Saints Observed: Studies of Mormon Village Life, 1850-2005; and Four Classic Mormon Village Studies | BYU Studies

Saints Observed: Studies of Mormon Village Life, 1850-2005; and Four Classic Mormon Village Studies

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Saints Observed: Studies of Mormon Village Life, 1850-2005
Author Howard M. Bahr
Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2014

Saints Observed: Studies of Mormon Village Life, 1850-2005; and Four Classic Mormon Village Studies

Reviewer Todd L. Goodsell

Saints Observed and Four Classic Mormon Village Studies are based on ethnographic research in rural Mormon communities during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. During this period, several scholars visited various Mormon settlements, spent extended time there, wrote about what they experienced, and from these writings tried to explain Mormonism to a larger audience. In the first volume, Bahr does a superb job of synthesizing the writings of several intellectuals from the nineteenth century into a kind of "team ethnography," and the result is a composite picture of everyday Mormon culture during that time. In the second volume, he presents four complete, hard-to-find, twentieth-century ethnographies of Mormon villages, along with his own follow-up to each. Together, the volumes reveal a long tradition of ethnographic research on Mormon community life. Bahr argues that this tradition is worth continuing.