A reminder that our Fall Sale rolls on. Through the end of October, save 20% on most new books and 25% on most used books. In addition, choose from one of six free books for orders over $50 and free shipping for orders over $100. To get your creative juices flowing, here are some of the books that have been published over the last few months.
- Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity by Terryl L. Givens. Oxford University Press, 2014. 424pp. Hardback. $34.95. In this first volume of his magisterial study of the foundations of Mormon thought and practice, Terryl L. Givens offers a sweeping account of Mormon belief from its founding to the present day. Situating the relatively new movement in the context of the Christian tradition, he reveals that Mormonism continues to change and grow. Givens shows that despite Mormonism’s origins in a biblical culture strongly influenced by nineteenth-century Restorationist thought, which advocated a return to the Christianity of the early Church, the new movement diverges radically from the Christianity of the creeds. Mormonism proposes its own cosmology and metaphysics, in which human identity is rooted in a premortal world as eternal as God. Mormons view mortal life as an enlightening ascent rather than a catastrophic fall, and reject traditional Christian concepts of human depravity and destiny. Popular fascination with Mormonism’s social innovations, such as polygamy and communalism, and its supernatural and esoteric elements-angels, gold plates, seer stones, a New World Garden of Eden, and sacred undergarments-have long overshadowed the fact that it is the most enduring and even thriving product of the nineteenth century’s religious upheavals and innovations. Wrestling the Angel traces the essential contours of Mormon thought from the time of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young to the contemporary LDS church, illuminating both the seminal influence of the founding generation of Mormon thinkers and the significant developments in the church over almost 200 years. The most comprehensive account of the development of Mormon thought ever written, Wrestling the Angel will be essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the Mormon faith.
- The Liberal Soul: Applying the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Politics by Richard Davis. Greg Kofford Books, 2014. 170pp. Paperback. $22.95. Davis suggests that a Latter-day Saint can approach economic policy, war, the environment, and social issues with the perspective that society is basically good and not evil, tolerance and forbearance are desirable qualities instead of bad ones, and that government can and does play a positive role as a vehicle of society in improving the lives of citizens. He describes how Latter-day Saints can apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our roles at each of these three levels—individual, group, and society—rather than assuming the societal level violates the principles of the Gospel. The result is that Latter-day Saints can help bring about a Zion society—one where all benefit, the most vulnerable are aided and not ignored, inclusion is the rule and not the exception, and suspicion and fear are replaced by love and acceptance.
- The First Vision: A Harmonization of 10 Accounts from the Sacred Grove by Matthew B. Christensen. Cedar Fort, 2014. 51pp. Hardback. $14.99. Besides the account of the First Vision as told in Joseph Smith – History, Joseph Smith himself wrote or dictated at least three other accounts of the event. Matthew Christensen compiles Joseph’s accounts with those from his contemporaries into one narrative–the various accounts are color-coded in the harmony. Gain fresh insight into this most important of events with this beautifully designed and illustrated keepsake.
- Way Below the Angels: the pretty clearly troubled but not even close to tragic confessions of a real live Mormon missionary by Craig Harline. Eerdmans, 2014. Hardback. $22.00. When Craig Harline set off on his two-year Mormon mission to Belgium in the 1970s, he had big dreams of doing miracles, converting the masses, and coming home a hero. What he found instead was a lot of rain and cold, one-sentence conversations with irritated people, and silly squabbles with fellow missionaries. From being kicked — literally — out of someone’s home to getting into arguments about what God really wanted from Donny Osmond, Harline faced a range of experiences that nothing, including his own missionary training, had prepared him for. He also found a wealth of friendships with fellow Mormons as well as unconverted locals and, along the way, gained insights that would shape the rest of his life.
