filled with love, spirituality, and an emphasis on service. With Marie Osmond as her celebrity role model and plenty of Sunday School teachers to fill in the rest of the details, Joanna felt warmly embraced by the community that was such an integral part of her family. But as she grew older, Joanna began to wrestle with some tenets of her religion, including the Church’s stance on women’s rights and homosexuality. In 1993, when the Church excommunicated a group of feminists for speaking out about an LDS controversy, Joanna found herself searching for a way to live by the leadings of her heart and the faith she loved.

                            The Book of Mormon Girl is a story about leaving behind the innocence of childhood belief and embracing the complications and heartbreaks that come to every adult life of faith. Joanna’s journey through her faith explores a side of the religion that is rarely put on display: its humanity, its tenderness, its humor, its internal struggles. In Joanna’s hands, the everyday experience of being a Mormon—without polygamy, without fundamentalism—unfolds in fascinating detail. With its revelations about a faith so often misunderstood and characterized by secrecy, The Book of Mormon Girl is a welcome advocate and necessary guide.

                            Amazon.com

                            Drawing on unpublished documents from the LDS Church History Archives, this volume presents the story of Elijah Ables, the first black Mormon priesthood holder. A committed friend of Joseph Smith, Elijah Ables fiercely upheld institutional Mormonism when other Mormons refused. In turn, Joseph Smith faced down criticism from within in order to create a safe space for Ables to thrive. The Saints’ memories of their friendship continued well into the twentieth-century.

                            As a man scorned and ostracized, Ables stuck by the faith he loved to the day of his death. Ables’ story shows reveals the human struggles of the Mormon community to live up to its founding vision of racial inclusiveness. We see the depths of Joseph Smith’s constant battle to defuse the criticism of slaveholders and racists from within the faith, Brigham Young’s personal struggles with racism, and the chorus line of ordinary Saints as they tried to live up to Joseph Smith’s dreams of a Zion community.

                            Amazon.com

                            Brigham Young was a rough-hewn craftsman from New York whose impoverished and obscure life was electrified by the Mormon faith. He trudged around the United States and England to gain converts for Mormonism, spoke in spiritual tongues, married more than fifty women, and eventually transformed a barren desert into his vision of the Kingdom of God. While previous accounts of his life have been distorted by hagiography or polemical expose, John Turner provides a fully realized portrait of a colossal figure in American religion, politics, and westward expansion. After the 1844 murder of Mormon founder Joseph Smith, Young gathered those Latter-day Saints who would follow him and led them over the Rocky Mountains. In Utah, he styled himself after the patriarchs, judges, and prophets of ancient Israel. As charismatic as he was autocratic, he was viewed by his followers as an indispensable protector and by his opponents as a theocratic, treasonous heretic. Under his fiery tutelage, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints defended plural marriage, restricted the place of African Americans within the church, fought the U.S. Army in 1857, and obstructed federal efforts to prosecute perpetrators of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. At the same time, Young’s tenacity and faith brought tens of thousands of Mormons to the American West, imbued their everyday lives with sacred purpose, and sustained his church against adversity. Turner reveals the complexity of this spiritual prophet, whose commitment made a deep imprint on his church and the American Mountain West.”

                            Amazon.com

                            Leonard Arrington (1917–99) was born an Idaho chicken rancher whose early interests seemed not to extend much beyond the American west. Throughout his life, he tended to project a folksy persona, although nothing was farther from the truth.

                            He was, in fact, an intellectually oriented, academically driven young man, determined to explore the historical, economic, cultural, and religious issues of his time. After distinguishing himself at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and serving in the army during World War II in North Africa and Italy, Arrington accepted a professorship at Utah State University. In 1972 he was called as the LDS Church Historian—an office he held for ten years until, following a stormy tenure full of controversy over whether the “New Mormon History” he championed was appropriate for the church, he was quietly released and transferred, along with the entire Church History Division, to Brigham Young University. It was hoped that this would remove the impression in people’s minds that his writings were church-approved.

                            His personal diaries reveal a man who was firmly committed to his church, as well as to rigorous historical scholarship. His eye for detail made him an important observer of “church headquarters culture.”

