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1. Murder of an American Prophet,
2. The Wentworth Letter
3. Personal Writings of Joseph Smith
4. An American Prophet's Record:
5. The Essential Joseph Smith (Classics
6. The Gospel According to Joseph
7. Joseph Smith: A Biography
8. The Papers of Joseph Smith: Autobiographical
9. The Joseph Smith Revelations:
10. Joseph Smith (Penguin Lives)
11. Joseph Smith: The First Mormon
12. Conflict in the Quorum: Orson
13. Witness to the Martyrdom: John
14. Joseph Speaks: Topical Quotes
15. First Vision: The Prophet Joseph
16. Joseph Smith and the Beginnings
17. Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith:
18. Remembering Joseph: Personal Recollections
19. Joseph Smith's New Translation
20. Prophet's Voice: Inspiring Quotes

1. Murder of an American Prophet, Joseph Smith, 1805-1844 (Events and prejudices surrounding the killing of Joseph and Hyrum Smith; Carthage, Illinois, June 27, 1844, Materials for Analysis)
 Paperback: Pages (1960)

Asin: B000GSG9BU
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2. The Wentworth Letter
by Joseph, 1805-1844 Smith
Kindle Edition: Pages (2004-10-01)
list price: US$0.99 -- used & new: US$0.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000JQUPPA
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Editorial Review

Book Description
This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more

3. Personal Writings of Joseph Smith
by Joseph Smith, Dean C. Jessee
Hardcover: 736 Pages (2002-06-02)
list price: US$32.95 -- used & new: US$32.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573457876
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Read and decide for yourself!
I am glad that the renaissance of Joseph Smith Manuscripts is still going on.It hit a high mark when Mark Hoffman was deftly producing his forgeries, and seems to have petered out a bit.As Jesse says in the introduction, "Since the first edition, a team of scholars has commenced preparing for publication the complete papers of Joseph Smith, which, it is anticipated, will fill a dozen volumes." (xvi) Good!The Church of Jesus Christ has put a lot of time and money into Islamic Classics translations, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, that it is high time they remember their founder and prophet!

The book itself is a gem.It has some materials that were previously published in "The Papers of Joseph Smith, vol 1-2," such as the 1832 account of the visitation of God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ, and his early journals.The bulk of the book is devoted to letters and epistles Joseph Smith wrote in the process of his life and mission.

Some of the letters are interesting, such as his letter to Oliver Cowdery discussing his early childhood.Others, such as his letters to Edward Hunter (my great-great-grand uncle), are rather boring and incidental to the greater work.This book also includes several letters to his wife Emma.I feel like a voyeur as I read these letters, but I am also very curious about this aspect of Joseph Smith's life.We see him as a Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator, but not as a husband, father, and lover.These letters open up this aspect on to the man's life.

Jesse has also included photographs of the manuscripts, so if you are into eyestrain, you can compare the transcription against the original document.This becomes important in the 1832 account of the First Vision, where Joseph Smith give his age when the events happened.He wrote the age in a "between-line" insertion, and wrote the age in Arabic numerals.The age has traditionally (habitually?) been transcribed as "16th year of my age," but as the manuscript showy, the "y" from the "heard my cry" in the immediate above line crosses over the "16" in the insertion, so it is possible that the "16" may actually be a "15," which corresponds to the other accounts of the First Vision.

The maps are absolutely incredible, and the mini-biographies help us keep track of who's who.The paper is very sturdy archival paper, and the binding is reinforced, so the book should really last the ages.

4-0 out of 5 stars Useful for the LDS historian, but quite expensive...
Probably in effort to make up for failure to produce "Papers of Joseph Smith vol. 3," Jessee here republishes his long touted necessity of all LDS scholars' personal libraries "Personal Papers of Joseph Smith." The new edition removes some of the Hofmann forgeries (Patriarchal blessing of Joseph III, Anthon manuscript, etc.) and updates some of the erroneous footnotes of the first version, as well as the introduction of a new letter or two sent by the Prophet. The reader will be especially interested in the letter correspondance between Governer Thomas Ford and the prophet prior to the martyrdom. This is an expensive book, and I recommend it only for the Joseph Smith history enthusiast, as the casual reader/learner may find his personal writings difficult to navigate or search. Those interested in the doctrine taught by the prophet should continue to seek the usual sources (TPJS, WJS, etc.) as this book is predominately historical. ... Read more

