Recommended Reads

All three of the Barker brothers love to read. Below is a list compiled of essential books, or must reads. Clicking on the link will take you to the book on Amazon. As we publish book reviews, we will put links to those posts as well. If you would like to review one of these books, please let us know!

Teryl Givens:

Terryl L. Givens was born in upstate New York, raised in the American southwest, and did his graduate work in Intellectual History (Cornell) and Comparative Literature (Ph.D. UNC Chapel Hill, 1988), working with Greek, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and English languages and literatures. As Professor of Literature and Religion, and the James A. Bostwick Professor of English at the University of Richmond, he teaches courses in Romanticism, nineteenth-century cultural studies, and the Bible and Literature. He has published in literary theory, British and European Romanticism, Mormon studies, and intellectual history.

By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture That Launched a New World Religion
People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture
The Viper on the Hearth: Mormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy

Richard L. Bushman:

Richard Bushman was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of a department store executive; and he was reared in Portland, Oregon. Bushman received his AB, AM, and his PhD in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University, where he studied with distinguished early American historian Bernard Bailyn. Bushman taught at Harvard, Brigham Young University, Boston University, and the University of Delaware before joining the history faculty at Columbia. During the 2007-08 academic year, Bushman served as Howard W. Hunter Visiting Professor in Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University and held a Huntington Library fellowship.

Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism
Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling
Believing History: Latter Day Saint Essays (Reid L. Neilson (Editor), Jed Woodworth (Editor))

Claudia Bushman:

Bushman is a professor of American Studies at Columbia University. In the summer of 2003, she was the director of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History’s Summer Scholars program. For the 2007-2008 academic year Bushman was an adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University while her husband held the Howard W. Hunter chair at that institution.
Mormon Sisters: Women in Early Utah

Donna Hill:

Joseph Smith: The First Mormon

Fawn Brody:

No Man Knows My History:  The Life of Joseph Smith

Todd Compton:

Compton is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who lived for a number of years in Santa Monica, California. He has served anLDS mission to Ireland. He studied violin with Richard Nibley and has played electric violin with singer-songwriter Mark Davis. In 1982 he completed amaster’s degree from Brigham Young University. He later received a Ph.D. from UCLA in Classics (concentrating on Greek and Indo-European mythology) which he taught for a year at USC. He also taught at UCLA and California State University, Northridge. He has been an independent researcher since 1993, drawing a regular income by working as an ADS specialist for a law office.

Compton began his serious work in Mormon history as a Visiting Fellow at the Huntington Library studying the journals of Eliza R. Snow. He found that hisClassics background helped his Mormon history work by teaching him respect for these primary documents. While researching, and trying to note people identified in Snow’s journals, Compton found that he needed a good list of Joseph Smith’s plural wives. Not finding one, he began researching his own list, which eventually grew into his 1997 book, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith.

In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith

Richard S. Van Wagoner

Van Wagoner was a member of the board of Signature Books and was described after his death as a “trailblazer in Mormon studies”, having published historical articles in Utah Historical QuarterlyDialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, and Sunstone. He lived in Lehi, Utah and acted as the town’s historical archivist.

Mormon Polygamy: A History

Lyndon F. Cook, Andrew F. Ehat

Andrew F. Ehat has a B.S. in Mathematics from Brigham Young University and, after serving four years as an officer in the United States Air Force, is now at work on a Ph.D. in History. For a decade he has done precise and methodical research on the life and teachings of Joseph Smith, specializing in the Nauvoo period and the doctrinal background of the ordinances of the temple. He is presently serving on the Melchizedek Priesthood Writing Committee of the Church.

The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of Religious Discourses of the Prophet Joseph (Religious Studies Monograph Series)

Grant Hardy:

Grant Hardy is a professor of history and religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Asheville and a scholar who has written on the history of pre-modern China as well as examinations of the Book of Mormon as literature.

Hardy was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in California. Hardy served a mission for the LDS Church in Taiwan. Shortly after returning from his mission and beginning his sophomore year at Brigham Young University (BYU) he married Heather Nielson. Hardy has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in classical Greek and got a Ph.D. from Yale University in Chinese literature in 1988.

Hardy held teaching positions at Elmira College and BYU prior to joining the faculty of UNC Asheville in 1994. At UNC Asheville Hardy has served as chair of the history department.

Among works written or edited by Hardy are Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo: Sima Qian’s Conquest of History (New York: Columbia University Press); The Establishment of the Han Empire and Imperial China (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2005) written with Anne Kinney; he was the editor of The Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Edition (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2005); he wrote Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide(New York: Oxford University Press, 2010) and is co-editor with Andrew Feldherr of the forthcoming Oxford History of Historical Writing, Vol. 1: Beginnings to AD 600.

Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide
The Book of Mormon:  A Reader’s Edition

John Sorenson:

John L. Sorenson (born April 8, 1924) is an emeritus professor of anthropology at Brigham Young University (BYU) and the author of An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon as well as many other books and articles on the Book of Mormon and archaeology.

Sorenson first did archaeological work in Mesoamerica while pursuing a masters degree at BYU. From January until June 1953 he was involved in the New World Archaeological Foundation’s initial fieldwork (under the direction of Pedro Armillas) in the state of Tabasco in Mexico.

Sorenson holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. He began teaching at BYU in 1963, and he later established the BYU’s anthropology department. He also served as head of Social Sciences for General Research Corporation based in Santa Barbara, California, and was the founder ofBonneville Research Corporation.

For a time he served as editor of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies.