                            Ordained as an apostle in 1906, David O. McKay served as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1951 until his death in 1970. Under his leadership, the church experienced unparalleled growth—nearly tripling in total membership—and becoming a significant presence throughout the world.

                            The first book to draw upon the David O. McKay Papers at the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah, in addition to some two hundred interviews conducted by the authors, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism focuses primarily on the years of McKay’s presidency. During some of the most turbulent times in American and world history, McKay navigated the church through uncharted waters as it faced the challenges of worldwide growth in an age of communism, the civil rights movement, and ecumenism. Gregory Prince and Robert Wright have compiled a thorough history of the presidency of a much-loved prophet who left a lasting legacy within the LDS Church.

                            Amazon.com

                            The first in-depth look at a highly significant LDS figure, Elijah Abel sheds critical light on the real history of blacks, the priesthood, the ban, and the multiplicity of doctrines that grew up to justify it. Elijah Abel’s dedication and religious conviction in the face of enormous adversity are an inspiration to all who have wrestled with questions or issues that challenge their faith.

                            Amazon.com

                            This classic biography is now in its fourth USU Press printing. It is unparalleled in providing a thorough and accurate account of John D. Lee’s involvement in the tragic 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre.

                            Amazon.com

                            Born in 1898 in Bunkerville, Nevada, Juanita Brooks led an early life similar to that of many who grew up in isolated, tightly knit, rural Mormon communities. An early marriage suggested her future would follow a predictable course, but the death of her husband, the need to raise a young son, and a passion for knowledge led her along a different path, when at mid-life she became a well-known author after publishing The Mountain Meadows Massacre. In this book she exposed the killing of some 100 California-bound emigrants traveling through southern Utah in 1856 as an atrocity carried out by a Mormon militia with Indian allies and not solely as an Indian massacre, as it had been for so long portrayed.

                            Juanita Brooks was a faithful and active member of the Mormon Church, and her courage to tell the truth about this dark moment in Mormon history established her reputation as a respected historian. While there was no official church condemnation of the book, there was unofficial disapproval and Brooks was shunned by many in her community. She nevertheless doggedly pursued church authorities to revise their stand on the incidents at Mountain Meadows. The desire to tell the truth as she saw it became her hallmark, and Brooks’s life as wife, mother, teacher, community member, and undaunted historian became an uncommon story of personal stamina and intellectual courage.

                            Amazon.com

                              The presidency of Spencer W. Kimball, from 1973 to 1985, spanned years of remarkable growth and dramatic developments in the Church. In that time, Church membership grew from 3.2 million to 5.9 million, the number of full-time missionaries serving grew from 17,000 to nearly 40,000 and temples in operation increased from 15 to 36. This book focuses exclusively on President Kimball’s ministry at Church President, descriging such landmark events as the revelation extending the priesthood to all worthy males, the publication of new editions of the LDS scriptures, and the reorganization of the quorum of the Seventy. The accompanying CD-ROM (created by BYU Studies) contains a wealth of additional information, including a longer version of the biography, photos not included in the book, some audio clips of President Kimball (including a sample before the surgery on his throat), as well as copies of other books written by or about President Kimball.

                              Amazon.com

                              This biography is the first to draw upon the remarkable Arrington diaries (over 20,000 pages); it is supplemented by the author’s interviews of more than 100 people who knew or worked with Arrington. The book is of additional significance given continuing battles between the LDS Church and scholars, which frequently gains national attention because of excommunications of prominent intellectuals.