4. An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith (2nd ed)
by Joseph Smith Jr.
Paperback: 518 Pages (1989-05)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$12.52
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0941214788
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Book Description
Published for the first time in their entirety, the personal diaries and journals of Mormon founder Joseph Smith (1805-1844) provide an unequaled view of this controversial American religious leader. Previous compilations have drawn from careful selected and sometimes rewritten passages of Smith's diaries and journals. In the present, unexpurgated edition, Smith emerges as believable and human, willing to allow both decedents and followers a complete look at his beliefs and personality ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars Joseph's narcissistic personality really shows...
nar·cis·sism( P )Pronunciation Key(närs-szm) also nar·cism (-szm)
1. Excessive love or admiration of oneself. See Synonyms at conceit.
2. A psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem.
3. Erotic pleasure derived from contemplation or admiration of one's own body or self, especially as a fixation on or a regression to an infantile stage of development.

If you are still unsure on the meanings, please pick this book up today for clarification.

4-0 out of 5 stars Read for yourself!
This is one of several books that attempt to get at the root texts of Joseph Smith.We are in an unusual position with Joseph Smith: we have no autograph manuscripts of previous church leaders, such as Buddha, Moses, Mohamed, or Jesus Christ, but whit Joseph Smith, we have a tidal wave of primary documents that can be studied.

This book has the precious 1832 autograph history which has the second earliest version of the First Vision ever recorded, the earliest being D&C 20:5.It also has transcripts from his official journals.It is wonderful to have this book of the real words of Joseph Smith.The most surprising thing is to see that there was no monkey business going on with Joseph Smith's official history.

This edition is by Signature Books, which is a publishing house not friendly to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which makes this book even more interesting.The problem comes with the silent editing (p. xvii) that occurs with the book, especially with the disputed texts, such as the 27 July 1838 entry (see footnote p. 198), or the 26 September 1843 entry associated with the temple endowment, where the silent editing becomes rather loud.

The font is somewhat small, but it is quite readable, and this edition contains the manuscript strikeouts and misspellings, which impede reading a bit.This book has great biographies on people mentioned in the journals, and has a superb index, and a chronological overview of Smith's life.On the down side, there are no illustrations, except for the RLDS portrait of Joseph Smith.

This is a good one-volume alternative to the two-volume "Papers of Joseph Smith" published by Deseret Book, since it covers his entire life, stopping days before his assassination on 27 June 1844.

4-0 out of 5 stars Record of a Man and a Religion
In the 1842-43 journals, it's written "I wish you had my soul long enough to know how good it feels." I suppose that I came to this book trying, in a sense, to borrow a little bit of Joseph Smith's soul longenough to see how good it felt-- or at least trying to understand a littlebit of the person behind the history.

It's more opaque than that.Although there are flashes of personal insight-- particularly religiousinsight-- these journals are more the record of Mormonism and the issuesabout it that concerned Smith as he moved across the country. From lists ofpayments and donations, to intra-faith quarrels, to visions of Nauvoo, tocomplaints about lawsuits, it gives a clear day-to-day picture of the manand his movement.

The diaries and journals were written by a mix ofJoseph Smith and various secretaries acting in his name. In theintroduction, the editor comments that he was trying for ease of readingrather than faithful photostatic reproduction-- and I have to say that Iwould have hated to see what happened if he'd tried for faithful, becausethe major problem I had with the book was that I found it very difficult toread-- all shorthand, omitted words, crossed out words, and misspellingswere noted as they occurred in the text and while I'm sure that it's morevaluable as a scholarly text because of the inclusion, it was verydistracting.Also, some annotations about historical events wouldn't beamiss rather than the reader always being forced to refer to the (verysketchy) timeline at the beginning. I suppose that most people who willread this would be scholars of Mormon history rather than people with amore casual interest, but it would have illuminated parts of this book muchmore clearly for readers like myself.

