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Did the wider world shape Mormonism or did Mormonism shape the wider world? In Gordon’s The Mormon Question it is clearly shown the the answer is yes and yes, at least in the United States. As a late comer to studying American history I am finding that many assumptions I have held about current interpretations of the constitution, American religious liberty, and the separation of church and state being relatively constant and unchanged since 1776 are … flat out wrong. The development of constitutional interpretation, freedom of religious practice and belief, as well as states rights has been a wild ride full of irony, and motivated reasoning by all parties.
In this fourth installment of “Top Ten Books on Mormon History,” Ben and I discuss one of the most respected academic books on Mormon history, The Mormon Question.
Our “Top Ten Books on Mormon History” list was composed for someone new to Mormon History. The criteria for inclusion are the book’s demonstration of:
- Use of a sophisticated academic approach and emphasis on analysis over merely regurgitating data and documents.
- Coverage of an important person, event, or period in Mormon history
- Quality of writing.
- Length (not too long).
- Matthew Bowman, The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith
Release in March
- Richard Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling
Release in April
- Ronald Walker et. al., Massacre at Mountain Meadows
Release in May
- Sarah Barringer Gordon, The Mormon Question Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America
Release in June
- Kathryn Daynes, More Wives Than One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840-1910
Release in July
- Paul Reeve, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness
Release in August
- Kathleen Flake, The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle
Release in September
- Armand Mauss, The Angel and the Beehive: THE MORMON STRUGGLE WITH ASSIMILATION
Release in October
- Prince & Wright, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism
Release in November
- Martha Bradley, Pedestals and Podiums: Utah Women, Religious Authority, and Equal Rights
Release in December
A good list,to be sure. I think there should be room somewhere for Leonard Arrington’s Great Basin Kingdom and Juanita Brooks’ Mountain Meadows Massacre. Both were extremely important in helping to build a modern foundation for Mormon history besides being excellent histories in their own right. I would also add B.H. Roberts’ history of the Church.
That’s an astute answer to a tricky qusetion
I can remember my dad reading from the blue B.H. Roberts books as a girl. Years later when my faith fell, I found myself reading them and adding JS diary to that. Brother Roberts was prophetic in his work. I didn’t realize Joanna Brooks wrote one on the Mountain Meadows Massacre, thanks for pointing it out.
Never Mind – I was reading too fast, it must be time for a Sunday nap – Juanita Brooks not Joanna Brooks. Either way I will get it.