                              Amazon.com

                              After working all day at the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, twenty-one-year-old Laurine Ekstrom would return home to find that her parents had rearranged the furniture again to accommodate Rulon Allred, a homeopath, who used their home to assist women in giving birth. Charismatic and unconventional, Allred was also president and prophet of the Mormon fundamentalist Church known as the Apostolic United Brethren. One day when Allred was delayed, Laurine offered what help she could to the expecting mother, and before long the baby was born. Laurine was soon on her way to becoming the most sought-after midwife in Utah despite the fact that it was against the law for a licensed practical nurse to deliver babies. Another illegal aspect of her life was her marriage to Leon Kingston, son of another Mormon fundamentalist leader, Charles Elden Kingston. Determined to live the principle of polygamy, Leon married Laurine s sister Rowenna as well. Leon could not have foreseen that his sister wives would one day become activists, sheltering and advising young polygamist women who had been abused by their husbands. This activism made the sisters unpopular with some extended family. Leon, however, stood by his wives. Laurine was born in rural Idaho in the 1930s. Her family moved to Bountiful, Utah, and then Salt Lake City in the late 1930s and mid-1940s. In this captivating biography, we learn of her struggle as a teenager to obtain a college education and to succeed as a nurse. More importantly, we learn about the methodology and lore of a modern midwife and the personality of a woman whose comforting way and advocacy of natural childbirth has made her a heroine to many. The same gift that allowed her to understand and assist women dealing with troubled marriages made her a successful midwife.

                              Amazon.com

                              Some left, some stayed. Each one found some aspect of their church’s history, doctrine, policies, or politics that they could not reconcile with their own personal ethics. Some felt burdened by the conflict, while others embraced it. A few were reticent, even apologetic about their disagreements. Others were barnstormers. Each possessed some quality that destined him or her to ride at the fringes rather than at the center.
                              Mormon Mavericks summarizes a few famous flashpoints in Mormon history; more importantly, it provides a telling study in human nature. Each contributor is an expert in his or her discipline, and all approach their topic with equal doses of sympathy and objectivity.

                              The following mavericks are featured in this collection of biographical essays:

                              Fawn McKay Brodie
                              Juanita Brooks
                              Thomas Stuart Ferguson
                              Amasa Mason Lyman
                              Sterling M. McMurrin
                              John E. Page
                              Sarah M. Pratt D. Michael Quinn
                              William Smith
                              Fanny Stenhouse
                              T. B. H. Stenhouse
                              James Strang
                              Samuel Woolley Taylor
                              Moses Thatcher

                              Amazon.com

                              Conflict between matters of faith and historical truth has been a conundrum at the heart of doing and telling the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church). Some of the best essays on that topic were written by Leonard J. Arrington, perhaps the best-known member of the group of professionals who founded the New Mormon History of the late twentieth century. Now, Arrington’s essay on history and the Mormons are collected in a single source work.

                              Arrington rose to prominence during the so-called “flowering of Mormon history.” In a precedent-breaking move, he was made Church Historian in January 1972, the first professional historian to serve in the position.

                              His ideas, as expressed in the essays collected here, helped to determine how Mormon history was written during the last part of the twentieth century. Arrington sought a middle way between the extremes of defending or attacking faith claims—two forces that drove most nineteenth-century and even much twentieth-century writing on the Mormons. He not only adopted a neutral stance in his writing as LDS Historian, his name became connected inseparably with the New Mormon History because of his personality and the quality of his work.

                              The fourteen essays offered here are autobiographical, reflective, analytical, personal, and prophetic. Together, they constitute an illuminating study of the challenges faced by all who study history and face the conflicts its telling involves.

                              Supplementing the essays are a biographical sketch by historian Ronald W. Walker, a chronology of Arrington’s life, and a detailed bibliography of his published works and speeches, prepared by David J. Whitaker. A personal tribute to Arrington is given by his daughter, historian Susan Arrington Madsen.

                              Amazon.com

                              In the late 1820s a fiery young minister in western Ohio converted nearly 1,000 proselytes to the Reformed Baptist Movement. As these schismatics organized themselves into the new Disciples of Christ church, the Reverend Sidney Rigdon was already aligning himself with another, more radical movement, the Latter-day Saints, where he quickly became the LDS prophet’s principal advisor and spokesman. He served Joseph Smith loyally for the next fourteen years, even through a brief spat over the prophet’s romantic interest in his teenage daughter.

                              Next to Smith, Rigdon was the most influential early Mormon. He imported Reformed Baptist teachings into Latter-day Saint theology, wrote the canonized Lectures on Faith, championed communalism and isolationism, and delivered many of the most significant early sermons, including the famous Salt Sermon and the Ohio temple dedicatory address.

