This attractive volume gives the initial impression that it is a pathbreaking, progressive, one-volume account of Latter-day Saint history. Even though it is a manual for a religion course, it is formidable in appearance, suggesting substantive content. Although a paperback, it is aesthetically designed with numerous impressive photographs and illustrations. One highlight, for instance, is the photograph of the stained glass window of the First Vision from Salt Lake’s 17th Ward chapel. Unfortunately, the manual’s ultimate value is confined to the layout and the photographs because its content is surprisingly shallow and its scholarship disappointing.
Having been prepared by a committee, this volume lacks depth. The style is pedestrian, overly simplified, and spotty in its coverage of important material. But the most serious problems are found in the consistent lack of scholarship from beginning to end. For instance, few of the important scholarly works of Latter-day Saint History are used in any visible way in this volume. The end notes for each chapter cite the works used, but in most cases they are disappointing and do not reference authors with critical insights into the topics considered.