In 1859 Brigham Young sent two Mormon missionaries to live among the Hopi, “reduce their dialect to a written language,” and then teach it to the Hopi so that they would be able to read the Book of Mormon in their own tongue. Young instructed the men to teach the Hopi to write in the Deseret Alphabet, a phonemic system that he was promoting in place of the traditional Latin alphabet. While the Deseret Alphabet faded out of use in just over twenty years, the manuscript penned in Deseret by one of the missionaries has remained in existence. For decades it sat unidentified in the Archives of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake Citya mystery document having no title, author, or date. But authors Beesley and Elzinga have now traced the manuscript’s origin to the missionaries of 1859-60 and decoded its Hopi-English vocabulary written in the short-lived Deseret Alphabet. The resulting book offers a fascinating mix of linguistics, Mormon history, and Native American studies.
The volume reproduces all 486 vocabulary entries of the original manuscript, presenting the Deseret and the modern English and Hopi translations. It explains the history of the Deseret Alphabet as well as that of the Mormon missions to the Hopi, while fleshing out the background of the two missionaries, Marion Jackson Shelton, who wrote the manuscript, and his companion, Thales Hastings Haskell. The book will be of interest to linguists, historians, ethnographers, and others who are curious about the unique combination of topics this work connects.
Temple worship has long distinguished the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from mainstream Christendom. Even the denominations that trace their roots to LDS Church founder Joseph Smith have largely defined temple doctrines and ordinances as relics of the past; others have adopted and restored them to what they deem to be their purest form. To understand the LDS people is to grasp the impact the temple has had on church members as they embraced both temple-related teachings as essential to exaltation as well as the brick-and-mortar structures that stand as symbols of faith and sacrifice.
Christian Larsen has assembled a collection of essays that illuminate the role of the temple and its rocky relationship with controversial subjects such as race and marriage. Some temples were built, abandoned, and given new life; others were either constructed for temporary use or never built at all. The nature of LDS temple ordinances is such that what LDS members deem sacred, others dismiss as secret.
"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 increased sophistication and intensity of proselytizing.
In Baring Witness , Welker and thirty-six Mormon women write about devotion and love and luck, about the wonder of discovery, and about the journeys, both thorny and magical, to humor, grace, and contentment. They speak to a diversity of life experiences: what happens when one partner rejects Church teachings; marrying outside one's faith; the pain of divorce and widowhood; the horrors of spousal abuse; the hard journey from visions of an idealized marriage to the everyday truth; sexuality within Mormon marriage; how the pressure to find a husband shapes young women's actions and sense of self; and the ways Mormon belief and culture can influence second marriages and same-sex unions. The result is an unflinching look at the earthly realities of an institution central to Mormon life.
John G. Turner Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress BX8695.Y7T87 2012 | Dewey Decimal 289.3092
Brigham Young was a rough-hewn New York craftsman whose impoverished life was electrified by the Mormon faith. Turner provides a fully realized portrait of this spiritual prophet, viewed by followers as a protector and by opponents as a heretic. His pioneering faith made a deep imprint on tens of thousands of lives in the American Mountain West.
On September 11, 1857, a wagon train of emigrants passing through the Utah Territory on their way to California were massacred at Mountain Meadows. Although today’s historians agree that the principal perpetrators were members of the Mormon militia in southern Utah, how much the central Mormon leadership, especially Brigham Young at the top, knew about the massacre, when and how they learned about it, and the extent of a cover up afterward are still matters of controversy and debate.
In this 12th volume of the Arrington Lecture Series, Thomas Alexander (Lemuel Redd Professor of Western American History, Emeritus, at Brigham Young University), asserts that Brigham Young and the LDS Church’s governing Quorum of Twelve made timely and diligent efforts to investigate the massacre and encouraged legal proceedings but were hindered by federal territorial officials and lied to by massacre participant John D. Lee, preventing Young from learning the full truth for many years.
A. E. Cannon University of Utah Press, 2011 Library of Congress PZ7.C17135Ch 2011
Charlotte’s Rose—justifiably back in print—tells the story of a young Welsh girl, Charlotte Edwards, who, soon after her mother dies, sails with her father from England to the United States to become part of a company of Mormon handcart pioneers—emigrants with no horses or oxen who themselves pulled the heavy carts filled with their belongings. These were arduous journeys. While on the Mormon Trail, Charlotte befriends a young mother who later dies in childbirth. Though only 12 years old, Charlotte assumes responsibility for the infant and carries her to Utah. Over the course of their journey together, Charlotte becomes deeply attached to the baby she calls Rose, which makes Charlotte’s choice at the novel’s end particularly poignant.
The author, A. E. Cannon, is adept at creating vivid, multifaceted, believable characters and has crafted a story of pioneers that will seem relevant to today’s young people. The reader will quickly be drawn into the story as Charlotte struggles to navigate the trials of an adolescent moving into adulthood. Although this is a book about Mormon pioneers, it is in fact about the larger American experience of immigration—a drama still unfolding today—and Charlotte’s coming-of-age journey will resonate with readers young and old.
Christianity figured prominently in the imperial and colonial exploitation and dispossession of indigenous peoples worldwide, yet many indigenous people embrace Christian faith as part of their cultural and ethnic identities. A Chosen People, a Promised Land gets to the heart of this contradiction by exploring how Native Hawaiian members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (more commonly known as Mormons) understand and negotiate their place in this quintessentially American religion.
Mormon missionaries arrived in Hawai‘i in 1850, a mere twenty years after Joseph Smith founded the church. Hokulani K. Aikau traces how Native Hawaiians became integrated into the religious doctrine of the church as a “chosen people”—even at a time when exclusionary racial policies regarding black members of the church were being codified. Aikau shows how Hawaiians and other Polynesian saints came to be considered chosen and how they were able to use their venerated status toward their own spiritual, cultural, and pragmatic ends.
Using the words of Native Hawaiian Latter-Day Saints to illuminate the intersections of race, colonization, and religion, A Chosen People, a Promised Land examines Polynesian Mormon articulations of faith and identity within a larger political context of self-determination.
The first ten lectures in Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Series are here collected in one volume. The series, established by one of the twentieth-century West's most distinguished historians, Leonard Arrington, has become a leading forum for prominent historians to address topics related to Mormon history. The first lecturer was Arrington himself. He was followed by Richard Lyman Bushman, Richard E. Bennett, Howard R. Lamar, Claudia L. Bushman, Kenneth W. Godfrey, Jan Shipps, Donald Worster, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and F. Ross Peterson. Utah State University hosts the Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Series. The University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives houses the Arrington collection. The state's land grant university began collecting records very early, and in the 1960s became a major depository for Utah and Mormon records. Leonard and his wife Grace joined the USU faculty and family in 1946, and the Arringtons and their colleagues worked to collect original diaries, journals, letters, and photographs.
Charismatic and a polished public speaker, LDS President David O. McKay instilled devotion in church members around the globe. An avowed optimist, he maintained a lifelong “faith in mankind; they are God’s children.” His desire to share the Mormon gospel coincided with a deep need to protect the church from outside social pressures, leading him to adopt a nuanced yet politically conservative public image. Though his genial personality aided him in unifying church leadership, McKay’s dislike of interpersonal conflict allowed strong-willed colleagues to sometimes overshadow him. He personally disagreed with apostle Ezra Taft Benson’s advocacy for the right-wing John Birch Society, while allowing Benson and others to promote an extremely conservative political agenda in religious settings.
Similar hesitancy existed in McKay’s failure to lift the priesthood and temple ban against black Mormons. Governing during the height of the Civil Rights movement, he never fully reconciled his belief in human spiritual equality with the racial tensions of his era. The voice of his dedicated secretary Clare Middlemiss often guides the diary’s narratives, revealing not only the personal musings of the church prophet but tracking the birth and development of the modern LDS Church as a social, political, and economic entity.
Lowell Bennion, Sterling McMurrin, and Obert Tanner were colleagues whose lives often intertwined. All professors at the University of Utah, these three scholars addressed issues and events of their time; each influenced the thought and culture of Mormonism, helping to institute a period of intellectual life and social activism. In Conscience and Community multiple scholars, family members, and others look at the private and public aspects of three lives and examine the roles they played in shaping their communities inside and out of their university and church.
Lowell Bennion was founding director of the LDS Institute of Religion and professor of sociology at the University of Utah. He established multiple community service entities. Sterling McMurrin was distinguished professor of philosophy and history, dean of the graduate school, and former commissioner of education under JFK. He dismissed dogma and doctrine as barriers to a search for moral and spiritual understanding. Obert Tanner, also of the university’s Philosophy Department, excelled in teaching and business and became especially well known for philanthropy. The lives and work of these three men reveal the tensions between faith and reason, conscience and obedience. Their stories speak to us today because their concerns remain our concerns: racial justice, women’s equality, gay rights, and the meaning of integrity and conscience.
In Contemporary Mormon Pageantry, theater scholar Megan Sanborn Jones looks at Mormon pageants, outdoor theatrical productions that celebrate church theology, reenact church history, and bring to life stories from the Book of Mormon. She examines four annual pageants in the United States-the Hill Cumorah Pageant in upstate New York, the Manti Pageant in Utah, the Nauvoo Pageant in Illinois, and the Mesa Easter Pageant in Arizona. The nature and extravagance of the pageants vary by location, with some live orchestras, dancing, and hundreds of costumed performers, mostly local church members. Based on deep historical research and enhanced by the author's interviews with pageant producers and cast members as well as the author's own experiences as a participant-observer, the book reveals the strategies by which these pageants resurrect the Mormon past on stage. Jones analyzes the place of the productions within the American theatrical landscape and draws connections between the Latter-day Saints theology of the redemption of the dead and Mormon pageantry in the three related sites of sacred space, participation, and spectatorship. Using a combination of religious and performance theory, Jones demonstrates that Mormon pageantry is a rich and complex site of engagement between theater, theology, and praxis that explores the saving power of performance.
