Generations of Ogdenites have grown up absorbing 25th Street’s legends of corruption, menace, and depravity. The rest of Utah has tended to judge Ogden—known in its first century as a “gambling hell” and tenderloin, and in recent years as a degraded skid row—by the street’s gaudy reputation. Present-day Ogden embraces the afterglow of 25th Street’s decadence and successfully promotes it to tourists. In the same preservationist spirit as Denver’s Larimer Square, today’s 25th Street is home to art galleries, fine dining, live theater, street festivals, mixed-use condominiums, and the Utah State Railroad Museum.
25th Street Confidential traces Ogden’s transformation from quiet hamlet to chaotic transcontinental railroad junction as waves of non-Mormon fortune seekers swelled the city’s population. The street’s outsized role in Ogden annals illuminates larger themes in Utah and U.S. history. Most significantly, 25th Street was a crucible of Mormon-Gentile conflict, especially after the non-Mormon Liberal Party deprived its rival, the People’s Party, of long-standing control of Ogden’s municipal government in 1889. In the early twentieth-century the street was targeted in statewide Progressive Era reform efforts, and during Prohibition it would come to epitomize the futility of liquor abatement programs.
This first full-length treatment of Ogden’s rowdiest road spotlights larger-than-life figures whose careers were entwined with the street: Mayor Harman Ward Peery, who unabashedly filled the city treasury with fees and fines from vicious establishments; Belle London, the most successful madam in Utah history; and Rosetta Ducinnie Davie, the heiress to London’s legacy who became a celebrity on the street, in the courts, and in the press. Material from previously unexploited archives and more than one hundred historic photos enrich this narrative of a turbulent but unforgettable street.
Winner of the Utah Book Award in Nonfiction.
Chosen by Foreword as a finalist in the regional category for their IndieFab Book of the Year Award.
Alexander William Doniphan (1808-1887)--Missouri attorney, military figure, politician, and businessman--is one of the most significant figures in antebellum Missouri. From the 1830s to the 1880s, Doniphan was active in a variety of affairs in Missouri and held firm to several underlying principles, including loyalty, hard work, the sanctity of the republic, and commitment to Christian charity. However, the key to Doniphan's importance was his persistent moderation on the critical issues of his day.
Doniphan became a household name when he served as the commanding officer of the famed First Missouri Mounted Volunteers during the Mexican-American War. It was during this time that he won two battles, established an Anglo-American-based democracy in New Mexico, and paved the way for the annexation of the territory that became New Mexico and Arizona. He is also recognized by the Mormons for his assistance to their beleaguered church during Missouri's "Mormon War" and for his refusal to execute Joseph Smith when ordered to do so by his commanding officer.
Although Doniphan was a slaveholding unionist, he sought a middle ground to stave off war in the 1850s and early 1860s and served as a delegate to the Washington Peace Conference in 1861. When conflict escalated along the western border of Missouri in 1862, Doniphan moved to St. Louis, where he worked as a lawyer with the Missouri Claims Commission, seeking pensions for refugees.
Doniphan early adopted the Whig ideal of the "positive liberal state" and sought to use the power of government to remake society into something better. Once he saw the heavy-handed use of state power during Reconstruction, however, Doniphan reversed his views on the role of the government in society. For the rest of his life, he resisted government incursions into the lives of the people and sought to restore a healthy Union.
Alexander William Doniphan will be of interest to academic specialists and general readers alike, especially those interested in Mormon studies, Missouri history, military history, and Western history.
Alma Richards: Olympian
Larry R. Gerlach University of Utah Press, 2016 Library of Congress GV1061.15.R54G47 2016 | Dewey Decimal 796.42092
Alma Richards, as an unsung high school student, surprisingly set an Olympic record for the high jump in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. He was the only native Utahn and member of the LDS church to win an Olympic gold medal in the twentieth century. After a stellar collegiate track career that saw him lead Cornell to three national championships, Richards for two decades reigned as America’s most accomplished multiple-event track and field athlete, winning national titles in five different events. Despite his prominence in the history of American sports, this is the first treatment of his athletic career and personal life.
The book traces Richards from his boyhood in rural Parowan, Utah, to Cornell and through his service as an officer in World War I and his teaching career in Los Angeles. His story is that of a remarkable athlete, but also that of a man struggling for personal fulfillment while endeavoring to retain his Mormon heritage amid his changing religious circumstances and participation. More than a century has passed since Alma Richards won an Olympic gold medal, yet this story about man and sport—the drive to excel, victory as validation of hard work, the quest for public recognition and, ultimately, the achievement of self-identity and self-satisfaction—still resonates today.
"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.
A skeptical follower of James Jesse Strang once wrote: "No man can serve two masters. You cannot serve a temporal king and a republican government at the same time. The thing is preposterous." And yet, under Strang, such a system survived in Michigan for six years. This book traces the life and assassination of King Strang, the extraordinary Mormon leader who, in the 1850s, created a literal kingdom on Beaver Island, in Lake Michigan.
As a young man, Strang was a dreamer of grandiose dreams---dreams of power, of royalty, and of fame. For him, the dreams came true. But in his pursuit of those dreams, Strang walked a tightrope to avoid ever-impending doom. Strang's kingdom flourished despite perennial conflicts with non-Mormons, including a gun battle with mainlanders, and despite a major prosecution by the federal government. His kingdom was designed to be totally independent of the state and nation. And yet, he was a shrewd political tactician who took advantage of Michigan law to be twice elected to the state legislature and become what one Detroit newspaper called the most powerful politician in the state.
Here is Strang the man of contrasts and contradictions, the strident opponent of polygamy and the husband of five wives, the astute editor and the incendiary propagandist, the prophet and the scoundrel, the man who through the sheer force of his personality made his followers a group to be feared in his region.
Vast amount of fresh information, including contemporary journals, documents, and letters never before used by biographers help draw a portrait of one of the most complex and resourceful leaders in American history.
In this exciting and readable autobiography, one of the most colorful figures of the American frontier recounts his poverty-stricken childhood, his rowdy adolescence in Rocky Mountain mining camps, his unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Congress, and his stormy career in one of the leading councils of the Mormon church. Polygamy, women’s suffrage, prohibition, and separation of church and state occupy center stage in the unfolding drama of Brigham Henry Roberts’s controversial life.
The story-book adventures of Roberts’s life made him a household name during his lifetime. His impassioned speeches incited riots, his reasoned writings defined and codified religious beliefs, and his candid disclosures of Utah history brought him both respect and censure. He is best remembered today as a largely self-educated intellectual. Several of his landmark published works are still in print more than fifty years after his death. His life story, told here in his own words and published for the first time, may well stand as his greatest, most enduring achievement.
For many today, B. H. Roberts is the quintessential Mormon intellectual of the twentieth century. But his theological writings came late in life and his historical views were more subjective than definitive. His autobiography, on the other hand, is a forthright account of the events and acquaintances that contributed to his unique faith and intellectual independence. Troubled by the memory of being abandoned as a child, and of the abusive care of quarrelling and intemperate foster-parents, he survived a stormy youth of poverty and neglect. He describes his nearly ten years as a missionary to the southern United States, his subsequent tenure as an outspoken member of the First Quorum of Seventy, his public opposition to women’s suffrage, and his controversial bid for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Mormon polygamist.
Peterson, Levi Signature Books, 2013 Library of Congress PS3566.E7694B3 2012 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Recognized as a Mormon classic twenty years after its release,The Backslider features longstanding Christian conflicts played out in a scenic, sparsely populated area of southern Utah. A young ranch-hand, Frank Windham, conceives of God as an implacable enemy of human appetite. He is a dedicated sinner until family tragedy catapults him into an arcane form of penitence preached among frontier Mormons. He is saved by an epiphany that has proved controversial among readers, either interpreting it as an extreme impiety or celebrating it as a moving and entirely plausible rendering of a biblical theme in a Western setting.
Frank comes into contact with a host of rural and urban characters. Of central importance is his Lutheran girlfriend, Marianne, whom Frank seduces, begrudgingly marries, and eventually loves. Frank’s extended family is just a generation removed from polygamy and still energized by old-time grudges and deprivations. Along the way Frank encounters a closeted secular humanist, a polygamist prophet, a psychiatrist, a Mason, government employees, college professors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs—all drawn with heightened realism reminiscent of Charles Dickens or the grotesque forms of William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor.
The story engages readers as it alternates almost imperceptibly between Frank’s naïve consciousness and the more informed awareness of its narrator. It can be read as a love story, a satiric comedy, or a dark and sobering study of self-mutilation. Shifting from one to another, it builds suspense and elicits
complex emotions, among them a profound sense of compassion. More joyous than cynical, it sympathizes deeply with the plight of all of God’s backsliders.