- The Columbia Sourcebook of Mormons in the United States ed. by Terryl L. Givens and Reid L. Neilson. Columbia University Press, 2014. 455pp. Hardback. $80.00. This anthology offers rare access to key original documents illuminating Mormon history, theology, and culture in the United States from the nineteenth century to today. Brief introductions describe the theological significance of each text and its reflection of the practices, issues, and challenges that have defined and continue to define the Mormon community. These documents balance mainstream and peripheral thought and religious experience, institutional and personal perspective, and theoretical and practical interpretation, representing pivotal moments in LDS history and correcting decades of misinformation and stereotype. The authors of these documents, male and female, not only celebrate but speak critically and question mainline LDS teachings on sexuality, politics, gender, race, polygamy, and other issues. Selections largely focus on the Salt Lake-based LDS tradition, with a section on the post-Joseph Smith splintering and its creation of a variety of similar yet different Mormon groups. The documents are arranged chronologically within specific categories to capture both the historical and doctrinal development of Mormonism in the United States.
- The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith by Terryl and Fiona Givens. Deseret Book, 2014. 168pp. Hardback. $19.99. Faith is the first principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So what happens when a person has doubts? Questioning is not the problem, according to authors Terryl and Fiona Givens. “After all,” they write, “the Restoration unfolded because a young man asked questions.” The difficulty arises when questions are based on flawed assumptions or incorrect perceptions, which can “point us in the wrong direction, misdirect our attention, or constrain the answers we are capable of hearing.” This insightful book offers a careful, intelligent look at doubt—at some of its common sources, the challenges it presents, and the opportunities it may open up in a person’s quest for faith. Whether you struggle with your own doubts or mostly want to understand loved ones who question, you will appreciate this candid discussion.
- Women at Church: Magnifying LDS Women’s Local Impact by Neylan McBaine. Greg Kofford Books, 2014. 189pp. $21.95. Paperback. Women at Church is a practical and faithful guide to improving the way men and women work together at church. Looking at current administrative and cultural practices, the author explains why some women struggle with the gendered divisions of labor. She then examines ample real-life examples that are currently happening in local settings around the country that expand and reimagine gendered practices. Readers will understand how to evaluate possible pain points in current practices and propose solutions that continue to uphold all mandated church policies. Readers will be equipped with the tools they need to have respectful, empathetic and productive conversations about gendered practices in Church administration and culture.
- Seven Heavenly Witnesses of the First & Second Coming of Jesus Christ by Val Brinkerhoff. Digital Legend, 2014. 258pp. Oversize paperback. $44.99. This is an uparallelled work. No other book written on the sacred topic of the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ has ever included such keen insights and correlations between modern events of the heavenly signs of the times that were set from the “Foundation of the World.” The heavens provide light and truth. Man cannot change them. God’s faithful witnesses in the sun, the moon, and the wandering stars were the “lights” He set in the heavens, they are His calendar and they have much to teach us. Val Brinkerhoff has restored much of the learning and mysteries that were common knowledge to our Church founders. His research and insights are awakening within those people who have eyes to see and ears to hear the heavenly correlations, signs and wonders that the Lord established from “the foundation of the world.”
- Rattlesnakes and Axe-heads: The Almost Forgotten History and Lore of Sanpete (3rd ed.) by David G. Mackey. Sanpete Legacy Research, 2014. 492pp. OversizSeven Heavenly Witnesses of the First & Second Coming of Jesus Christe paperback. $53.99. Rattlesnakes is a retelling of a region’s past in a unique way, one which gives voice to thousands of lives long silent. Drawing heavily from primary and other period sources, the volume is rich in detail about the people and events which shaped Sanpete into an extraordinary place. The work surveys many centuries leading up to the arrival of the first company of white settlers in 1849, and then focuses on the three crucial decades which follow. The book explores a time when Sanpete’s jurisdictional boundaries officially extended east into what is present-day Colorado and south encompassing what is now Sevier, Piute and Wayne counties.