Contemporary Mormonism is the first collection of sociological essays to focus exclusively on Mormons. Featuring the work of the major scholars conducting social science research on Mormons today, this volume offers refreshing new perspectives not only on Mormonism but also on the nature of successful religious movements, secularization and assimilation, church growth, patriarchy and gender roles, and other topics. This first paperback edition includes a new introduction assessing the current state of Mormon scholarship and the effect of the globalization of the LDS Church on scholarly research about Mormonism.
The Danish-Mormon migration to Utah in the nineteenth century was, relative to population size, one of the largest European religious out-migrations in history. Hundreds of thousands of Americans can trace their ancestry to Danish Mormons, but few know about the social and cultural ramifications of their ancestors’ conversion to Mormonism. This book tells that exciting and complex story for the first time.
In 1849, after nearly a thousand years of state- controlled religion, Denmark’s first democratic constitution granted religious freedom. One year later, the arrival of three Mormon missionaries in Denmark and their rapid success at winning converts to their faith caused a crisis in Danish society over the existential question: "How could someone be Danish but not Lutheran?" Over the next half-century nearly thirty thousand Danes joined the LDS Church, more than eighteen thousand of whom emigrated to join their fellow Mormons in Utah. This volume explores the range of Danish public reactions to Mormonism over a seventy-year period—from theological concerns articulated by Søren and Peter Christian Kierkegaard in the 1850s to fear-mongering about polygamy and white slavery in silent films of the 1910s and 1920s—and looks at the personal histories of converts.
Honorable Mention for Best International Book from the Mormon History Association.
This volume seeks nothing less than to shift the focus of Mormon studies from its historic North American, Euro-American “center” to the critical questions being raised by Mormons living at the movement’s cultural and geographic margins.
As a social institution, Mormonism is shaped around cultural notions, systems, and ideas that have currency in the United States but make less sense beyond the land of its genesis. Even as an avowedly international religion some 183 years out from its inception, it makes few allowances for diverse international contexts, with Salt Lake City prescribing programs, policies, curricula, leadership, and edicts for the church’s international regions. While Mormonism’s greatest strength is its organizational coherence, there is also a cost paid for those at the church’s peripheries.
Decolonizing Mormonism brings together the work of 15 scholars from around the globe who critically reflect on global Mormon experiences and American-Mormon cultural imperialism. Indigenous, minority, and Global South Mormons ask in unison: what is the relationship between Mormonism and imperialism and where must the Mormon movement go in order to achieve its long-cherished dream of equality for all in Zion? Their stories are both heartbreaking and heartening and provide a rich resource for thinking about the future of Mormon missiology and the possibilities inherent in the work of Mormon contextual theology.
On the high desert plateau of northern Mexico, outsiders have taken refuge from the secular world. Here three Anglo communities of Mormons and Mennonites have ordered their lives around male supremacy, rigid religious duty, and a rejection of modern technology and culture. In so doing, they have successfully adapted to this harsh desert environment.
Janet Bennion has lived and worked among these people, and in this book she introduces a new paradigm—"desert patriarchy"—to explain their way of life. This perspective sheds light not only on these particular communities but also on the role of the desert environment in the development and maintenance of fundamentalist ideology in other parts of the United States and around the globe.
Making new connections between the arid environment, opposition to technology, and gender ideology, Bennion shows that it is the interplay of the desert and the unique social traditions and gender dynamics embedded in Anglo patriarchal fundamentalism that accounts for the successful longevity of the Mexican colonies. Her model defines the process by which male supremacy, female autonomous networking, and religious fundamentalism all facilitate successful adaptation to the environment.
More than a theoretical analysis, Desert Patriarchy provides an intimate glimpse into the daily lives of these people, showing how they have taken refuge in the desert to escape religious persecution, the forced secular education of their children, and economic and political marginalization. It particularly sheds light on the ironic autonomy of women within a patriarchal system, showing how fundamentalist women in Chihuahua are finding numerous creative ways to access power and satisfaction in a society structured to subordinate and even degrade them.
Desert Patriarchy richly expands the literature on nontraditional religious movements as it enhances our understanding of how environment can shape society. It offers unique insights into women's status in patriarchal communities and provides a new way of looking at similar communities worldwide.
In the brief time between when the alarm clock rings and the start of the day, we usually cherish those few extra moments of warmth in the sheets. However, soon enough we’re happy to be up and about, exploring the world around us. Similarly with religious studies, we may cling to the comforts of the past—what we find familiar in our faith—but then curiosity and conscience pull us to new revelations and sources of knowledge.
In these seventeen articles on things Mormon—prominent people, religious experience, memory, media, literature, and investigative theory—there is an obvious respect for the past and simultaneous desire to get to the bottom of things, to test the boundaries of knowledge. For instance, Jonathan Stapley and Kristine Wright look at the history of ritual healing within Mormonism, including the use of magic handkerchiefs and blessings performed by women. Matthew Bowman’s essay on “A Mormon Bigfoot” looks at the story retold in Sunday school and elsewhere about an early Church apostle who saw the biblical Cain. Brian Stuy examines Church President Wilford Woodruff’s account of the American founding fathers reaching from beyond the grave—a summons the prophet responded favorably to—requesting temple baptisms on their behalf. Unknown to Woodruff, this ordinance had been performed the year before. And Kathleen Flake looks at how the First Vision and other founding narratives were not emphasized in the Church until the twentieth century.
Other contributors include Gary James Bergera, Martha Bradley, Newell Bringhurst, Samuel Brown, Claudia Bushman, Brian Cannon, Douglas Davies, Rebecca de Schweinitz, Lawrence Foster, Reinhold Hill, and Jacob Olmstead.
A new and exciting era in Mormon studies has emerged from a confluence of factors: an academy more attuned to the significance of religion, the increased public prominence of Mormons and Mormonism, and an increasing number of scholars applying ever-more sophisticated methods to the study of Mormonism. Directions for Mormon Studies in the Twenty-First Century captures this fruitful time by bringing together some of the most influential voices across the generations of Mormon studies. Neither a survey of the field nor a mere recapitulation of dominant themes, this volume charts out areas for exploration and modes of inquiry that reflect the maturation of the field and help set the agenda for the next generation of Mormon studies scholarship.
In previously unpublished essays, the volume’s distinguished authors offer new insights on a number of essential themes: a (re)assessment of twentieth-century Mormonism; the dynamic interplay of Mormonism’s American roots with its international expansion and encounter with global diversity; the ways Mormonism has shaped and been shaped by modern theories and discourses of race; new modes of thinking about the individual Mormon subject; and reflections on theory and method in Mormon studies. These essays display Mormon studies in its emergent interdisciplinarity, with contributions from religious studies, history, economics, literary criticism, sociology, and anthropology. Simultaneously erudite and accessible, the collection will help readers ask new questions and discover new answers.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormons), often heralded as the fastest growing religion in American history, is facing a crisis of apostasy. Rather than strengthening their faith, the study of church history and scriptures by many members pushes them away from Mormonism and into a growing community of secular ex-Mormons. In Disenchanted Lives, E. Marshall Brooks provides an intimate, in-depth ethnography of religious disenchantment among ex-Mormons in Utah. Showing that former church members were once deeply embedded in their religious life, Brooks argues that disenchantment unfolds as a struggle to overcome the spiritual, social, and ideological devotion ex-Mormons had to the religious community and not out of a lack of dedication as prominently portrayed in religious and scholarly writing on apostasy.
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.
Although scholars have increasingly investigated the impact of religion and religious movements on nature, studies of the interactions between Mormons and the natural environment are few. This volume applies the perspectives of environmental history to Mormonism, providing both a scholarly introduction to Mormon environmental history and a spur for historians to consider the role of nature in the Mormon past.
Since Joseph Smith’s revelations, Mormons have interacted with nature in significant ways—whether perceiving it as a place to find God, uncorrupted spaces in which to build communities to usher in the Second Coming, wildness needing domestication and control, or a world brimming with natural resources to ensure economic well-being. The essays in this volume—written by leading scholars in both environmental history and Mormon history—explore how nature has influenced Mormon beliefs and how these beliefs inform Mormons’ encounters with nature. Introducing overarching environmental ideas, contributors examine specific aspects of nature and Mormon theology to glean new insights into the Mormon experience.
American Indians have long played a central role in Mormon history and its narratives. Their roles, however, have often been cast in support of traditional Mormon beliefs and as a reaffirmation of colonial discourses.
This collection of essays, many the result of a seminar hosted by the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University, explores the historical and cultural complexities of this narrative from a decolonizing perspective. Essays cover the historical construction of the “Lamanite,” settler colonialism and the Book of Mormon, and connections between the Seneca leader Handsome Lake and Joseph Smith. Authors also address American Indian Mormon tribal identities, Navajo and Mormon participation at the dedication of Glen Canyon Dam, the impact of Mormon Polynesian missionaries in Diné Bikéyah, the ISPP, and other topics. Prominent American Indian Mormon voices lend their creative work and personal experiences to the book.
With the aim of avoiding familiar narrative patterns of settler colonialism, contributors seek to make American Indians the subjects rather than the objects of discussion in relation to Mormons, presenting new ways to explore and reframe these relationships.
After converting to Mormonism in 1832, Brigham Young (1801-77) quickly rose to prominence and was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles within three years. He personally directed the highly successful 1839 proselyting mission to Great Britain, and he was appointed president of the Twelve Apostles the following year. In 1846-47 he oversaw the epic colonization of the Intermountain West.
Self-educated and preoccupied with the day-to-day business of his widespread empire, Young rarely found time to read. But he delivered hundreds of lively, extemporaneous sermons which blended common sense with theological speculation. Such homespun treatises carried an immediacy that was absent from the philosophically-oriented studies of his ecclesiastical colleague Orson Pratt, though, at the same time, Young’s speeches could be unfocused and contradictory.
Several of the more controversial teachings that Young promulgated—Adam-as-God, divine omniscience, and blood atonement—have sparked considerable debate since they were first uttered more than one hundred years ago. “Will you love your brothers and sisters likewise,” he once asked, “when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood?”
Other favorite topics were the “personality of God,” “election and reprobation,” and “the resurrection.” His sermons usually begin in a chatty way: “I remarked last Sunday that I had not felt much like preaching,” or “When I contemplate the subject of salvation, and rise before a congregation to speak upon that all-important matter, it has been but a few times in my life that I could see a beginning point to it, or a stopping place.” Readers will find themselves drawn into the rhythm of Young’s rhetoric in the same way as his original hearers were.
