Category Archives: Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

The Esoteric Mormon Doctrine of Baptism for the Dead


Many have all wondered about it in Washington, D.C., at one time or another while driving around the Beltway and see the Mormon Temple rising before us like the Emerald City out of Oz. What do the Mormons do in there? … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Prophet Puzzle: Interpretative Essays on Joseph Smith”


The Prophet Puzzle: Interpretative Essays on Joseph Smith. Edited by Bryan Waterman. (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 1999. Vii + 351 pp. Editor’s introduction, notes. $18.95.) Many people have suggested that I write more on Joseph Smith (1805-1844), the … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Refiner’s Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844″


The Refiner’s Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844. By John L. Brooke. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994). 421 pages, $35.00, hardcover. Now twenty years old, this work is still a stunningly significant book. It is a classic in Mormon … Continue reading

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Is There a New Mormon History?


Is there a “New Mormon History?” D. Michael Quinn, one of the foremost practitioners of the type of work distinguished as the “New Mormon History,” certainly thinks so. He assembled more than two decades ago The New Mormon History: Revisionist Essays … Continue reading

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The Assassination of Joseph Smith Jr.: Meanings and Interpretations


I was at a local party the other night and ended up in conversation with a professor who teaches early nineteenth century history about Joseph Smith Jr. and early Mormonism. Our conversation turned to Smith’s assassination at Carthage, Illinois, on … Continue reading

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The Conspiracy Motif in Early Mormonism


A persistent theme in American history is the belief in conspiracy, whether it is justified or not. Conspiracy ideas shape our modern society, casting doubt on many areas of public and private life. From the denial of the Moon landings … Continue reading

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Nauvoo Mormonism and the Question of Class


Early Mormons in the 1840s founded the Mississippi River town of Nauvoo, Illinois, as a stronghold of their religion. Many historians have analyzed the Nauvoo sojourn of the Mormons, and there is a long list of very good books and articles … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture and City Planning”


Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture and City Planning. By C. Mark Hamilton. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995). X-vii + 203 pp. $65. This is a very poor work. C. Mark Hamilton, a professor of architectural history at Brigham Young University at … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Nauvoo City and High Council Minutes”


The Nauvoo City and High Council Minutes. Edited by John S. Dinger. Foreword by Morris A. Thurston. Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2011. Preface, introduction, city and stake councilmen, appendices, index. Hardcover with dustjacket. ISBN: 978-1-56085-214-8. $49.95. Nauvoo, Illinois, in … Continue reading

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An Iowa Sheriff Comments on the Mormons in Nauvoo, Illinois


In 1995 I published with John E. Hallwas a documentary history about the Mormon experience in Illinois in the 1840s. The book, Cultures in Conflict: A Documentary History of the Mormon War in Illinois (Utah State University Press). In this book … Continue reading

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