The Christ Who Heals: How God Restored the Truth That Saves Us (Terryl and Fiona Givens)

Deseret Book, hb, 176pp, $19.99, Oct

In a world increasingly prone to doubt, a foundation in Christ is the only sure basis of a durable discipleship. And for Latter-day Saints, the Jesus Christ revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith is, in some very significant ways, a different kind of Christ than the Jesus of modern Christianity. The Christ of the restored gospel collaborated with Heavenly Parents for our salvation even before the foundation of the world, “does not anything” save it be for our benefit (2 Nephi 26:24), and is determined to patiently guide and nurture every one of God’s children into an eternal heavenly family. Most significantly, this Christ does not rescue us from a condition of original sin or depravity. Rather, He is primarily a healer of the wounds incident to a long-planned sojourn, one intended to immerse us in the trials, pains, and soul-stretching of this mortal schoolroom. He is not only the most remarkable being in the history of religious thought; He is, in fact, The Christ Who Heals. 

Canadian Mormons: History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Roy and Carma Prete)

RSC, hb, 704pp, $39.95, Oct

This book gives a panoramic view of the rise and progress of the Church in Canada. It has all the elements of a great saga, including that of early faithful missionaries preaching in eastern Canada without “purse or scrip” in the 1830s and 1840s, and the exodus of early Canadian converts who joined with the main body of the Church in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, and then trekked across the Great Plains to Utah in the Rocky Mountains. It tells of Mormon pioneers from Utah arriving in southern Alberta after 1887, having made a second grand trek to escape their persecutors, this time north rather than west, and details the settlement of Mormons in Alberta. It is the story of an ongoing missionary effort from late nineteenth century, throughout the twentieth, and into the twenty-first with a vast number of missionaries and the sustained effort of thousands of lay leaders and members laboring relentlessly to build up a Church that now consists of nearly 200,000 members.

Confessions of a Mormon Historian: The Diaries of Leonard J. Arrington, 1971-1999, 3 vols. (Gary James Bergera, ed.)

Signature Books, hardback, 2500pp, $150/set, early 2018

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 Power of Godliness: Mormon Liturgy and Cosmology (Jonathan Stapley)

Oxford University Press, 192pp, hardback, $29.95, Feb 2018

A church’s liturgy is its ritualized system of worship, the services and patterns in which believers regularly participate. While the term often refers to a specific formal ritual like the Roman Catholic Mass, events surrounding major life events–birth, coming of age, marriage, death–are often celebrated through church liturgies. By documenting and analyzing Mormon liturgical history, Jonathan Stapley is able to explore the nuances of Mormon belief and practice. More important, he can demonstrate that the Mormon ordering of heaven and earth is not a mere philosophical or theological exercise. Liturgy informs and reinforces believers’ behavior, he shows, and we find a complete religious world, incorporating women, men and children, all participating in the construction of the Mormon universe. This volume casts analytically difficult and historically incongruous concepts such as priesthood, authority, and gender in new and coherent ways. Stapley uses previously untapped documentary and archival sources to elucidate new narratives in each chapter, tracing concepts from the beginning of the Latter-day Saint movement to the present. The Power of Godliness is the first work to establish histories for these unique liturgies and to provide interpretive frameworks for them.

Foundational Texts of Mormonism: Critical Studies of Major Sources in Early Mormon History (ed. by Robin Jensen, Mark Ashurst-McGee and Sharalyn D. Howcroft)

Oxford University Press, 384pp, hardback, $74.00, Feb 2018

Joseph Smith, founding prophet and martyr of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, personally wrote, dictated, or commissioned thousands of documents. Among these are several highly significant sources that scholars have used over and over again in their attempts to reconstruct the founding era of Mormonism, usually by focusing solely on content, without a deep appreciation for how and why a document was produced. This book offers case studies of the sources most often used by historians of the early Mormon experience. Each chapter takes a particular document as its primary subject, considering the production of a document as an historical event in itself, with its own background, purpose, circumstances, and consequences. By studying the documents not merely as sources of information, but as artifacts that reflect the culture in which they were created, truths about that culture are revealed. This book will help historians working in the founding era of Mormonism gain a more solid grounding in the period’s documentary record by supplying important information on major primary sources.

Textual Studies of the Doctrine and Covenants: The Plural Marriage Revelation (William Victor Smith)

Greg Kofford, 2018

The July 12, 1843 revelation was the last of Joseph Smith’s formal written revelations, and it was a watershed in Mormonism for many reasons. Textual Studies of the Doctrine and Covenants: The Plural Marriage Revelation constitutes a study of the text of that revelation, its genetic profile as an endpoint for a number of trajectories in Mormon thought, liturgy, and priestly cosmology, and a brief exploration of its historical impact and interpretation. 