Latter-day Saints were stunned in 1911 to learn that the interior of the Salt Lake temple had been secretly photographed and that perpetrators were demanding a $100,000 ransom for the photos. As church leaders considered their options, former University of Utah president James E. Talmage proposed that the First Presidency commission its own photos, which they did, authorizing Talmage to write his landmark House of the Lord. As the manuscript and photos were being readied for press, the presidency appointed the forty-nine-year-old educator to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.
This was not the first time that Talmage had been of service to his church. As a geology professor, he was consulted about underground ventilation options for the Salt Lake Tabernacle and about the scientific evidence for organic evolution, which he cautiously promoted. At the church president’s request, Talmage also delivered a series of lectures on church theology which would form the basis for his later influential books.
Not that Talmage was unaccustomed to controversy. When his book, The Articles of Faith, first appeared, he was accused of “apostasy” and narrowly escaped church sanction. When he read from an advance text of Jesus the Christ in general conference, some leaders objected to the doctrinal content and had the offending paragraphs excised from the published conference proceedings.
Scholars have noted that much of Talmage’s work reflects the thinking of his day, particularly in his reliance on Frederick Farrar’s Life of Christ and in his portrayal of a so-called “Victorian Jesus.” But as James P. Harris observes, Talmage also “supplemented the biblical narrative with modern revelation” and produced “a source of information and inspiration to church members worldwide.”
The Essential James E. Talmage includes some of the apostle’s lesser-known works. For Talmage’s more popular writings, the editor has included relevant diary entries and material omitted from later editions. Readers will appreciate the process by which these seminal works were produced and the character of the man who composed them.
After the 1872 publication of Expose',Fanny Stenhouse became a celebrity in the cultural wars between Mormons and much of America. An English convert, she had grown disillusioned with the Mormon Church and polygamy, which her husband practiced before associating with a circle of dissident Utah intellectuals and merchants. Stenhouse’s critique of plural marriage, Brigham Young, and Mormonism was also a sympathetic look at Utah’s people and honest recounting of her life. Before long, she created a new edition, titled "Tell It All," which ensured her notoriety in Utah and popularity elsewhere but turned her thoughtful memoir into a more polemical, true expose' of Polygamy. Since 1874, it has stayed in print, in multiple, varying editions. The original book, meanwhile, is less known, though more readable. Tracing the literary history of Stenhouse’s important piece of Americana, Linda DeSimone rescues an important autobiographical and historical record from the baggage notoriety brought to it.
To her contemporaries Amy Brown Lyman was a leader, admired for her dynamic personality, her inspiring public addresses, and especially for her remarkable vision of what Mormon women in the Relief Society could achieve. Yet today her name is barely known. This volume brings her work to light, showing how the accomplishments of Lyman and her peers benefitted their own and subsequent generations.
Placing Lyman’s story within a local and national context, award-winning author Dave Hall examines the roots and trajectory of Mormon women’s activism. Born into a polygamist family, Lyman entered the larger sphere of public life at the time when the practice of polygamy was ending and Mormonism had begun assimilating mainstream trends. The book follows her life as she prepared for a career, married, and sought meaning in a rapidly changing society. It recounts her involvement in the Relief Society, the Mormon women’s charity group that she led for many years and sought to transform into a force for social welfare, and it considers the influence of her connections with national and international women’s organizations. The final period of Lyman’s life, in which she resigned from the Relief Society amidst personal tragedy, offers insight into the reasons Mormon women abandoned their activist heritage for a more conservative role, a stance that is again evolving.
Winner of the Mormon History Association's Best First Book Award.
The years from 1852 to 1890 marked a controversial period in Mormonism, when the church's official embrace of polygamy put it at odds with wider American culture. In this study, Christine Talbot explores the controversial era, discussing how plural marriage generated decades of cultural and political conflict over competing definitions of legitimate marriage, family structure, and American identity.
In particular, Talbot examines "the Mormon question" with attention to how it constructed ideas about American citizenship around the presumed separation of the public and private spheres. Contrary to the prevailing notion of man as political actor, woman as domestic keeper, and religious conscience as entirely private, Mormons enfranchised women and framed religious practice as a political act. The way Mormonism undermined the public/private divide led white, middle-class Americans to respond by attacking not just Mormon sexual and marital norms but also Mormons' very fitness as American citizens. Poised at the intersection of the history of the American West, Mormonism, and nineteenth-century culture and politics, this carefully researched exploration considers the ways in which Mormons and anti-Mormons both questioned and constructed ideas of the national body politic, citizenship, gender, the family, and American culture at large.
Brilliant and charismatic,
David Hyrum Smith was a poet, painter, singer, philosopher, naturalist,
and highly effective missionary for the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints. In this richly detailed biography, Valeen Tippetts
Avery chronicles the life of the last son of Joseph Smith and his first
Avery draws on a large body
of correspondence for details of David's life and on his poetry to reveal
his personality and emotional struggles. She tells of his mental deterioration,
starting with a probable breakdown early in 1870 and ending with his death
in 1904 in the Northern Illinois Hospital and Asylum for the Insane in
Elgin, where he had been confined for twenty-seven years.
"This is an astonishing
accomplishment which not only tells the reader about a neglected historical
figure, but about myriad neglected dimensions of both Mormon history and
the history of religion in general."
-- Jan Shipps, author of Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition
"This will stand alone
as a biography of David H. Smith. . . . But it is also an insightful look
at the times and environment from which the Smith family, and its ideas,
-- Paul M. Edwards, author of Our Legacy of Faith: A Brief History of the Reorganized Church
Winner of the Juanita Brooks Prize in Mormon Studies
Frontiersman, colonizer, missionary to the Indians, and explorer of the American West, Jacob Hamblin has long been one of the most enigmatic figures in Mormon history. In this defining biography, Todd Compton examines and disentangles many of the myths and controversies surrounding Hamblin. His Grand Canyon adventures and explorations as a guide alongside John Wesley Powell are well documented, as are his roles as a missionary, cultural liaison, and negotiator to the Indian tribes of southern Utah and Arizona. Hamblin struggled in this latter role, sometimes unable to bridge the gulf between Mormonism and Indian culture. He disavowed violent conflict and ceaselessly sought peaceful resolutions where others resorted to punitive action. He strove above all for mutual understanding in the absence of conversion.
A Frontier Life provides a rich narrative that fleshes out a picture of a sometimes vilified figure, particularly in regard to his connection to the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre, where Compton provides nuanced discussion clarifying Hamblin’s post-massacre role—he was not present at the massacre, but reported on it to both Brigham Young and military investigators. Compton’s engagement with Mormon historiography and previous Hamblin portrayals will make this work of particular interest to both scholars and students. The casual reader will take pleasure in learning of a true pioneer who lived life at the geographical, cultural, and spiritual boundaries of his era. This dramatic, entertaining biography is a truly significant contribution to Mormon history.
Winner of the Evans Biography Award, the John Whitmer Historical Society Best Biography Award, and the Francis Armstrong Madsen Best Book Award.
At the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Mormons were deliberately excluded from one of the main attractions, the Parliament of Religions. Organizers believed that Mormonism, with its connections to polygamy, did not merit a place alongside other world religions being showcased for the similar ways in which they inspired people to follow God. At the same time, however, Americans who had long shown hatred or distrust toward their Mormon neighbors had begun to see Mormonism in a different light. Underlying this new view of Mormonism was a rapidly developing belief in America’s fading western frontier as a place linked to core American values such as self-reliance, personal freedom, and democratic rule. With a unique history intimately tied to the frontier, Mormonism began to be seen less as something outside America, and more as a faith closely associated with the country’s most important principles.
In Frontier Religion Konden Smith Hansen examines the dramatic influence these perceptions of the frontier had on Mormonism and other religions in America. Endeavoring to better understand the sway of the frontier on religion in the United States, this book follows several Mormon-American conflicts, from the Utah War and the antipolygamy crusades to the Reed Smoot hearings. The story of Mormonism’s move toward American acceptability represents a larger story of the nation’s transition to modernity and the meaning of religious pluralism. This book challenges old assumptions and provokes further study of the ever changing dialectic between society and faith.
The Mormon Church entered the public square on LGBT issues by joining forces with traditional-marriage proponents in Hawaii in 1993. Since then, the church has been a significant player in the ongoing saga of LGBT rights within the United States and at times has carried decisive political clout.
Gregory Prince draws from over 50,000 pages of public records, private documents, and interview transcripts to capture the past half-century of the Mormon Church’s attitudes on homosexuality. Initially that principally involved only its own members, but with its entry into the Hawaiian political arena, the church signaled an intent to shape the outcome of the marriage equality battle. That involvement reached a peak in 2008 during California’s fight over Proposition 8, which many came to call the “Mormon Proposition.”
In 2015, when the Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, the Mormon Church turned its attention inward, declaring same-sex couples “apostates” and denying their children access to key Mormon rites of passage, including the blessing (christening) of infants and the baptism of children.
While many studies of religion in the West have focused on the region's diversity, freedom, and individualism, Todd M. Kerstetter brings together the three most glaring exceptions to those rules to explore the boundaries of tolerance as enforced by society and the U.S. government. In sharp contrast to the mythic image of the West as the "Land of the Free," Kerstetter analyzes three tragic episodes that reveal the West as a cultural battleground: the Mormon Utah Expedition and Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857, the Lakota Ghost Dancers and the Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota in 1890, and the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas in 1993.
Hosea Stout witnessed and influenced many of the major civil and political events over fifty years of LDS history, but until the publication of his diaries, he was a relatively obscure figure to historians. Hosea Stout: Lawman, Legislator, Mormon Defender is the first-ever biography of this devoted follower who played a significant role in Mormon and Utah history.
