Sunday, August 21, 2016

Book Review: The Mormons

The Mormons, Jean Kinney Williams, American Religious Experience, Franklin Watts of Grolier Books, New York, 1996.
This book has a picture of the Washington, D.C. temple on its front.  This is a more recent temple and this seems to represent when the book was written.
This book is a brief description of Mormons and their history.  It has some good points, and some errors.  As far as I can tell it was not written by a Mormon.  Someone in the book has penciled through that 15 percent of Mormon families were polygamous and written in 3 percent.  (The actual answer is difficult to come by and depends on the year that is researched.)  Polygamy was really a rare thing over all, but mostly practiced by the leadership of the church so was widely known.  Its practice was also reserved for those who were called upon by church leadership.
However getting away from polygamy, this book describes adequately the coming forth of the Church of Jesus Christ, with Joseph's first vision and his subsequent translating of the Book of Mormon.  It describes the persecution against the church, and explains that this was mostly due to the economic influence of the Mormons.  The book talks of Joseph's murder, with his brother Hyrum.  It further explains the rise of Brigham Young, and the westward trek.  The book talks of the church history in  Utah and statehood in 1896.  I didn't see anything written about the Utah War.  The book does talk of the persecution against the church because of polygamy, that church property was confiscated, and then the church members had to pay the federal government to use their churches and tabernacle.  Also Congress would not seat the individuals elected by Utah because they were polygamous.  They were even weary to seat non-polygamous Mormons.  This resulted in a second proclamation by the church against polygamy.
The book follows the church up through the time of President Hinckley, when the book was written.  It also notes that the church is now international, with a quarter of its members in Latin America.

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