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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.

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.

Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling - Richard Lyman Bushman

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.

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.

Joseph Smith's 1828-1843 Revelations - H. Michael Marquardt

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.

Mormon Enigma - Linda King Newell & Valeen Tippetts Avery

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.

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?

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.

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. 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.”

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.

Book of Mormon / Book of Abraham

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 science and how the former is being reshaped by the latter.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

In his groundbreaking 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.

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. The 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.

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.

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.

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.

The Journey of a People - Mark Scherer

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.

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.

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.

Massacre at Mountain Meadows - Ronald W. Walker, Richard E. Turley, & Glen M. Leonard

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

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. 

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.

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. 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.

The Mormon Jesus - John G. Turner

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.

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.

The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri - Stephen C. LeSueur

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.

Serving as a vital read for both students and scholars of American religious and social history, Alexander’s book explains and charts the Church’s transformation over this 40-year period of both religious and American history. For those familiar with the LDS Church in modern times, it is impossible to study Mormonism in Transition without pondering the enormous amount of changes the Church has been through since 1890. For those new to the study of Mormonism, this book will give them a clear understanding of the challenges the Church went through to go from a persecuted and scorned society to the rapidly growing, respected community it is today

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.

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. 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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Rise of Mormonism: 1816-1844 - H. Michael Marquardt

Much inaccurate information is printed about the Mormons, so here is an open, honest, and refreshing history of the foundational years of the Latter-day Saints restoration movement. In The Rise of Mormonism: 1816-1844, author H. Michael Marquardt paints an accurate portrayal of the early years of Mormonism, based upon historical records. Using an objective, balanced, and respectful approach, Marquardt takes into account the spiritual aspects of the movement from the early story of finding gold plates to the tragic death of its founder. Marquardt studied on location where the events took place and uses primary sources to cover a twenty-five-year period, including early stories regarding how Joseph Smith claimed he discovered the Book of Mormon.

Scattering of the Saints: Schism Within Mormonsim - Newell G. Bringhurst & John C. Hamer

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.

The Story of the Latter-Day Saints - James B. Allen & Glen M. Leonard

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

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.

Faith / Doubt / Dissent

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.

Synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist and science historian Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world. 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.

This book, a collection of 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.”

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 Religion, 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.

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.

With the advancement of the internet, changing worldviews, and the rising generation of millennials, Latter-day Saints today face unique challenges to faith on an unprecedented scale. Unlike most books written to help those struggling with their testimonies, Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question is geared at helping local leaders and family members better understand the sources of these challenges and how to minister to those affected by them. This ministering is done through building bridges of love, empathy, and trust regardless of whether or not someone retains their belief or continues to participate. 

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.

The Crucible of Doubt - Terryl Givens & Fiona Givens

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

The Evolution of God - Robert Wright

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 complemented 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.

Psychologist Marlene Winell is uniquely qualified to address the subject of this book. In addition to her personal experience with leaving fundamentalist religion, she has worked with clients recovering from religion for 28 years. She is known for coining the term Religious Trauma Syndrome. Leaving the Fold is a self-help book that examines the effects of authoritarian religion (fundamentalist Christianity in particular) on individuals who leave the faith. The concrete steps for healing are useful for anyone in recovery from toxic religion.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Sanctity of Dissent - Paul James Toscano

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.

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.

Philip Layton Barlow is a Harvard-trained scholar who specializes in American Religious History, religious geography, and Mormonism. In 2019, Barlow was appointed associate director of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship (Maxwell Institute). Barlow was the first full-time professor of Mormon studies at a secular university as the inaugural Leonard J. Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University, from 2007 to 2018.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

Formerly at UCLA and now the editor of Mormonism and Early Christianity, Compton has compiled a meticulously researched and masterly study of Mormon Joseph Smith's 33 wives. The women are presented individually, with many of their own documents cited.

Joseph Smith's Polygamy - Brian C. Hales

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.

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.

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.

Mormon Polygamy: A History - Richard S. Van Wagoner

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.

Nauvoo Polygamy - George D. Smith

In this thoroughly researched and documented work, the author shows how the prophet introduced single and married women to this new form of “celestial marriage” 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.

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.

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 the 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.


African Americans on the Western Frontier - Monroe Lee Billington & Roger D. Hardaway

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.

All Abraham’s Children is Armand L. Mauss' 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.

Black and Mormon - Newell G. Bringhurst & Darron T. Smith

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.

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. 

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 De Janeiro.

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.

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. 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. 

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. 

