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Recommended Reading

Recommended: If I were to teach an academic course which included study of Mormonism, here are some book recommendations:

Skim through The Book of Mormon (www.lds.org)

The Doctrine and Covenants, especially D&C 89, 132 (www.lds.org)

The Pearl of Great Price, especially a skim through The Book of Abraham and read through Joseph Smith History (www.lds.org)

Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman.  This is a biography of Joseph Smith by a professional historian that uses the occasions of his life to explain in depth various Mormon teachings.

The Angel and the Beehive by Armaund Mauss.  This book details the tension within Mormon theology between bureaucracy and charisma.

Mormons and Mormonism edited by Eric Eliason.  A collection of scholarly essays about a variety of topics covering Mormon life.

The Mormon Experience, by Leonard Arrington.  A relatively short overview of Mormon history.

A Sojourner in the Promised Land by Jan Shipps.  A non Mormon scholar who has spent many years studying Mormonism speaks about what she has learned.

And a non book: PBS’s recent special on Mormonism.  A fairly well done presentation on Mormon history and practice through time.

Comments on other books:

No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie.  This is a popular book because it was the first serious biography of Joseph Smith.  I wouldn’t recommend this to someone just on the forefront of learning about Mormonism because it is so negatively biased.

Joseph Smith by Gregory Remini.  This is a short biography and more scholarly than Brodie’s but still has a bizarre negative bias (see his description of the Book of Mormon, not professional).

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer.  This is a book done by a journalist and it shows in its unabashed sensationalism.  Read the preface, he is unapologetic about his bias against religion in general.  Read with caution and some previous study under your belt.

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One Response to “Recommended Reading”

  1. I really enjoyed Mormon America: The Power and the Promise by Richard and Joan Ostling. It’s a thick book, but they’re journalists and each section reads like its own magazine article, so the whole thing is very readable. I recommend it as a good, foundational work to people who want to learn about Mormonism.

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