4-0 out of 5 stars Valuable Source
This is an excellent collection of the personal writings of the founder of the largest pseudo-Christian cult in America--the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (commonly known as the "Mormons").It is a valuable resource for any cult apologist or theologian desiring to better understand the Mormon cult founder ... Read more

5. The Essential Joseph Smith (Classics in Mormon Thought Series)
by Joseph Smith
Hardcover: 294 Pages (1995-07)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$12.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0941214710
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Better Primary Source Volumes are Available Elsewhere
"The Essential Joseph Smith" is a moderately interesting book that provides a convenient source for several documents from the Mormon founder. Presented in this book are fifty speeches or letters by Joseph Smith Jr. prepared between 1829 and his death in 1844. Although a reasonably useful compendium of his thought, more adequate collections have been published in recent years and one must question the rationale for the appearance of an¬other. This work contains neither introductions that provide context nor explanatory notes with information on key events, passages, or people. A foreword by Marvin S. Hill provides a general, but exceed¬ingly elementary, account of Smith's career.

Authoritative editions of Smith's writings and speeches--especially "The Papers of Joseph Smith," edited by Dean C. Jessee (2 vols., 1989-1992); "The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith," edited by Dean C. Jessee (1984); "An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journal of Joseph Smith," edited by Scott H. Faulring (1987); and "The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph," edited by-Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook (1980)--are available and more useful than this book. Furthermore, a massive effort is underway to prepare a multi-volume, authoritative edition of Joseph Smith's papers for publication, and all students of Mormon history eagerly await its availibility.

4-0 out of 5 stars Valuable Introduction to Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith (1805-1844) was one of the most important men in American religious history.It was Smith who gave birth to the religious movement known as Mormonism, the largest representative of which is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, headquartered in Utah.This is a handy collection of Smith's writings and sermons.It is particularly valuable because it is arranged in chronological order.Therefore, you can see the development of his thought from a more-or-less orthodox monotheism to polytheism.This is best seen in the famous (or notorious) "King Follet Discourse" which dates from the end of Smith's life.Smith sets forth his Gnostic approach to theology: "For we have imagined that God was God from the beginning of all eternity.I will refute that idea . . . . He was once a man like one of us . . . ." [p. 235.]Those who consider Mormonism a quirky offshoot of orthodox Christianity ought to read this sermon.This book has a couple of flaws - it lacks a good introduction and notes concerning people and events mentioned in the documents. ... Read more

6. The Gospel According to Joseph Smith: A Christian Response to Mormon Teaching
by Ethan E. Harris
Paperback: 184 Pages (2002-01)
list price: US$11.99 -- used & new: US$5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0875521800
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Book Description
An encounter with a Mormon in the Army National Guard launched Ethan E. Harris on this study and analysis of Mormon theology. Extensive contact with members of the LDS since then has exposed him to many Mormon claims and arguments, some of which have not been dealt with in other Christian books on the subject.To expound LDS views, Harris restricts himself to primary sources, seeking to avoid setting up straw men. He intends this work to be used by Christians, not only to learn more about Mormon beliefs, but also to evangelize Mormon missionaries and acquaintances.As the LDS finds itself in the midst of what the Christian Research Journal calls "enormous international growth and unprecedented public relations success," evangelical Christians must continue to study Mormonism and point out its inconsistencies with Scripture.

"Ethan E. Harris's critique of Mormonism is a valuable contribution. He approaches the topic in a unique and effective way, thereby providing Christian apologists and other students of Mormonism a very useful tool." —R. C. Sproul

"A good introduction to the serious differences between Mormonism and the historic Christian faith." —Ronald Nash

"Clearly, logically, and forcefully exposes the heretical nature of Mormonism. This work both challenges the confused Mormon and instructs Christians how to reach Mormons with the true gospel. I enthusiastically endorse this able and devastating critique."—Kenneth L. Gentry Jr. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

1-0 out of 5 stars Who knows LDS doctrine better than the LDS?
I have never been able to understand why someone wanting to understand LDS doctrine (a.k.a. Mormonism) would read such a book by someone who must "explain" our doctrine, apparently better than can we members of the LDS Church.I have yet to read such a book that is accurate or that is not, in one way or another, repeating untrue beliefs or malicious lies about the LDS that are simply not accurate or factual.If you want to know the truth about what we LDS believe, simple contact the Church.They will send two of our 60,000 missionaries to your home to explain our doctrine to you.They do not charge for this, nor do they brainwash people.They simply explain the truth to you and let you decide for yourself.There is no reason to waste money on a book such as this one that apparently contains errors and mistakes and repeats common fallacies about the LDS Church.