- Exploring Book of Mormon Lands: The 1923 Latin American Travel Writings of Mormon Historian Andrew Jenson ed. by Justin R. Bray and Reid L. Neilson. RSC/Deseret Book, 2014. 330pp. Oblong hardback.$31.99. Described as “the most traveled man in the Church,” Andrew Jenson was a lifelong globetrotter since his emigration as a young boy from Denmark to Utah in 1866. Jenson’s interest in the whereabouts of ancient Nephite and Lamanite ruins propelled him to visit remote areas of Latin America, and he returned with a powerful impression that the latter-day gospel should be spread south, beyond the borders of Mexico. Jenson’s letters help reader better understand events and experiences that may have led to the reopening of the South American Mission in 1925. This book covers this important period in both Jenson’s life and Church history, which has rarely been told and is virtually unknown by most Mormon historians.
- Essays: Three Degrees by Denver Snuffer. Mill Creek Press, 2014. 214pp. Paperback. $15.95. This volume contains three essays (“First Three Words,” “The Mission of Elijah Reconsidered,” “Brigham Young’s Telestial Kingdom”) by Denver C. Snuffer, Jr. on Mormon doctrine and history. The essays are based on talks and have previously been available through Mr. Snuffer’s blog. In this print edition the essays have been updated and some clarifications and additional footnotes have been added.
- Re-reading Job: Understanding the Ancient World’s Greatest Poem by Michael Austin. Greg Kofford Books, 2014. 157pp. Paperback. $20.95. The majority of the text of Job is a work of poetry that authors and artists through the centuries have recognized as being one of–if not the–greatest poem of the ancient world. In Re-reading Job: Understanding the Ancient World’s Greatest Poem, author Michael Austin shows how most readers have largely misunderstood this important work of scripture and provides insights that enable us to re-read Job in a drastically new way. In doing so, he shows that the story of Job is far more than that simple story of faith, trials, and blessings that we have all come to know, but is instead a subversive and complex work of scripture meant to inspire readers to rethink all that they thought they knew about God.
- A Zion Canyon Reader ed. by Nathan N. Waite and Reid L. Neilson. University of Utah, 2014. 248pp. Paperback. $14.95 Zion National Park is one of the country’s most-visited and best-loved national parks. For the first time, lovers of the park have in one volume the best that has been written about the canyon. A Zion Canyon Reader is a collection of historical and literary accounts that presents diverse perspectives on Zion Canyon—and the surrounding southern Utah region—through the eyes of native inhabitants, pioneer settlers, boosters, explorers, artists, park rangers, developers, and spiritual seekers. Selections come from noted figures such as Wallace Stegner, John Wesley Powell and Everett Ruess. Through the pages of this book, both the newest visitors to Zion and those who return to the park again and again will come to understand what this place has meant to different people over the centuries.
- The Life of Orson F. Whitney: Historian, Poet, Apostle by Dennis Horne. Cedar Fort, 2014. 608pp. Hardcover. $39.99. Orson F. Whitney—bishop, historian, poet, and prophet—once wielded an influence in Mormonism equal to that of such men as James E. Talmage, John A. Widtsoe, and B.H. Roberts, his better-known contemporaries. After serving for most of three decades as a ward bishop, Elder Whitney served as an Apostle for a similar duration. During these sixty years, he served several missions; married a plural wife and raised two families; wrote volumes of history, poetry, and gospel discourse; dreamed dreams and saw visions; spoke to countless multitudes with the tongue of angels, and bore fervent Apostolic testimony. Complicating his enigmatic life, he also became involved with strange doctrines and spiritually errant men; fought overpowering feelings of depression; courted women after the Manifesto; and survived a mind-crippling nervous breakdown. Herein, this complex life story is largely told by Bishop Whitney through the window of his diaries, regularly kept from his first mission until his last conference talk. His youthful years are recounted with his own pen, using previously unpublished autobiographical writings.
