Benchmark Blog

ben

Our friend (and astute observer and scholar of the Mormon past) Ben Park has compiled a list of the “Top Ten Books on Mormon History” for those who are new to Mormon history. He employed four criteria in composing the list:

  • Use of a sophisticated academic approach and emphasis on analysis over merely regurgitating data and documents
  • Coverage of an important person, event, or period in Mormon history
  • Quality of writing
  • Length (i.e., not too long)

The List

save 10% on all (except for noted exceptions)

  • mormon peoplemormon peoplemormon peopleMatthew Bowman, The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith. New pb–$17.00/new hb—reg. $26.00, SALE $5.99 (copies arriving soon)—no discount
  • rough stoneRichard Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. New pb–$18.95/used pb–$10/used hb, small amt marking–$20
  • massacreRonald Walker et. al., Massacre at Mountain Meadows. New pb–$17.95/new hb, signed by all three authors–$29.95/used hb, 1st pr, signed by all three–$75/used hb, 1st pr, signed by two authors–$40
  • mormon questionSarah Barringer Gordon, The Mormon Question Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America. New pb–$32.50 (copies arriving soon)
  • more wivesKathryn Daynes, More Wives Than One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840-1910. New pb–$26/used hb, signed, marking–$25/used hb–$30
  • religion of a different colorPaul Reeve, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness. New hb, signed–$34.95
  • politicsKathleen Flake, The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle. New pb–$32.50 (copies arriving soon)/new hb–$69.95 (special order only)
  • angel]Armand Mauss, The Angel and the Beehive: The Mormon Struggle with Assimilation. New hb–$35
  • davidGregory Prince & Wm. Robert Wright, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. New hb–$29.95/used hb–$18
  • pedestalsMartha Bradley, Pedestals and  Podiums: Utah Women, Religious Authority, and Equal Rights. New hb–$39.95

Ben will record a series of podcasts (one a month) discussing each book and its role in shaping Mormon history. The first installment covering The Mormon People (Ben also provides a helpful discussion of the “New Mormon Studies” and its relationship to “Mormon Studies”) has been released–for more info, click here.

What do you think of his list? We would like to hear your thoughts–please comment on which books you have read/enjoyed/disliked, etc. Are there books on this list that you agree should make the cut? Are there others that you think are more worthy of inclusion?

 

We’ve posted the video from the Michael Hicks signing for The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: A Biography on 3/18/15. To watch it, visit the Events tab at the top of the site or click here.  If you weren’t able to make it that night, we do have a few signed copies of the book left.

A reminder that Michael Hicks, author of “The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: A Biography” (published by the University of Illinois), will be here TOMORROW, March 18th to speak about and sign copies of his book. He will be at 5:30 PM to sign and will begin speaking at 6:00.

To RSVP on Facebook, click here.

We are pleased to offer copies of the first and second edition of the Book of Mormon for sale. Only rarely do we have the first two editions of the Book of Mormon for sale at the same time, but we are fortunate to have these scarce and valuable books now and are pleased to offer them for your consideration. Not only that, but we are offering them at discounted prices. This is an unusual opportunity to acquire one or both of these important editions of the Book of Mormon.

Book of Mormon, 1830 (1st edition)

On June 11, 1829, Joseph Smith deposited the title page of the Book of Mormon with the clerk of the Northern District of New York and obtained a copyright. About the same time, he and Harris approached Egbert B. Grandin, publisher of the Palmyra Wayne Sentinel, about printing the book. Grandin was troubled by the adverse publicity and refused. Next they contacted Thurlow Weed, publisher of the Rochester Anti-Masonic Enquirer, who declined on the grounds that he was only a newspaper man. But he sent them to Elihu F. Marshall, a Rochester book publisher, who agreed to do the printing if payment was suitably guaranteed. With a printer in hand, Harris went back to E. B. Grandin and urged him to take on the job. After talking with friends, who assured him printing the book would be viewed only as business, and consulting with his typesetter, John H. Gilbert, Grandin agreed to print and bind in leather 5,000 copies for $3,000. As security, Harris gave Grandin a mortgage on his farm, dated August 25, 1829, which bound Harris to pay the $3,000 within eighteen months.