1-0 out of 5 stars Why not just ask?
If anyone really wants to know about the "myths of mormonism", why not just ask a Mormon?I have found that they are very open and honest about their faith.I have yet to meet one, in fact, that is the caniving, secretive, tragically misinformed and misled fanatical cultists that books such as these portray.On the contrary, they are remarkably well-versed, well-educated, and very knowledgable people.And even more interesting to me... I have yet to notice a Mormon publication that picks apart or bashes another faith.It is a shame that there are so many making a profit off of such slander.

3-0 out of 5 stars Principled and Unprincipled
Ethan Harris does a credibly principled job of pointing out many clearly glaring inconsistencies and contradictions between (a) Mormon doctrines and the Bible, and (b) current official Mormon doctrines and past official Mormon doctrines. He does this fairly, honestly and logically.

But note: 1. A clearer and crisper job at the same task is done by Sharon Armstrong in her book, For Any Latter-day Saint: One Investigator's Unanswered Questions. 2. Though Harris is a valiant LDS contradiction illuminator, he does not in fairness point his light at any of dozens of equally glaring inconsistencies and contradictions in (a) the Bible itself, and (b) between the Bible and many accepted current non-Mormon Christian teachings. So his principled argument against contradictions is inconsistently applied and, therefore to that extent, ironically unprincipled. A much better job than Harris's at applying facts and principle consistently is done by Burton L. Macke (a professor of ancient Christian history) in Who Wrote the New Testament?

All that said, Harris's book is still a valuable introduction to the depth of contradiction in Mormonism.

5-0 out of 5 stars Falsehood book.
This book is a wowser.The perfect best that is much better than those books by Dr. Quinn, such as the one on fairy tales and mormonism, which I believe.An asset to any libray opn Moronism.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Book
This book will be helpful for the Christian who seeks to understand Mormonism. The systematic approach taken by Ethan Harris is refreshingly different from many books about cults.

Early on, he explains the authority structure of Mormonism, which includes its sacred writings (The Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants, and the King James translation of the Bible), and the words of Mormon "prophets."

He explains the Mormon view of God (including the Mormon doctrine that Adam is God), and Mormon ideas about salvation, and contrasts these with orthodox Christian teaching.He looks at a number of distinctive Mormon beliefs, and shows that these beliefs often contradict the authoritative works of Mormonism.

One of the most interesting parts of the book is his ethical argument against Mormonism.Lots of people do not care much about doctrine, but will notice that Mormons are nice, moral people.Mr. Harris shows that given their doctrine of God,they have no basis for their morality.After all, if God was once a man like us, and is progressing, then he could not perfectly decide what good and evil are.he might change his mind tomorrow, as he progresses.And in fact, Mormon morality has changed over time.For example, polygamy was commanded by God from 1843 to 1890, and then this command was revoked at the time that Utah sought statehood.

Mr. Harris has researched this book well.He is obviously familiar with the standard works of Mormonism, and has read a lot of obscure material that very few non-Mormon readers would be expected to know.He has also conversed extensively with Mormons and ex-Mormons, and in fact he publishes some testimonies from ex-Mormons which give a good look into the Mormon state of mind. ... Read more

7. Joseph Smith: A Biography
by Richard Lloyd Dewey
Hardcover: 531 Pages (2005-10-30)
list price: US$26.50 -- used & new: US$18.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0929753151
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Book Description
A gripping style of writing captures you as with the author's previous book, "Porter Rockwell: A Biography." Similarly, this biography is purely factual with hundreds of quotes. It's the best biography yet on Joseph to share with family and friends, including non-LDS. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars I Feel I Know Him...
If you ever desired to have a book about Joseph Smith that REALLY told his story - this is the book for you. It starts from the time he was born, goes through all his family and is the detail that you'd look for in a Biography. Dewey is an incredible author who does his research.

