The Life of Orson F. Whitney: Historian, Poet, Apostle, As Recorded in His Daily Journals
This daily feature is an introduction to a full book review by Neal W. Kramer. To read the full text of this review, follow the link below.
Dennis B. Horne, a technical writer in the Materials Management Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is no stranger to writing about the Church's Apostles. His books include Bruce R. McConkie: Highlights from His Life and Teachings, An Apostle's Record: The Journals of Abraham H. Cannon, and Latter Leaves in the Life of Lorenzo Snow. This latest biography from Horne arose out of his discovery of a biographical sketch of Lorenzo Snow authored by Orson F. Whitney and his subsequent reading of Elder Whitney's daily diary. It was a fortuitous discovery. Whitney's life and work have for the most part faded from LDS cultural memory. Except for a few references periodically in general conference, his considerable contributions to the building up of Zion from 1880 to 1930 are not as known as they should be. Horne's book, therefore, makes a much-needed contribution to our awareness of this Apostle's commitment to the Church in a period of great upheaval and change. The book is filled with fascinating information about Elder Whitney, and I have found its presentation—that of a man of considerable talent, intelligence, and promise who submitted to God's will to better serve the kingdom—quite inspiring. I shall focus my review on some of the key decisions and events in Orson F. Whitney's life, as presented in Horne's biography, that made him an influential and faithfully devoted leader in the Church.