Gilbert also did the press work with J. H. Bortles until December 1829, when Grandin hired a journeyman pressman, Thomas McAuley. After that, McAuley and Bortles operated the press. Grandin’s press was a single-pull Smith Patented Improved Press, inked with “balls.” (It is now on display at the LDS Church’s Museum of Church History and Art.) Faced with setting a six hundred-page book, Grandin ordered a new font of type from Albany. Even so, one form of sixteen pages had to be printed and the type distributed before the next form could be set. Gilbert reported that when he was also working the press, it took nearly three days to print one form. The 1830 Book of Mormon is originally bound in brown calf, plain except for seven double bands in gilt on the backstrip with a black leather label stamped in gilt Book of Mormon. End sheets are of the same paper as the text. The copyright notice appears on the verso of the title page. A preface (pp. [iii]–iv) explains the loss of the initial 116 pages of manuscript and the revelation to Joseph Smith not to retranslate that part but to begin with the plates of Nephi. Only the 1830 edition has this preface. Pages [51]–588 contain the main text, and the testimonies of the three and of the eight witnesses occur on both sides of the leaf following p. 588 – A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, Volume 1 by Peter Crawley.

Full leather. Original boards and binding. Spine label has a small chip missing but the gilt title is still mostly present. Minor to moderate rubbing along edges of covers and spine. Minor cracking to front and rear hinges. A small piece of clear plastic is taped across front pastedown (which could be professionally removed prior to new owner taking possession). Bottom corner of front pastedown is loose. A few pages have small closed tears that do not affect the text; the book block is cracked between pages 238 and 239; several pages have slightly uneven trimming along the bottom edge; a few pages have minor chipping and tears along the bottom edge and two pages are missing text (the chip extends into the third line of text but only affects five or six words); pages 453-456 are missing part of the right margin with text missing (this chip extends to about a half inch at it’s deepest part and approx. a dozen words on each page are missing or partially missing); There is moderate staining and foxing throughout. Previous owner’s name and date (Jesse A. Picknell, March 26th 1882) is found in ink on the title page that has bled through onto the verso of the title page. In the same hand is some commentary regarding Joseph Smith on the Preface page in which the ink also bled through to the verso. The commentary actually adds to the cachet of this copy in our opinion as the writer refers to Joseph Smith as “a child of the devil” rather than of God and makes a disparaging remark about Joseph’s father as well (“like father like son”).

Price was $80,000, NOW $75,000.00.

 (click on any photo below to see it full size)

Book of Mormon, 1837 (2nd edition)

Joseph Smith and the other Church leaders contemplated a second edition of the Book of Mormon as early as the summer of 1833.[95] But the loss of the Independence press and the preoccupation of the Kirtland shop with the Doctrine and Covenants, the hymnal, and Evening and Morning Star delayed a second edition until the winter of 1836–37.

The preface (pp. [v]–vi), signed by Parley Pratt and John Goodson, indicates that they had obtained the rights to publish a second edition of 5,000. This probably means that they helped underwrite the publication and shared in the profits accruing from its sale. In spite of the statement in the preface, the exact size of the edition is uncertain. In 1886, Ebenezer Robinson, a typesetter in the Kirtland print shop, recalled a bit tentatively that it was 3,000.[97] This smaller number is more consistent with the relative scarcity of the 1837 Book of Mormon today.

