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A Call to Russia: Glimpses of Missionary Life
Hopeful and heartbreaking, sobering and exultant. A Call to Russia captures missionary life as experienced by a mission president, his wife and daughter, and the sisters and elders who served under him. But above all, this book is an invitation to reflect upon our own lives. Some glimpses from President Rogers: “Every morning Merriam still wakes up and asks, ‘Where am I?’ while I shake off the night’s slumber and involuntarily ask, ‘Who am I?’” “Our senior district president recently asked me, ‘What are your greatest impressions since coming here?’ I answered, ‘Faith and love. Love and faith.’ And the way things seem to fall apart on at least a weekly basis before they’re somehow put back together.” “In our quest to see God’s face, what most matters in mortality is how we face one another—with what patience, tenderness, mercy, and good humor.” “Another great blessing—a mission makes us more aware than otherwise of our personal inadequacies.” “A friend wrote me, ‘You’ve certainly changed.’ It’s good others can see how the gospel has indeed changed us—how we have repented. As a great assistant to the president put it, ‘The best missionary is a repenting missionary.’” “We all confront, all the time, a choice between two paths. One is higher, with steeper terrain, where you often strain to catch your breath or to reach a handhold. The other lies well below it and tends if anything toward a gradual and easy descent.”
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A Trial Furnace: Southern Utah’s Iron Mission
"Iron we need and iron we must have"—so said Brigham Young in 1855. Utah's pioneers depended on it for survival. Necessities, such as nails, stoves, plows and sawmill bearings, required iron, which had to be shipped from St. Louis at great expense. Brigham Young envisioned a regional iron works that would fill the territory's need for iron and help make it economically self-sufficient. In April 1850, Church leaders established an Iron Mission in southern Utah, where iron ore, coal and timber were plentiful. Among these first Iron County settlers were experienced iron workers from the British Isles. Between 1851 and 1858, this colony of hard-working Saints tried many smelting techniques, yielding objects such as pots, crank shafts and bells. Despite sustained, even heroic, efforts, the iron missionaries did not succeed. Nature itself worked against them. Droughts, floods and inferior raw materials challenged them at every turn. When the iron works closed its books in 1858, some of the colonists moved away. Yet the pioneers' legacy is still visible in Parowan and Cedar City—Iron Mission townships that have survived for over 150 years. A Trial Furnace chronicles the lives of people who transcended the practical, finding in their wilderness crucible an inner strength and resilience more durable than the iron they came south to find.
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Artifacts Speak: Revisiting Old Stories about Treasured Latter-day Saint Heirlooms
This book reports on selected buildings and objects that bring to life important events that took place in the first two decades of the Restoration. As museum curators and historians worked to exhibit and tell the history of these objects, they sometimes found that stories told about them were incorrect. This collection’s aim is to tell a more accurate history about these treasured heirlooms. Since the beginning of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members have kept records and honored their past. Documents and artifacts provide evidence of sacred events and connect the spiritual aspect of the Church to tangible objects. This book reports on selected buildings and objects that bring to life important events that took place in the first two decades of the Restoration. As museum curators and historians worked to exhibit and tell the history of these objects, they sometimes found that stories told about them were incorrect. This collection’s aim is to tell a more accurate history about these treasured heirlooms. Items discussed in this volume:
- The two Smith family homes in Palmyra-Manchester, New York
- The artifacts of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, including weapons, canes, Carthage Jail, and watches
- Eliza R. Snow’s watch, given to her by Joseph Smith
- The Nauvoo Temple bells
- The Relief Society Campanile on Temple Square
- Cannons and other artillery used in Nauvoo and Utah
- Odometers used on the pioneer trail
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Behind the Iron Curtain: Recollections of Latter-day Saints in East Germany, 1945–1989
In 1939 when Hitler's armies marched into Poland, the LDS missionaries marched out of Germany and eventually out of continental Europe, leaving a strong and thriving Church in eastern Germany. Through personal interviews with East German Saints, this volume documents the moving personal faith of those Saints who survived World War II and rebuilt Zion during the communist years.
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Early Mormon Pamphleteering
Some have argued that Mormonism began with a book, the Book of Mormon. This printed beginning quickly spawned a prolific amount of published material both expounding and defending early doctrines of the Latter-day Saints. Between 1836 and 1860 about ninety Church members authored a variety of written works. Although many publications were based on the writings of Parley P. Pratt and Orson Pratt, some represented original ideas. Most pamphlets grew from missionary efforts, but others countered anti-Mormon literature then in circulation. In promoting truth, Mormons found the press to be a powerful weapon. These early pamphlets developed from the interactions of Church members with themselves, their message, and their neighbors. As Mormonism grew, David Whittaker explains, the press became a key element in providing the institutional glue for helping to hold together this dynamic social and religious movement. Whittaker's dissertation explores the rise and development of pamphlet literature during the Church's formative years. Whittaker's dissertation explores the rise and development of pamphlet literature during the Church's formative years.
