GROUNDBREAKING FORTHCOMING SET
Vogel, Dan (ed.). History of Joseph Smith and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: A Source and Text-Critical Edition, 8 vols. Smith-Pettit Foundation, 2015. Oversize hardback. Limited to 200 sets. $1000/set.
A sample page from vol. 1–the lengthy footnote untangles the textual question of whether Nephi or Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith in 1823.
A decade in the making, this new eight-volume revision of the original History of the Church provides an unprecedented view of the narrative begun in 1838 under Joseph Smith’s supervision. At Smith’s death in mid-1844, church scribes Willard Richards and George A. Smith completed the project under the review of Brigham Young.
Published serially in Illinois from 1842 to 1846 in the church’s Times and Seasons, then in Utah in the Deseret News from 1851 to 1857, the history was subsequently revised and published as six volumes by assistant church historian B. H. Roberts from 1902 to 1912. While he improved the text, researchers have long recognized the need for an edition based on professional historical and editing standards.
Vogel’s aim was two-fold: to identify the sources upon which the history was based and to trace textual development from the original handwritten manuscripts to their final form as edited by B.H. Roberts. The base text used comes from the first printed version in the Times and Seasons and, later, Deseret News. He has painstakingly identified the scribes’ handwriting, the chronology of composition, the publication schedule, and later changes.
Vogel has also prepared transcripts of the scribes’ rough drafts, revisions, memoranda, and interviews, as well as of previously unpublished sources. Taken together, this material will allow historians to authoritatively answer persistent questions that have vexed this officially recognized history.
This is a once-in-a-generation set and will likely sell out the day it is released (the set is scheduled to be released in December)—with only 200 sets being printed, they are immediately collectible. If you would like to reserve a set, please notify us immediately. We are happy to set up a payment plan (monthly/bimonthly, etc.) if this is easier than paying all at once. Don’t miss out on this landmark resource!
- Howe, Eber D. (with critical comments by Dan Vogel). Mormonism Unvailed. Signature Books, 2015. 472pp. Hardback. $37.95. Any Latter-day Saint who has ever defended his or her beliefs has likely addressed issues first raised by Eber D. Howe in 1834. Howe’s famous exposé was the first of its kind, with information woven together from previous news articles and some thirty affidavits he and others collected. He lived and worked in Painesville, Ohio, where, in 1829, he had published about Joseph Smith’s discovery of a “golden bible.” Smith’s decision to relocate in nearby Kirtland sparked Howe’s attention. Of even more concern was that Howe’s wife and other family members had joined the Mormon faith. Howe immediately began investigating the new Church and formed a coalition of like-minded reporters and detractors. By 1834, Howe had collected a large body of investigative material, including affidavits from Smith’s former neighbors in New York and from Smith’s father-in-law in Pennsylvania. Howe learned about Smith’s early interest in pirate gold and use of a seer stone in treasure seeking and heard theories from Smith’s friends, followers, and family members about the Book of Mormon’s origin. Indulging in literary criticism, Howe joked that Smith, “evidently a man of learning,” was a student of “barrenness of style and expression.” Despite its critical tone, Howe’s exposé is valued by historians for its primary source material and account of the growth of Mormonism in northeastern Ohio. Vogel’s helpful annotation provides biographical background for people mentioned and explores the validity of claims made in the narrative.
“Eber D. Howe’s Mormonism Unvailed was the single most influential critical book on Joseph Smith in the nineteenth century. Howe was the primary source for scores of writers who followed him. No one is better prepared than Dan Vogel to put this work into its historical context.” —Richard Lyman Bushman
- Hales, Brian C. and Laura H. Hales. Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding. Greg Kofford Books, 2015. 223pp. Paperback. $19.95. In this short volume, Brian C. Hales (author of the 3-volume Joseph Smith’s Polygamy) and Laura H. Hales wade through the murky waters of history to help bring some clarity to this episode of Mormonism’s past, examining both the theological explanations of the practice and the accounts of those who experienced it firsthand. As this episode of Mormon history involved more than just Joseph and his first wife Emma, this volume also includes short biographies of the 36 women who were married to the Prophet but whose stories of faith, struggle, and courage have been largely forgotten and ignored over time. While we may never fully understand the details and reasons surrounding this practice, Brian and Laura Hales provide readers with an accessible, forthright, and faithful look into this challenging topic so that we can at least come toward a better understanding. We have posted the video from the signing event on April 22—check it out in the Events tab above or by clicking here. Signed copies still available
“Few matters of LDS history have proven to be as faith-sensitive as Joseph Smith’s plural marriages…I for one am grateful for the context, perspective, and both straightforward and faithful answers provided for so many of the questions surrounding Nauvoo polygamy. It is a book that will be read and discussed for years to come.” — Robert L. Millet
- Carter, Thomas. Building Zion: The Material World of Mormon Settlement. University of Minnesota Press, 2015. 330pp. Paperback. $37.50. Building Zion is, in essence, the biography of the cultural landscape of western LDS settlements. Through the physical forms Zion assumed, it tells the life story of a set of Mormon communities—how they were conceived and constructed and inhabited—and what this material manifestation of Zion reveals about what it meant to be a Mormon in the nineteenth century. Focusing on a network of small towns in Utah, Thomas Carter explores the key elements of the Mormon cultural landscape: town planning, residences (including polygamous houses), stores and other nonreligious buildings, meetinghouses, and temples. Zion, we see, is an evolving entity, reflecting the church’s shift from group-oriented millenarian goals to more individualized endeavors centered on personal salvation and exaltation. Includes numerous fascinating maps, diagrams and photos of buildings and homes.