The preface further explains that in preparation for the new edition, the first edition was “carefully re-examined and compared with the original manuscripts” by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Richard Howard has found more than two thousand changes which were written into the Printer’s Manuscript of the 1830 Book of Mormon and incorporated in the second edition, and over one thousand other changes not indicated in the manuscript.[98] It would seem, therefore, that the 1837 Book of Mormon was printed from the corrected Printer’s Manuscript, and additional changes were made—by Cowdery?—as the book was set in type. Most of the changes are grammatical and stylistic. A few, however, are significant, for example, where “God” or “Eternal Father” on p. 25, lines 4 and 11; p. 26, line 9; and p. 32, line 11 are changed to “Son of God” or “Son of the Eternal Father.”[99] Thus the 1837 edition is an important progenitor in the genealogy of the Book of Mormon: from it was printed the first of a sequence of British and American editions culminating in the edition now in use by the LDS Church (see items 83, 98). A note To the Reader at the end explains that although the original idea was to publish both the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants in one volume, as indicated in the preface, the publishers abandoned that idea because the two together “would make a volume, entirely too unwieldy for the purpose intended, that of a pocket companion.” A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, Volume 2 by Peter Crawley.

Original brown leather covers and spine. Five double rule gilt bands on the backstrip. The leather label is quite faded and rubbed and worn yet the gilt letters of the title remain quite readable. The leather along the edges and corners is moderately rubbed. 2 blank front and 3 blank rear endsheets. There is moderate moisture staining to the upper third of pages throughout as well as inside the front and rear covers and along the foredge. Stain is darker on the initial few pages but then quickly lightens up considerably thereafter. Approximately 20 scattered pages have been trimmed along the foredge without affecting text. Typical toning and foxing to pages throughout. The book is housed in a clamshell box. This is one of the nicest copies we have had for sale or even seen.

Price was $50,000.00, NOW $45,000.00!

(click on any photo below to see full size)

SPEND LUNCH WITH AN AUTHOR

spencer perspectives

We are happy to announce that Joe Spencer, co-editor of the first volume in the new Perspectives on Mormon TheologyScriptural Theology (published by Greg Kofford Books), will be here for a lunchtime signing on Thursday, Mar 12th. He will be here from 12-1 PM to sign books and chat. Come spend your lunch hour with us! To RSVP, click here. Let us know if you can’t make it and we can hold a signed copy for you here at the store or mail it to you.

The phrase “theology of scripture” can be understood in two distinct ways. First, theology of scripture would be reflection on the nature of scripture, asking questions about what it means for a person or a people to be oriented by a written text (rather than or in addition to an oral tradition or a ritual tradition). In this first sense, theology of scripture would form a relatively minor part of the broader theological project, since the nature of scripture is just one of many things on which theologians reflect. Second, theology of scripture would be theological reflection guided by scripture, asking questions of scriptural texts and allowing those texts to shape the direction the theologian’s thoughts pursue. In this second sense, theology of scripture would be less a part of the larger theological project than a way of doing theology, since whatever the theologian takes up reflectively, she investigates through the lens of scripture.

Contributions:

1. A Mormon Reading of Job 19:23–25a
-     Joseph M. Spencer
2. “Without Money”: Equality and the Transformative Power of God’s Word
-     Robert Couch
3. “Take No Thought”
-     Adam S. Miller
4. Jesus on Jesus: John 5 and 7
-     Eric D. Huntsman
5. I, Nephi
-     Claudia L. Bushman
6. Alma’s Wisdom-Poem to Helaman (Alma 37:35–37)
-     Bruce W. Jorgensen
7. “Seek Ye Earnestly the Best Gifts”
-     Jane Hafen
8. Records, Reading, and Writing in Doctrine and Covenants 128
-     Jenny Webb
9. Faith and the Ethics of Climate Change
-     George B. Handley
10. The Way toward the Garden: Moses 5:1–12
-     James E. Faulconer

 

Perspectives on Mormon Theology–Scriptural Theology, co-edited by James Faulconer and Joseph Spencer. Greg Kofford Books, 2015. 211 pp–paperback, $24.95/hardback, $59.95.

 

Shipping: $4.50 for the first book, $1 for each additional (USPS)–Priority/FedEx/UPS options available–inquire for details.