Ronald Holt recounts the survival of a people against all odds. A compound of rapid white settlement of the most productive Southern Paiute homelands, especially their farmlands near tributaries of the Colorado River; conversion by and labor for the Mormon settlers; and government neglect placed the Utah Paiutes in a state of dependency that ironically culminated in the 1957 termination of their status as federally recognized Indians. That recognition and attendant services were not restored until 1980, in an act that revived the Paiutes’ identity, self-government, land ownership, and sense of possibility.
With a foreword by Lora Tom, chair of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah.
Cain wanders the frontier as a Bigfoot-like hairy beast and confronts an early Mormon apostle. An evil band of murderers from Mormon scripture, known as the Gadianton robbers, provides an excuse for the failure of a desert town. Stories of children raised from the dead with decayed bodies and damaged minds help draw boundaries between the proper spheres of human and divine action. Mormons who observe UFOs in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries find ways to explain them in relation to the church’s cosmology. The millenarian dimension of that belief system induces church members to invest in the Dream Mine, a hidden treasure that a would-be heir to Joseph Smith wraps in prophecy of the end times. A Utah version of Nessie haunts a large mountain lake. Non-Mormons attempt to discredit Joseph Smith with tales that he had tried and failed to walk on water.
Mormons gave distinctive meanings to supernatural legends and events, but their narratives incorporated motifs found in many cultures. Many such historical legends and beliefs found adherents down to the present. This collection employs folklore to illuminate the cultural and religious history of a people.
Jack Harrell Signature Books, 2018 Library of Congress PS3608.A78C35 2018 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Kail Lambert spends the summer after high school
graduation traveling the country, hoping to make it
all the way to San Francisco before returning home
to Illinois. However, a broken motorcycle leaves him
stuck in Idaho, where he surprises himself by falling
in love with the mountains and the local culture.
He converts to Mormonism and marries Charlene
Simmons—a perfect Mormon girl deeply dedicated
to her church.
After a fifteen-year hiatus in Arizona, Kail moves
his family back to Idaho to solve some unresolved
issues between his wife and God. What he and Charlene
find are shocking surprises beneath the surface
of every beautiful thing, from the Idaho mountains to
Charlene’s deceptively devout family.
Acclaimed author Jack Harrell creates a world
of complex and troubled characters, each seeking
happiness from a God simultaneously familiar and
mysterious, each wrestling with the doubts and eternal
optimism integral to their faith.
Camp Floyd and the Mormons traces the history of the sojourn of “Johnston’s Army” in Utah Territory from the beginning of the Utah War in 1857 through the abandonment of Camp Floyd in Cedar Valley west of Utah Lake at the outbreak of the Civil War. The book describes the relationship between the invading army and the local Mormon population, gives an account of Indian affairs in Utah, and describes the activities of federal officials in Utah during that volatile period.
Completed posthumously by Gene Sessions, Moorman’s colleague at Weber State University, Camp Floyd and the Mormons is a comprehensive analysis of the history of frontier Utah as a decade of isolation ended and confrontations with the United States government began. Moorman had unprecedented access to materials in the LDS Church Archives on subjects ranging from the Mountain Meadows Massacre to the Mormon responses to the presence of the army in Utah from 1858 through 1861.
First published by the University of Utah Press in 1992, this reprint edition includes a new introduction by Gene Sessions in which he recounts Moorman’s research adventures during the 1960s "in the bowels of the old Church Administration Building, where Joseph Fielding Smith and A. Will Lund watched over the contents of the archives like wide-eyed mother hens."
On September 25, 1890, the Mormon prophet Wilford Woodruff publicly instructed his followers to abandon polygamy. In doing so, he initiated a process that would fundamentally alter the Latter-day Saints and their faith. Trading the most integral elements of their belief system for national acceptance, the Mormons recreated themselves as model Americans.
Mary Campbell tells the story of this remarkable religious transformation in Charles Ellis Johnson and the Erotic Mormon Image. One of the church’s favorite photographers, Johnson (1857–1926) spent the 1890s and early 1900s taking pictures of Mormonism’s most revered figures and sacred sites. At the same time, he did a brisk business in mail-order erotica, creating and selling stereoviews that he referred to as his “spicy pictures of girls.” Situating these images within the religious, artistic, and legal culture of turn-of-the-century America, Campbell reveals the unexpected ways in which they worked to bring the Saints into the nation’s mainstream after the scandal of polygamy.
Engaging, interdisciplinary, and deeply researched, Charles Ellis Johnson and the Erotic Mormon Image demonstrates the profound role pictures played in the creation of both the modern Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the modern American nation.
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.
In this revealing family memoir, best-selling author Ann Chamberlin explores the history of her Mormon grandmother Frances Lyda and her seven sisters who grew up desperately poor in Bradford, Yorkshire, in the early years of the twentieth century. Chamberlin’s narrative follows these eight daughters of Mary Jane Jones and Ralph Robinson Whitaker, a remarkably gifted yet poor and blind piano tuner. Most of the girls were forced by necessity to abandon school at age twelve and find work in terrible conditions at a local factory. When their mother converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1901, she became the backbone of the Mormon community in Yorkshire. Her daughters followed their mother into her faith, while navigating their own, sometimes tragic, ways into adulthood, family, and the world beyond industrial England. Though they were exploited and undereducated, the girls maintained a steadfast belief in a brighter future for the Mormon faithful, a mindset that, despite their many differences, forged an unshakable togetherness between them. All gifted and strong individuals in their own right, many of the Whitaker sisters overcame long odds and incredible hardships to carry on and prosper in Salt Lake City.
Chamberlin interviewed her grandmother and six of her surviving great-aunts for Clogs and Shawls, the relatives who had made their way to Mormon Zion. She weaves novelistic passages with their first-person narratives to create a singular work of oral immigrant family history that is both lively and revealing.
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.
Leonard Arrington (1917–99) was born an Idaho chicken rancher whose early interests seemed not to extend much beyond the American west. Throughout his life, he tended to project a folksy persona, although nothing was farther from the truth.
He was, in fact, an intellectually oriented, academically driven young man, determined to explore the historical, economic, cultural, and religious issues of his time. After distinguishing himself at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and serving in the army during World War II in North Africa and Italy, Arrington accepted a professorship at Utah State University. In 1972 he was called as the LDS Church Historian—an office he held for ten years until, following a stormy tenure full of controversy over whether the “New Mormon History” he championed was appropriate for the church, he was quietly released and transferred, along with the entire Church History Division, to Brigham Young University. It was hoped that this would remove the impression in people’s minds that his writings were church-approved.
His personal diaries reveal a man who was firmly committed to his church, as well as to rigorous historical scholarship. His eye for detail made him an important observer of “church headquarters culture.”
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.
Defender is the first and only scholarly biography of Daniel H. Wells, one of the important yet historically neglected leaders among the nineteenth-century Mormons—leaders like Heber C. Kimball, George Q. Cannon, and Jedediah M. Grant. An adult convert to the Mormon faith during the Mormons’ Nauvoo period, Wells developed relationships with men at the highest levels of the church hierarchy, emigrated to Utah with the Mormon pioneers, and served in a series of influential posts in both church and state.
Wells was known especially as a military leader in both Nauvoo and Utah—he led the territorial militia in four Indian conflicts and a confrontation with the US Army (the Utah War). But he was also the territorial attorney general and obtained title to all the land in Salt Lake City from the federal government during his tenure as the mayor of Salt Lake City. He was Second Counselor to Brigham Young in the LDS Church's First Presidency and twice served as president of the Mormon European mission. Among these and other accomplishments, he ran businesses in lumbering, coal mining, manufacturing, and gas production; developed roads, ferries, railroads, and public buildings; and presided over a family of seven wives and thirty-seven children.
Wells witnessed and influenced a wide range of consequential events that shaped the culture, politics, and society of Utah in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Using research from relevant collections, sources in public records, references to Wells in the Joseph Smith papers, other contemporaneous journals and letters, and the writings of Brigham Young, Quentin Thomas Wells has created a serious and significant contribution to Mormon history scholarship.
2020 Reading the West Book Awards, Longlist for Fiction
2020 Association for Morman Letters Finalist, Fiction
The Desert Between Us is a sweeping, multi-layered novel based on the U.S. government’s decision to open more routes to California during the Gold Rush. To help navigate this waterless, largely unexplored territory, the War Department imported seventy-five camels from the Middle East to help traverse the brutal terrain that was murderous on other livestock.
