With Mormonism on the nation’s radar as never before, religious historian Matthew Bowman has written an essential book that pulls back the curtain on more than 180 years of Mormon history and doctrine. He recounts the church’s origins and explains how the Mormon vision has evolved—and with it the esteem in which Mormons have been held in the eyes of their countrymen. Admired on the one hand as hardworking paragons of family values, Mormons have also been derided as oddballs and persecuted as polygamists, heretics, and zealots. The place of Mormonism in public life continues to generate heated debate, yet the faith has never been more popular. One of the fastest-growing religions in the world, it retains an uneasy sense of its relationship with the main line of American culture.
Mormons will surely play an even greater role in American civic life in the years ahead. The Mormon People comes as a vital addition to the corpus of American religious history—a frank and balanced demystification of a faith that remains a mystery for many.
With a new afterword by the author.
“Fascinating and fair-minded . . . a sweeping soup-to-nuts primer on Mormonism.”—The Boston Globe
“A cogent, judicious, and important account of a faith that has been an important element in American history but remained surprisingly misunderstood.”—Michael Beschloss
“A thorough, stimulating rendering of the Mormon past and present.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[A] smart, lucid history.”—Tom Brokaw
The encyclopedia begins with an overview of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—six essays cover the church's history from Joseph Smith's first vision in 1820 to its current global status. This provides a context for subsequent sections of alphabetically organized entries on key events and key figures in Mormon history. A final section looks at important issues such as the church's organization and government, its teachings on family, Mormonism and blacks, Mormonism and women, and Mormonism and Native Americans. Together, these essays and entries, along with revealing primary sources, portray the Mormon experience like no other available reference work.
In addition to detailing John Taylor’s life and work in spreading the gospel, many of his works of poetry and letters are included, giving the reader a unique insight into this early giant of the gospel, one of the great prophets of this dispensation.