Utah residents–add 7.05% sales tax

EVENING WITH AN AUTHOR

Hicks-Michael-2014-357x500

tab choir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are pleased to announce that Michael Hicks, author of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: A Biography (published by the University of Illinois), will be here on Wednesday, March 18th to speak about and sign copies of his book. He will be here at 5:30 PM to sign and will begin speaking at 6:00. We hope you will be able to make it that night but, if not, we can mail a signed copy or hold one here at the store for pick-up. To RSVP on Facebook, click here.

A first-of-its-kind history, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir tells the epic story of how an all-volunteer group founded by persecuted religious outcasts grew into a multimedia powerhouse synonymous with the mainstream and with Mormonism itself.

Drawing on decades of work observing and researching the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Michael Hicks examines the personalities, decisions, and controversies that shaped “America’s choir.” Here is the miraculous story behind the Tabernacle’s world-famous acoustics, the anti-Mormonism that greeted early tours, the clashes with Church leaders over repertoire and presentation, the radio-driven boom in popularity, the competing visions of rival conductors, and the Choir’s aspiration to be accepted within classical music even as Mormons sought acceptance within American culture at large. Everything from Billboard hits to TV appearances to White House performances paved the way for Mormonism’s crossover triumph. Yet, as Hicks shows, such success raised fundamental concerns regarding the Choir’s mission, functions, and image.

“This fascinating, honest account should find many eager readers among the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s millions of fans. Michael Hicks combines the accuracy of a fine historian with the sensitivity of a judicious music critic.”–Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 

Michael Hicks is a professor of music at Brigham Young University and the author of Mormonism and Music: A History and Sixties Rock: Garage, Psychedelic, and Other Satisfactions. His historical and analytical articles have appeared in books such as the Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World and the forthcoming Oxford Handbook to Mormonism. His chamber and solo works have been performed and recorded by BYU’s University Singers, Concert Choir, and Group for New Music (which he founded in 1987) as well as by other performers around the country.

 

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: A Biography. University of Illinois, 2015. 248pp. Hardback. $29.95.

Also by Michael Hicks: Mormonism and Music: A History. University of Illinois, 2003. 280pp. Paperback. $22.95.

 

 

Shipping: $4.50 for the first book, $1 for each additional (USPS)–Priority/FedEx/UPS options available–inquire for details.

Utah residents–add 7.05% sales tax

 

 

We’ve posted the video from Paul Reeve’s signing for Religion of a Different Color. Paul is a very engaging presenter and we think you’ll agree this was a fantastic event. If you didn’t get a copy yet, we’ve still got a few signed ones here. As Heber J. Grant told someone in a letter, “Sister Grant and I do not send flowers to our friends when they are in sorrow but instead we send books, which last so much longer. I am sending you some books in the hope that you may find words of consolation in them.”

To watch the video, check out the Events tab above or click here.

One day for presidents is not enough—how about a whole week?

Through Saturday, Feb 21st, save 20% on all books—new or used—written by or about presidents of the church. This is your chance to stock up on interesting biographies and collections of teachings/sermons. In addition, save 10% on all other new and used books (a few exceptions apply).

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the cart of temptations

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Ezra Taft Benson items

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For example, here are some books by or about Ezra Taft Benson to aid your study this year (in the case of the used books, we may only have one copy–we will be happy to find another if necessary):

An Enemy Hath Done This. New. Paperback. Archive, 2010 (reprint). $20.95

God Family Country: Our Three Great Loyalties. New. Paperback. Archive, 2010 (reprint). $22.95

Proper Role of Government. New. Pamphlet. $3.95

Ezra Taft Benson: A Biography by Sheri L. Dew. Used—rips/tears to dj. Hardback. $15.00

Missionaries to Match our Message. Used. Paperback. $6.00

An Enemy Hath Done This. Used–moisture staining and rippling to dust jacket as well as several tears; moisture staining and minor rippling along top edge; some scattered highlighting and marking. Hardback. $22.50/Used—short inscription. Hardback. $25.00