Sorenson has authored or co-authored some 200 books and articles including An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (1985), Transoceanic Culture Contacts between the Old and New Worlds in Pre-Columbian Times: A Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography (with Martin Raish, 1988), Images of Ancient America: Visualizing Book of Mormon Life (1998), Mormon’s Map (2000), and World Trade and Biological Exchanges before 1492 (with Carl L. Johannessen, 2004).

While being a proponent of the historicity of the Book of Mormon, Sorenson has also attacked the shoddy scholarship that some have used in defending the Book of Mormon.

An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon

D. Michael D. Quin:

Dennis Michael Quinn (born March 26, 1944) is an American historian who has focused on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a professor at Brigham Young University from 1976 until his resignation in 1988. At the time, his work concerned church involvement with plural marriage after the 1890 Manifesto, in which the practice was officially renounced. He was excommunicated from the church as one of the September Six and is openly gay.

Early Mormonism and the Magic World View
Mormon Hierarchy- Origins of power
Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power
Elder Statesman: A Biography of J. Reuben Clark

Joseph Smith (Translator)

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ (Doubleday Publishing)

Leonard J. Arrington:

In 1972, Arrington was appointed official Church Historian of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), and was simultaneously appointed as “Lemuel H. Redd Professor of Western History” and Founding Director of the “Charles Redd Center for Western Studies” at Brigham Young University(BYU). The “Church Historian’s Office” was transformed into the church’s “Historical Department”, and Arrington was made director of its research-oriented “History Division”.

During his time in the office, Arrington embarked on an ambitious program of sponsoring the writing of LDS Church histories in the academic style. Among the best known works from this “New Mormon History” were two general Church histories, one aimed at LDS Church members, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, and one for interested outsiders, The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints. Arrington also granted liberal access to Church archival material to both Mormon and non-Mormon scholars.

Adventures of a Church Historian
The Mormon experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints

Devery Scott Anderson, Todd Compton, Gary James Bergera

Joseph Smith’s Quorum of the Anointed, 1842-1845: A Documentary History

Devery Scott Anderson:

Anderson is from Longview, Washington. He is a graduate of the University of Utah.

In 1991, while living in Longview, Anderson organized the Forum for the Study of Mormon Issues, an independent quarterly study group. After being scrutinized by his church leaders, Anderson refused repeated orders from his stake president to disband the group. After his temple recommend was confiscated and the matter was brought before the area’s presiding General Authority, Anderson’s case was included in Lavina Fielding Anderson’s controversial 1993 article chronicling LDS ecclesiastical abuse.

After moving to Utah, Anderson was involved with Sunstone, as a member of the magazine staff, a volunteer, a symposium organizer, and frequent a symposium presenter. He has also presented before the John Whitmer Historical Association.

Anderson’s research into Mormon history has also resulted in several articles in scholarly journals and two award-winning books. He has assisted academic Armand Mauss in his study of Mormon racial conceptions.

The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History

David John Buerger:

The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship

Charles R. Harrell:

“This is My Doctrine”: Development of Mormon Theology

Brian M. Hauglid

The Textual History of the Book of Abraham

Scott H. Faulring (Editor), Robert J. Matthews, Scott H. Faulring, Kent P. Jackson (Editor)

Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts

Matthew Bowman:

The Mormon People:  The Making of an American Faith

Newell G. Bringhurst, John C. Hammer(editors):

Scattering of the Saints: Schism Within Mormonism

Newell G. Bringhurst (editor), Darron T. Smith (editor):

Black and Mormon

Hugh Nibley, Steven D. Ricks, Todd Compton

Mormonism and Early Christianity

Margaret Barker:

The Great Angel: A Study of Israel’s Second God

Mitch Horowitz

Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shape Our Nation

Joanna Brooks

The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith
RationalFaiths did a book review on The Book of Mormon Girl – Click here to read!

Jana Riess:

Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor

Juanita Brooks:

The Mt. Meadow Massacre

Elna Baker:

The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance: A Memoir

Ronald Warren Walker, Richard E. Turley and Glen M. Leonard:

Massacre at Mountain Meadows

Edward Kimball:

Spencer W. Kimball
Lengthen Your Stride:  The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball – Working Draft, Limited Edition

John Odonell:

Pioneer in Guatemala: The Personal History of John Forres O’Donnal Including the History of the Mormons in Guatemala

Blake T. Ostler:

Exploring Mormon Thought: The Attributes of God, Volume 1

Carol Lynn Pearson:

Good Bye, I Love Your: The True Story of a Wife, Her Homosexual Husband – and a Love Honored for Time and All Eternity

Levi Peterson:

The Backslider

Ben Witherington III:

What Have They Done With Jesus? : Beyond Strange Theories and Bad History – Why we can trust the Bible

Bart Ehrman:

Peter , Paul,& Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend
Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code: A Historian Reveals What We Really Know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine
The Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament
The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament
Misquoting Jesus : The Story of Who Changed the Bible and Why

Thomas Cahill

How the Irish Saved Civilization

William Craig  & J.P. Morland (editors):

The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology

Michael Coe:

The Maya
Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs

Stephen Prothero:

God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World

Norman L. Geisler:

Systematic Theology: In One Volume

John Earman

Hume’s Abject Failure: The Argument Against Miracles

Rodney Stark

The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal, Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries
The Rise of Christianity: A Sociologist Reconsiders History

J. Hamlyn Hill (translator)

Earliest Life of Christ Ever Compiled from the Four Gospels: The Diatessaron of Tatian

Adam Nicolson

God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible

C.S. Lewis

The Great Divorce
Mere Christianity

David Daniell

William Tyndale:  A Biography