Stout joined the Mormons in Missouri in 1838 and followed them to Nauvoo, where he rose quickly to become a top leader in the Nauvoo Legion and chief of police, a position he also held at Winter Quarters. He became the first attorney general for the Territory of Utah, was elected to the Utah Territorial Legislature, and served as regent for the University of Deseret (which later became the University of Utah) and as judge advocate of the Nauvoo Legion in Utah. In 1862, Stout was appointed US attorney for the Territory of Utah by President Abraham Lincoln. In 1867, he became city attorney of Salt Lake City, and he was elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 1881.
But Stout’s history also had its troubled moments. Known as a violent man and aggressive enforcer, he was often at the center of controversy during his days on the police force and was accused of having a connection with deaths in Nauvoo and Utah. Ultimately, however, none of these allegations ever found traction, and the leaders of the LDS community, especially Brigham Young, saw to it that Stout was promoted to roles of increasing responsibility throughout his life. When he died in 1889, Hosea Stout left a complicated legacy of service to his state, his church, and the members of his faith community.
The University Press of Colorado gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University toward the publication of this book.
“This is not a memoir. Rather, this is a fraternal meditation on the question: ‘Are we friends, my brother?’ The story is uncertain, the characters are in flux, the voices are plural, the photographs are as troubled as the prose. This is not a memoir.”
Thus Scott Abbott introduces the reader to his exploration of the life of his brother John, a man who died of AIDS in 1991 at the age of forty. Writing about his brother, he finds he is writing about himself and about the warm-hearted, educated, and homophobic LDS family that forged the core of his identity.
Images and quotations are interwoven with the reflections, as is a critical female voice that questions his assertions and ridicules his rhetoric. The book moves from the starkness of a morgue’s autopsy through familial disintegration and adult defiance to a culminating fraternal conversation. This exquisitely written work will challenge notions of resolution and wholeness.
Winner of the book manuscript prize in creative nonfiction in the Utah Arts Council’s Original Writing Competition.
Winner of the 15 Bytes Book Award for Creative Nonfiction.
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.
LeRoy Anderson in 1981 first published, under the title For Christ Will Come Tomorrow, his definitive study of a charismatic, millenarian prophet and the Church of Jesus Christ of the Most High. He told there of a Mormon posse’s 1862 attack on the Morrisite compound, killing Joseph Morris, and of the continuing Morrisite movement, which survived into the mid-twentieth century. In this newly revised edition, Anderson revisits his subject by referring to more recently discovered documents, considering other scholars’ continuing work on Morris’s sect and related subjects, and examining a 1980s messianic sect that claimed a direct connection to the Morrisites.
New documentary sources include a holograph “History of George Morris,” written by Joseph Morris’s brother, which Anderson quotes at length. What was once a little-studied subject has since received attention from a number of scholars. Anderson references such current work on Mormon schismatic movements and broader subjects, much of which drew on his work. Perhaps the book’s most interesting and unintended influence was on that obscure 1980s messianic sect, in Montana, which learned of Morris through Joseph Morris and the Saga of the Morrisites.
The study of Joseph Smith and his writings have long been shaped by the polemical atmosphere that surrounds Smith’s claims to divine authorship. Even after a half-century of serious scholarship devoted to Smith, fundamental questions remain about how to best interpret features of his life and writing. Smith’s own History of Joseph Smith (edited and revised at the beginning of the twentieth century by B. H. Roberts) created an enduring image that influenced Mormon theology, doctrine, and polity for generations. With new historical documents now available, however, a reappraisal of Smith and the origins of Mormonism is necessary.
Ronald O. Barney, a former editor of the Joseph Smith Papers, applies new interpretations to Smith in history and memory, re-examining both his writings and contemporary accounts of him. The book explores the best methodologies for appraising the historical record, including a review of Smith’s world and its contextual background, an analysis of his foundational experiences, and a characterization of Smith as a man and prophet. Though the premise of re-evaluation may be unsettling to traditionalists, a modern reconsideration of the historical record’s entire range of sources is necessary to fashion a strategy for evaluating Smith and his enduring but complex legacy.
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.
Recipient of the Meritorious Book Award from the Utah Division of State History
"Junius and Joseph examines Joseph Smith's nearly forgotten  presidential bid, the events leading up to his assassination on June 27, 1844, and the tangled aftermath of the tragic incident. It... establishes that Joseph Smith's murder, rather than being the deadly outcome of a spontaneous mob uprising, was in fact a carefully planned military-style execution. It is now possible to identify many of the key individuals engaged in planning his assassination as well as those who took part in the assault on Carthage jail. And furthermore, this study presents incontrovertible evidence that the effort to remove the Mormon leader from power and influence extended well beyond Hancock County [Illinois] (and included prominent Whig politicians as well as the Democratic governor of the state), thereby transforming his death from an impulsive act by local vigilantes into a political assassination sanctioned by some of the most powerful men in Illinois. The circumstances surrounding Joseph Smith's death also serve to highlight the often unrecognized truth that a full understanding of early Mormon history can be gained only when considered in the context of events taking place in American society as a whole."
"A significant collection . . . that provides a depth and breadth
of understanding reflective of the latest and best in Mormon history."
-- Paul M. Edwards, author of Our Legacy of Faith: A Brief History of the RLDS
Who were the Nauvoo Mormons? Were they Jacksonian Americans or did they
embody some other weltanschaung? Why did this tiny Illinois town
become such a protracted battleground for the Mormons and non-Mormons
in the region? And what is the larger meaning of the Nauvoo experience
for the various inheritors of the legacy of Joseph Smith, Jr.? Kingdom on the Mississippi Revisited includes fourteen thoughtful
explanations that represent the most insightful and imaginative work on
Mormon Nauvoo published in the last thirty years. The range of topics
includes the Nauvoo Legion, the Mormon press, the political kingdom of
God, the opposition of non-Mormons, the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, and
the meaning of Nauvoo for Mormons. The introduction provides a critique
of Nauvoo scholarship, and a closing bibliographical essay analyzes the
historical literature on the Mormon experience at Nauvoo.
To survive in an often disapproving external social world, the LDS Church has made many adaptive changes in belief, practice, and organization over time. Gordon and Gary Shepherd identify and elucidate these changes through statistical analysis of the rhetoric from General Conference proceedings in their book. The first edition of A Kingdom Transformed, published in 1984, covered the years 1830 to 1979. This new edition revises this earlier work and adds to it by examining the subsequent thirty years of LDS church rhetoric revealing what new trends have emerged and what old ones have continued. It retains the summary and analysis of data from the first 150 years of LDS Church history, but every chapter, including the narrative history of early Mormonism, has been thoroughly rewritten with updated theoretical and empirical support from contemporary research sources.
The first edition showed how early twentieth century LDS leaders were fairly liberal in mainstreaming church doctrines and social teaching, but by mid-twentieth century, as the church became more stable, accepted, and successful, church authorities reversed several earlier modifications and began emphasizing a stricter, more conservative theology that coincided with an increasingly conservative political orientation. The new book adds current issues of concern, such as the role of women in the church and international growth versus member retention. It also introduces a new conceptual framework for interpreting findings.
From Sister Wives and Big Love to The Book of Mormon on Broadway, Mormons and Mormonism are pervasive throughout American popular media. In Latter-day Screens, Brenda R. Weber argues that mediated Mormonism contests and reconfigures collective notions of gender, sexuality, race, spirituality, capitalism, justice, and individualism. Focusing on Mormonism as both a meme and an analytic, Weber analyzes a wide range of contemporary media produced by those within and those outside of the mainstream and fundamentalist Mormon churches, from reality television to feature films, from blogs to YouTube videos, and from novels to memoirs by people who struggle to find agency and personhood in the shadow of the church's teachings. The broad archive of mediated Mormonism contains socially conservative values, often expressed through neoliberal strategies tied to egalitarianism, meritocracy, and self-actualization, but it also offers a passionate voice of contrast on behalf of plurality and inclusion. In this, mediated Mormonism and the conversations on social justice that it fosters create the pathway toward an inclusive, feminist-friendly, and queer-positive future for a broader culture that uses Mormonism as a gauge to calibrate its own values.
The LDS Gospel Topics Series: A Scholarly Engagement
Matthew L. Harris and Newell G. Bringhurst Signature Books, 2020 Library of Congress BX8637.L37 2020̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃̃ | Dewey Decimal 230.9332
This anthology provides a scholarly, in-depth analysis of the thirteen Gospel Topics essays issued by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from December 2013 to October 2015. The contributors reflect a variety of faith traditions, including the LDS Church, Community of Christ, Catholic, and Evangelical Christian. Each contributor is an experienced, thoughtful scholar, many having written widely on religious thought in general and Mormon history in particular. The writers probe the strengths and weaknesses of each of the Gospel Topics essays, providing a forthright discussion on the relevant issues in LDS history and doctrine. The editors hope that these analyses will spark a healthy discussion about the Gospel Topics essays, as well as stimulate further discussion in the field of Mormon Studies.
Copublished with the Tanner Trust Fund, J. Willard Marriott Library.
Leonard Arrington is considered by many the foremost twentieth-century historian of Mormonism. He played a key role in establishing the Western History Association and the Mormon History Association, and more than a half-century after its publication, his revised doctoral dissertation, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints 1830-1900, remains a standard. But Arrington’s career was not without controversy. Gregory Prince takes an in-depth look at this respected historian and, in telling Arrington’s story, gives readers insight into the workings of the LDS Church in the late twentieth century.
In 1972, during a major reorganization of the LDS Church, Arrington was asked to serve as the official church historian, thereby becoming the first—and thus far the only—professional historian to hold that title. He immediately set out to professionalize the entire Church History Division and open its extensive archives to scholarly researching. While the output of and from that division moved Mormon studies to a new level, the shift of historiography from faith promotion ecclesiastical, to scholarly and professional research and analysis was unacceptable to a handful of powerful senior apostles. In 1980 the History Division was disassembled and moved to Brigham Young University. That led to a shift in the professionalization of the Church History Division and Archives and in Arrington’s career but not to a loss of his broad influence.
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.
Winner of the Evans Biography Award and the John Whitmer Historical Association's Brim Biography Book Award.
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).