“Building Zion surpasses all earlier studies of the Mormon cultural landscape. Through his astute readings of the buildings and towns of Utah’s Sanpete Valley, Thomas Carter offers a persuasive new interpretation of the Latter-Day Saints’ formative years. This book is required reading to understand how the built environment contributes to historical understanding.” —Dell Upton, UCLA
- George, Aleta. Ina Coolbrith: The Bittersweet Song of California’s First Poet Laureate. NP: Shifting Plates Press, 2015. 335pp. Paperback–$19.95/Hardback “centennial edition”–$40.00 (arriving soon). Ina Coolbrith was a pioneer poet, Oakland’s first public librarian, and the most popular literary ambassador in the early American West. In post-Gold Rush San Francisco, she was known as the pearl of her tribe, a tribe that included Bret Harte, Mark Twain, and John Muir. Jack London and Isadora Duncan considered her their literary godmother, and John Greenleaf Whittier knew more of her poems by heart than she did his. Regardless of the acclaim from others, Coolbrith faced a series of challenges throughout her life that tested her devotion to her art. In the end, she put her full faith in poetry and her story reveals the saving grace of creativity in a woman’s life. George’s deftly told and deeply researched book follows the struggles and triumphs of Coolbrith from her birth in 1841 as a niece of Mormon founder Joseph Smith(she was the daughter of Don Carlos and Agnes Coolbrith Smith) to her death in 1928 as California’s most beloved poet.
- Kappler, Kathryn J. My Own Pioneers, 1830-1918: Stories of One Family in the Early History of the Mormon Church, Mexico and American West (3 vols.). Outskirts Press, 2014. Paperback–$75.99/hardback–$105.99. The three volumes of My Own Pioneers together tell a remarkable story of the desperate pioneer struggles of four generations (more well-known figures such as Frederick G. Williams, Theodore Turley and Joseph Fish as well as other lesser-known individuals) of the author’s family. Volume I tells how the author’s once prosperous pioneer families survived the French and Indian War and the War of 1812, then eventually relocated to join the newly founded Mormon Church. Volume II continues the history by recounting the family’s involvement in the opening and colonization of the Great Basin. It recounts in detail the dangerous crossing of the plains in covered wagons, with handcarts, and on foot. It tells of explorations, of planting tiny settlements in remote regions, eating roots and rawhide to survive, and fighting insect hordes and hostile Indians. Volume II also tells how the Mormons faced off the U.S. Army, and how they helped build the railroad across the plains. Volume III concludes the family history by explaining how polygamous family pioneers moved from Utah to settle Arizona and New Mexico; how the pioneers faced Indian and mob threats again in their new home; how, because of polygamy, the threat of imprisonment forced the settlers to flee into Mexico, where they battled Indians and the elements, adjusted to Mexican culture and citizenship, and prospered; how they were soon victims of the Mexican Revolution, caught between two marauding armies; and how they were finally forced back across the border as impoverished refugees in the very states they had once pioneered.
- Hicks, Michael. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: A Biography. University of Illinois Press, 2015. 210pp. Hardback. $29.95. 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. Signed copies available.
“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
- Nelson, David Conley. Moroni and the Swastika: Mormons in Nazi Germany. University of Oklahoma Press, 2015. 416pp. Hardback. $29.95. While Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist government was persecuting Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses and driving forty-two small German religious sects underground, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continued to practice unhindered. How some fourteen thousand Mormons not only survived but thrived in Nazi Germany is a story little known, rarely told, and occasionally rewritten within the confines of the Church’s history—for good reason, as one sees in David Conley Nelson’s Moroni and the Swastika. A page-turning historical narrative, this book is the first full account of how Mormons avoided Nazi persecution through skilled collaboration with Hitler’s regime, and then eschewed postwar shame by constructing an alternative history of wartime suffering and resistance.
