The Church through the Years, Vol. 1

One way of looking at this new book by RLDS church historian Richard Howard is to see it as the most recent survey of early Mormon history–three short chapters on the nature of history, twelve chapters on the events to 1844, and three chapters on the rise of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as one of the varieties of Latter Day Saintism. While not dismissing the usefulness of the volume as a survey, I see its major significance rather differently: it is a fascinating example of the throes being experienced by the RLDS Church during the generation extending from the 1960s to the present.

To understand what is going on here, one should read very carefully the way in which the following are presented: the First Vision, the Book of Mormon, the Nauvoo period, the crisis of succession following Joseph Smith’s assassination, and the establishment of the Reorganization under Joseph Smith III.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 33:3
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