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Hearts Turned to the Fathers (softcover)
This book tells an amazing story about millions of people. Since 1894 the Genealogical Society of Utah (now known as the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has sought to collect genealogical information about people from every nation. Latter-day Saints see this work as a fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy that the hearts of the children would be turned to their fathers to unify all members of the human family and to prepare the world to meet God. In November 1994, the Church celebrated the Genealogical Society’s centennial. At one level, the Society’s story is the history of an organization. At another level, it is the intersection of numerous individual stories, such as the dedication of Susa Young Gates, the tireless determination of Joseph Fielding Smith, the enthusiasm of Archibald F. Bennett, and the daring of Paul Langheinrich. LDS genealogical research is known all over the world. Parts of its story are familiar to many people, but only a fraction of the whole history is widely known. This book tells that story. It is a history of astounding and sustained efforts that have changed the hearts of millions.
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Martin Harris: Uncompromising Witness of the Book of Mormon
Martin Harris: Uncompromising Witness of the Book of Mormon reveals the compelling story of a man who had seen angels and knew Joseph Smith was a prophet but who nevertheless struggled to keep his faith in the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His is a story of fascination with worldly honors, flirtations with apostasy, and pride that nearly cost him the joy of his later years in the West. It is the biography of a witness who clung tenaciously to his testimony of the Book of Mormon.
Well-known historians Susan Black and Larry Porter have written a landmark biography of Martin Harris, one of the most important figures in early Church history. Joseph Smith relied on his generosity and goodwill to publish the Book of Mormon, of which he was one of the Three Witnesses. But Latter-day Saints in the twenty-first century know relatively little about him, especially the decades he spent away from the Restoration—until now. This biography deserves a place on the bookshelves of historians and other interested Church members. Strongly recommend.
Reid L. Neilson Assistant Church Historian and Recorder The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
This deeply researched book examines the life of one of Joseph Smith’s closest associates in the Church’s early years. It tells us more about significant episodes, such as the printing of the Book of Mormon, than anyone has ever known. Most important, it helps us reassess the character of Martin Harris, a key contributor to the Restoration. Harris emerges as a man of substance and judgment, a fitting witness to the angel and the plates. The book explains how he fell away and then returned but at no time backed away from his testimony.
Richard Lyman Bushman Author, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling
As one of the earliest believers in Joseph Smith’s spiritual claims, Martin Harris figured prominently in the early events of the Restoration. He observed firsthand many of the sacred scenes associated with the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, assisted in its translation, was one of the book’s Three Witnesses, financed its publication, and was one of the first converts baptized into the Church of Christ. Authors Susan Easton Black and Larry C. Porter have produced an insightful, informative, well-documented biography of Martin Harris’s lifelong religious sojourn—a life characterized by integrity, faith, and generosity, but most of all, testimony. This is solid, down-to-earth biographical history at its best.
Alexander L. Baugh Professor, Church History and Doctrine, BYU
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Mormon Americana: A Guide to Sources and Collections in the United States
This long awaited book is the first to provide a comprehensive guide to all major repositories in the United States containing sources on the LDS Church and the Mormon experience. Edited by David J. Whittaker, Senior Librarian and Curator of Western and Mormon Manuscripts at BYU's Harold B. Lee Library, the volume contains thirty-five articles written by leading experts covering history, architecture, folklore,...
Mountain Meadows Massacre: The Andrew Jensen and David H. Morris Collections
With all the controversy surrounding the massacre at Mountain Meadows on September 11, 1857, wouldn't it be nice to get firsthand accounts from the participants in that tragic event? As Ronald W. Walker, Richard E. Turley Jr., and Glen M. Leonard were researching their book Massacre at Mountain Meadows: An American Tragedy (Oxford University Press, 2008), they discovered several oral interviews, written statements, and letters from some of those participants. These documents were crucial to their research, and now they are available in a new book, Mountain Meadows Massacre: The Andrew Jenson and David H. Morris Collections, copublished by Brigham Young University Press and University of Utah Press. This new book makes available two significant archival collections known but largely unavailable to previous researchers.
