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excerpt – History of Joseph Smith

GENERAL INTRODUCTION On 27 April 1838, shortly after his arrival at Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri, Joseph Smith, with counselor Sidney Rigdon and clerk George W. Robinson, began dictating what would become the official History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.1 By the end of 1840, Smith’s involvement with the project was

excerpt – Mormonism Unvailed: Eber D. Howe, with critical comments by Dan Vogel.

Preface Described by Mormon leader Brigham H. Roberts as the “first Anti-Mormon book of any pretensions,” E. D. Howe’s 1834 Mormonism Unvailed1 has become, in Roberts’s words, the “chief source of ‘information’ for all Anti-Mormon publications which have followed it.”2 Its importance was largely achieved through the inclusion of fifteen affidavits that were gathered from

excerpt – The Council of Fifty

The Council of Fifty: A Documentary History
The Council of Fifty was organized in the spring of 1844 to oversee political and temporal affairs such as Joseph Smith’s candidacy for the presidency of the United States. After the founder’s murder, the council was reconstituted under the auspices of the Quorum of the Twelve, meaning especially Brigham Young, to oversee the move to the Rocky Mountains and establish political hegemony. Flourishing intermittently until the late 1880s, the...

excerpt – Murder by Sacrament

Murder by Sacrament: Another Toom Taggart Mystery
The church had a poor record of tolerating people of other beliefs or even racial diversity or of being transparent about its past dealings with neighbors, at least in the historical past. Certainly the church should receive credit for doing better in those areas and reaching out to people of other faiths, recognizing the authority of other baptisms and marriages, for hiring non-members for some jobs. The leaders no...

Excerpt – Thieves of Summer, by Linda Sillitoe

Foreword This is a book my mother, Linda Sillitoe, almost didn’t live to finish writing. She began it in early 2009. Despite serious and debilitating illnesses, she completed and submitted the manuscript to Signature Books just weeks before her death in April 2010. In this one story, she combined all the phases of her thirty-five-year

excerpt – Lost Apostles

Introduction Latter Day Saints today enjoy a sense of continuity and stability that is a hallmark of Mormonism, whether in Utah or in any of the other major branches of Joseph Smith’s Restoration Movement. All of these churches choose individuals for leadership who have been proven over the years as church employees or prominent business

excerpt – The Diaries of Anthony W. Ivins

Cowboy Apostle
Introduction On the afternoon of October 6, 1907, fifty-five-year old Anthony W. Ivins was taking notes at the semi-annual general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He recorded that Samuel O. Bennion and B. H. Roberts spoke, followed by a soloist and the presentation of the church’s leading authorities to the

Excerpt – The Challenge of Honesty: Essays for Latter-day Saints by Frances Lee Menlove

Challenge of Honesty
Editor’s Introduction I met Frances Menlove in person before I ever read her classic essay, “The Challenge of Honesty.” Even if I had at one time read it, it was before I’d really read it. I was heading the Sunstone Education Foundation at the time of our first meeting in 2002. Because of the deep

excerpts – Significant Textual Changes in the Book of Mormon

EDITOR’ S INTRODUCTION In March 1830, the first edition of the Book of Mormon appeared in the English language in Palmyra, New York. Initially considered a monetary failure, the Book of Mormon has since been published in close to a hundred languages, in thousands of printings, and in excess of 150 million copies. Regarded by

excerpt – An Imperfect Book: What the Book of Mormon Tells Us About Itself

What the Book of Mormon Tells Us About Itself
Introduction “Joseph said the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth and the keystone of our religion.”1 Like others born into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I wondered, as a young adult, whether my church—known informally as the Mormon or LDS Church and headquartered in Salt Lake