Before the LDS Church was organized, Joseph Smith received a revelation telling him that twelve men would be called as latter-day apostles. Their assignment would be to warn men and women that the end was near. Although the determination of who would fill these positions was delayed for five years, when it finally happened, God reiterated that these men were to “prune the vineyard for the last time” because the Second Coming was nigh. In fact, “fifty six years would wind up the scene,” they were told.
Of the twelve men selected, nine would eventually be pruned from the vineyard themselves, to varying degrees. Seven were excommunicated, one of whom was reinstated to his position in the Twelve. Of the other six, the subjects of this book, none returned to the apostleship and four never came back to the Church at all. Those who left faded into obscurity except for when they are occasionally still mentioned in sermons as cautionary tales. But two of them made their marks in other areas of society, John Boynton becoming a successful dentist, a popular lecturer, geologist, and inventor with dozens of important patents to his name, while Lyman Johnson became a prominent attorney and business owner. Even though Luke Johnson, Thomas B. Marsh, William McLellin, and William Smith became religious wanderers and tried unsuccessfully to adjust to life outside of the Church, their experiences were interesting and comprise valuable case studies in belief and disaffection.
Joseph Smith's father, Joseph Smith Sr., first occupied the hereditary office of Presiding Patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Thereafter, it became a focal point for struggle between those appointed and those born to leadership positions. This new edition of Lost Legacy updates the award-winning history of the office. Irene M. Bates and E. Gary Smith chronicle the ongoing tensions around the existence of a Presiding Patriarch as a source of conflict between the Smith family and the rest of the leadership. Their narrative continues through the dawning realization that familial authority was incompatible with the LDS's structured leadership and the decision to abolish the office of Patriarch in 1979. This second edition, revised and supplemented by author E. Gary Smith, includes a new chapter on Eldred G. Smith, the General Authority Emeritus who was the final Presiding Patriarch. It also corrects the text and provides a new preface by E. Gary Smith.
From the perspective of Protestant America, nineteenth-century Mormons were the victims of a peculiar zealotry, a population deranged––socially, sexually, even racially––by the extravagances of belief they called “religion.” Make Yourselves Gods offers a counter-history of early Mormon theology and practice, tracking the Saints from their emergence as a dissident sect to their renunciation of polygamy at century’s end.
Over these turbulent decades, Mormons would appear by turns as heretics, sex-radicals, refugees, anti-imperialists, colonizers, and, eventually, reluctant monogamists and enfranchised citizens. Reading Mormonism through a synthesis of religious history, political theology, native studies, and queer theory, Peter Coviello deftly crafts a new framework for imagining orthodoxy, citizenship, and the fate of the flesh in nineteenth-century America. What emerges is a story about the violence, wild beauty, and extravagant imaginative power of this era of Mormonism—an impassioned book with a keen interest in the racial history of sexuality and the unfinished business of American secularism.
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.
Winner of the Southwest Book Design and Production Award from the New Mexico Book Association.
Selected as one of the American Library Association's Best of the Best from University Presses.
These eighteen essays span more than thirty years of Lavina Fielding Anderson’s concerns about and reflections on issues of inclusiveness in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including her own excommunication for “apostasy” in 1993, followed by twenty-five years of continued attendance at weekly LDS ward meetings. Written with a taste for irony and an eye for documentation, the essays are timeless snapshots of sometimes controversial issues, beginning with official resistance to professionally researched Mormon history in the 1980s. They underscore unanswered questions about gender equality and repeatedly call attention to areas in which the church does not live up to its better self. Compassionately and responsibly, it calls Anderson’s beloved religion back to its holiest nature.
The most detailed study yet of early Mormon thought about the "end
times," The Millenarian World of Early Mormonism shows how
early LDS interpretation of the Bible and the Book of Mormon affected,
and was affected by, Mormon millennial doctrines. Grant Underwood provides
the first comprehensive linkage of the history of early Mormonism and
millennial thought, reassessing Mormonism's relationship to the dominant
culture and placing Mormon millennial thought in the broader context of
Judeo-Christian ideas about the end of the world.
"A model of first-rate scholarship and balanced interpretation;
it has much to say not only to those interested in Mormon history but
also to anyone seeking to understand the role of millenarian ideas in
the American experience." -- Michael Barkun, Journal of American History
"No serious student of early Mormon history should fail to read
this book." -- L. B. Tipson, Choice
"A signal contribution to Mormon studies. Anyone who wishes to explore
the core of the Mormon identity in the nineteenth century will have to
come to terms with this book." -- Richard T. Hughes, author of Reviving the Ancient Faith: The Story of Churches of Christ in America
The Missouri Mormon Experience
Edited by Thomas M. Spencer University of Missouri Press, 2010 Library of Congress BX8615.M8M57 2010 | Dewey Decimal 289.377809034
The Mormon presence in nineteenth-century Missouri was uneasy at best and at times flared into violence fed by misunderstanding and suspicion. By the end of 1838, blood was shed, and Governor Lilburn Boggs ordered that Mormons were to be “exterminated or driven from the state.”
The Missouri persecutions greatly shaped Mormon faith and culture; this book reexamines Mormon-Missourian history within the sociocultural context of its time. The contributors to this volume unearth the challenges and assumptions on both sides of the conflict, as well as the cultural baggage that dictated how their actions and responses played on each other.
Shortly after Joseph Smith proclaimed Jackson County the site of the “New Jerusalem,” Mormon settlers began moving to western Missouri, and by 1833 they made up a third of the county’s population. Mormons and Missourians did not mix well. The new settlers were relocated to Caldwell County, but tensions still escalated, leading to the three-month “Mormon War” in 1838—capped by the Haun’s Mill Massacre, now a seminal event in Mormon history.
These nine essays explain why Missouri had an important place in the theology of 1830s Mormonism and was envisioned as the site of a grand temple. The essays also look at interpretations of the massacre, the response of Columbia’s more moderate citizens to imprisoned church leaders (suggesting that the conflict could have been avoided if Smith had instead chosen Columbia as his new Zion), and Mormon migration through the state over the thirty years following their expulsion.
Although few Missourians today are aware of this history, many Mormons continue to be suspicious of the state despite the eventual rescinding of Governor Boggs’s order. By depicting the Missouri-Mormon conflict as the result of a particularly volatile blend of cultural and social causes, this book takes a step toward understanding the motivations behind the conflict and sheds new light on the state of religious tolerance in frontier America.
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.
Contrary to popular folklore, the LDS temple ceremony was not performed or recited in the U.S. Senate chambers during the 1904-06 challenge to Reed Smoot’s election from Utah. Nor was it entered into the Congressional Record. The committee investigating Apostle-Senator Smoot’s qualifications wanted to know if temple participants promised to avenge the blood of the martyred prophet Joseph Smith and whether that vengeance was sworn upon “this generation” or upon “this nation,” the former being considered a matter of religious dogma and the latter possible treason against the United States.
However, Senators did want to know about the LDS Church’s controversial practice of polygamy, especially since 1890 when the practice was formally abandoned. Surprisingly, Church President Joseph F. Smith admitted that he had fathered eleven children by five wives since 1890. Asked about his role in receiving revelations for the church, Smith replied that he had received none thus far. Other questions probed the church’s involvement in politics, including action taken by the church against Apostle Moses Thatcher for saying that “Satan was the author of the Republican Party.”
To a large extent, the Mormon Church, not Senator Smoot, was the real target of the Senate’s scrutiny. Some felt uncomfortable about this emphasis. Senator Bailey (D-Tx) “objected to going into the religious opinions of these people. I do not think Congress has anything to do with that unless their religion connects itself in some way with their civil or political affairs.” But Smoot’s critics proceeded to show a convoluted tangle of Utah business, political, and religious affairs and what they considered to be un-American religious supremacy in all areas. They argued that a Senator “legislates for 80 million people who hold as their most cherished possession … a respect for law because it is law, as Reed Smoot, unhappily for him, has never felt nor understood from the moment of his first conscious thought down to the present hour. ”
Mormon Colonies in Mexico
Thomas Cottam Romney University of Utah Press, 2005 Library of Congress BX8617.M4R6 2005 | Dewey Decimal 289.372
"Romney’s unique vantage point is the strongest draw of this narrative: Romney and his family lived much of their life in the Mexican Mormon colonies. But the narrative’s value is much broader and deeper than just that. Romney’s insights into Mexican politics and personalities, and his view of the course of history from inside rather than from outside, are fascinating, colorful and opinionated. He was clear about who he admired and why, and who he did not."
—from the Foreword
In the 1880s, as a precondition to granting Utah statehood, the United States government enacted laws to put a stop to the Mormon practice of polygamy. Those who continued to practice this principle were forced underground as federal marshals roamed the territory searching for "polygs." In response, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints looked for safe places to send its members; many found refuge across the border in Mexico.
Unavailable since its original publication in 1938, this important document of a little-known chapter in Mormon history is now reprinted with a foreword by Martha Sonntag Bradley. Romney was raised and spent much of his life in the colonies, making this book a significant contribution to LDS history. It chronicles a new kind of Mormon pioneer facing the hardships of an unfamiliar land, a tenuous relationship with the government, and the necessary fortitude to hold fast to one’s belief in the face of difficulty and trial.
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.
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.
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.
Ronald W. Walker, David J. Whittaker, James B. Allen University of Illinois Press, 2010 Library of Congress BX8611.W34 2001 | Dewey Decimal 289.309
A companion volume to their massive bibliography Studies in Mormon History, 1830–1997, this descriptive history by a team of top Mormon scholars provides an interpretive survey of Mormon historical writings. The authors examine Mormon biography and autobiography and discuss social science literature on the Mormons, including studies of social geography, rural sociology, and agricultural economics. Two valuable appendices on Mormon imprints and historical sources round out this volume.
The Tanner lectures, now firmly entrenched as an institution at the annual Mormon History Association meetings, were established in 1980 as a means of providing scholars of Mormonism with a valuable new perspective for their historical record. All twenty-one lectures are presented by well-known non-Mormon scholars that were invited to prepare presentations in their own specialties that also encompass some aspect of Mormon history. In the course of preparing their talks, the presenters are expected to immerse themselves for a year in current historical writings on Mormons and Mormonism. As this collection amply demonstrates, when these scholars do their homework, the results are enlightening. This volume includes the Tanner lectures for the last two decades of the twentieth century, a general introduction, and specialized introductions to each individual lecture.