“With his comprehensive consultation of Mormon sources and astute use of recent German scholarship, David C. Nelson gives an unparalleled view of the remarkable way the LDS Church prospered in Nazi Germany while many other religious minorities suffered.”—D. Michael Quinn
- Spencer, Joseph; James E. Faulconer (eds.). Perspectives on Mormon Theology: Scriptural Theology. Greg Kofford Books, 2015. Paperback–$24.95/hardback–$59.95. 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.
- Miller, Adam S. Grace is Not God’s Backup Plan: An Urgent Paraphrase of Paul’s Letter to the Romans. NP, 2015. 74pp. Paperback. $8.99. What follows is not a translation in the ordinary sense of the word. It’s more like a paraphrase. Rather than worry over the letter of the text, the goal has been to illuminate the large scale patterns that structure it. The King James Version, for instance, renders Paul’s letter with uncanny beauty but is opaque as an argument. Modern translations tend to have the same problem. Their overriding concern is with the letter of the text, not with its logic. As a result, Paul’s forest is always getting sacrificed for the sake of his trees. But Paul’s work is too important, his good news too urgent, to leave so much of him locked in the first century. We need our renderings to do more than mimic the original, we need them to bleed and breathe. By the author of Letters to a Young Mormon and Rube Goldberg Machines.
- Child, Kelly. The Lehi Key. The Finisher’s Publishing, 2015. 252pp. Paperback. $24.95. After the age of enlightenment began to fade into the mists that arose from the war of words and tumult of opinions of the 1800’s Christian revival in New England, a book appeared. In the book there is the account of the dream of an ancient mystic and seer named Lehi. In his vision, Lehi, the father of a temple builder, after the manner of Solomon, sees and comprehends the Tree of Life. 1830 years after Lehi’s death, in 1260 A.D., a gothic cathedral was consecrated in Chartres, France. Stonemasons built a labyrinth pattern into the floor work; encoded in the labyrinth are the ratios, mythos and mysteries of God. Surrounded by stained glass windows above, the stone labyrinth and light work together with the ancient writings of Lehi in an orchestration of symbolism to convey the secrets of Divinity and the sacred. The Lehi Key will take you on a personable exploration and a comparative contemplation of the common ground of medieval Christianity, masonic symbolism, pagan tradition, Mormonism, Hermetic Qabalah, Egyptian mythos and the works of the great thinkers, scientists and mystics of the Age of Enlightenment.
- Smith, Joseph Fielding (comp. by Lynn Pulsipher). A Peculiar People. Eborn Books, 2015. 160pp. Hardback. $24.95. In the early 1930s Joseph Fielding Smith wrote a series of articles entitled A PECULIAR PEOPLE. The series ran for 59 weeks in the Church News. Now, for the first time, they are all compiled together and available in hardcover. Smith discusses 59 topics and why each makes the Mormons a peculiar people.
JAMES CHARLESWORTH TITLES
We recently attended a symposium in Logan (hosted by the Academy for Temple Studies) where James H. Charlesworth was the keynote speaker. Charlesworth, the George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature and director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Project at Princeton Theological Seminary, has been writing on various topics in biblical studies for over thirty years and is one of the most well-respected scholars currently writing. We have a limited amount of his books remaining and are offering these at a discount—save up to 30%! All are new books.
- The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 vols. Hendrickson, paperback. Reg. $69.99—sale $49.99/Yale University Press, hardback. Reg. $160.00—sale $99.99 (limited amount of signed copies)
“These volumes contain important and interesting material. The responsible student of “Early Jewish” and “Early Christian” literatures will need to make frequent reference to them…As a collection, they are a convenience that will not be surpassed in English for many years.”—Robert Kraft, Univ. of Pennsylvania
- The Historical Jesus: An Essential Guide. Abingdon, paperback, 131pp. Reg. $19.99—sale $13.99
“This book, part of Abingdon Press’s Essential Guide series, is intended to be a substantive, but brief and accessible introduction to the historical Jesus…Professor James H. Charlesworth has succeeded in this Herculean undertaking about as well as one could hope.”—John Merrill, Biblical Archaeology Society
- Jesus and Temple: Textual and Archaeological Explorations. Fortress, paperback, 248pp. Reg. $39.99—sale $27.99.
