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 early history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is filled with fascinating characters, but few led a more tumultuous life than Amasa Lyman. Though he has been largely forgotten, this new biography provides a unique and revealing account of the early days of Mormonism and Lyman’s role in creating that history. He served as a missionary in the “burned-over” district of upstate New York and in Ohio before moving to Kirtland, where he suffered in the infant church’s financial crisis. He participated in the conflicts with hostile Missourians and emigrated to Nauvoo, Illinois. There, he became a leader in the church and a close associate of Joseph Smith. Lyman then led a company of pioneers across Iowa to Winter Quarters and on to the Salt Lake Valley. He was sent to the California gold fields and led the colonization of San Bernardino, where he became its first mayor, before returning to Utah, and he traveled to Europe as head of the church’s European missions.
Having spent more than thirty years in the service of his church, Lyman began to move away from its teachings after a series of conflicts with its second leader, Brigham Young. Lyman was one of the first Mormons to criticize the Mountain Meadows Massacre, which led to his dismissal as an apostle. He was excommunicated in 1870 and became one of the foremost spokesmen of the Godbeite Church of Zion movement before his death in 1877. Author Edward Leo Lyman chronicles Amasa Lyman’s life and interactions with Mormon history with an honesty true to his ancestor’s freethinking spirit.
Winner of the Francis Armstrong Madsen Best Utah History Book Award from the Utah Division of State History.
“What I’m talking about is knowledge. Knowledge is lived, not forgiven. … It’s an old Druid idea but an interesting one. Knowledge can’t be forgiven. We can be forgiven for our deeds, maybe for our thoughts. But once you know something, there’s no forgiveness because there’s no unknowing.” —Toom Taggart
Finding the church archivist dead in the temple complex was somewhat awkward for the RLDS church hierarchy. What was the archivist doing in the temple in the middle of the night and what was he doing with President Fred M. Smith’s declaration of supreme directional control?
For the public relations department, this was all a day’s work—something not so very difficult to explain away with a few carefully worded phrases. That would have been that, had the director of church education, erstwhile philosopher Toom Taggart, not smelled something rotten on the second floor.
Alternately suspenseful and humorous, The Angel Acronym romps through the corridors of religious orthodoxy and the pages of history to probe the perplexities of religious truth, public image, and a bureaucratic mindset.
"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.