                              Following Smith’s death, Rigdon parted company with Brigham Young to lead his own group of some 500 secessionists Mormons in Pennsylvania. Rigdon’s following gradually dwindled, as the one-time orator took to wandering the streets, taunting indifferent passersby with God’s word. He was later recruited by another Mormon faction. Although he refused to meet with them, he agreed to be their prophet and send revelations by mail. Before long he had directed them to settle far-off Iowa and Manitoba, among other things. At his death, his followers numbered in the hundreds, and today they number about 10,000, mostly in Pennsylvania.

                              “Rigdon is a biographer’s dream,” writes Richard Van Wagoner. Intellectually gifted, manic-depressive, an eloquent orator and social innovator but a chronic indigent, Rigdon aspired to altruism but demanded advantage and deference. When he lost prominence, his early attainments were virtually written out of the historical record.

                              Correcting this void, Van Wagoner has woven the psychology of religious incontinence into the larger fabric of social history. In doing so, he reminds readers of the significance of this nearly-forgotten founding member of the LDS First Presidency. Nearly ten million members in over one hundred churches trace their heritage to Joseph Smith. Many are unaware of the importance of Rigdon’s contributions to their inherited theology.

                              Amazon.com

                              Wilford Woodruff converted to the LDS church in 1833, he joined a millenarian group of a few thousand persecuted believers clustered around Kirtland, Ohio. When he died sixty-five years later in 1898, he was the leader of more than a quarter of a million followers worldwide who were on the verge of entering the mainstream of American culture.
                              Before attaining that status of senior church apostle at the death of John Taylor in 1886, Woodruff had been one of the fiercest opponents of United States hegemony. He spent years evading territorial marshals on the Mormon “underground,” escaping prosecution for polygamy, unable even to attend his first wife’s funeral. As church president, faced with disfranchisement and federal confiscation of Mormon property, including temples, Woodruff reached his monumental decision in 1890 to accept U.S. law and to petition for Utah statehood.

                              As church doctrines and practices evolved, Woodruff himself changed. The author examines the secular and religious development of Woodruff’s world view from apocalyptic mystic to pragmatic conciliator. He also reveals the gentle, solitary farmer; the fisherman and horticulturalist; the family man with seven wives; the charismatic preacher of the Mormon Reformation; the astute businessman; the urbane, savvy politician who courted the favor of prominent Republicans in California and Oregon (Leland Stanford and Isaac Trumbo); and the vulnerable romantic who pursued the affections of Lydia Mountford, an international lecturer and Jewish rights advocate. He traces a faithful polygamist who ultimately embraced the Christian Home movement and settled comfortably into a monogamous relationship in an otherwise typically Victorian setting.

                              Amazon.com

                              Volume 6, Life Writings of Frontier Women series, ed. Maureen Ursenbach Beecher

                              Mormon culture has produced during its history an unusual number of historically valuable personal writings. Few such diaries, journals, and memoirs published have provided as rich and well rounded a window into their authors’ lives and worlds as the diary of Helen Mar Kimball Whitney. Because it provides a rare account of the widely experienced situations and problems faced by widows, her record has relevance far beyond Mormon history though.

                              As a teenager Helen Kimball had been a polygamous wife of Mormon founder Joseph Smith. She subsequently married Horace Whitney. Her children included the noted Mormon author, religious authority, and politician Orson F. Whitney. She herself was a leading woman in her church and society and a writer known especially for her defense of plural marriage. Upon Horace’s death, she began keeping a diary. In it, she recorded her economic, physical, and psychological struggles to meet the challenges of widowhood. Her writing was introspective and revelatory. She also commented on the changing society around her, as Salt Lake City in the last decades of the nineteenth century underwent rapid transformation, modernizing and opening up from its pioneer beginnings. She remained a well-connected member of an elite group of leading Latter-day Saint women, and prominent Utah and Mormon historical figures appear frequently in her daily entries. Above all, though, her diary is an unusual record of difficulties faced in many times and places by women, of all classes, whose husbands died and left them without sufficient means to carry on the types of lives to which they had been accustomed.

                              Amazon.com