The research that Richard Lloyd Dewey does is amazing. He even goes as far as to reference his sources as he writes and it just blends smoothly that it doesn't interrupt the flow of the reading. It's comforting to know that what you're reading is true, and it shows the evidence as you read it.

Be ready to have a good long read as this book is THICK. Which makes sense - he's writing about someone's ENTIRE life in detail!

5-0 out of 5 stars Factual with color.
I got this book for my father who is a very big fan of history and biography literature.I figured a biography of Joseph Smith would be a subject he has yet to learn about and would make a good Christmas present.Upon recieving it, I cracked it open to read a few paragraphs.And then I read a few more, and a few more still until I finally closed if for fear of making it appear I had given my father a second hand book.

I am not a Mormon and so until I found the book, I had never even heard of Joseph Smith.The several chapters I read were captivating.This is not a boring history textbook.Richard Lloyd Dewey has, as my 13 year old aspiring author daughter would say, a strong voice.I'm looking forward to my father finishing this book so I can get it back and finish reading it myself! ... Read more

8. The Papers of Joseph Smith: Autobiographical and Historical Writings
 Hardcover: 2 Pages (1989-09)
list price: US$19.95
Isbn: 0875791999
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Primary Source Material for the History of Early Mormonism
It takes a meticulous person to edit historical documents. No amount of effort should be too much to obtain the stray fact, to check the transcription, the context, and the details of an edited work. Dean C. Jessee, once a research historian in the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History at Brigham Young University, is such an individual. Widely recognized as a leading authority on the documentary records of Mormonism, Jessee has edited two previous book-length collections of documents and has either written or edited numerous articles. His experience and understanding are evident in this volume of "The Papers of Joseph Smith," and his efforts will enrich all students of Mormon history.

This book of documents is a work intended to present everything Smithian, whether by authorship or relationship. The work contains twelve documents, written between 1832 and 1844, relating the history of Joseph Smith and the Mormon church. These include:
1. History, 1832, from Joseph Smith Letterbook 1, LDS Archives.
2. "Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdery," from Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, 1 (December 1834): 40.
3. History, 1832-34, from "History of the Church, A-1," pp. 1-187, LDS Archives.
4. "Extract from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith, Jr.," from Times and Seasons 1 (November 1839): 2-9.
5. History draft, 1839, from Unnamed Manuscript, LDS Archives.
6. History, 1839, from "History of the Church, A-1," pp. 1-240, LDS Archives.
7. Orson Pratt, "Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions, and of the Late Discovery of Ancient American Records" (Edinburgh, 1840).
8. Orson Hyde, "Ein Ruf aus der Wuste, eine Stimme aus dem Schoose der Erde" (Frankfurt, 1842).
9. Joseph Smith, "Church History," from Times and Seasons 3 (I March 1842): 706-10.
10. "The Prairies, Nauvoo, Joe Smith, the Temple, the Mormons, etc.," from "The Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette" 58 (15 September 1843): 3.
11. Joseph Smith, "Latter Day Saints," from I. Daniel Rupp, "An Original History of the Religious Denominations at Present Existing in the United States" (Philadelphia: N.p., 1844), 404-10.
12. Alexander Neibaur, Journal, 24 May 1844, from LDS Archives.

Jessee notes that this seemingly eclectic collection of documents belongs together because they deal either historically or autobiographically with the life of the prophet and were written either by him or under his direction. The many works in this collection are, according to Jessee, just as much Joseph Smith's as if he had dictated or penned them himself.

By far the two largest documents in the collection, accounting for 317 of the volume's 555 pages, are items 3 and 6, the two histories taken from the manuscript of the "History of the Church." Items 1, 2, and 9 were also printed in Jessee's "The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith" (1984), but the remainder of the materials collected here have not been conveniently published for a broad audience in recent years.