- Kirtland Temple: The Biography of a Shared Mormon Sacred Space by David J. Howlett. University of Illinois, 2014. 288pp. Paperback–$25/hardback–$90. The only temple completed by Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith Jr., the Kirtland Temple in Kirtland, Ohio, receives 30,000 Mormon pilgrims every year. The site’s religious significance and the space itself are contested by distinct Mormon denominations: its owner, the relatively liberal Community of Christ, and the larger Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. David J. Howlett sets the biography of Kirtland Temple against the backdrop of this religious rivalry. The two sides have long contested the temple’s ownership, purpose, and significance in both the courts and Mormon literature. Yet members of each denomination have occasionally cooperated to establish periods of co-worship, host joint tours, and create friendships. Howlett uses the temple to build a model for understanding what he calls parallel pilgrimage–the set of dynamics of disagreement and alliance by religious rivals at a shared sacred site. At the same time, he illuminates social and intellectual changes in the two main branches of Mormonism since the 1830s, providing a much-needed history of the lesser-known Community of Christ.
- Mormon Parallels (CD) by Rick Grunder. Rick Grunder – Books, 2014. 2nd ed. w/ index. 2307pp (PDF file), 500 entries. $24.95. Twenty years in the making, with 500 entries in 2,307 pages, Mormon Parallels is the most groundbreaking attempt yet in our understanding of the education, background and prevailing thinking and attitudes of Joseph Smith’s environs. Did other people discuss the origins of America’s Native inhabitants, or write about such theories? Were the doctrines which Joseph Smith proposed unique to him? Has our understanding of Deity been consistent since “Joseph walked out of the Sacred Grove with a more complete understanding of God and Christ than any other mortal”? How could Joseph have known so many compelling things? We are taught that many of Mormonism’s foundational doctrines present original thinking. “However,” suggests Rick Grunder, “a concentrated study of Mormon Parallels teaches us to be wary of such assumptions or their implications. It also opens our imaginations to test the astonishing breadth of thought available among even the most humble contemporaries of Joseph Smith.” This second edition includes an extensive topical index.
- Joseph’s Temples: The Dynamic Relationship between Freemasonry and Mormonism by Michael W. Homer. University of Utah Press, 2014. 448pp. Hardback. $34.95. Mormonism and Freemasonry intertwined within a historical context of early American intellectual, social, and religious ferment, which influenced each of them and in varying times and situations placed them either in the current or against the flow of mainstream American culture and politics. Joseph’s Temples provides a comprehensive examination of a dynamic relationship and makes a significant contribution to the history of Mormonism, Freemasonry, and their places in American history.“The significance of Michael Homer’s work cannot be overstated. He has accomplished what no other author has done on this topic. Mormon studies has been waiting for a work like this.”
—Michael G. Reed, author of Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo
“The definitive treatment by the acknowledged authority in this field—long awaited and needed since the 1820s. Homer skips the nonsense but not the details in this masterful perspective on the many meanings of Masonry in the Mormon world.”
—Rick Grunder, editor of Mormon Parallels: A Bibliographic Source
- Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism’s Original Quorum of Twelve by William Shepard and H. Michael Marquardt. Signature Books, 2014. 426pp. Hardback. $35.95. Of the twelve men initially selected as apostles in 1835, nine would eventually be pruned from the vineyard themselves, to varying degrees. Seven were excommunicated, one of whom was reinstated to his position in the Twelve. Of the other six, the subjects of this book, none returned to the apostleship and four never came back to the Church at all. Those who left faded into obscurity except for when they are occasionally still mentioned in sermons as cautionary tales. But two of them made their marks in other areas of society, John Boynton becoming a successful dentist, a popular lecturer, geologist, and inventor with dozens of important patents to his name, while Lyman Johnson became a prominent attorney and business owner. Even though Luke Johnson, Thomas B. Marsh, William McLellin, and William Smith became religious wanderers and tried unsuccessfully to adjust to life outside of the Church, their experiences were interesting and comprise valuable case studies in belief and disaffection. SIGNED
- The Journals of George Q. Cannon: Hawaiian Mission, 1850-1854ed. by Chad Orton. Deseret Book, 2014. 832pp. Hardback. $42.99. In 1850, the Hawaiian nation was opened for missionary work, and among the first elders called to labor there was a young man named George Q. Cannon. He had been working in the California gold fields but accepted the call to serve in the island nation. Elder Cannon served as a missionary in Hawaii for four year–from 1850 through 1854–and found himself in the center of one of the most successful LDS missions of the nineteenth century. More than 4,000 people were baptized. However, the success of the mission almost didn’t happen. During the early days, the Hawaiian mission seemed to regularly alternate between ill-fated and inspired. The Journals of George Q. Cannon: Hawaiian Mission, 1850-1854 contains Elder Cannon’s insights and experiences during this unique time in Church history. This journal is among the finest examples of a missionary journal in the Church. It provides new information and insights into the Hawaiian mission and serves as a testament of what faith can accomplish.