Geoffrey Scott, one of the roadbuilders, decides to venture north to discover new opportunities in the opening of the American West when he—and the camels—are no longer needed. Geoffrey arrives in St. Thomas, Nevada, a polygamous settlement caught up in territorial fights over boundaries and new taxation. There, he falls in love with Sophia Hughes, a hatmaker obsessed with beauty and the third wife of a polygamist. Geoffrey believes Sophia wants to be free of polygamy and go away with him to a better life, but Sophia’s motivations are not so easily understood. She had become committed to Mormon beliefs in England and had moved to Utah Territory to assuage her spiritual needs.
The death of Sophia’s child and her illicit relationship with Geoffrey generate a complex nexus where her new love for Geoffrey competes with societal expectations and a rugged West seeking domesticity. When faced with the opportunity to move away from her polygamist husband and her tumultuous life in St. Thomas, Sophia becomes tormented by a life-changing decision she must face alone.
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.
It is the year 1972, and Riley Hartley finds that he, his family, community, and his faith are entirely indistinguishable from each other. He is eleven. A young woman named Lucy claims God has revealed to her that she is to live with Riley’s family. Her quirks are strangely disarming, her relentless questioning of their life incendiary and sometimes comical. Her way of taking religious practice to its logical conclusion leaves a strong impact on her hosts and propels Riley outside his observable universe toward a trajectory of self-discovery.
Set in Provo and New York City during the seventies and eighties, the story encapsulates the normal expectations of a Mormon experience and turns them on their head. The style, too, is innovative in how it employs as narrator “Zed,” one of the apocryphal Three Nephites who, with another immortal figure, the Wandering Jew of post-biblical legend, engage regularly in light-hearted banter and running commentary, animating the story and leavening the heartache with humor and tenderness.
Emmeline B. Wells was the most noted Utah Mormon woman of her time. Lauded nationally for her energetic support of the women’s rights movement of the nineteenth century, she was a self-made woman who channeled her lifelong sense of destiny into ambitious altruism. Her public acclaim and activism belied the introspective, self-appraising, and emotional persona she expressed in the pages of her forty-seven extant diaries. Yet she wrote, “I have risen triumphant,” after reconciling herself to the heartaches of plural marriage, and she pursued a self-directed life in earnest.
This new biography tells the story of the private Emmeline. The unusual circumstances of her marriages, the complicated lives of her five daughters, losses and disappointments interspersed with bright moments and achievements, all engendered the idea that her life was a romance, with all the mysterious, tragic, and sentimental elements of that genre. Her responses to that perception made it so. This volume, drawing heavily on Emmeline Wells’s own words, tells the complicated story of a woman of ambition, strength, tenderness, and faith.
Winner of the Mormon History Association's Best Biography Award.
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.
Joseph Smith was not the first to found a Christian denomination, but his addition of a new book of scripture on par with the Bible set him and his movement apart. Even before 1830, Smith was both dismissed and admired, embraced and rejected. But most observers agree that he has rightfully earned a significant place in American religious history. Many of the followers he attracted in his day and after have also helped to shape LDS thought. This volume highlights the lives and contributions of Smith, his successor Brigham Young, and eleven others, including Lowell Bennion, Claudia L. Bushman, Hugh Nibley, Chieko Okazaki, B. H. Roberts, James E. Talmage, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and Emmeline B. Wells. All together, the women and men profiled here span the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and illuminate what the LDS Church has meant, and continues to mean, to its most thoughtful members.
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.
Saints Observed: Studies of Mormon Village Life, 1850–2005 serves as a comprehensive introduction to this second volume, which makes available four of the best Mormon village studies, all previously unpublished. These postwar village studies differ substantially from earlier village studies initiated by Nelson’s work and offer in-depth investigations by observers who lived and participated in village life. Together, they capture in rich detail the dayto- day life of mid-century Mormon villagers. Editor Howard Bahr’s afterword highlights changes in the four villages across the past half-century, drawing upon recent site visits, interviews, and texts.
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
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.
Escaping imprisonment in Missouri in 1839, the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith quickly settled with family and followers on the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. Under Smith’s direction, the small village of Commerce soon mushroomed into the boomtown of Nauvoo, home to 12,000 and more members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
For Smith, Nauvoo was the new epicenter of the Mormon universe: the gathering place for Latter-day Saints worldwide; the location of a modern-day Zion; the stage upon which his esoteric teachings, including plural marriage and secret temple ceremonies, played out; and the locus of a theocracy whose legal underpinnings would be condemned by outsiders as an attack on American pluralism.
In Nauvoo, Smith created a proto-utopian society built upon continuing revelation; established a civil government that blurred the lines among executive, legislative, and legal branches; introduced doctrines that promised glimpses of heaven on earth; centralized secular and spiritual authority in fiercely loyal groups of men and women; insulated himself against legal harassment through creative interpretations of Nauvoo’s founding charter; embarked upon a daring run at the U.S. presidency; and pursued a vendetta against dissidents that lead eventually to his violent death in 1844.
The common thread running through the final years of Smith’s tumultuous life, according to prize-winning historian and biographer, Martha Bradley-Evans, is his story of prophethood and persecution. Smith’s repeated battles with the forces of evil–past controversies transformed into mythic narratives of triumphant as well as present skirmishes with courts, politicians, and apostates–informed Smith’s construction of self and chronicle of innocent suffering.
“Joseph found religious and apocalyptic significance in every offense and persecution–actual or imagined,” writes Bradley-Evans, “and wove these slights into his prophet-narrative. Insults became badges of honor, confirmation that his life was playing out on a mythic stage of opposition. By the time Joseph led his people to Illinois, he had lived with the adulation of followers and the vilification of enemies for more than a decade. Joseph’s worst challenges often proved to be his greatest triumphs. He forged devotion through disaster, faith through depression. Joseph interpreted each new event as God’s will set against manifestations of evil opposed to the restoration of all things.”
Bradley-Evan’s ground-breaking portrait of Smith goes farther than any previous biography in explaining the Mormon prophet and the mystery of his appeal.
Heidi Hart University of Utah Press, 2004 Library of Congress BX8695.H35A3 2004 | Dewey Decimal 289.3092
"Ever since I was 10 years old, I’d felt myself yearning to 'go astray.' For me, that didn’t mean drinking and cavorting with boys; it meant being myself without fear."—from the book
What happens when a trained singer who grew up in a "house of vowels" finds that her voice is not her own? What happens when a woman loses the Mormon faith of her childhood and abandons the rituals she’s always known? What does a woman, already married for thirteen years by her early thirties, do when she realizes she has been "lying for years?" How does one sing, with grace, from the heart?
In the spirit of Mary Catherine Bateson’s Composing a Life and Kathleen Norris’s Cloister Walk, Heidi Hart’s luminous memoir retraces her search for an opening to her heart’s path. She finds that the religious life of her Latter-day Saint family—which includes a revered General Authority—robs her of her voice and her spirit. When she discovers Catharine, a mute, Quaker ancestor, Hart begins a vital journey—a journey blessed by her devout and devoted husband; a journey that leads her as she studies Zuni mythology, Jewish tradition, Benedictine monastic ritual, Emily Dickinson, and Saint Hildegard of Bingen—a journey that leads her to a place that feels like home: the company of Friends, the Quaker community of Salt Lake City.
With grace and lyricism, Hart shares the private, personal wisdom she has earned in her community of friends, a community that embraces silences and dissonance, a place where she can't keep from singing.
Gravity Hill: A Memoir
Maximilian Werner University of Utah Press, 2013 Library of Congress F834.S253W47 2013 | Dewey Decimal 979.2258033
“The sound of parenthood is the sigh.” So begins Gravity Hill, written from the perspective of a new father seeking hope, beauty, and meaning in an uncertain world. Many memoirs recount the author’s experiences of growing up and struggling with demons; Werner’s shows how old demons sometimes return on the heels of something as beautiful as children. Werner’s memoir is about growing up, getting older, looking back, and wondering what lies ahead—a process that becomes all the more complicated and intense when parenting is involved. Moving backward and forward between past, present, and future, Gravity Hill does not delineate time so much as collapse it.
Werner narrates his struggle growing up in suburban Utah as anon-Mormon and what it took for him, his siblings, and his friends to feel like they belonged. Bonding in separation, they indulged in each other, in natural and urban landscapes, and sometimes in the destructive behaviors that are the native resort of outsidersincluding promiscuous and occasionally violent sexual behavior—and for some, paths to death and suicide. Gravity Hill is the story of the author’s descent into and eventual emergence from his dysfunction and into a newfound life. Infused with humor, honesty, and reflection, this literary memoir will resonate with readers young and old.
When Barney Clark received the Jarvik-7 artificial heart in 1983 and Cold Fusion came under fire in 1989, Chase Peterson, as the University of Utah president, was inevitably pulled into these campus events. While these episodes may be the best known in Peterson’s professional history, they are certainly not the only stories that make his autobiography worth reading.