As he repeatedly demonstrated, Jessee's work is a model of historical scholarship. All documents are transcribed as written, faithful to the original spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Jessee offers an English translation alongside item eight, the one document written in German. Admirable annotation provides additional background information, and the book includes an extensive biographical register, set of maps, chronology, bibliography, and facsimile reproductions of parts of the most important documents.

Although Jessee indicates that he received the full cooperation of the LDS Historical Department Archives in preparing this volume, the increasingly restrictive policies of that institution have made it virtually impossible for others to review the original documents published here. In this setting, Jessee's work becomes especially significant, since it may be as close as most historians can come to the papers of the prophet. We can only hope that the distrust on the part of Latter-day Saint church leaders toward scholars and followers can be eliminated in Utah as it is now being done in eastern Europe.

In spite of my concern about restrictive archival policies, "The Papers of Joseph Smith" is a first-class work. The editor, the sponsoring institutions, and Deseret Book Company should be commended for undertaking the project. ... Read more

9. The Joseph Smith Revelations: Text and Commentary
by H. Michael Marquardt, Joseph Smith
Hardcover: 600 Pages (1999-09)
list price: US$44.95 -- used & new: US$34.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1560851260
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Valuable reference book - a must for serious historians
This volume is a record of the revelations received by Joseph Smith which were included in the original "Book of Commandments". It compares the original published revelations with what we have today in the LDS and RLDS "Doctrine and Covenants". Marquardt details what changes were made, when they were made, and where appropriate, adds his own commentary on the changes.

Each revelation has cross-references to the appropriate Section number in today's version for ease of comparison.

To correct the previous reviewer's comments, this is not about the Book of Mormon.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mormonism Unveiled
This book is yet another fascinating study between Joseph Smith's words versus those finally printed in the Book of Mormon. A very interesting read. ... Read more

10. Joseph Smith (Penguin Lives)
by Robert V. Remini
Hardcover: 208 Pages (2002-10-14)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$3.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 067003083X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

In 1820, a tall New York teenager received a vision from two angels, warning him that all existing churches were corrupt abominations and that "he must join none of them." So Joseph Smith founded the Mormon church.

Robert Remini, the noted biographer of Andrew Jackson and historian of the Jacksonian era, locates Smith and the origins of the Mormon faith in the heady early-nineteenth-century epoch of religious evangelicalism. None of the many new sects and creeds that came out of that period has enjoyed the success of Smith's church, Remini notes. None has undergone the same intense degree of persecution, either, provoked by Smith's quest for secular political power and "such teachings as polygamy, eternal matter, baptism of the dead, a plurality of gods, men and women becoming gods themselves, [and] God the Father being once a man who passed through a stage of mortality before becoming God"--teachings that inspired charges of heresy, and that, in the end, cost Joseph Smith his life in what Remini calls an act of political assassination.

Remini delivers a nuanced, highly readable portrait of the controversial leader, one that sheds light on his time and beliefs and emphasizes his "striking human qualities." --Gregory McNameeBook Description
Robert Remini's work on the Jacksonian epoch has won him acclaim as well as the National Book Award. In Joseph Smith, he employs his keen insight and rich storytelling gift to explore one of the period's major figures. The most important reformer and innovator in American religious history, Joseph Smith has remained a fascinating enigma to many both inside and outside the Mormon Church he founded.

Born in 1805, Smith grew up during the "Second Great Awakening," when secular tumult had spawned radical religious fervor and countless new sects. His contemplative nature and soaring imagination-the first of his many visions occurred at the age of fourteen-were nurtured in the close, loving family created by his deeply devout parents. His need to lead and be recognized was met by his mission as God's vehicle for a new faith and by the hundreds who, magnetized by his charm and charismatic preaching, gave rise to the Mormon Church. Remini brings Smith into unprecedented focus and contextualizes his enduring contribution to American life and culture within the distinctive characteristics of an extraordinary age. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

3-0 out of 5 stars Somewhat superficial and cursory
Why was this book written? Did Mr. Remini uncover some startling new documents by or about Joseph Smith? Did he come up with a radical new interpretation of the life and continuing influence of Joseph Smith? Did he have anything to tell us that hasn't been said before? Or was this just a venture to make some pocket money from the well-known name of Robert Remini? I vote for the latter explanation.