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My Fellow Servants: Essays on the History of the Priesthood
The restoration of priesthood authority was a key event in the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Joseph Smith in 1830, as is well known. Much less familiar is the fascinating process of continuing revelation and administrative brilliance that has unfolded over the last two centuries as priesthood offices and quorums have gone into action. This book makes available William G. Hartley’s lifetime of research about that powerful story. Interesting questions include: How were local congregations organized before there were wards and ward bishops? Do bishopric counselors need to be high priests? When did leaders begin to expect all boys to receive the Aaronic priesthood at age 12 in preparation for becoming elders? What is a quorum? Who defines the work of an elders quorum? What is the relationship between the Presiding Bishop and Aaronic Priesthood quorums? When and why did the Seventies become General Authorities? These, and many others, are answered on the pages of this unique and very significant book.
This remarkably thorough collection of Professor William Hartley’s career writings is a handsome tribute to a very talented and careful scholar, and a “must read” for every serious student of LDS Church History.
—Richard E. Bennett, Associate Dean, Religious Education, Brigham Young University
New Scholarship on Latter-day Saint Women in the Twentieth Century: Selections from the Women‘s History Initiative Seminars, 2003–2004
New Scholarship on Latter-day Saint Women in the Twentieth Century opens dialogue on women's past experiences and analyzes developments for Mormon women from the Progressive Era through civil rights reforms to the emerging women's movement. This volume of proceedings covers essays by new and seasoned scholars presented at Women's History Initiative seminars held in 2003 and 2004.
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Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820–1844
Joseph Smith had only one request of the publisher of the Chicago Democrat, to whom he directed his now-famous Wentworth Letter: All that I shall ask at his hands, is, that he publish the account entire, ungarnished, and without misrepresentation. In accord with that request, Opening the Heavens lets these foundational documents of key events in LDS Church history speak for themselves. The relevant passages are presented in their entirety, plainness, and veracity, according to established standards of documentary editing. Here are the historical documents for the key events of the Restoration in which heavenly elements were powerfully evident: the First Vision, the translation of the Book of Mormon, the restoration of the priesthood, the opening of the heavens, the outpouring of keys at the Kirtland Temple, and the mantle of Joseph Smith passing to Brigham Young. Such events are the backbone of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The firsthand accounts contained in Opening the Heavens make it one of the most persuasive and influential Church history books you may ever read or own.
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Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820–1844 (Second Edition)
Joseph Smith had only one request of the publisher of the Chicago Democrat, to whom he directed his now-famous Wentworth Letter: All that I shall ask at his hands, is, that he publish the account entire, ungarnished, and without misrepresentation. Since 1959, BYU Studies has been a premier publisher of primary historical documents in LDS Church history. Continuing this tradition, Opening the Heavens gathers in one place the key historical collections documenting divine manifestations from 1820 to 1844. Gathered here are the historical documents concerning the First Vision, the translation of the Book of Mormon, the restoration of the priesthood, the many visions of Joseph Smith, the outpouring of keys at the Kirtland Temple, and the mantle of Joseph Smith passing to Brigham Young. Each collection of documents is preceded by a chapter explaining the event. As you read the accounts of divine manifestations in Opening the Heavens, the truth of the Restoration events becomes clearer. The original, eyewitness accounts will endure for generations, making this one of the most persuasive and influential Church history books you may ever read or own. Many new historical resources have become available since the first edition of Opening the Heavens. Newly discovered testimonies have been added to this second edition, and footnotes cite sources recently made available by the Joseph Smith Papers Project. This valuable collection offers remarkable access to the earliest historical sources. The ebook version of the second edition includes live links to online resources that contain images of original documents and information about their creation.
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Summer Fellows’ Papers 1997–1999: Archive of Restoration Culture
The Archive of Restoration Culture was founded on the belief that Joseph Smith and the Restoration cannot be appreciated without an understanding of his environment. Student-scholars began working on the Archive project in 1997 and were followed during the next two years by other teams of advanced undergraduates and graduate students. The papers in the volume are the fruits of their labors. They show how far afield Joseph Smith's thoughts ranged, and how many of his contemporaries were wrestling with similar issues—the role of Israel, the nature of priesthood, the quest for the visionary. The nineteen articles collected in this book are divided into the following categories: priesthood and Church government, visionary leaders in the age of Joseph Smith, distinctive doctrines of the Restoration in historical context, and the cultural background of the Restoration. Joseph Smith becomes both more recognizable and more unusual when placed against this background.