“This volume, edited by noted New Testament archaeological and text scholar James Charlesworth, provides a fine source of information about the Temple as well as Jesus’ and early Christianity’s attitudes toward it. Particularly helpful is the long essay by Leen Ritmeyer, based on up-to-date archaeological finds and textual evidence, that helps the reader imagine in detail this exceptional holy place.”—Bible Today
- Jesus and Archaeology. Eerdmans, paperback, 766pp. Reg. $55.00—sale $38.50
“A very interesting and informative collection that provides an excellent overview of the state of the question to date on archaeology’s contribution to our knowledge of Jesus and first-century Judaism.”—Bible Today
- Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Controversy Resolved (Yale Anchor Bible Reference Library). Yale University Press, paperback, 410pp. Reg. $40.00—sale $27.99
“This is a solid contribution to the current debate that will inform and challenge both scholars and lay readers. For academic and large public libraries.” –Craig W. Beard, Library Journal
- The Tomb of Jesus and His Family?: Exploring Ancient Jewish Tombs Near Jerusalem’s Walls. Eerdmans, paperback, 592pp. Reg. $48.00—sale $33.50
Signature Books has announced a great lineup of sale items:
- Vogel, Dan (ed.). Early Mormon Documents, 5 vols. Hardback. Reg. $34.95-$44.95, SALE $22.99/ea. Dan Vogel’s award-winning documentary collection compiles material from the Smith family, Book of Mormon witnesses, land/tax/court documents, contemporary perspectives on important foundational events in Mormon history and interviews with those who knew early Mormon leaders. **very small amount of vol. 1 remaining—pick them up before they are completely out of print!**
- Bench, Curt A. (intro.). The Parallel Doctrine and Covenants: The 1832-1833, 1833, and 1835 Editions of Joseph Smith’s Revelations. Reg. $50, SALE $24.99. 246pp. Oversize hardback. Limited ed. of 750 copies. Following an introduction tracing the reception, recording and publication of early revelations, the text of these revelations as printed in The Evening and the Morning Star, The Book of Commandments and the first edition of The Doctrine and Covenants is presented in three columns.“This book will be a valuable resource for scholars interested in Joseph Smith and the revelations he believed to be divine.” –William D. Russell, former president of both JWHA and MHA
- Prince, Gregory A. Power from on High: The Development of Mormon Priesthood. 231pp. Reg. $24.95, SALE $12.99. Authority and priesthood were concepts that developed gradually in Mormon theology, not as thunderbolts but as ideas that acquired meaning and momentum over time. Acting initially on the basis of implied leadership, Joseph Smith moved toward explicit angelic authority and an increasingly defined structure drawn from biblical models.“I recommend Power From On High most emphatically for any reader interested in the history of American religion in general and Mormonism in particular.” Thomas G. Alexander
- Classics in Mormon Thought Series: The Essential Joseph Smith, The Essential Brigham Young, The Essential Parley P. Pratt, The Essential Orson Pratt, The Essential BH Roberts, The Essential James E. Talmage. Hardback. Reg. $24.95-$34.95, SALE $14.99/ea. (buy the whole set and save 10% or get free shipping!). In this series, key documents (essays, sermons, letters, etc.) from some of Mormonism’s greatest thinkers are presented. In many cases, these texts are difficult to find and helpful in understanding their thinking.
- Bergera, Gary James (ed.). Line Upon Line: Essays on Mormon Doctrine. 185pp. Paperback. Reg. $14.95, SALE $7.99. In Line Upon Line, sixteen thoughtful, compelling essays offer reflective historical discussions of the development of key Mormon doctrines (nature of God and the Holy Ghost, origin of the spirit) from the statements of church leaders to the writings of LDS theologians to canonized scripture.
- Marquardt, Michael and Wesley P. Walters. Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record. 244pp. Paperback. Reg. $24.95, SALE $12.99. From a review: “It is apparent the authors have paid their research dues, having painstakingly combed through sundry archives, searching for obscure tax and assessment records and censuses to supplement the often familiar statements by contemporaries who remembered the Joseph Smith family.”
- Lyman, Edward Leo. San Bernardino: The Rise and Fall of a California Community. Hardback. Reg. $24.95, SALE $12.99. Recounting the remarkable story of this early Mormon colony, Edward Leo Lyman skillfully interweaves the most intriguing details about the settling and chain of events, emphasizing both the significance and irony of this diverse legacy.
- Rees, Robert A. and Eugene England (eds.). The Reader’s Book of Mormon, 7 vols. in slipcase. Reg. $40.00, SALE $19.99. Literature and Mormon Studies scholars Robert A. Rees (UCLA) and the late Eugene England (BYU) asked prominent LDS writers—such as Claudia Bushman—to offer their own personal views on the Book of Mormon, followed by the scriptural text itself.
- Hedges, Andrew H., Alex D. Smith, Richard Lloyd Anderson (eds.). The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Vol. 2: December 1841-April 1843. Hardback. Reg. $54.95, SALE $17.99.“[The project has] a level of professionalized precision that flirts with the incredible. It includes generous reference materials documenting civil and religious leadership, biographical details and local cartography. Journals 2 maintains the highest standards of the project’s preceding releases, while incorporating the vast and complex available context of the Nauvoo period.” –Jonathan Stapley, By Common Consent