The Guardian Poplar tells of a man who grew up in small-town Utah and carried his pioneer and Mormon heritage to a New England prep school and later to Harvard. He then returned to Utah as a doctor, but unexpectedly found himself back at Harvard as its dean of admissions, handling issues such as the Vietnam War and racial and gender reform. The book explains how Peterson’s home state recruited him back to become an administrator at the University of Utah and how he would eventually become the university president, taking on new issues and challenges. Peterson recounts these years by drawing on anecdotes that recall the people he served and the moments that brought his life meaning.
This autobiography is a compelling account of how Peterson has managed to balance family and career, handle the tensions that have arisen between his faith and his scientific training, and remain solid in the face of his newest challenge—cancer. The book’s engaging prose and honest reflections are sure to intrigue and inspire readers who know the man well, as well as those readers who simply want to know a man who can be described as dedicated, faithful, hardworking, and hopeful about the future.
“When I first met Chase Peterson as a Harvard freshman—along with our joint friend and brother David Evans—something deeply touched me. It was not only his sincere smile and open embrace but also a sense that here was a kind and courageous man comfortable in his own skin, secure in who he was yet eager to encounter new persons, new experiences, and new challenges. . . . He was from Utah but in New England, a Mormon in old Harvard, and a medical doctor in the deanship of admissions. Little did I know that his journey would enhance and enrich my own—owing to his critical allegiance to his family, his faith, his friends, and to his citizenship of country and world. His prophetic witness at Harvard in the turbulent ‘60s and ‘70s, his promotion of black priesthood in the Mormon church, his support of antiapartheid protests in the ‘80s, and his steadfast defense of academic freedom in the Cold Fusion controversy in the early ‘90s all express his quiet and humble effort to be true to himself—a self grounded in, but
not limited by, a rich Mormon tradition.”—from the foreword by Cornel West
People who flyfish know that a favorite river bend, a secluded spot in moving waters, can feel like home—a place you know intimately and intuitively. In prose that reads like the flowing current of a river, scholar and essayist George Handley blends nature writing, local history, theology, environmental history, and personal memoir in his new book Home Waters: A Year of Recompenses on the Provo River.
Handley’s meditations on the local Provo River watershed present the argument that a sense of place requires more than a strong sense of history and belonging, it requires awareness and commitment. Handley traces a history of settlement along the Provo that has profoundly transformed the landscape and yet neglected its Native American and environmental legacies. As a descendent of one of the first pioneers to irrigate the area, and as a witness to the loss of orchards, open space, and an eroded environmental ethic, Handley weaves his own personal and family history into the landscape to argue for sustainable belonging. In avoiding the exclusionist and environmentally harmful attitudes that come with the territorial claims to a homeland, the flyfishing term, “home waters,” is offered as an alternative, a kind of belonging that is informed by deference to others, to the mysteries of deep time, and to a fragile dependence on water. While it has sometimes been mistakenly assumed that the Mormon faith is inimical to good environmental stewardship, Handley explores the faith’s openness to science, its recognition of the holiness of the creation, and its call for an ethical engagement with nature. A metaphysical approach to the physical world is offered as an antidote to the suicidal impulses of modern society and our persistent ambivalence about the facts of our biology and earthly condition. Home Waters contributes a perspective from within the Mormon religious experience to the tradition of such Western writers as Wallace Stegner, Terry Tempest Williams, Steven Trimble, and Amy Irvine.
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.
Dayna Patterson has produced a book obsessed with motherhood and daughterhood, ancestry, and transition—of home, family, faith, and the narratives woven to uphold the Self. In her debut collection of poetry and lyric essay, Patterson grapples with a patriarchal and polygamous heritage. After learning about her mother’s bisexuality, Patterson befriends doubt while simultaneously feeling the urge to unearth a feminist theology, one that envisions God the Mother taking pride in her place at the banquet table.
“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.
Though photographers Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams were contemporaries and longtime friends, most of their work portrays contrasting subject matter. Lange’s artistic photodocumentation set a new aesthetic standard for social commentary; Adams lit up nature’s wonders with an unfailing eye and preeminent technical skill. That they joined together to photograph Mormons in Utah in the early 1950s for Life magazine may come as a surprise.
In a Rugged Land examines the history and content of the two photographers’ forgotten collaboration Three Mormon Towns. Looking at Adams’s and Lange’s photographs, extant letters, and personal memories, the book provides a window into an important moment in their careers and seeks to understand why a project that once held such promise ended in disillusionment and is now little more than a footnote in their illustrative biographies. Swensen’s in-depth research and interpretation help make sense of what they did and place them alongside others who were also exploring the particular qualities of the Mormon village at that time.
Winner of the Joan Paterson Kerr Book Award for best illustrated book on the history of the American West from the Western History Association.
Winner of the Best Book Award from the Utah State Historical Society.
Winner of the 15 Bytes Book Award for Art Book.
Honorable mention for Best Book from the Mormon History Association.
Francis (“Frank”) Hammond was not an average Mormon pioneer. After breaking his back working on a whaling ship off the coast of Siberia in 1844, he was set ashore on the island of Maui to heal. While there he set up shop as a shoemaker and learned the local language. Three years later, he converted to Mormonism in San Franciso, and in 1851 he was sent back to Hawaii as a missionary along with his new wife, Mary Jane. In the 1860s he returned to the islands as mission president.
Through all this, he and his wife kept extensive and fascinating journals, documenting their adventures on land and sea, as well as relations (some prickly) with fellow missionaries and non-Mormon caucasians and Hawaiians. Hammond established a Mormon gathering place on the island of Lana’i, and in the 1860s he traveled by stagecoach from Utah to the west coast with a satchel of $5,000 in gold coins to purchase the land that became the site in O’ahu of the LDS temple, church college, and Polynesian Culture Center.
John Doyle Lee
Juanita Brooks Utah State University Press, 1992 Library of Congress F826.L4753B76 1992 | Dewey Decimal 979.202092
This classic biography is now in its fourth USU Press printing. It is unparalleled in providing a thorough and accurate account of John D. Lee's involvement in the tragic 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre.
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.
"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."
Latter-day Lore gathers nearly thirty seminal works in Mormon folklore scholarship from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century to the present in order to highlight the depth, breadth, and richness of that scholarship. This examination of LDS folklore studies reveals theoretical, methodological, and topical shifts that also reflect shifts in the field at large. Areas for future research are also suggested.
The thorough introduction by the volume editors elucidates the major influences, tensions, and questions shaping the study of Mormon folklore. The book is divided into six parts according to major thematic and topical patterns. The extensive introductory essays preceding each of the six parts provide invaluable historical, cultural, and theoretical contexts to frame the studies that follow: society, symbols, and landscape of regional culture; formative customs and traditions; the sacred and the supernatural; pioneers, heroes, and the historical imagination; humor; and the international contexts of Mormon folklore.
While exploring the ground that scholars have covered over the past century, Eliason and Mould also illuminate those areas of LDS folklore that have been understudied, exposing fertile areas for future research. Providing the most up-to-date and comprehensive survey of Mormon folklore studies available, Latter-day Lore is an indispensible resource for students, scholars, and readers interested in folklore, Mormon studies, anthropology, sociology, literature, and religious studies.
Although they inhabited different political, social, and cultural arenas, Abraham Lincoln and the pioneer generation of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, shared the same nineteenth-century world. Bryon C. Andreasen’s Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: Lincoln and Mormon Country relates more than thirty fascinating and surprising stories that show how the lives of Lincoln and the Mormons intersected.
This richly illustrated and carefully researched book expands on some of the storyboards found on the Looking for Lincoln Story Trail, from the Mormon capital of Nauvoo to the state capital of Springfield. Created by the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, this trail consists of wayside exhibits posted in sites of significance to Lincoln’s life and career across fifty-two communities in Illinois. The book’s keyed maps, historic photos, and descriptions of battles, Mormon expeditions, and events at inns, federal buildings, and even Lincoln’s first Illinois log cabin connect the stories to their physical locations.
Exploring the intriguing question of whether Lincoln and Mormon founder Joseph Smith ever met, the book reveals that they traveled the same routes and likely stayed at the same inns. The book also includes colorful and engaging looks at key figures such as Brigham Young, various Mormon apostles, and more. Anyone inspired by Lincoln, as well as Mormon and Illinois history enthusiasts, will appreciate this look back at a long-past, but not forgotten, landscape.