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.
How the Violent Expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri Changed the History of America and the West
In 1831, Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Church of Christ—later to be renamed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—revealed that Zion, or “New Jerusalem,” was to be established in Jackson County, Missouri. Smith sent some of his followers to begin the settlement, but they were soon expelled by locals who were suspicious of their religion and their abolitionist sympathies. Smith led an expedition to regain the settlement, but was unsuccessful. Seven years later, in January 1838, Smith fled to Missouri from Ohio to avoid a warrant for his arrest, and joined the Mormon community in the town of Far West, which became the new Zion. The same prejudices recurred and the Mormons found themselves subject to attacks from non-Mormons, including attempts to prevent them from voting. Despite his abhorrence of violence, Smith decided that it was necessary for Mormons to defend themselves, which resulted in a short and sharp conflict known as the Mormon War. A covert Mormon paramilitary unit, the Danites, was formed to pillage non- Mormon towns, while angry rhetoric rose from both sides. After the Missouri state militia was attacked at the Battle of Crooked River, Missouri governor Liburn William Boggs issued Executive Order 44, which called for Mormons to be “exterminated or driven from the State.” Non-Mormons responded by attacking a Mormon settlement at Haun’s Mill, killing men and boys and firing on the women. Following this massacre, the state militia surrounded Far West and arrested Smith and other Mormon leaders. Smith was tried for treason and narrowly avoided execution, but was allowed to go and join the rest of his followers who were forced from Missouri to Illinois, where they founded their next major town, Nauvoo. There, Smith would be murdered and the church would split into several factions, with Brigham Young leading the movement’s largest group to Utah.
In The Mormon War: Zion and the Missouri Extermination Order of 1838, Brandon G. Kinney unravels the complex series of events that led to a religious and ideological war of both blood and words. The Mormon War not only challenged the protection afforded by the First Amendment, it foreshadowed the partisan violence over slavery and states’ rights that would erupt across Missouri and Kansas. The war also fractured Smith’s Church and led ultimately to the unexpected settlement of a vast area of the West as a Mormon homeland. By tracing the life of Joseph Smith, Jr. and his quest for Zion, the author reveals that the religion he founded was destined for conflict—both internal and external—as long as he remained its leader.
Mormonism in Britain began in the late 1830s with the arrival of American missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not long afterward, thousands of British converts emigrated to Utah and became a kind of lifeblood for the early Mormon Church. The English North West, where Mormonism had its strongest presence, has since become a place of profound significance to the church, both institutionally and internationally. Despite its importance to Mormonism, this history has never been fully explored. Matthew Rasmussen provides the first detailed account and examines how Mormonism has changed and endured in Britain.
After many British believers left for America, church membership in England fell so sharply that the movement in Britain seemed to be on the brink of collapse. Yet British Mormonism gradually resurged and continues today. How did this religious minority flourish when so many nineteenth-century revivalist movements did not? Rasmussen explains Mormonism’s inception, perpetuation, and maturation in Britain in a compelling case study of a “new religious movement” with staying power. From its establishment in 1837 to its maturation in 1998, the Mormon perspective of Britain shifted dramatically. This book chronicles that shift, and illustrates how doctrinal adaptation has enabled Mormonism in Britain to persist.
"Without fully and consciously realizing that they were doing so, the followers of Jesus established a new religious tradition. This book tells the story of yet another assembly of saints whose history, I believe, is in many respects analogous to the history of those early Christians who thought at first that they had found the only proper way to be Jews. Mormonism started to grow away from traditional Christianity almost immediately upon coming into existence. It began as a movement that understood itself as Christian, but. . . these nineteenth-century Latter-day Saints (as they came to be called) embarked on a path that led to developments that now distinguish their tradition from the Christian tradition as surely as early Christianity was distinguished from its Hebraic context."--From the preface
Any Latter-day Saint who has ever defended his or her beliefs has likely addressed issues first raised by Eber D. Howe in 1834. Howe’s famous exposé was the first of its kind, with information woven together from previous news articles and some thirty affidavits he and others collected. He lived and worked in Painesville, Ohio, where, in 1829, he had published about Joseph Smith’s discovery of a “golden bible.” Smith’s decision to relocate in nearby Kirtland sparked Howe’s attention. Of even more concern was that Howe’s wife and other family members had joined the Mormon faith. Howe immediately began investigating the new Church and formed a coalition of like-minded reporters and detractors. By 1834, Howe had collected a large body of investigative material, including affidavits from Smith’s former neighbors in New York and from Smith’s father-inlaw in Pennsylvania. Howe learned about Smith’s early interest in pirate gold and use of a seer stone in treasure seeking and heard theories from Smith’s friends, followers, and family members about the Book of Mormon’s origin. Indulging in literary criticism, Howe joked that Smith, “evidently a man of learning,” was a student of “barrenness of style and expression.” Despite its critical tone, Howe’s exposé is valued by historians for its primary source material and account of the growth of Mormonism in northeastern Ohio.
Mormons and Mormonism gathers key essays by leading scholars on the history, foundational ideas and practices, and worldwide expansion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The ideal introduction to Mormonism, this choice sampler provides a selective overview of what many historians consider the most innovative and successful religion to emerge during the spiritual ferment of antebellum America.
This volume explains how the earliest Mormons viewed their religion and suggests that the Book of Mormon appeared to them as an exciting document of social protest. Contributors consider the history of persecution of the Mormons, the church's relationship with the state of Utah and with other divisions of Christianity, and culture clashes in the church's missionary efforts. Mormons and Mormonism also places beliefs such as vicarious baptism for the dead in a larger context of community and religious ideals.
The founding of Mormonism and its rapid emergence as a new world religion are among the most intriguing aspects of American religious history and among the most neglected in the religion classroom. This much-needed volume lays the groundwork for a better understanding of the LDS Church and its historical and potential impact on the United States and the world.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints adopted the vocal and theatrical traditions of American musical theater as important theological tenets. As Church membership grew, leaders saw how the genre could help define the faith and wove musical theater into many aspects of Mormon life. Jake Johnson merges the study of belonging in America with scholarship on voice and popular music to explore the surprising yet profound link between two quintessentially American institutions. Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Mormons gravitated toward musicals as a common platform for transmitting political and theological ideas. Johnson sees Mormons using musical theater as a medium for theology of voice--a religious practice that suggests how vicariously voicing another person can bring one closer to godliness. This sounding, Johnson suggests, created new opportunities for living. Voice and the musical theater tradition provided a site for Mormons to negotiate their way into middle-class respectability. At the same time, musical theater became a unique expressive tool of Mormon culture.
In Mormonism we are sometimes seemingly casual
about death: it’s a veil or a mission call to the spirit
world. But our actual encounters with the reality of
death inevitably change us in ways that are difficult
In this collection, Mormon writers wrestle with
mortality and its aftermath. A family sings a hesitant
rendition of Happy Birthday to a grief-stricken
mother who buried her toddler just a few hours earlier;
an agnostic son decides he’s Mormon enough to
arrange a funeral for his believing father.
Some essays use death as a means to understand
faith. One author imagines a world where Heavenly
Mother visits her children in the form of their
female ancestors, appearing to her descendants in
times of grief or pain.
Others address practicalities: how do you protect
your children from death while still allowing them
to experience the world; how do you get through
one more nausea-ridden day of cancer treatment?
Still others delve into death’s questions: does the
overwhelming suffering that occurs in the animal
kingdom have a function in the “plan of happiness”?
Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking,
always thought-provoking, these personal essays,
poems, and stories may never be heard at a Mormon
funeral. But they probably should be.
“This is a meticulously researched and skillfully written work on Mormon polygamy. The author does not take sides in this tangled web of theology and practice, but instead has produced what may well be the definitive work on polygamy. I highly recommend it.” —Linda King Newell, co-author, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith
“Nauvoo Polygamy is s a thorough investigation of sexual politics in the City of the Saints, the 1840s Mormon headquarters in the U.S. State of Illinois. Written with precision, clarity, and ease, it is a major contribution to Mormon history, groundbreaking in identifying the other polygamists who followed the lead of their prophet, Joseph Smith, in taking multiple partners.” —Klaus J. Hansen, Professor Emeritus of History, Queen’s University, Ontario
“If for no other reason, the inclusion of chapter 6 makes this book worth its price. The chapter quotes liberally from those like Elizabeth Ann Whitney and Bathsheba Smith who accepted polygamy rather easily, those like Jane Richards who accepted it only reluctantly, and those like Patty Sessions who found plural marriage almost unbearable. A bonus is chapter 9 which provides a concise historical overview of polygamous societies in Reformation Europe, touches on similar societies in America, and offers an extended discussion of Orson Pratt’s 1852 defense of plural marriage.” —Thomas G. Alexander, Professor Emeritus of History, Brigham Young University
“George Smith shows how many of the prophet’s followers embraced plural marriage during a period when the LDS Church was emphatically denying the practice … [and he tells this in] a lucid writing style.” —Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848.
“An extremely important contribution to the history of polygamy … that allows us to see how Joseph Smith’s marriages fit into the context of his daily life.” —Todd M. Compton, author of In Sacred loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith
Ruth Milkman's groundbreaking research in women's labor history has contributed important perspectives on work and unionism in the United States. On Gender, Labor, and Inequality presents four decades of Milkman's essential writings, tracing the parallel evolutions of her ideas and the field she helped define. Milkman's introduction frames a career-spanning scholarly project: her interrogation of historical and contemporary intersections of class and gender inequalities in the workplace, and the efforts to challenge those inequalities. Early chapters focus on her pioneering work on women's labor during the Great Depression and the World War II years. In the book's second half, Milkman turns to the past fifty years, a period that saw a dramatic decline in gender inequality even as growing class imbalances created greater-than-ever class disparity among women. She concludes with a previously unpublished essay comparing the impact of the Great Depression and the Great Recession on women workers.
