Jan Shipp’s newest contribution to Mormon history, Sojourner in the Promised Land: Forty Years among the Mormons, is a collection of essays that gives us a retrospective not only of her work as a historian, but also of her personal experience as a friendly observer of the Saints. The most innovative aspect of the book is the parallel she draws between her own growth and that of the Church during the past forty years. Her journey from “gentile” to “sojourner,” she reasons, has occurred at a time when the Church itself has been expanding from an intermountain-based enclave to a global entity.
Shipps’s personal observations combined with her scholarly essays give her collection a multi-layered approach. At one level, Sojourner is a straightforward collection of essays written at different times throughout her career. The essays she chose were composed over the course oft two and a half decades and represent a wide range of genres and intended audiences.