Reading Scripture, Reading Creation: The Ancient Near Eastern Context of Genesis 1 (Ben Spackman)

Maxwell Institute, 2017

Salt Lake City School of the Prophets, 1867-1883 (Devery S. Anderson, ed.)

School-of-the-Prophets-200x300Signature Books, hardback, 600pp, $47.95, 2018

Ministerial training was an early goal of Mormonism. The priesthood-led institution called the School of the Prophets, established in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1833, was basically a divinity school for prospective missionaries. However, topics of study included, instead of prophecy and revelation, penmanship, English grammar, arithmetic, philosophy, literature, government, geography, and history. For seven weeks there was even a course in Hebrew, but it was discontinued. Still, it was in this setting that Joseph Smith received his revelation on diet and health and some of the spiritual manifestations associated with the Kirtland temple dedication. Brigham Young re-established the school in the Salt Lake Valley in 1867; his successor, John Taylor, resuscitated it for a while in 1883. Young’s emphasis was theology, first as an appendage to Deseret University, and then as a separate institution. Presented here for the first time are all available minutes for the Utah period.

The Battles of Zion: Mormonism and Violence (Patrick Mason)

Cambridge University Press, 2018

Alexander Campbell and Joseph Smith: Two Nineteenth-Century Restorationists (RoseAnn Benson)


Book of Remembrance: Mormon Sacred Kinship in America (Fenella Cannell)

William Bickerton: The Untold Story of an American Prophet (Daniel P. Stone)

Signature Books 

Faith and Reason, Conscience and Conflict: The Paths of Lowell Bennion, Sterling McMurrin, and Obert Tanner (Robert A. Goldberg, L. Jackson Newell, and Linda Newell, eds.)

University of Utah

My Dear Sister: Letters Between Joseph F. Smith and His Sister Martha Ann (David Whitchurch and Richard Holzapfel)

Deseret Book, oversize hardcover, 544pp, $39.99

This book contains a transcript of all 164 letters written by Joseph F. Smith to his sister, Martha Ann Smith Harris (along with 44 letters from Martha), and includes a large sampling of photographic images of the originals. These letters provide a treasure- trove of personal insights into the lives of Joseph and his sister

  • Seven decades of correspondence between the orphaned children of Hyrum and Mary Fielding Smith as they share their innermost feelings, joys, heartaches, decisions, and family happenings.
  • Letters dated from 1854, when Joseph was a fifteen-year-old missionary in Hawaii, to 1916, just two years before his death.
  • Joseph F. Smith’s reflections on the death of his parents and his remarks about the visit of the Prophet Joseph’s sons who had traveled from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City.

The Words of Joseph Smith, rev. and enl. ed.(Andrew F. Ehat, ed.)

hardcover (2 vols.?) 

Ezra Taft Benson and Anticommunism: A Documentary History (Matthew Harris)

University of Utah Press

Ezra Taft Benson: Mormon Apostle-President, Outspoken Conservative, and Crusading Cold Warrior (Matthew Harris, ed.)

University of Illinois Press

The Mormon Church and Its Gospel Topics Essays: The Scholarly Community Responds (Matthew Harris & Newell Bringhurst, eds.)

University of Utah Press

“The Long Awaited Day”: The LDS Church, African Americans, and the Lifting of the Priesthood Ban, 1945-2015 (Matthew Harris)

The Lioness of the Lord: Letters of Augusta Adams Cobb Young to Brigham Young (Connell O’Donovan)

University of Utah

The Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, vol. 4: The Abraham/Egyptian Papers, facsimile ed. (ed. by Robin Jensen and Brian Hauglid) 

Church Historian’s Press, 2018

The Expanded Canon: Perspectives on Mormonism and Sacred Texts

Greg Kofford Books

Mormonism Among Christian Theologies (Brian Birch and Grant Underwood)

Oxford University Press

Underground but in the Light: The Plural Community of Centennial Park (Jennifer Huss Basquiat)

Every Word Seasoned with Grace: A Textual Study of the Funeral Sermons of Joseph Smith (William V. Smith)

A Compilation of Historical Selections from the General Handbook of Instructions of the LDS Church: 1899-2006 (Michael Paulos)


The Reed Smoot Hearings: American Politics and American Religion (Michael Paulos/Konden Smith)

University of Utah

Mormonism in America (Phil Barlow and Jan Shipps)

Columbia University Press, hardcover, 320 pp, $45.00 

Convictions: Mormon Polygamy and Criminal Law Enforcement in Nineteenth-Century Utah (Sarah Gordon/Kathryn Daynes)

University of Illinois

biography of Jane Manning James (Quincy D. Newell)

Oxford University Press

biography of Joseph F. Smith (Steve Taysom)

biography of Ezra Taft Benson (Patrick Mason)

biography of William H. Chamberlin (James McLachlan)

biography of Margarito Bautista (Elisa Pulido)

intellectual history of James E. Talmage (Spencer Fluhman)

Oxford University Press, 2019

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