Not for Tourists: Richard Bushman’s Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling

In reading this volume I have imagined that its author, Richard Lyman Bushman, early in his academic career, found himself trolling through the literary remains of early Mormonism in a way similar to Edward Gibbon, as the latter wandered among the physical remains of the Forum in Rome in October 1774. Gibbon must have seen the tourists to the ancient city, interested only in carrying away a stone or two as a reminder of their visit, with little desire to probe or understand Rome’s rich history. In his Memoirs, Gibbon spoke about the qualities he felt were needed for the real traveler, including a restless curiosity, an interest in life not suited in the closet, and a “flexible temple which can assimilate itself to every tone of society.”

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 45:3
Purchase this Issue