In these ten stories (three of which appear here for the first time), Levi S. Peterson demonstrates his continuing engagement to take seriously the duty of the fiction writer to illuminate and entertain. His subject remains Latter-day Saints caught between the polarities of conscience and passion. Among the stories are sober tellings of rape and misogyny, defiant statements of ascendant feminism and the worship of Heavenly Mother, and—most abundantly—narratives about impermissible love that sometimes lead to heartbreak and other times forges unexpected couplings destined to last a lifetime. Once again, Peterson shows himself as a peerless master of the English language, the tools of his craft, and the artistry of creative fiction.
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.
Winner of the Juanita Brooks Prize in Mormon Studies
From 1947 to 2000, some 50,000 Native American children left the reservations to live with Mormon foster families. While some dropped out of the Indian Student Placement Program (ISPP), for others the months spent living with LDS families often proved more penetrating than expected.
The ISPP emerged in the mid-twentieth century, championed by Apostle Spencer W. Kimball, aligned with the then national preferences to terminate tribal entities and assimilate indigenous people. But as the paradigm shifted to self-determination, critics labeled the program as crudely assimilationist. Some ISPP students like Navajo George P. Lee fiercely defended the LDS Church before native peers and Congress, contending that it empowered Native people and instilled the true Indian identity; meanwhile Red Power activists organized protests in Salt Lake City, denouncing LDS colonization. As a new generation of church leaders quietly undercut the Indian programs, many of its former participants felt a sense of confusion and abandonment as Mormon distinctions for Native people faded in the late twentieth century. Making Lamanites traces this student experience within contested cultural and institutional landscapes to reveal how and why many of these Native youth adopted a new notion of Indianness.
Winner of the Francis Armstrong Madsen Best Book Award from the Utah Division of State History.
When Mormon ranchers and Anglo-American miners moved into centuries-old Southern Paiute space during the last half of the nineteenth century, a clash of cultures quickly ensued. W. Paul Reeve explores the dynamic nature of that clash as each group attempted to create sacred space on the southern rim of the Great Basin according to three very different world views.
With a promising discovery of silver at stake, the United States Congress intervened in an effort to shore up Nevada’s mining frontier, while simultaneously addressing both the "Mormon Question" and the "Indian Problem." Even though federal officials redrew the Utah/Nevada/Arizona borders and created a reservation for the Southern Paiutes, the three groups continued to fashion their own space, independent of the new boundaries that attempted to keep them apart.
When the dust on the southern rim of the Great Basin finally settled, a hierarchy of power emerged that disentangled the three groups according to prevailing standards of Americanism. As Reeve sees it, the frontier proved a bewildering mixing ground of peoples, places, and values that forced Mormons, miners, and Southern Paiutes to sort out their own identity and find new meaning in the mess.
Composed over several decades, the essays here are remarkably fresh and relevant. They offer instruction for the student just beginning the study of folklore as well as repeated value for the many established scholars who continue to wrestle with issues that Wilson has addressed. As his work has long offered insight on critical matters—nationalism, genre, belief, the relationship of folklore to other disciplines in the humanities and arts, the currency of legend, the significance of humor as a cultural expression, and so forth—so his recent writing, in its reflexive approach to narrative and storytelling, illuminates today’s paradigms. Its notable autobiographical dimension, long an element of Wilson’s work, employs family and local lore to draw conclusions of more universal significance. Another way to think of it is that newer folklorists are catching up with Wilson and what he has been about for some time.
As a body, Wilson’s essays develop related topics and connected themes. This collection organizes them in three coherent parts. The first examines the importance of folklore—what it is and its value in various contexts. Part two, drawing especially on the experience of Finland, considers the role of folklore in national identity, including both how it helps define and sustain identity and the less savory ways it may be used for the sake of nationalistic ideology. Part three, based in large part on Wilson’s extensive work in Mormon folklore, which is the most important in that area since that of Austin and Alta Fife, looks at religious cultural expressions and outsider perceptions of them and, again, at how identity is shaped, by religious belief, experience, and participation; by the stories about them; and by the many other expressive parts of life encountered daily in a culture.
Each essay is introduced by a well-known folklorist who discusses the influence of Wilson’s scholarship. These include Richard Bauman, Margaret Brady, Simon Bronner, Elliott Oring, Henry Glassie, David Hufford, Michael Owen Jones, and Beverly Stoeltje.
Few events in the history of the American Far West from 1846 to 1849 did not involve the Mormon Battalion. The Battalion participated in the United States conquest of California and in the discovery of gold, opened four major wagon trails, and carried the news of gold east to an eager American public. Yet, the battalion is little known beyond Mormon history. This first complete history of the wide-ranging army unit restores it to its central place in Western history, and provides descendants a complete roster of the Battalion's members.
Mormon Enigma: EMMA HALE SMITH
Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery University of Illinois Press, 1994 Library of Congress BX8695.S515N48 1994 | Dewey Decimal 289.3092
Mormon Enigma is the bestselling biography of Emma Hale Smith, wife of the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith. It was Joseph Smith who announced that an angel of the Lord had commanded him to introduce a 'new order of marriage.' And it was Emma Hale Smith who confronted the practice of polygamy head on.
As the authors note in their introduction, "Early leaders in Utah castigated Emma from their pulpits for opposing Brigham Young and the practice of polygamy, and for lending support to the Reorganization. As these attitudes filtered down through the years, Emma was virtually written out of official Utah histories. In this biography, we have attempted to reconstruct the full story of this remarkable and much misunderstood woman's experiences."
Winner of the Evans Handcart Prize 2009
Winner of the Mormon History Assn Best Biography Award 2009
By the early twentieth century, the era of organized Mormon colonization of the West from a base in Salt Lake City was all but over. One significant region of Utah had not been colonized because it remained in Native American hands--the Uinta Basin, site of a reservation for the Northern Utes. When the federal government decided to open the reservation to white settlement, William H. Smart--a nineteenth-century Mormon traditionalist living in the twentieth century, a polygamist in an era when it was banned, a fervently moral stake president who as a youth had struggled mightily with his own sense of sinfulness, and an entrepreneurial businessman with theocratic, communal instincts--set out to ensure that the Uinta Basin also would be part of the Mormon kingdom.
Included with the biography is a searchable CD containing William H. Smart's extensive journals, a monumental personal record of Mormondom and its transitional period from nineteenth-century cultural isolation into twentieth-century national integration.
In the decades immediately following the Civil War, the United States expanded rapidly. As the nation grew, so too did federal law, moving into areas of citizens’ lives previously regulated by local custom and state and territorial statutes.
Drawing on contemporary accounts and the letters that flowed between the Washington office of the Justice Department and its attorneys and marshals throughout the states and territories, Cresswell uses a case-study approach to explore the enforcement of federal law in four regions. In northern Mississippi, the rights of freedmen to vote clashed with established rules of relations between blacks and whites. In Utah Territory, Mormon polygamy and economic dominance challenged the aspirations of non-Mormon settlers. In eastern Tennessee, desperate poverty lent enchantment to the easy money of moonshining. In Arizona Territory, frontier greed and violence threatened the lives of people and the chances of early admission to the Union of states.
Mormons and Cowboys, Moonshiners and Klansmen moves beyond these local case studies to illuminate larger questions, including the evolution of the American criminal justice system, the relationship of the South and the West to the rest of the nation, the workings of the 19th-century American bureaucracy, and conflict of the local, state, and federal governments.
Out of the efforts of these early federal marshals came the modern federal justice system, with its firm policy guidelines, its Federal Bureau of Investigation, and its broader powers over the country as a whole.
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.
In the late nineteenth century, numerous French plays, novels, cartoons, and works of art focused on Mormons. Unlike American authors who portrayed Mormons as malevolent “others,” however, French dramatists used Mormonism to point out hypocrisy in their own culture. Aren't Mormon women, because of their numbers in a household, more liberated than French women who can't divorce? What is polygamy but another name for multiple mistresses? This new critical edition presents translations of four musical comedies staged or published in France in the late 1800s: Mormons in Paris (1874), Berthelier Meets the Mormons (1875), Japheth’s Twelve Wives (1890), and Stephana’s Jewel (1892). Each is accompanied by a short contextualizing introduction with details about the music, playwrights, and staging. Humorous and largely unknown, these plays use Mormonism to explore and mock changing French mentalities during the Third Republic, lampooning shifting attitudes and evolving laws about marriage, divorce, and gender roles.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
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.
Murder in the bucolic town of Independence, Missouri, is not everyday news. Especially when it occurs in the temple owned by the Reorganized Mormons. Once again, philosophy instructor and amateur sleuth Toom Taggart becomes embroiled in a homicide investigation. In this second novel, Edwards re-acquaints readers with the likeable, curmudgeonly professor who shocks fellow Latter Day Saints by drinking coffee. By coincidence, Taggart is called to oversee the Church’s education department, just as the author himself was some years ago. This gives Taggart even more reason to explore the inner offices at Church headquarters—places and hushed conversations are not meant for outsiders—all of which the author describes with a wink and a nod.