- The Polygamous Wives Writing Club: From the Diaries of Mormon Pioneer Women by Paula Kelly Harline. Oxford University Press, 2014. 244pp. Hardback. $29.99. The Church of Latter-day Saints renounced the practice of plural marriage in 1890. In the mid to late nineteenth century, however–the heyday of Mormon polygamy–an average of three out of every ten Mormon women became polygamous wives. Paula Kelly Harline delves deep into the diaries and autobiographies of twenty-nine such women, opening a rare window into the lives they led and revealing their views of and experiences with polygamy, including their well-founded belief that their domestic contributions would help to build a foundation for generations of future Mormons. Following two or three women simultaneously and integrating their own words within a lively narrative, Harline focuses on the detail of their emotional and domestic lives over time, painting an incredibly candid and realistic picture of 19th Century polygamy.
- Standing Apart: Mormon Historical Consciousness and the Concept of Apostasy ed. by Miranda Wilcox and John D. Young. Oxford University Press, 2014. 364pp. Paperback–$39.99/Hardback–$99.00 (special order). Latter-day Saints have a paradoxical relationship to the past; even as they invest their own history with sacred meaning, celebrating the restoration of ancient truths and the fulfillment of biblical prophecies, they repudiate the eighteen centuries of Christianity that preceded the founding of their church as apostate distortions of the truth. Since the early days of Mormonism, Latter-day Saints have used the paradigm of apostasy and restoration in their narratives about the origin of their church. This has generated a powerful and enduring binary of categorization that has profoundly impacted Mormon self-perception and relations with others. Standing Apart explores how the idea of apostasy has functioned as a category to mark, define, and set apart “the other” in Mormon historical consciousness and in the construction of Mormon narrative identity. The volume’s fifteen contributors (the essays were presented at a 2012 symposium at BYU) trace the development of LDS narratives of apostasy within the context of both Mormon history and American Protestant historiography.
- The Life and Times of Alexander Neibaur – Journey of the First Mormon Jew by Bruce Alan Newbold. NP, 2013. 453pp. Paperback. $23.99. Alexander Neibaur, born a Jew, journeyed from Prussia, to England, and after joing the LDS Church, took his journey over oceans, and eventually the plains of America to the Salt Lake Valley. Friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith, defender of the Prophet and his faith, Alexander took his young family into the desert valley that would become his home and the beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah. Studying the German Bible with Joseph Smith, working on the building of the Nauvoo temple, defending the city, writing poetry and hymns,crossing the wilderness plains of America, becoming the first pioneer dentist of Utah and making Brigham Young’s dentures, are only a small part of the fascinating journey, of Alexander Neibaur.
- The Early Journals of John D. Lee ed. by Verne R. Lee. NP, . 585pp. Hardback. $42.99. John D. Lee’s early journals deal primarily with his experience as a Mormon missionary. He fulfilled six distinct callings as such during this period, taking him into what then comprised the western states of the United States. This included Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas and Kentucky; though most of these efforts took place in Tennessee. Later journals cover a brief time in Nauvoo before the exodus (including details on his service in the Nauvoo Temple), sojourn at Winter Quarters and his experiences in the Mormon Battalion. With the exception of his Battalion journal, all are previously unpublished.