Hosea Stout was a participant in the mainstream movement as the newly formed Mormon Church expanded its membership and range. He held numerous positions of responsibility in church, civic, and governmental organizations, including as officer of the militias of Illinois and Utah, attorney general of the state of Deseret and the territory of Utah, and president of the house of the Utah Territorial Legislature. Such positions gave Stout the opportunity to observe and record events of great moment in Mormon history that were outside the reach of many diarists. His records of the territorial legislature offer a more informative and detailed account of the affairs of the legislative assembly than even the official journals of that body. Yet Stout also imbues his diaries with a sense of the familiar, recounting moving experiences from his daily life.
This edition of On the Mormon Frontier presents Stout’s diary in a single volume, proving that it continues to be an essential work in the study of Mormon and American history.
One Side By Himself
Ronald Barney Utah State University Press, 2002 Library of Congress F593.B24 2001 | Dewey Decimal 978.02092
"What an astonishing life and what a remarkable biography. Lewis Barney's sojourn on the hard edge of the American frontier is a forgotten epic. Not only does this book tell of an amazing personal odyssey from his birth in upstate New York in 1808 to his death in Mancos, Colorado, in 1894, but Barney's tale represents a living evocation of some of the most significant themes in American history. Frederick Jackson Turner theorized that the frontier shaped our national character, but Lewis Barney's life stands as a testament to the real impact of the westering experience on a man and his family. Ron Barney's detailed biography of Lewis Barney provides a participant's view of Mormonism's first six decades of controversy, hardship, and triumph, viewed from the bottom of the social heap. Despite his wide-ranging experience and endless sacrifices, Lewis Barney was a worker in the Mormon vineyard, not one of the princes of the Kingdom of God whose lives have been so exhaustively celebrated. Barney's lack of status in this complex hierarchy adds tremendously to the value of this study, since so much nineteenth-century LDS biography has ignored the lives of ordinary people to celebrate a surprisingly small elite whose experiences were far different from those of the general Mormon population." —Will Bagley, editor of the series Kingdom in the West: The Mormons and the American Frontier and editor of The Pioneer Camp of the Saints: The 1846-1847 Mormon Trail Journals of Thomas Bullock.
These letters among two women and their husband offer a rare look into the personal dynamics of an LDS polygamous relationship. Abraham “Owen” Woodruff was a young Mormon apostle, the son of President Wilford Woodruff, remembered for the Woodruff Manifesto, which called for the divinely inspired termination of plural marriage. It eased a systematic federal judicial assault on Mormons and made Utah statehood possible. It did not end polygamy in the church. Some leaders continued to encourage and perform such marriages. Owen Woodruff himself contracted a secretive, second marriage to Avery Clark. Pressure on the LDS church revived with hearings regarding Reed Smoot’s seat in the U. S. Senate. After church president Joseph F. Smith issued the so-called Second Manifesto in 1904, polygamy and its more prominent advocates were mostly expunged from mainstream Mormonism. Owen Woodruff was not excommunicated, as a couple of his apostolic colleagues were. He and his first wife, Helen May Winters, had died suddenly that same year after contracting smallpox in Mexico. Owen Woodruff had often been “on the underground,” moving frequently, traveling under secret identities, and using code names in his letters to his wives, while still carrying out his administrative duties, which, in particular, involved supervision of the nascent Mormon colonies in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming.
Authority and priesthood were concepts that developed gradually in Mormon theology, not as thunderbolts but as ideas that acquired meaning and momentum over time. Acting initially on the basis of implied leadership, Joseph Smith moved toward explicit angelic authority and an increasingly defined structure drawn from biblical models.
All the while the structure of higher and lower priesthoods fluctuated in response to pragmatic needs. Priests were needed to perform ordinances, teachers to lead congregations, bishops to manage church assets, and elders to proselytize–responsibilities which would be redistributed repeatedly throughout Smith’s fourteen-year ministry.
Gregory Prince charts these developments with impressive interpretative skill. Besides the obvious historical significance, he underscores the implications for current Mormon governance. For instance, where innovations have characterized the past, one need not be bound by custom or surprised when church leaders instigate change.
This collection of the prison memoirs and letters of the first Mormon
convicted of violating the Edmunds Law, which prohibited polygamy, provides
a unique perspective on this period of Utah history. Rudger Clawson (1857-1943)
was a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
serving as missionary, stake president, apostle, president of the Quorum
of the Twelve Apostles, and counselor in the First Presidency.
His memoirs of three years as a "cohab" in the Utah Territorial
Penitentiary are published here for the first time. They reflect the pride
Mormon polygamists felt at being "prisoners for conscience sake,"
and they include discussions of Mormon doctrines, accounts of daring prison
escapes, details of prison life, and the sense of a husband's frustration
at being separated from his plural wife.
Val D. Rust's Radical Origins investigates whether the unconventional religious beliefs of their colonial ancestors predisposed early Mormon converts to embrace the (radical( message of Joseph Smith Jr. and his new church.
Utilizing a unique set of meticulously compiled genealogical data, Rust uncovers the ancestors of early church members throughout what we understand as the radical segment of the Protestant Reformation. Coming from backgrounds in the Antinomians, Seekers, Anabaptists, Quakers, and the Family of Love, many colonial ancestors of the church(s early members had been ostracized from their communities. Expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, some were whipped, mutilated, or even hanged for their beliefs.
Rust shows how family traditions can be passed down through the generations, and can ultimately shape the outlook of future generations. This, he argues, extends the historical role of Mormons by giving their early story significant implications for understanding the larger context of American colonial history. Featuring a provocative thesis and stunning original research, Radical Origins is a remarkable contribution to our understanding of religion in the development of American culture and the field of Mormon history.
John A. Widtsoe Signature Books, 1998 Library of Congress BX8635.W6 1997 | Dewey Decimal 230.9332
The decades framing the turn of the twentieth century constituted a period of progressive optimism, of increasing faith in science and technology, and of character-building education—vividly illustrated in the founding of Christian Science, for example, and in the Latter-day Saint magazine, the Improvement Era.
In keeping with the times, it is not surprising that former professor of chemistry and university president John A. Widtsoe was called to the LDS Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1921. An inheritor and promoter of “reasonable” religion, his popular book, Joseph Smith as Scientist, and his influential LDS Melchizedek priesthood manual (later released as a book), Rational Theology, underscored his and other Mormon leaders’ positivist assumptions about the world—that science was good, that Mormonism would be proven true, and, drawing from Herbert Spencer’s application of evolution to ethics, that society would be perfected.
Like Widtsoe’s secular books (published nationally and internationally by Macmillan, Webb, and J. Wiley & Sons), Rational Theology would enjoy multiple printings domestically and several foreign translations. Although his other church writings (Evidences and Reconciliations, The Gospel in the Service of Man,Guide Posts to Happiness: The Right to Personal Satisfaction, and others) proved to be influential, none so thoroughly summarized his embrace of science and Mormonism as Rational Theology.
John Andreas Widtsoe was born in Dalöe, Island of Fröyen, Norway, in 1872. He immigrated to Utah in 1883 and graduated from Brigham Young College in 1891 and from Harvard with high honors in 1894. Widtsoe married Leah Eudora Dunford, daughter of Susa Young Gates, in 1898 and had seven children. In 1899 he was awarded a Ph.D. with high honors from the University of Göttingen, Germany. He both taught at and served as president of Utah State Agricultural College and the University of Utah. He was elected to the Victoria Institute in England, an honor received by only one other Mormon scholar—James E. Talmage. Widtsoe served as editor of the Improvement Era and wrote more than thirty books, including religious, autobiographical, and professional publications. His essay on LDS temple worship has been included in the new edition of The House of the Lord: A Study of Holy Sanctuaries Ancient and Modern. He was an apostle from 1921 until his death in 1952.
Fawn Brodie's biography of the founding Mormon prophet has received both praise and condemnation since it's publication in 1945. In 1995, at a symposium to mark its fiftieth anniversary, several scholars gathered together to re-examine Brodie, her Joseph Smith biography and its continuing importance. Bringhurst has brought together many of the essays from that meeting.
In late 1866, when Salt Lake City attorney Robert Baskin looked down at the mutilated body of a client, he resolved he would do all in his power to increase federal authority in Utah to ensure that perpetrators of such crimes would not go unpunished. He became the Assistant U.S. Attorney, Salt Lake City mayor, and a Utah Supreme Court justice. Through all this, he was seen as a thorn in the side of the Utah establishment. Even so, readers should appreciate his measured tone and lawyerly objectivity, as well as his graceful prose, indicative of a Harvard education, and his solid documentation intended to convince skeptics. After Reminiscences was published in 1914, Baskin sparred with prominent Mormon writer Orson F. Whitney, who suggested that “doubtless the fear, well-founded it seems, that judges would be sent to Utah as an engine of oppression” was the reason for excesses. Baskin countered, “Yes, without doubt it was ‘fear’ that inspired disloyal acts—fear the federal government would send judges here to execute impartiality as the law of the land.”
In Revelation, Resistance, and Mormon Polygamy historian Merina Smith explores the introduction of polygamy in Nauvoo, a development that unfolded amid scandal and resistance. Smith considers the ideological, historical, and even psychological elements of the process and captures the emotional and cultural detail of this exciting and volatile period in Mormon history. She illuminates the mystery of early adherents' acceptance of such a radical form of marriage in light of their dedication to the accepted monogamous marriage patterns of their day.
When Joseph Smith began to reveal and teach the doctrine of plural marriage in 1841, even stalwart members like Brigham Young were shocked and confused. In this thoughtful study, Smith argues that the secret introduction of plural marriage among the leadership coincided with an evolving public theology that provided a contextualizing religious narrative that persuaded believers to accept the principle.
This fresh interpretation draws from diaries, letters, newspapers, and other primary sources and is especially effective in its use of family narratives. It will be of great interest not only to scholars and the general public interested in Mormon history but in American history, religion, gender and sexuality, and the history of marriage and families.
If cosmology connotes an understanding of the structure of both a physical and a transcendent universe, contends Erich Robert Paul, it is virtually impossible to understand Mormonism outside the dimensions of cosmological thinking. This unique study examines how Mormonism shaped its cosmic vision by using and developing cosmological ideas, and what this process says about science, religion, and Mormonism itself.