Taggart is annoyed at having to navigate the political structure of the bureaucracy, but he cannot bring himself to leave. He is able to teach, and he likes his proximity to Church archives, local bookstores, and the woman who, according to fate, is still seeing the policeman from The Angel Acronym. All the major characters are back, and Taggart’s romantic rival is given the new murder case, meaning that he has to rely once again on Taggart for his knowledge of the Church’s secrets. This gives both men a reason to keep an eye on the other, making for entertaining situations in a funny, insider send-up of the RLDS community.
In his autobiography, My Many Selves, Wayne C. Booth is less concerned with his professional achievements---though the book by no means ignores his distinguished career---than with the personal vision that emerges from a long life lived thoughtfully. For Booth, even the autobiographical process becomes part of a quest to harmonize the diverse, often conflicting aspects of who he was. To see himself clearly and whole, he broke the self down, personified the fragments, uncovered their roots in his experience and background, and engaged those selves and experiences in dialogue. Basic to his story and to its lifelong concern with ethics and rhetoric was his Mormon youth in rural Utah. In adulthood he struggled with that background, abandoning most Mormon doctrines, but he retained the identity, ethical questions, and concern with communication that this upbringing gave him.
The uncommon wisdom and careful attention that empower Wayne Booth's many other books cause My Many Selves to transcend its genre, as the best memoirs always do. The book becomes a window through which we who read it will see our own conflicts, our own ongoing struggle to live honestly and ethically in the world.
Wayne Booth died in October 2005, soon after completing work on this autobiography.
Born in the early 1940s in northern Arizona’s high country desert, Jim Dandy began life imbued with the traditions of the Navajo people. Raised by his father and grandfather—both medicine men—and a grandmother steeped in Navajo practices, he embraced their teachings and followed in their footsteps. But attending the LDS Placement program in northern Utah changed his life’s course when he became a member of the Mormon Church. Following graduation from high school, Jim served an LDS mission among his people, obtained a bachelor’s degree, and entered the work force in southeastern Utah as a career counselor, teacher, and community advocate who improved educational opportunities on the Navajo Reservation.
Jim has led a life of service and teaching. He maintains the traditional philosophy with which he was raised and the Mormon beliefs that he learned and continues to follow; his life reflects the values inherent in these two different worlds. Readers interested in Navajo philosophy will find his blend of these two distinct views fascinating, while others will better understand the effects of the controversial placement program on the life of one individual. However, this is primarily the warm story of a man’s life among his people and his love for them and their culture.
Caroline Crosby's life took a wandering course between her 1834 marriage to Jonathan Crosby and conversion to the infant Mormon Church and her departure for her final home, Utah, on New Year's Day, 1858. In the intervening years, she lived in many places but never long enough to set firm roots. Her adherence to a frontier religion on the move kept her moving, even after the church began to settle down in Utah. Despite the impermanence of her situation—perhaps even because of it—Caroline Crosby left a remarkably rich record of her life and travels, thereby telling us not only much about herself and her family but also about times and places of which her documentary record provides a virtually unparalleled view. A notable aspect of her memoirs and journals is what they convey of the character of their author, who, despite the many challenges of transience and poverty she faced, appears to have remained curious, dedicated, observant, and optimistic.
From Caroline's home in Canada, she and Jonathan Crosby first went to the headquarters of Joseph Smith's new church in Kirtland, Ohio. She recounts, in a memoir, the early struggles of his followers there. As the church moved west, the Crosbys did as well, but, as became characteristic, they did not move immediately with the main body to the center of the religion. For a while they settled in Indiana, finally reaching the new Mormon center of Nauvoo in 1842. Fleeing Nauvoo with the last of the Mormons in 1846, they spent two years in Iowa and set out for Utah in 1848, the account of which is the first of Caroline Crosby's vivid trail journals. The Crosbys were able to rest in Salt Lake City for less than two years before Brigham Young sent them on a church mission to the Society and Austral Islands in the South Pacific. She recorded, in detail, their overland travel to San Francisco and then by sea to French Polynesia and their service on the islands. In late 1852 the Crosbys returned to California, beginning what is probably the most historically significant time recorded in her writings, her diaries of life. First, in immediately post-Gold-Rush San Francisco and, second, in the new Mormon village of San Bernardino in southern California. There is no comparable record by a woman of 1850s life in these growing communities. The Crosbys responded in 1857 to Brigham Young's call for church members to gather in Utah and again abandoned a new home—the nicest one they had built and one of the finest houses in San Bernardino—again displaying their unquestioning loyalty to the Mormon church.
On Zion’s Mount shows how, paradoxically, the Mormons created their homeland at the expense of the local Indians—and how they expressed their sense of belonging by investing Mt. Timpanogos with “Indian” meaning.
Effie Marquess Carmack (1885-1974) grew up in the tobacco-growing region of southern Kentucky known as the Black Patch. As an adult she moved to Utah, back to Kentucky, to Arizona, and finally to California. Economic necessity primarily motivated Effie and her husband's moves, but her conversion to the Mormon Church in youth also was a factor. Throughout her life, she was committed to preserving the rural, southern folkways she had experienced as a child. She and other members of her family were folk musicians, at times professionally, and she also became a folk poet and artist, teaching herself to paint. In the 1940s she began writing her autobiography and eventually also completed a verse adaptation of it and an unpublished novel about life in the Black Patch.
Much of Effie's story is a charming memoir of her vibrant childhood on a poor tobacco farm. She describes a wide variety of folk practices, from healing and crafts to children's games. Her family's life included the backbreaking labor and economic trials of raising tobacco, but it was enriched by a deep familial heritage, communal music, creative play, and traditional activities of many kinds. After the family converted to the Mormon Church, religious study and devotion became another important dimension. Effie's account of Mormon missions contributes to the little-known record of Latter-day Saint attempts to establish a presence in the South.
After marrying, the Carmacks moved west, eventually landing in the Arizona desert, where Effie took up painting in earnest. Her art began to attract modest attention, which brought exhibits, awards, and a new career teaching others what she had taught herself. After the Carmacks later retired to Atascadero, California, Effie became a more active and public folk singer as well.
Over The Rim
edited by William B. Smart & Donna T. Smart Utah State University Press, 1999 Library of Congress F826.O84 1999 | Dewey Decimal 979.201
Over the Rim is the first book about an important but little-known expedition sent by Brigham Young to explore southern Utah. Led by Mormon apostle Parley P. Pratt, the party traveled from Salt Lake City south across the rim of the Great Basin to the Virgin River near future St. George. They brought back to Mormon leaders their first detailed portrait of the country to the south that the church planned to settle.
In a time when Mormons appear to have larger roles in everything from political conflict to television shows and when Mormon-related topics seem to show up more frequently in the news, eight scholars take a close look at Mormonism in popular media: film, television, theater, and books.
Some contributors examine specific works, including the Tony-winning play Angels in America, the hit TV series Big Love, and the bestselling books Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith and The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint. Others consider the phenomena of Mormon cinema and Mormon fiction; the use of the Mormon missionary as a stock character in films; and the noticeably prominent presence of Mormons in reality television shows.
After a long journey from Sugar City, Idaho, to France’s Argonne Forest France during World War I,
young Thomas Neibaur found himself in the core of the American Expeditionary Force’s most important offensive.
After becoming separated in advance of his unit, he, despite serious wounds, single-handedly stopped a German
counterattack at a critical hill known as Côte de Châtillon. For this remarkable feat of valor, he received the Medal of
Honor and other awards, becoming the first Idaho and first Mormon recipient of the nation’s highest combat award.
But after a heroic return and brief celebrity, his life followed a tragic downward arc, culminating in his attempt to return
his medal because, as he put it, it could not feed his family.
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.
I will introduce myself with a few facts. I was born and raised in Snowflake, a Mormon town in northern Arizona. I have lived most of my adult life in the cities of the American West. Although I consider myself a religious person, I know very little about God. At first I intended this book to be about wilderness, but as I wrote it, it became an autobiography with many themes. Among these themes are wilderness, my vexed and vexing relationship with Mormonism, my moral and emotional qualities, and my family.' So begins the autobiography of educator and author Levi S. Peterson.
Peterson has won a wide readership for his novels and short stories, his prize-winning biography of historian Juanita Brooks, and the essays that have appeared with regularity in western and Mormon literary and historical journals. In his autobiography, Peterson describes growing up on the Mormon frontier of rural Arizona, his growing skepticism with his Mormon faith, his teaching career at Weber State University, and his struggle to understand and master personal crises of confidence that kept him in therapy for almost two decades. Of particular interest to readers familiar with Peterson’s fiction are the many pages devoted to the creative process.