The Red Carpet. Used. Hardback. $15.00

The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson. Used—inscription inside front cover. Hardback. $20.00

God Family Country: Our Three Great Loyalties. Used–inscribed by son of Ezra Taft Benson inside front cover.  Possible autopen signature on title page. Hardback. $65.00/Used. Hardback. $20.00

So Shall Ye Reap: Selected Addresses of Ezra Taft Benson. Used–minor chipping and tears to dust jacket. Hardback. $15.00

Cross Fire: The Eight Years With Eisenhower. Used–dust jacket is chipped, torn and slightly soiled.. Hardback. $30.00

Farmers at the Crossroads. Used–soiling and chipping to DJ; staining on frontis. and title page. $12.00

Come Unto Christ. Used—autopen ETB signature. Hardback. $40.00/Used. Hardback. $12.00

Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice: Messages to the Saints from Ezra Taft Benson. Used—inscription and highlighting. $15.00/Used. Hardback. $16.00

This Nation Shall Endure. Used. Hardback. $15.00

A Nation Asleep. Used. Hardback. $40.00

A Witness and A Warning: A Modern-day Prophet Testifies of the Book of Mormon. Used. Hardback. $10.00

Freedom to Farm. Used. Hardback. $20.00

Title of Liberty. Used–significant moisture staining and rippling to rear panel of dust jacket and the rear cover of the book; minor moisture rippling along top edge of last 50 pages or so. Hardback. $15.00

The Threat to our Freedom. Used. Paperback. $20.00

The American Heritage of Freedom – A Plan of God. Used. Hardback. $35.00

New Horizons in Farming. Used. Pamphlet. $20.00

President Ezra Taft Benson Remembers The Joys of Christmas. Used. Pamphlet. $5.00

The Constitution: A Heavenly Banner. Used–inscription. Pamphlet. $5.00

A Plea for America. Used—names inside front cover. Pamphlet. $5.00

The American Heritage of Freedom – A Plan of God. Used. Pamphlet. $20.00

The Proper Role of Government. Used. Pamphlet. $5.00

Debt – An Increasing Threat. Used—name inside front cover. Pamphlet. $10.00

A Message to Judah from Joseph. Used. Pamphlet. $20.00

Books Signed/Owned by Benson

Thoughts for One Hundred Days, Volume Five by Richard L. Evans. Used–inscribed “To Jim & Beverly Parker, With New Year’s Greeting and Blessings – Father and Mother Benson, 1973″ Beverly is one of the daughters of Ezra Taft Benson. Hardback. $100.00

Prophets I Have Known: Joseph Anderson Shares Life’s Experiences by Joseph Anderson. Used–inscribed “To Jim & Beverly Parker, with affectionate greetings from Father and Mother Benson, Xmas ’73.” Beverly Parker is the daughter of Ezra Taft Benson. Hardback. $200.00

Youth and the Church by Harold B. Lee. Used–typed letter pasted inside front cover on Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle Choir letterhead indicating that this book was being presented to the Choir’s members as a Christmas gift.  On verso of half title page finds the following inscription in Ezra Taft Benson’s hand: To S____ Benson, Choice and Talented Grandaughter of Faith, Purity and Beauty – With Prayerful Wishes for Your Welfare from – Grandpa and Grandma Benson, 1-30-74. Hardback. $200.00

LeGrand Richards Speaks by LeGrand Richards [comp. by G. LaMont Richards]. Used–this copy is from President Ezra Taft Benson’s personal library and bears his signature inside the front cover. Hardback. $100.00

Faith Works by Mark E. Petersen. Used–this copy is from President Ezra Taft Benson’s personal library and bears his signature. Hardback. $100.00

The Spirit of the Old Testament by Sidney Sperry. Used–this copy is from President Ezra Taft Benson’s personal library and bears his signature. Hardback. $100.00

The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil by H. Verlan Andersen. Used–inscribed inside front cover: To _____Benson, With Admiration and Prayerful Wishes for Your Eternal Welfare – From Grandpa and Grandma Benson, 9-27-72, in black pen in Ezra Taft Benson’s hand. Paperback. $200.00