The life of a Mormon intellectual in the secular academic community is likely to include some contradictions between belief, scholarship, and the changing times. In his memoir, Armand L. Mauss recounts his personal and intellectual struggles—inside and outside the LDS world—from his childhood to his days as a graduate student at UC Berkeley in the 1960s through his many years as a professor.
As an important and influential observer and author in the Mormon intellectual world, Mauss has witnessed how, in attempting to suppress independent and unsponsored scholarship during the final decades of the twentieth century, LDS leaders deliberately marginalized important intellectual support and resources that could have helped, in the twenty-first century, to refurbish the public image of the church. As a sociologist, he notes how the LDS Church, as a large, complex organization, strives to adjust its policies and practices in order to maintain an optimal balance between unique, appealing claims on the one hand and public acceptance on the other. He also discusses national and academic controversies over the New Religious Movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Writing in clear language, Mauss shows how he has navigated the boundaries where his faith and academic life intersect, and reveals why a continuing commitment to the LDS Church must be a product of choice more than of natural or supernatural “proof.”
This compilation of Dale Morgan’s historical work on Indians in the Intermountain West focuses primarily on the Shoshone who lived near the Oregon and California trails. Three connected works by Morgan are included: First is his classic article on the history of the Utah Superintendency of Indian Affairs. This is followed by an important set of government reports and correspondence from the National Archives concerning the Eastern Shoshone and their leader Washakie. Morgan heavily annotated these for serial publication in the Annals of Wyoming. He also wrote a previously unpublished history of early relations among the Western Shoshone, emigrants, and the government along the California Trail. Morgan biographer Richard L. Saunders introduced, edited, and further annotated this collection. His introduction includes an intellectual biography of Morgan that focuses on the place of the anthologized pieces in Morgan’s corpus. Gregory E. Smoak, a leading historian of the Shoshone, contributed an ethnohistorical essay as additional context for Morgan’s work.
This book of essays about Mormon women, all written and edited by scholars who are themselves Mormon women, is a brave and important work. Readers will fully appreciate just how brave and important it really is, however, if they can see how this work of historical theology fits into the history of historical writing about Mormon women, as well as how it fits into Mormon history itself.
"The women who contributed to this book are among the best of the Mormon literati . . . [they] hold that there is hope within the church for change, for reform, for expansion of the place of women." -- Women's Review of Books
"Historians of women in America have a great deal to learn from the history of Mormon women. This fine set of essays provides an excellent introduction to a subject about which we should all know more." -- Anne Firor Scott, author of Making the Invisible Woman Visible.
At times jubilant, at times elegiac, this set of ten essays by music historian Michael Hicks navigates topics that range from the inner musical life of Joseph Smith to the Mormon love of blackface musicals, from endless wrangling over hymnbooks to the compiling of Mormon folk and exotica albums in the 1960s. It also offers a brief memoir of what happened to LDS Church President Spencer Kimball’s record collection and a lengthy, brooding piece on the elegant strife it takes to write about Mormon musical history in the first place. There are surprises and provocations, of course, alongside judicious sifting of sources and weighing of evidence. The prose is fresh, the research smart, and the result a welcome mixture of the careful and the carefree from Mormonism’s best-known scholar of musical life.
Memorates—personal experience narratives of encounters with the supernatural—that recount individuals’ personal revelations, primarily through the Holy Ghost, are a pervasive aspect of the communal religious experience of Mormons, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In accordance with current emphases in folklore studies on narrative and belief, Tom Mould uses ethnographic research and an emic approach that honors the belief systems under study to analyze how people within Mormon communities frame and interpret their experiences with the divine through the narratives they share. In doing so, he provides a significant new ethnographic interpretation of Mormon culture and belief and also applies his findings directly to broader scholarly folklore discourse on performance, genre, personal experience narrative, belief, and oral versus written traditions.
Originally from New Hampshire, Amasa Mason Lyman converted to Mormonism over the objection of his family at age nineteen. Compelled to leave home with a total of eleven dollars in his pocket, he ventured some 700 miles east to Ohio, where Joseph Smith told him to return east and serve a mission despite his unfamiliarity with the church’s doctrines and procedures.
Ten years later Lyman temporarily replaced Orson Pratt in the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. This made him a kind of fifth wheel (thirteenth apostle) when Pratt was reinstated. Lyman would nevertheless regain his position in the quorum two years later and serve faithfully until his expulsion in 1867 for denying the divinity of Jesus. He then gravitated toward the anti-Brighamite spiritualist movement in Utah. Tracing the arc of this transformation from firm believer to prominent heretic, Lyman’s diaries are a window into the thinking of pioneer Mormons and the idealogical issues that sometimes divided them. This is the first in an anticipated multi-volume collection of historic diaries that will comprise the Signature Legacy Series.
Ezra Taft Benson's ultra-conservative vision made him one of the most polarizing leaders in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His willingness to mix religion with extreme right-wing politics troubled many. Yet his fierce defense of the traditional family, unabashed love of country, and deep knowledge of the faith endeared him to millions. In Thunder from the Right, a group of veteran Mormon scholars probe aspects of Benson's extraordinary life. Topics include: how Benson's views influenced his actions as Secretary of Agriculture in the Eisenhower Administration; his dedication to the conservative movement, from alliances with Barry Goldwater and the John Birch Society to his condemnation of the civil rights movement as a communist front; how his concept of the principal of free agency became central to Mormon theology; his advocacy of traditional gender roles as a counterbalance to liberalism; and the events and implications of Benson's term as Church president. Contributors: Gary James Bergera, Matthew Bowman, Newell G. Bringhurst, Brian Q. Cannon, Robert A. Goldberg, Matthew L. Harris, J. B. Haws, and Andrea G. Radke-Moss
Ezra Taft Benson is perhaps the most controversial apostle-president in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For nearly fifty years he delivered impassioned sermons in Utah and elsewhere, mixing religion with ultraconservative right-wing political views and conspiracy theories. His teachings inspired Mormon extremists to stockpile weapons, predict the end of the world, and commit acts of violence against their government. The First Presidency rebuked him, his fellow apostles wanted him disciplined, and grassroots Mormons called for his removal from the Quorum of the Twelve. Yet Benson was beloved by millions of Latter-day Saints, who praised him for his stances against communism, socialism, and the welfare state, and admired his service as secretary of agriculture under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Using previously restricted documents from archives across the United States, Matthew L. Harris breaks new ground as the first to evaluate why Benson embraced a radical form of conservatism, and how under his leadership Mormons became the most reliable supporters of the Republican Party of any religious group in America.
The first ten lectures in Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Series are here collected in one volume. The series, established by one of the twentieth-century West's most distinguished historians, Leonard Arrington, has become a leading forum for prominent historians to address topics related to Mormon history. The first lecturer was Arrington himself. He was followed by Richard Lyman Bushman, Richard E. Bennett, Howard R. Lamar, Claudia L. Bushman, Kenneth W. Godfrey, Jan Shipps, Donald Worster, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and F. Ross Peterson. Utah State University hosts the Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Series. The University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives houses the Arrington collection. The state's land grant university began collecting records very early, and in the 1960s became a major depository for Utah and Mormon records. Leonard and his wife Grace joined the USU faculty and family in 1946, and the Arringtons and their colleagues worked to collect original diaries, journals, letters, and photographs.
Although trained as an economist at the University of North Carolina, Arrington became a Mormon historian of international repute. Working with numerous colleagues, the Twin Falls, Idaho, native produced the classic Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints in 1958. Utilizing available collections at USU, Arrington embarked on a prolific publishing and editing career. He and his close ally, Dr. S. George Ellsworth helped organize the Western History Association, and they created the Western Historical Quarterly as the scholarly voice of the WHA. While serving with Ellsworth as editor of the new journal, Arr ington also helped both the Mormon History Association and the independent journal Dialogue get established.
One of Arrington's great talents was to encourage and inspire other scholars or writers. While he worked on biographies or institutional histories, he employed many young scholars as researchers. He fostered many careers as well as arranged for the publication of numerous books and articles.
In 1973, Arrington accepted the appointment as the official historian of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as the Lemuel Redd Chair of Western History at Brigham Young University. More and more Arrington focused on Mormon, rather than economic, historical topics. His own career flourished by the publication of The Mormon Experience, co-authored with Davis Bitton, and American Moses: A Biography of Brigham Young. He and his staff produced many research papers and position papers for the LDS Church as well. Nevertheless, tension developed over the historical process, and Arrington chose to move full time to BYU with his entire staff. The Joseph Fielding Smith Institute of History was established, and Leonard continued to mentor new scholars as well as publish biographies. He also produced a very significant two-volume study, The History of Idaho.
After Grace Arrington passed away, Leonard married Harriet Horne of Salt Lake City. They made the decision to deposit the vast Arrington collection of research documents, letters, files, books, and journals at Utah State University. The Leonard J. Arrington Historical Archives is part of the university's Special Collections. The Arrington Lecture Committee works with Special Collections to sponsor the annual lecture.
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.
Every great book has a great backstory. Here well-known historians describe their journeys of writing books that have influenced our understanding of the Mormon past, offering an unprecedented glimpse into why they wrote these important works. Writing Mormon History is a must-read for historians, students of history, scholars, and aspiring authors. The volume’s contributors are Polly Aird, Will Bagley, Todd Compton, Brian Hales, Melvin Johnson, William MacKinnon, Linda King Newell, Gregory Prince, D. Michael Quinn, Craig Smith, George D. Smith, Vickie Cleverley Speek, Susan Staker, Daniel Stone, and John Turner. The majority of the essays appear here for the first time.
The inability of American society to tolerate the peculiar institutions embraced by Mormons was one of the major events in the religious history of nineteenth-century America. Zion in the Courts explores one aspect of this collision between the Mormons and the mainstream: the Mormons' efforts to establish their own court system--one appropriate to the distinctive political, social, and economic practices they envisioned as Zion--and the pressures applied by the federal legal system to bring them to heel.
This first paperback edition includes two new introductory pieces in which the authors discuss the Mormon emphasis on settling disputes outside the court, a practice that foreshadows current trends toward arbitration and mediation.