We needed some new books around here to help clear the air. Luckily, publishers obliged!


Schwendiman, Jeremy C. Uncle of the Prophet: The Life and Achievements of John Smith. Eborn Books, 2016. 369pp.  Hardcover.  $39.99. This biography chronicles John Smith’s life, from his New England heritage to his conversion in Potsdam, New York. It details his struggles as he moved across the United States in search of freedom to practice his religion with his wife, Clarissa, and three children, George A., John Lyman, and Caroline. Persecution drove him from New York to Ohio, Missouri to Illinois, Iowa to the Rocky Mountains, living in places familiar to many historians of Mormonism’s beginnings: Kirtland, Adam-ondi-Ahman, Zarahemla, Nauvoo, Winter Quarters, Salt Lake City. John witnessed as mobs burned the Saints’ homes, stole their property, and issued an act of total extermination. Following a short period of peace in Nauvoo, John traveled to the Salt Lake Valley on one of the greatest western migrations in modern history. While other Smiths stayed behind in Illinois, John followed Brigham Young to find rest in Utah. Until his death, he served as the presiding patriarch of the church.

Toronto, James A., Eric R. Dursteler and Michael W. Homer. Mormons in the Piazza: History of the Latter-day Saints in Italy. Religious Studies Center/Deseret Book, 2017. 597pp. Hardcover.  $34.99. From the day Lorenzo Snow stepped out of a carriage onto Italian soil in 1850 to the day that Thomas S. Monson turned a shovel of Italian soil to break ground for a temple in 2010, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made evangelizing a high priority in Italy. Mormon missionary work unfolded against a backdrop of historical forces political upheaval, world wars, social change, and internal Church dynamics that presented both obstacles and opportunity for growth. Over the span of a century and a half, the Church managed to establish a small but significant presence in Italy. This research offers a comprehensive account and thorough analysis of the people, events, and issues related to this important chapter in Italian and Church history. It highlights the human drama associated with encounters between foreign missionaries and local spiritual seekers and explores the implications of religious growth across obstacles of faith, geography, and culture.

Welch, John W. & Erick B. Carlson  (eds.). Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820-1844 (2nd ed.). BYU Studies / Deseret Book Company, 2017. 516 pp. Paperback. $21.95. An impressive collection of original documents relating to six foundational topics in Mormon history: 1) the first vision; 2) the coming forth of The Book of Mormon; 3) the restoration of the priesthood; 4) Joseph Smith’s lifetime visionary experiences; 5) the restoration of temple keys; and 6) succession in the presidency. About this edition: “Since publication of the first edition, many new historical resources have become available. These documents have been referenced and newly discovered testimonies have been added. Many hours have been spent in updating the footnotes, especially with new information made available through the Joseph Smith Papers Project.”


Allred, Byron Harvey, Jr. (comp. by Donna K. Mackert) Hidden Valley Expedition: Craters of the Moon, Idaho, 1912. Kolob Shadows Printing, 2016. 67pp. Paperback. $10.00. This book is the culmination of a lifelong desire of Donna K Mackert to substantiate family oral history. After a search of nearly 17 years, she recently found documentation that in 1912 her maternal grandfather, Byron Harvey Allred, Jr., and his exploring party had indeed reached the Hidden Valley of Indian legend in the lava beds that later became known as Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Mackert, Donna K. The Bridge Builder’s Daughter (4 parts). Kolob Shadows Publishing, 2007-16. 74, 79, 136, 116pp. Paperback. $30.00. The author, daughter of early important early fundamentalist Morris Kunz and Rhea Allred (daughter of B. Harvey Allred and half-sister of Rulon Allred), tells of her varied and colorful life experiences: childhood during the Depression, marriage and residence in Short Creek (including during the 1953 raid) as well as her involvement in education and poetry (she was poet-in-residence at Tuacahn).

“After reading this page-turner, I am anxiously awaiting subsequent publications in the series. With all the ongoing negative publicity about polygamy and polygamists, here’s a compelling, realistic and well-written autobiography by a courageous woman, recalling her loving and pleasant memories of being raised in this controversial lifestyle. Donna K. Mackert comes from a pivotal family who was acquainted with many of the prominent leaders of both fundamentalist and mainstream Mormonism. Her father, Morris Q. Kunz, was indeed a bridge builder between early and contemporary plural marriage.”

–Anne Wilde, author, co-founder and Community Relations Director of Principle Voices


Bushman, Richard Lyman with the assistance of Jed Woodworth. Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. Vintage Books, 2007. Paperback. Remainder mark on bottom edge. Reg $ 19.95, SALE $9.99. Richard Bushman, esteemed cultural historian, moves beyond the popular stereotype of Smith as a colorful fraud to explore his personality, his relationships with others, and how he received revelations. An arresting narrative of the birth of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling also brilliantly evaluates the prophet’s bold contributions to Christian theology and his cultural place in the modern world.

“Clearly the definitive biography for generations to come. The most balanced, thorough, and insightful treatment to date—truly a masterful work. Wonderfully grounded in its interpretations. Wise in its judgments, penetrating in its analysis, and rich in historical and cultural detail without ever losing sight of its subject. Bushman does full justice to this most
complex and influential of all American religious innovators.”

–Terryl Givens

Crawley, Peter. A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, Vol. 3, 1853-1857. Religious Studies Center, 2012. Hardback. Reg. $54.95, SALE $19.99. This volume continues the bibliography begun in volume 1 and 2 of the same title, covering the period 1853-57. The scope of the bibliography remains those books produced by Mormons in support of the Church, where the term book means any printed piece with one or more pages having text bearing on some Church issue. Excluded are individual newspaper or magazine articles, maps, prints, bank notes, and ephemeral pieces such as printed forms or elders’ licenses.



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