Of One Heart: The Glory of the City of Enoch by Neal A. Maxwell. Used–inscribed: To Mark & Lola Benson, With Love – from Father and Mother Benson, 10/21/75. The inscription is in Ezra Taft Benson’s hand. The covers are quite worn and have several tears; there are several pages with underlining. Paperback. $150.00

Official Report of the One Hundred Forty-Third Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, April 1973. Used–this copy is from President Ezra Taft Benson’s personal library and bears his signature on the front cover. Paperback. $150.00

Official Report of the First Mexico and Central America Area General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, August 1972. Used–this copy is from President Ezra Taft Benson’s personal library and bears his signature on the front cover. Paperback. $150.00

Millions of Meetings by Harold Glen Clark. Used–this copy is from President Ezra Taft Benson’s personal library and bears his signature. Hardback. $75.00

God Family Country: Our Three Great Loyalties. Used–bookplate inside front cover; DJ chipped and sunned; Signed by Benson. $125.00

 

SPEND LUNCH WITH AN AUTHOR

mary bradford

Mr mustard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are pleased to announce that Mary L. Bradford will be here for an informal lunchtime event on Friday, February 13th to sign copies of her recently-published book, Mr. Mustard Plaster and Other Mormon Essays (published by Greg Kofford Books), and chat. She will be here from 11:00 to 12:00. We hope you will be able to make it but, if not, we can hold a signed copy here at the store or mail it to you. To RSVP on Facebook, please click here.

Poet, editor, biographer, and author Mary Lythgoe Bradford has had one of the longest and most consistent careers of anyone working in contemporary Mormon letters. This new collection, Mr. Mustard Plaster and Other Mormon Essays, conveniently provides under one cover a picaresque memoir of her impressive cultural contributions—from her graduate days, during the late century, at the University of Utah where she received her Master’s degree in English literature; through her becoming the first “Sister” to have edited Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought; well, now, to her later-life career as poet and author of the collection Purple: Poems by Mary Lythgoe Bradford, published during the present century. The essays, organized in five sections, follow her eventful life in roughly chronological order.

“For nearly half a century Mary Bradford has perfected the personal essay, that most under-appreciated of literary genres. In revelation after revelation, she has used her life as a prism through which she has looked inward and outward, illuminating the world from the perspective Thoreau referred to ironically as ‘the narrowness of my experience.’ From such ‘narrowness’ Bradford has expanded our vision through the unique perspective of her poetic, feminine, and Mormon voice—a voice of grace, beauty, and deep meaning.” — Robert A. Rees, author of The Cost of Discipleship: The Dimensions of a Mature Mormon Faith

Mary Lythgoe Bradford is past editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought and author of Lowell Bennion: Counselor, Humanitarian. A prominent LDS poet as well as essayist, Bradford’s poetry was recently collected in Purple: Poems by Mary Lythgoe Bradford.

 

Mr. Mustard Plaster and Other Mormon Essays. Greg Kofford Books, 2015. 207pp. Paperback. $20.95.

 

Also by Mary Bradford:

Lowell L. Bennion: Teacher – Counselor – Humanitarian. Dialogue Foundation, 1995. Hardback. Reg. $24.95, SALE $2.99.

Purple: Poems by Mary Lythgoe Bradford. Dialogue Foundation, 2009. Paperback. $11.95

 

Shipping: $4.50 for the first book, $1 for each additional (USPS)–Priority/FedEx/UPS options available–inquire for details.

Utah residents–add 7.05% sales tax

 

A reminder that Paul Reeve, author of the recently-published Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness (published by Oxford University Press) will be here on Wednesday, February 11th to sign and discuss his book. He will be here from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., speaking at 6:00, and will answer questions and sign books before and after that time. We hope you will be able to make that night but, if not, we can mail a signed copy or hold one here at the store for pick-up. To RSVP on Facebook, click here.

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