- Wilford Woodruff’s Witness: The Development of Temple Doctrineby Jennifer Mackley. High Desert, 2014. 441pp. Paperback–$26.95/Hardback–$35.95. In 1894, the prophet Wilford Woodruff received a revelation regarding generational family sealings that would resolve unsettled issues and establish modern temple worship. Over the seventy-one years following Smith’s introduction to Elijah’s mission, Woodruff was a witness to and catalyst in the implementation of temple ordinances and practices. His experiences in Kirtland and Nauvoo prepared him to receive additional revelations regarding temple worship. Through the years he continued the pattern of seeking revelation in order to clarify rites and effect changes based on practical experience. Jennifer Mackley’s biographical narrative chronicles the development of temple doctrine through the examination of Wilford Woodruff’s personal life.
- American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church by Alex Beam. Public Affairs, 2014. 334pp. Hardback. $26.99. In American Crucifixion, Alex Beam tells how Joseph Smith went from charismatic leader to public enemy: How his most seismic revelation—the doctrine of polygamy—created a rift among his people; how that schism turned to violence; and how, ultimately, Smith could not escape the consequences of his ambition and pride. Smith’s brutal assassination propelled the Mormons to colonize the American West and claim their place in the mainstream of American history. American Crucifixion is a gripping story of scandal and violence, with deep roots in our national identity.
- Saints Observed: Studies of Mormon Village Life, 1850-2005 by Howard Bahr. University of Utah. Hardback. $37.95. 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.
- Called to Teach: The Legacy of Karl G. Maeser by A. LeGrand Richards. RSC/Deseret Book. Hardback. $32.99. Karl G. Maeser has rightfully been called the spiritual architect not only of Brigham Young University but also of the Church Educational System. As the first superintendent of Church Education, he helped develop and maintain over fifty academies and schools from Canada to Mexico. He helped develop the public education system in Utah and helped establish the Utah Teachers Association. The students he taught personally included future United States senators and members of the House of Representatives, a United States Supreme Court justice, university presidents, and many General Authorities. He translated twenty-nine hymns and about a third of the Doctrine and Covenants into German and founded Der Stern, the Church’s German magazine, now called the Liahona. Based on extensive research, Called to Teach describes the life of this remarkable man and explores the impact of his legacy.
- Women of Faith in the Latter Days, Volume Three: 1846-1870 by Richard Turley and Brittany Chapman. Deseret Book. Hardback.$29.99. This volume, the third in a series of seven, represents women born between 1846 and 1870. They lived in a rapidly changing world, and many experienced the expansion of opportunities for women, including the advent of mass communication and increased travel. In this volume, you will meet both leading and little known women, including general Relief Society presidents Clarissa S. Williams and Louise Y. Robison, as well as the wife of a Maori chief who migrated to Utah, a suffragist of national prominence who helped secure women’s rights, a polygamous wife who supported her family as a pioneering photographer, and a southern Utah housewife who became he first mayor of an all-woman town council. The faith and determination exhibited in each woman’s story, no matter how humble, offer inspiration and strength as we endeavor to live our own lives of faith today.
- The Persistence of Polygamy: From Joseph Smith’s Martyrdom to the First Manifesto, 1844-1890 ed. by Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster. John Whitmer Books, 2014. 372pp. Hardback. $39.95. In a much anticipated sequel to their first volume, Bringhurst and Foster have assembled an incredible team of contributors to explore the diverse expressions and implications of Mormon polygamy in the later 19th century. Original articles include:For “Time and All Eternity”: The Complex Brigham Young Polygamous Household by Jeffery Ogden JohnsonBrigham Young, African Americans, and Plural Marriage: Schism and the Beginnings of Black Priesthood and Temple Denial by Connell O’ Donovan
LDS Joseph vs. RLDS Joseph: The Battle to Control the Public Memory of Joseph Smith by Don Bradley and Brian C. Hales
The RLDS Church’s Directive on Baptism of Saora Tribal Polygamists: Canonizing Administrative Policy, 1967–1972 by Richard P. Howard
- In God’s Image and Likeness 2: Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and David J. Larsen. The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014. 567pp. Oversize hardback. $49.95.This volume contains the most comprehensive commentary ever published on the beautiful and doctrinally rich chapters of the book of Moses and the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible that relate the stories of Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. The commentary combines prophetic insights, excerpts from ancient texts, current scientific perspectives, and up-to-date biblical scholarship – all presented from a perspective of faith. Each section of the book is prefaced by an overview illuminating major themes and issues. This is followed by the text of each chapter of scripture, accompanied by a detailed phrase-by-phrase commentary designed to give the modern reader both an understanding of the plain sense of the words as well as their significance in context. Based on the first complete transcriptions of the original manuscripts of the Joseph Smith Translation, significant textual variants are identified and discussed.
