This daily feature is an introduction to a full Book Review by Heather M. Seferovich. To read the full text of this review, follow the link below.
Virtually all Mormon historians are familiar with Thomas G. Alexander's seminal work Mormonism in Transition (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986). In some important ways, Thomas Simpson's work continues Alexander's study by examining the role that university education played in the Americanization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1867 to 1940. If you are a fan of Alexander's book, or if you are a Mormon who cares about higher education, American Universities and the Birth of Modern Mormonism should be required reading.
Presently an instructor in religion and philosophy at Phillips Exeter Academy, Simpson believes "modern Mormonism was born in the American university, and the Mormon path to citizenship—to a genuine, passionate sense of belonging in America—ran right through it" (1–2). This thesis plainly guides his entire study.