Leonard Arrington's 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.”
In Joseph Smith’s narrative, God himself is a character with emotion, dimension, presence. We struggle to understand how deeply personal God was for the Mormon prophet. It is impossible to know for sure if Joseph would or could have opted out of his life as a prophet or whether he was simply swept forward in a course carved out by undeniable inevitabilities. But the God in it rendered it...
Francis (“Frank”) Hammond was not an average Mormon pioneer. After breaking his back working on a whaling ship off the coast of Siberia in 1844, he was set ashore on the island of Maui to heal. While there he set up shop as a shoemaker and learned the local language. Three years later, he converted to Mormonism in San Franciso, and in 1851 he was sent back to Hawaii...
Like all of God’s prophets, Joseph Smith perceived the divine word largely through the prism of his own experience. It was not necessary for him to convert followers to a new world view. He needed only to tap into powerful undercurrents of popular belief that enabled ordinary people to reach beyond themselves.
Born in rural Idaho in the 1930s, her family moved to Bountiful, Utah, and then Salt Lake City in the late 1930s and mid-1940s. She and her sister married a son of a Mormon fundamentalist leader. In this captivating biography, we learn of her struggle as a teenager to obtain a college education and to succeed as a nurse only to become one of the most sought after midwives...
When a Mormon missionary stopped by the Taylor home in 1836, Leonora was more interested than was John. However, John was the one who finally decided to move from Toronto to church headquarters in Ohio, and it was John's commitment that survived their temple worship experience there, when it was disrupted by several pistol- and bowie-knife-wielding apostles.
Before attaining that status of senior church apostle at the death of John Taylor in 1886, Woodruff had been one of the fiercest opponents of United States hegemony. He spent years evading territorial marshals on the Mormon "underground," escaping prosecution for polygamy, unable even to attend his first wife's funeral.
In the late 1820s a fiery young minister in western Ohio converted nearly 1,000 proselytes to the Reformed Baptist Movement. As these schismatics organized themselves into the new Disciples of Christ church, the Reverend Sidney Rigdon was already aligning himself with another, more radical movement, the Latter-day Saints, where he quickly became the LDS prophet's principal advisor and spokesman.
Some left, some stayed. Each one found some aspect of their church's history, doctrine, policies, or politics that they could not reconcile with their own personal ethics. Some felt burdened by the conflict, while others embraced it. A few were reticent, even apologetic about their disagreements. Others were barnstormers.
Readers may shudder to learn of Clark's views on race. He was partly responsible for the LDS Hospital's segreation of the blood of "whites" and "Negroes," his logic being that since anyone with as little as "one drop" of African blood was ineligible for LDS priesthood ordination, a transfusion from a black donor to a white recipient would render the latter incapable of exercising priesthood authority.