Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Mormon History Books

Excerpts of "Here are some of the latest additions to the Benchmark Books inventory," Aug 2010 -- which provides a nice overview of some new books related to Mormon studies.
My Fellow Servant: Essays on the History of the Priesthood by William Hartley. Published by BYU Studies, 2010. 492 pp. $24.95. Paper.  This excellent collection of essays (published in BYU Studies, Journal of Mormon History, Dialogue and others) by respected author/historian William Hartley covers various topics relating to the priesthood. Highlights include his award-winning articles on Aaronic Priesthood offices from 1829 to 1996 and the sweeping priesthood reorganization and redefinition undertaken by Brigham Young in 1877 as his last major achievement.

 A Tentative Inquiry into the Office of Seventy, 1835-1845 by Lyndon Cook. 132 pp. Published by Grandin Book, 2010. Cloth (400 copies) - $50.00, 3/4 leather (74 copies) - approx. $125.00, full leather (26 lettered copies) - approx. $300.00 (leather editions forthcoming). This book, written by well-known author and historian Lyndon Cook, explores a topic that has had little examination and includes dozens of photographs of early Seventies in the Church, many of whom are little-known.  Cook details the first ten years of the somewhat fluid office of seventy, highlighting (among other topics) their often tense relationship with other priesthood authorities.  He does an admirable job of analyzing the contentious debate in Kirtland regarding the primacy of seventies versus high priests.  In addition, Cook shows the rise and fall of the seventy during Joseph Smith's lifetime and their subsequent rise in prominence under Brigham Young.

From the Muddy River to the Ivory Tower: The Journey of George H. Brimhall by Mary Jane Woodger and Joseph Groberg.  Published by BYU Studies, 2010. 245 pp. $18.95. Written by a BYU professor and a descendant of Brimhall, this biography looks at the progress of an ordinary pioneer-era boy as he became the president of a major university during a very tempestuous time.  During his time as president of BYU, Brimhall was responsible for guiding the school through the chaotic 1911 in which three professors either resigned or were dismissed after a tense standoff over the teaching of evolution and other "progressive" subjects. Following his 19 years at the helm of BYU, Brimhall served the auxiliary organizations in a variety of capacities, including writing curriculum.

150 Years of Song: Hymnody in the Reorganization, 1860-2010 by Richard Clothier.  Published by Herald House, 2010.  111 pp. $15.95. Paper.  Clothier, professor emeritus of music at Graceland University, documents the history of the Community of Christ (formerly Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) through the story of its hymns and hymnals.  Clothier looks at the growth and evolution of the CoC and how that is reflected in the hymnals--all of this with their tenth hymnal in preparation.

Alexander: Joseph and Emma Smith's Far West Son by Ronald Romig.  Published by John Whitmer Books, 2010. 138 pp. $9.95. Paper.  The latest in Romig's series of books highlighting the lives and times of early church members, Alexander takes a look at the life of Alexander Hale Smith.  Featuring contemporary photos of Alexander, his family and colleagues, this book also uses writings from Smith and others to paint a vivid picture of his life.

Community of Christ: An Illustrated History by David Howlett, Barbara Walden and John Hamer.   Published by Herald House, 2010. 72 pp.  $19.95. Paper. A richly illustrated history of the Community of Christ featuring numerous photographs and aesthetically pleasing John Hamer maps.  Topics discussed include the role of women in the CoC, successful missionary labors in Haiti, relationship of CoC publications to the "New Mormon History" and name change from RLDS to Community of Christ.

Missouri Mormon Burials by Janet Lisonbee and Annette Curtis. Published by Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation, 2008. 225 pp + errata.  $24.95. Whether for history or genealogical purposes, this is a valuable resource.  Each known burial features a biographical sketch and vital dates.  Details on the individuals are taken from diverse sources: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, DUP publications, Church newspapers, Saints' Herald, redress petitions, etc.  In addition to many "rank and file" members, this volume includes details on well-known figures such as the Whitmer brothers and Hiram Page.

School of the Prophet: Joseph Smith Learns the First Principles, 1820-1830 by Richard Bennett.  Published by Deseret Book, 2010. 163 pp.  $21.99. Bennett, author of Mormons at the Missouri and We'll Find the Place, looks at the learning process of Joseph Smith in the decade following the First Vision.  He shows how Joseph, the first convert and student, was taught by heavenly beings, refined in the fires of adversity, and firmly grounded in the saving principles and ordinances of the gospel.  

Benchmark Books
3269 S. Main St., Ste. 250
Salt Lake City, UT  84115
801-486-3452 (fax)
800-486-3112 (orders)
Hours: Mon. - Fri., 10-6; Sat., 10-5

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