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Summer Fellows’ Papers 2000–2002: Archive of Restoration Culture
This volume presents the second series of papers from the Archive of Restoration Culture seminar on Joseph Smith and his times at the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History. The Archive of Restoration Culture was founded on the belief that Joseph Smith and the Restoration cannot be appreciated without an understanding of his environment. Advanced undergraduate and graduate students from several disciplines were drawn by the opportunity to examine Joseph Smith from the viewpoint of their disciplines, often in comparative perspective. This volume continues with the research papers written by the seminar participants in the years 2000 to 2002. Investigations range widely, covering varied topics arranged into the broad themes "Interpreting Sacred Texts," "Cosmologies and Theologies," "Temple and Ritual," and "People and Places." The nineteen papers in this volume show great imagination in the students' innovative approaches to Joseph Smith's character, his works, and his history.
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Summer Fellows’ Papers 2003: Latter-day Saint Women in the Twentieth Century (Archive of Restoration Culture)
As part of the Smith Institute’s women’s initiative, eight advanced students were invited to BYU in summer 2003 to research women’s history in the twentieth century. The eight papers in this volume are the fruits of their labors. The papers show the actions and reactions of faithful women affected by change in the Church, such as international growth and the institution of the correlation program, and by change in American culture, such as the social revolutions of the late twentieth century. While there were a number of great and important women to study, the scholars wanted also to consider the lives of the unsung. This volume reflects the scholars’ search for the generalities that create a master narrative of LDS women’s experience in the twentieth century interwoven with the individual stories, the poignant quotations, and the experiences of individual women.
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Sustaining the Law: Joseph Smith’s Legal Encounters
Joseph Smith believed in sustaining the law. This book presents his main legal encounters in the context of his day. Party to more than two hundred suits in the courts of New York, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and elsewhere, he faced criminal charges as well as civil claims and collection matters. In the end, he was never convicted of any crime, and he paid his debts. These incidents were significant institutionally as well as personally. Eleven legal scholars analyze these legal encounters. Topics cover constitutional law, copyright, disorderly conduct, association, assault, marriage, banking, land preemptive rights, treason, municipal charters, bankruptcy, guardianship, habeas corpus, adultery, and freedom of the press. A 53-page legal chronology presents key information about Joseph’s life in the law. An appendix provides biographies of sixty lawyers and judges with whom he was involved, some being the best legal minds of his day. This book is for anyone interested in the life of Joseph Smith, whether general readers, historians, lawyers, or law students. Each chapter tells a fascinating story based on controlling legal documents—many just recently discovered—that allow detailed legal analysis and accurate understanding. The full book is available for free here: Sustaining the Law, edited by Gordon A. Madsen, Jeffrey N. walker, and John W. Welch Individual chapters:
- Joseph Smith and the Constitution
- The Smiths and Religious Freedom Jesse Smiths 1814 Church Tax Protest
- Standing as a Credible Witness in 1819
- Being Acquitted of a Disorderly Person Charge in 1826
- Securing the Book of Mormon Copyright in 1829
- Organizing the Church as a Religious Association in 1830
- Winning against Hurlbuts Assault in 1834
- Performing Legal Marriages in Ohio in 1835
- Looking Legally at the Kirtland Safety Society
- Tabulating the Impact of Litigation on the Kirtland Economy
- Losing Land Claims and the Missouri Conflict in 1838
- Imprisonment by Austin Kings Court of Inquiry in 1838
- Protecting Nauvoo by Illinois Charter in 1840
- Suffering Shipwreck and Bankruptcy in 1842 and Beyond
- Serving as Guardian under the Lawrence Estate 1842-1844
- Invoking Habeas Corpus in Missouri and Illinois
- Defining Adultery under Illinois and Nauvoo Law
- Legally Suppressing the Nauvoo Expositor in 1844
- Legal Chronology of Joseph Smith
- Lawyers and Judges in the Legal Cases of Joseph Smith
- Glossary of Early Nineteenth-Century Legal Terms
The Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith Family: A Family Process Analysis of a Nineteenth-Century Household
Mormonism began with a single family—the family of Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith. Just how did this family operate, and what characteristics did they exemplify? Although much has been written about this family, little has been produced with the intent of sifting through the historical records to reveal what kind of family this was. Through careful research, marriage and family therapists have developed several paradigms or models to facilitate family assessment, and these constructs can be used to evaluate a historical family. While there are certain limitations, there also are many constructs that can be successfully evaluated in a historical family. Kyle Walker uses five family process concepts—cohesion, resiliency, religiosity, conflict management, and family work and recreation—to examine historical sources that identify how the Smith family operated.
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Volume 60:3 (2021) Print
The journal version of BYU Studies Quarterly 60:3 is now out of stock. We have copies of the book version, Yet to Be Revealed, which contains the same articles and an index. The book version is available here.