- Sustaining the Law: Joseph Smith’s Legal Encounters ed. by Gordon A. Madsen, Jeffrey N. Walker, and John W. Welch. BYU Studies, 2014. 563pp. Hardback. $24.95. Joseph Smith believed in sustaining the law. This book presents his main legal encounters in the context of his day. Party to more than two hundred suits in the courts of New York, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and elsewhere, he faced criminal charges as well as civil claims and collection matters. In the end, he was never convicted of any crime, and paid his debts. These incidents were significant institutionally as well as personally. Eleven legal scholars analyze these legal encounters. Topics cover constitutional law, copyright, disorderly conduct, association, assault, marriage, banking, land preemptive rights, treason, municipal charters, bankruptcy, guardianship, habeas corpus, adultery, and freedom of the press. A massive legal chronology collects key information about Joseph’s life in the law. An appendix provides biographies of sixty lawyers and judges with whom he was involved, some being the best legal minds of his day.
- A Foreign Kingdom: Mormons and Polygamy in American Political Culture, 1852-1890 by Christine Talbot. University of Illinois Press, 2013. 262pp. Paperback–$30.00/Hardback (no dj)–$85.00. 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.
- Gathering as One: The History of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City by Elwin C. Robison with W. Randall Dixon. BYU Press, 2013. 278pp. Oblong hardback. $39.95. One of the most famous landmarks in the American West, the Salt Lake Tabernacle held the North American record for the widest unsupported interior space at its completion in 1867. Finished two years before the arrival of the railroad, it was constructed primarily of local stone, timber, and adobe. One of a long succession of buildings constructed to permit members of the Mormon faith to hear from their prophet, the Tabernacle accommodated over 13,000 people. A recent seismic upgrade provided a unique opportunity to view details of the historic building. Construction challenges, acoustics, the development of the organ, and subsequent alterations and upgrades are amply illustrated, providing a complete story of this magnificent edifice.
- Illuminating the Dead Sea Scrolls: Mysteries of Qumran Revealed by Donald W. Parry. Neal A. Maxwell Institute, 2014. 91pp. Oversize paperback. $16.95. Described by many scholars as the greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century, the Dead Sea Scrolls contain the oldest biblical manuscripts ever found. The lavishly illustrated Illuminating the Dead Sea Scrolls (written by a member of the translation team) introduces readers to these spectacular scrolls—from their discovery, to the selling and reselling of the scrolls for profit, to the publication of their texts, and finally to the technological advances that help scholars study the scrolls today. Inside you’ll discover how the Dead Sea Scrolls reveal previously unknown psalms, restore a missing verse from Psalm 145, and describe a treasure worthy of Indiana Jones (the treasure has yet to be found).
- Reaching the Nations: International Church Growth Almanac: 2014 Edition (Vol. 1: The Americas, Oceania & Europe/ Vol. 2: Asia & Africa) ed. by David G. Stewart, Jr. and Matthew Martinich. The Cumorah Foundation, 2013. 976/941pp. Oversize paperback.$53.99/ea. The most comprehensive almanac ever compiled,Reaching the Nations contains detailed country and regional profiles with overview of history, economy, politics, culture, and religion, along with research and analysis of growth, opportunities and challenges of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world. For an article looking at the books, click here.