Winner of the Mormon History Association Turner-Bergera Best Biography Award.
Patience Loader has become an icon for the disastrous winter entrapment of the Martin and Willie handcart companies, who traveled the Mormon Trail in the 1850s. Her autobiography offers an important record of those events, but also of much more. Wife of a Civil War soldier, Patience served as an army laundress in Washington DC and ran a boarding house as well. After the war, her husband died of consumption, and Patience returned to Utah alone, where she became a cook in a mining camp.
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.
This book examines the hearings that followed Mormon apostle Reed Smoot’s 1903 election to the US Senate and the subsequent protests and petitioning efforts from mainstream Christian ministries disputing Smoot’s right to serve as a senator. Exploring how religious and political institutions adapted and shapeshifted in response to larger societal and ecclesiastical trends, The Reed Smoot Hearings offers a broader exploration of secularism during the Progressive Era and puts the Smoot hearings in context with the ongoing debate about the constitutional definition of marriage.
The work adds new insights into the role religion and the secular played in the shaping of US political institutions and national policies. Chapters also look at the history of anti-polygamy laws, the persistence of post-1890 plural marriage, the continuation of anti-Mormon sentiment, the intimacies and challenges of religious privatization, the dynamic of federal power on religious reform, and the more intimate role individuals played in effecting these institutional and national developments.
The Smoot hearings stand as an important case study that highlights the paradoxical history of religious liberty in America and the principles of exclusion and coercion that history is predicated on. Framed within a liberal Protestant sensibility, these principles of secular progress mapped out the relationship of religion and the nation-state for the new modern century. The Reed Smoot Hearings will be of significant interest to students and scholars of Mormon, western, American, and religious history.
Publication supported, in part, by Gonzaba Medical Group.
Contributors: Gary James Bergera, John Brumbaugh, Kenneth L. Cannon II, Byron W. Daynes, Kathryn M. Daynes, Kathryn Smoot Egan, D. Michael Quinn
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 the mid-twentieth century, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) returned to Nauvoo, Illinois, home to the thriving religious community led by Joseph Smith before his murder in 1844. The quiet farm town became a major Mormon heritage site visited annually by tens of thousands of people. Yet Nauvoo's dramatic restoration proved fraught with conflicts. Scott C. Esplin's social history looks at how Nauvoo's different groups have sparred over heritage and historical memory. The Latter-day Saint project brought it into conflict with the Community of Christ, the Midwestern branch of Mormonism that had kept a foothold in the town and a claim on its Smith-related sites. Non-Mormon locals, meanwhile, sought to maintain the historic place of ancestors who had settled in Nauvoo after the Latter-day Saints' departure. Examining the recent and present-day struggles to define the town, Esplin probes the values of the local groups while placing Nauvoo at the center of Mormonism's attempt to carve a role for itself within the greater narrative of American history.
A compelling history of the 1846 Mormon expulsion from Illinois that exemplifies the limits of American democracy and religious tolerance.
When members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (known as Mormons) settled in Illinois in 1839, they had been persecuted for their beliefs from Ohio to Missouri. Illinoisans viewed themselves as religiously tolerant egalitarians and initially welcomed the Mormons to their state. However, non-Mormon locals who valued competitive individualism perceived the saints‘ western Illinois settlement, Nauvoo, as a theocracy with too much political power. Amid escalating tensions in 1844, anti-Mormon vigilantes assassinated church founder Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. Two years later, the state expelled the saints. Illinois rejected the Mormons not for their religion, but rather for their effort to create a self-governing state in Nauvoo.
Mormons put the essential aspirations of American liberal democracy to the test in Illinois. The saints’ inward group focus and their decision to live together in Nauvoo highlight the challenges strong group consciousness and attachment pose to democratic governance. The Saints and the State narrates this tragic story as an epic failure of governance and shows how the conflicting demands of fairness to the Mormons and accountability to Illinois’s majority became incompatible.
The most complete overview and assessment of Mormon village studies available, this volume extends the canon twofold. First, it presents a rich composite view of nineteenth-century Mormon life in the West as seen by qualified observers who did not just pass through but stopped and studied. Second, it connects that early protoethnography to scholarly Mormon village studies in the twentieth century, showing their proper context in the thriving field of community studies. Based mostly on nine famous travelers’ accounts of life among the Mormons, including Richard Burton, Elizabeth Kane, Howard Stansbury, John Gunnison, and Julius Benchley—Bahr’s volume introduces these talented observers, summarizes and analyzes their observation, and constructs a holistic overview of Mormon village life. He concludes by tracing the rise and continuity of Mormon village studies in the twentieth century, beginning with Lowry Nelson’s 1923 research in Escalante, Utah. Over the following three decades, the genre expanded beyond Nelson and his students, becoming more sophisticated and interdisciplinary; by the mid-1950s it was a subfield within the respected arena of community studies. Researchers continued to study Mormon communities in the following decades and into the twenty-first century.
Winner of the Herbert Feis Award from the American Historical Association and named one of the best religion books of the year by Publishers Weekly, D. Michael Quinn's Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth-Century Americans has elicited critical acclaim as well as controversy. Using Mormonism as a case study of the extent of early America's acceptance of same-sex intimacy, Quinn examines several examples of long-term relationships among Mormon same-sex couples and the environment in which they flourished before the onset of homophobia in the late 1950s.
In the mid-1800s San Bernardino emerged as one of the largest settlements in southern California. It surpassed Pueblo de los Angeles and San Diego in grain and lumber yields and boasted a burgeoning cattle industry and promising wine vineyards. But as a Mormon commune–the farthest outpost in Brigham Young’s Rocky Mountain empire–the colony was threatened, and finally abandoned, in 1857 during the Utah war with the United States.
From the beginning, Young had misgivings about the colony. Particularly perplexing was the mix of atypical Latter-day Saints who gravitated there. Among these were ex-slave holders; inter-racial polygamists; horse-race gamblers; distillery proprietors; former mountain men, prospectors, and mercenaries; disgruntled Polynesian immigrants; and finally Apostle Amasa M. Lyman, the colony’s leader, who became involved in spiritualist seances.
Despite Young’s suspicions, when he issued the call to relocate to Utah, two-thirds of the city’s 3,000 residents dutifully obeyed, leaving behind their cumulative fortunes and a city stripped of its regional economic standing. Recounting this remarkable story, Edward Leo Lyman skillfully interweaves the most intriguing details about the setting and chain of events, emphasizing both the significance and irony of this diverse legacy.
The 220 letters selected for this book offer a fresh and intimate encounter with Juanita Brooks, one of the most influential historians of Utah and the Mormons. Born and raised in the small and remote agricultural village of Bunkerville, Nevada, Brooks lived most most of her life in St. George, Utah, and rose to prominence following the 1950 publication of her landmark book, The Mountain Meadows Massacre. Her unwavering commitment to honest scholarship continues to inspire younger generations laboring to produce excellent objective history.
The letters in this volume, written from 1941 to 1978, trace Brooks’s development from fledgling historian to recognized authority. Serving almost as an autobiography of her interactions with her contemporaries, this selection provides a new perspective on Brooks’s personality and growth as a scholar. Richly detailed, chatty, and covering a wide array of subjects, the letters afford an important glimpse into Brooks’s struggles, concerns, and interests.
Howard Cannon (1912 - 2002) represented Nevada in the U.S. Senate from 1958 until 1982 and acquired a reputation as one of its most productive and influential members. Because he was a modest man more comfortable with hard work than self-aggrandizement, he was also one of its most under-appreciated. Nonetheless, Cannon influenced many major changes in American politics and policies during his time in office.
Born to a devout Mormon family in a small farming community in southwest Utah, Cannon served in the Army Air Force during World War II and emerged from the war as a hero. Soon he was part of the postwar migration of ambitious, adventurous Americans to the booming desert city of Las Vegas, where he practiced law and entered local politics. In 1958 he was elected to the U.S. Senate and joined a group of influential young Democratic senators who were to play a major role in shaping the country’s future. His service on the Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee and the Armed Services Committee led to major changes in the air travel industry, including deregulation, and to increased support for national military preparedness.
The author asks a big question: Who is responsible? One person in need of this information is Lon, who wonders why his marriage is falling apart. Lon thought his wife would re-initiate intimacy at some point. She doesn’t, and he sets out to find the man he thinks stands between them but only finds an apparition—and he still can’t fix his marriage.
In another story, the LDS prophet is drawn to s simpler time when he could wander out unnoticed and buy a candy bar. Church Security won’t let him outside on his own and Public Relations won’t let him wear anything but a suit and tie. Still, the impulse to be a regular guy for an afternoon is compelling. Can’t he make his own decisions? He can, but what are the consequences?
