'Bloodline' book too hot to handle?
Utahn's work finding limited space at LDS bookstores
By Rodger L. Hardy
Deseret Morning News
SPRINGVILLE — A controversial new book that claims Jesus Christ
married Mary Magdalene and that Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is their direct descendant is
finding limited space on the shelves of LDS booksellers.
A saleswoman for publisher Cedar Fort Inc. didn't offer "Dynasty
of the Holy Grail, Mormonism's Sacred Bloodline" by Vern G. Swanson to
Seagull Book and Tape, while Deseret Book is offering the book
primarily through special order. Deseret Book is owned by the LDS
Church through a holding company that also owns the Deseret Morning
"It wasn't a good fit for our readers," agreed Seagull Book
executive vice president Jon Kofford.
But that decision came from the Cedar Fort saleswoman, not
Seagull Book, which never was given a chance to offer it, Seagull
spokesman David Politis said.
The Deseret Morning News obtained an e-mail in which Cedar Fort
saleswoman Angie Harris tells Kofford and a book buyer, "It was one
that you were not going to carry in the stores. It talks about Jesus
having a son and the royal bloodline leading directly to Joseph Smith.
The pictures in it are questionable; that is why I did not present it
Swanson is the director of the Springville Art Museum. He
illustrated the 537-page book with historic paintings, both modern and
ancient. Among the full-color illustrations is a painting by 19th
century French artist Gustave Moreau of a nude that may have been of
Mary Magdalene. The nudity is meant to symbolize chastity and the
That particular painting, "La Licorne," or "The Unicorn," fits
the image of Mary Magdalene with her crown, symbols and robe, Swanson
says. She is pictured with a white unicorn, the symbol of her tribe,
Deseret Book sent most of its shipment back to the publisher.
Spokeswoman Mary Ann Jones said the bookstore gives authors 90 days to
see how their book sells. However, the book has been out for only a
"It's a very expensive book, $40," Jones said. The hard-bound
book is printed on heavy, high-quality paper and richly illustrated.
"We've not seen any interest," she said.
"Of course it wasn't selling," Swanson said. "How can they sell
it when they keep it in the back room? ... It's content; that's why
they're not marketing it."
Swanson recently had a book signing at LDS Church-owned Brigham
Young University, where sales are brisk.
"We've sold about a dozen," said general books manager Linda
Brummett. "It's a higher-priced book for students."
The bookstore received two dozen on its first order.
The book is also offered at the Springville Art Museum, where
about 100 have sold, Swanson said.
Swanson had already been researching the premise that Christ was
married for nearly 30 years before Dan Brown published "The Da Vinci
Code" in 2003, which also makes that suggestion. During the
controversy that followed, Swanson decided to complete and publish his