Category Archives: Religion

Wednesday’s Book Review: “Nauvoo Polygamy: ‘but we called it celestial marriage'”


Nauvoo Polygamy: “but we called it celestial marriage.” By George D. Smith. Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2008. Introduction, photographs, appendices, footnotes, bibliography, index. ix + 705 pp. ISBN: 978-1-56085-201-8. Hardcover with dustjacket. $39.95. Plural marriage, or polygamy, among … Continue reading

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Mormonism and the Founding of Nauvoo


During the bitter winter of 1838-1839 some 5,000 Latter-day Saints crossed the Mississippi River from Missouri and settled in western Illinois. Since the organization of the Mormon church almost ten years before, this group of religious pioneers, led by Joseph … Continue reading

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Mormon Militancy and the Conflict in 1840s Nauvoo?


The non-Mormons of Hancock County, Illinois, in the early 1840s probably disliked the Mormons from the first, in the same way that most Americans have generally disliked what they have viewed as religious fanaticism, but they were initially disposed toward toleration … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Mormons and their Historians”


Mormons and their Historians. By Davis Bitton and Leonard J. Arrington. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1988. Although this book is rather long in the tooth, and both authors have passed on, it is still a fine short … Continue reading

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Is There a Sacred Santa?


With the holiday season upon us—I put up Christmas lights, a tree, etc., last weekend—it is appropriate to reconsider this annual ritual and why we do it. Before the twentieth century Christmas was a significant holiday on the Christian calendar but … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America”


American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. By Chris Hedges. New York: Free Press, 2007. Sinclair Lewis once wrote, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.” Former New … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement”


White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement. By Allan J. Lichtman. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2008. 570 pages. ISBN-10: 0871139847. $27.50 Hardcover with dustjacket. References, illustrations, index. This history of the evangelical Christian movement in the … Continue reading

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Zion in Mormon History: An American Promised Land


Mormonism’s self-identification as a modern replacement for ancient Israel mandated the quest for Zion as a literal place. The establishment of what the Saints called Zion had been the most persistent goal of the early Mormon movement. The early Latter-day … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Gospel According to Lost”


The Gospel According to Lost. By Chris Seay. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2009. My father used to say when he was unimpressed by some observation that it represented “a remarkable grasp of the obvious.” That is how I felt when … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Unintelligent Design”


Unintelligent Design. By Mark Perakh. Amherst, MA: Prometheus Books, 2003. This fine book offers a powerful and sustained critique of the creationism argument versus evolutionary theory, especially the most recent iteration of “intelligent design” which has been politically but not … Continue reading

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