A Soul So Rebellious - Mary Sturlaugson Eyer

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

The Nauvoo Endowment Companies, 1845-1846: A Documentary History - Devery S. Anderson, Gary J. Bergera, & Richard V. Wagoner

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.

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.


The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-Day Saint Women's History - Jill Mulvay Darr, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Kate Holbrook, Matthew J. Grow

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.

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.

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.

Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings - Joanna Brooks, Rachel Hunt Steenblik, Hannah Wheelwright

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. 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.

In the last twenty years, an increasing number of books on the history of Utah and Mormon women have appeared. The book that led the way for these varied studies came to be when a group of Boston-area women, connected with the periodical Exponent II (named in honour of its nineteenth century predecessor, The Woman's Exponent), got together to publish a collection of topical essays on Utah women's history titled Mormon Sisters. The book became a minor classic in Mormon women's studies and inspired several imitators. Mormon Sisters has been out of print for a number of years. Now back in print, this new edition adds new illustrations, an updated reading list, information on the subsequent careers of the contributors, and an introduction by prominent historian Anne Firor Scott, author of numerous books, including Southern Lady.

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.

A history professor at the University of Utah and author of the award-winning book Four Zinas, Bradley offers a thorough, sensitive account of Mormon-dominated Utah's bitterly explosive International Women's Year (IWY) conference in 1977 and the ensuing battle over the Equal Rights Amendment. Her research draws from rich and plentiful archives and extensive oral history interviews with LDS women who lived through these turbulent events. Bradley herself attended the IWY conference in Utah, which was a catalyzing event for her own consciousness as a woman, so she writes with the rigor of a scholar but the insight of a firsthand participant in the event she chronicles. A skilled historian and excellent writer (she even makes lists of participants at conferences sound interesting), Bradley's personal bias in favor of the ERA is present but muted. She remains largely evenhanded in portraying both sides of a charged altercation between LDS authority figures and women struggling to balance their faith and devotion to their religion with their political convictions as feminists. Her book is a vital chapter in Mormon history, American political history and women's history. It will also strike a powerful chord with anyone who has felt torn between religious authority and personal conviction.

Voices for Equality: Ordain Women and Resurgent Mormon Feminism - Gordon Shepherd, Lavina Fielding Anderson, & Gary Shepherd

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.

Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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.

Maxine Hanks’s collection of feminist essays examines the Mormon experience from a different angle, and suggests once more that women view the world differently from men. Setting aside Mormonism’s preoccupation with male-oriented, tradition-bound history and theology, these essays push into new territory in feminist theory and methodology and are a sort of coming-out party. Finally, it seems, Mormon Women’s Studies is coming of age.

“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.

Academic / Historical Journals

BYU Studies Quarterly - Brigham Young University

The original Mormon Studies journal has been published continuously 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.

Claremont Mormon Studies - Claremont Graduate University

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.

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

Element - The Society for 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Journal of Book of Mormon Studies - Neal A. Maxwell Institute

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.

Journal of Mormon History - Utah State University

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.

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.

Mormon Studies Review - Neal A. Maxwell Institute

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.

Studies in the Bible and Antiquity - Neal A. Maxwell Institute

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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.”

David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism - Gregory A. Prince & Robert Wright

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.

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.

John Doyle Lee - Juanita Brooks

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.

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.

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, describing 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.

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.

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.

The Mormon Mavericks: Essays on Dissenters - John Sillito & Susan Staker

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.

Mormon Mother: An Autobiography - Annie Clark Tanner

This autobiography is the story of a beautiful and gifted woman who freely chose to live as a second wife to a brilliant teacher she met while attending the Brigham Young University.  Her marriage took place in 1883 when polygamy, or ‘plural marriage’ was widely practices and strongly defended by the Mormon religion.

Reflections of a Mormon Historian: Leonard J. Arrington on the New Mormon History - Leonard J. Arrington, Reid L. Nielson, & Ronald W. Walker

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.

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.

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.

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.


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. 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.

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.

Goodbye, I Love You - Carol Lynn Pearson

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.

Heaven Up Here - John Williams

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.

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 Francisco, 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. 

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. 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.

Mormon America: The Power and The Promise - Richard Ostling & Joan K. Ostling

Mormon America: The Power and The Promise grew out of a 1997 Time magazine cover story called "Mormon's Inc." One of the reporters on that story, Richard Ostling, became so fascinated by Mormonism that he set out to write "a candid but non-polemical" overview of the Church, beginning with its founding by Joseph Smith Jr. in 1830 and continuing to the present day. The resulting book is a marvel of clarity, organization, and analysis.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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

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