And then there’s Jerry, who passes three men in suits who are talking and laughing at the loading dock behind an LDS temple. One of them looks up, drops a cigarette and crushes it, then slips into a nearby car. Another man—someone who has made Jerry’s life miserable—taunts him, saying: “Jerry, your goodness is your enemy …and tell all your friends.” Who is responsible? Maybe it’s the author’s reverie that’s to blame, but his stories have a way of getting deep inside the psyche and haunting us.
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.”
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.
If a religion cannot attract and instruct young people, it will struggle to survive, which is why recreational programs were second only to theological questions in the development of twentieth-century Mormonism. In this book, Richard Ian Kimball explores how Mormon leaders used recreational programs to ameliorate the problems of urbanization and industrialization and to inculcate morals and values in LDS youth. As well as promoting sports as a means of physical and spiritual excellence, Progressive Era Mormons established a variety of institutions such as the Deseret Gymnasium and camps for girls and boys, all designed to compete with more "worldly" attractions and to socialize adolescents into the faith.
Kimball employs a wealth of source material including periodicals, diaries, journals, personal papers, and institutional records to illuminate this hitherto underexplored aspect of the LDS church. In addition to uncovering the historical roots of many Mormon institutions still visible today, Sports in Zion is a detailed look at the broader functions of recreation in society.
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.
In this unique study, Ethan R. Yorgason examines the Mormon "culture region" of the American West, which in the late nineteenth century was characterized by sexual immorality, communalism, and anti-Americanism but is now marked by social conservatism. Foregrounding the concept of region, Yorgason traces the conformist-conservative trajectory that arose from intense moral and ideological clashes between Mormons and non-Mormons from 1880 to 1920. Looking through the lenses of regional geography, history, and cultural studies, Yorgason investigates shifting moral orders relating to gender authority, economic responsibility, and national loyalty, community, and home life.
Transformation of the Mormon Culture Region charts how Mormons and non-Mormons resolved their cultural contradictions over time by a progressive narrowing of the range of moral positions on gender (in favor of Victorian gender relations), the economy (in favor of individual economics), and the nation (identifying with national power and might). Mormons and non-Mormons together constructed a regime of effective coexistence while retaining regional distinctiveness.
An Unarmed Woman
John Bennion Signature Books, 2019 Library of Congress PS3552.E547564 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Rachel O’Brien Rockwood, like her stepfather J. D., longs to hunt criminals and other miscreants. So when, in 1887, during the height of US anti-polygamy legislation, two federal deputies on the lookout for Mormon polygamists are murdered in the small village of Centre, west of Salt Lake City, she jumps at the chance to join the investigation. But detecting never runs smoothly—Rachel and J. D. butt heads regularly over method and approach. Rachel favors talking and uncovering motives. J. D. prefers tracking and searching for the murder weapon. Also there are too many suspects—nearly every villager wanted the deputies gone. As fast as J. D. and Rachel can uncover clues, the local Mormon bishop brushes them aside, insisting instead that the deputies committed thievery and fled westward. Whose theory is true—Rachel’s, J. D.’s, the bishop’s? Or will the story be shaped by the federal marshal, openly hostile to all things Mormon?
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 exodus of the Mormon people from Illinois across the Great Plains to the Salt Lake Valley was the most monumental movement of a people in the settlement of the American West. In 1846, the first pioneers, led by Brigham Young, crossed Iowa, and this proved to be the most difficult part of their journey. The weather, the terrain and emigrants' lack of experience and preparation tested their faith and strength, but their single-minded desire to reach a safe home in the West forged them into a strong people.
Wend Your Way: A Guide to Sites Along the Mormon Trail tells the story of this great movement through Iowa. Tracing the trail from east to west through 12 counties the guide includes:
• Mormon Trail history for each county
•Directs visitors to the 27 interpretive roadside panels that were constructed on the trail by U.S. National Park Service and Iowa Mormon Trails Association
•Reproduces the poignant illustrations that author L. Matthew Chatterley drew for these wayside exhibits
•Provides a map and directions by county to guide travelers to the route of the Mormon Trail, sites of Mormon camps and settlements and the interpretive roadside panels
•Lists other locations in southern Iowa that visitors will want to explore
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.
Mormonism is a community with two faces: progressive and conservative. This is true of nearly all faith traditions, which can be alternately open or defensive, traditional or innovative, accepting or judgmental. In the case of the LDS Church, it continues, a century after having shaken off the stigma of polygamy, three decades after embracing blacks as equals, and in the face of international growth, to wrestle with freeing itself from its past insularity. In doing so, it will find its place within the larger religious world and its accommodation to the challenges of modernism.
This all represents a challenge for individual members, especially for artists, scholars, and independent thinkers. The poet Robert Haas has made a distinction between religion, which is “communal worship centered on shared ideas of the sacred,” and spirituality, which “has to do with the individual soul’s struggle with its own meaning.” In this anthology, sixteen Latter-day Saints explain how they balance the demands of religion and spirituality in the modern Church. It brings to mind the example of LDS educator Lowell Bennion who offered the image of carrying water on both shoulders to explain the binary nature of balancing faith with reason, institutional commitment with individual integrity, obedience with love.
It is encouraging to discover so many Latter-day saints who, the editor writes, “neither stay with their faith blindly nor leave it rebelliously, but rather choose to struggle with challenges and strive for a more mature discipleship.” The contributors to this anthology are Lavina Fielding Anderson, Mary Bradford, William Bradshaw, Claudia L. Bushman, Fred Christensen, Lael Littke, Armand Mauss, Chase Peterson, Grethe Peterson, J. Frederick “Toby” Pingree, Gregory Prince, Robert A. Rees, Tom Rogers, William D. Russell, Cherry Bushman Silver, and Morris Thurston.
The Women: A Family Story
Kerry William Bate University of Utah Press, 2016 Library of Congress F826.S74B38 2016 | Dewey Decimal 305.409792
Family history, usually destined or even designed for limited consumption, is a familiar genre within Mormon culture. Mostly written with little attention to standards of historical scholarship, such works are a distinctly hagiographic form of family memorabilia. But many family sagas in the right hands can prove widely engaging, owing to inherent drama and historical relevance. They can truthfully illuminate larger matters of history, humanity, and culture.
Kerry Bate proceeds on the premise that a story centering on the women of the clan could provide fresh perspective and insight. He portrays real people with well-rounded, flawed characters; builds from deep research; writes with a bit of style; and includes the rich context and detail of these lives. His main subjects are four generations of impressive women: the pioneer Catherine Campbell Steele; her daughter Young Elizabeth, the first Mormon child born in Utah; Kate, an accomplished community leader; and Sarah, a gifted seamstress trapped in an unhappy marriage. To enter their hardscrabble lives in small southern Utah communities is to meet women who pioneered in their own modest but determined ways.
Winner of the Mormon History Association's Best Personal History/Memoir Award.
The red rock canyon country of southeastern Utah and northeastern Arizona is one of the most isolated, wild, and beautiful regions of North America. Europeans and Americans over time have mostly avoided, disdained, or ignored it. Wrecks of Human Ambition illustrates how this landscape undercut notions and expectations of good, productive land held by the first explorers, settlers, and travelers who visited it. Even today, its aridity and sandy soils prevent widespread agricultural exploitation, and its cliffs, canyons, and rivers thwart quick travel in and through the landscape.
Most of the previous works regarding the history of this unique region have focused on either early exploration or twentieth-century controversies that erupted over mineral and water development and the creation of national parks and wilderness areas. This volume fills a gap in existing histories by focusing on early historical themes from the confrontation between Euro-Christian ideals and this challenging landscape. It centers on three interconnected interpretations of the area that unfolded when visitors from green, well-watered, productive lands approached this desert. The Judeo-Christian obligation to “make the desert bloom,” encompassed ideas of millenarianism and of Indian conversion and acculturation as well as the Old Testament symbolism of the “garden” and the “desert.” It was embodied in the efforts of Spanish missionaries who came to the canyon country from the 1500s to the 1700s, and in the experiences of Mormon settlers from about 1850 to 1909. Another conflicting sentiment saw the region simply as bad land to avoid, an idea strongly held by U.S. government explorers in the 1850s. This conclusion too was reinforced by the experiences of those who attempted to settle and exploit this country. Finally, though, the rise of tourism brought new ideas of wilderness reverence to the canyon country. The bad lands became valuable precisely because they were so distinct from traditionally settled landscapes.
In pursuing the conflict between Euro-Christian ideals and an arid, rugged, resistant landscape of deserts and canyons, Paul Nelson provides in clear, engaging language the most detailed examination yet published of colonial Spain’s encounter with the region and lays out some of Mormonism’s rare failures in settling the arid West.
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.