If one really wanted to read an in-depth, perceptive biography of Joseph Smith, they should read Fawn Brodie's "No Man Knows My History." If they didn't have the time to devote to a full-length bio, they would even benefit fromreading the wikipedia entry on Smith, which is both shorter than Remini's book and yet more informative, as it contains most of the pertinent facts, alongside stark criticism and links to more detailed studies of the individual controversies. While Remini's study is indeed serviceable, it doesn't even contain an index, is necessarily superficial because of its length and seems padded with attempts to shoehorn the author's hobbyhorses- Jacksonian politics and the Second Great Awakening- into a life of Joseph Smith. My advice is not to waste your time. Read Fawn Brodie's book, or go on the internet.

5-0 out of 5 stars You can't win if you write a biography of Joseph Smith.
No matter what you say about Joseph Smith, you can't win.Mormons will crucify you if you're not entirely on board with the whole Prophet thing, and non-Mormons will hang you out to dry you if you're even the least bit sypathetic ... so I won't even go there.I just loved this book's narrative voice. Mr. Remini could teach quite few historians a thing or two about economy and style.

I dig the whole series.Way to go, Penguin.

3-0 out of 5 stars Unbiasedhistorical information.
I felt that this was a good initial source for a historical look at an important purely American religous figure.Remini is always a source of a good, well arranged historical essay.For those that like a good informative historical read Dr. Remini is a consistently superior resource.I like my history presented with minimal bias and commentary, I have read several of Dr. Remini's books and have enjoyed them all to date.

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the best I've read
It is hard to find a book on Mormonism that doesn't push for or against its truth.I think this is a good book for a non-Mormon looking for a balanced portrayal of Joseph Smith or for a Mormon open to an outsider's view.I enjoyed this book because I didn't feel like I was being led to a conclusion, but left to make up my own mind about Joseph Smith.This is one of the best books I've read on Mormonism.

1-0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing
Though Remini makes a sincere attempt to objectively evaluate a prominent religious figure, the work is poorly written, poorly researched, and quite dull.Remini commits a myriad of chronological mistakes, spelling errors, and factual missteps that are glaring to both LDS and non-LDS audiences.It appears as though this brief work was rushed to the press without thorough historical analysis.He also uses a number of questionable sources with dubious authenticity.

Remini frequently inserts a variety of wild conjectures without appropriate justification or explanation.He also makes an obvious effort to link Joseph Smith with other subjects that Remini has intensely studied (e.g. the Jacksonian era), however irrelevant the connection.On the whole, I regard this book as very low quality among biographical works, particularly in the examination of a complex religious figure that demands a more rigorous approach.
... Read more

11. Joseph Smith: The First Mormon
by Donna Hill
Paperback: 527 Pages (1999-03)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$10.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 156085118X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Book Description
One of four major biographies of Joseph Smith, Donna Hill's award-winning book is the most comprehensive. Hill cautiously rejects the simplistic reductionism of either/or characterizations in favor of a broader, more humanistic view that takes Smith on his own terms as both prophet and as man.

Foremost among Hill's concerns is the spiritual drama that defined Smith's controversial life, as well as his theologically motivated sexuality and the apocalyptic assumptions that fueled his political and military activism. Her intent is not to validate Smith's actions, only to understand them. Equal attention is given to the environmental influences that shaped Smith's 1830's New York upbringing. Add th these Hill's impeccable scholarship, the result of nine years of research, and her talents as a novelist, and the significance of her achievement is apparent. Her quest for authenticity provides a vivid portrait of an extraordinary life. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars A detailed work and non-polemical
It was a relief. After having read Fawn Brodie's "No man knows my history", her eloquent literary style and description of Joseph Smith's mind, Donna Hill's biography became so simple , descriptive- and dare say wordy. Hill's writing style is like a storyteller. It can be boring in the long run. She never guesses what people thought in any situation - it is not a psychiography as Brodie's of course. Hill has weighed several sources and draws conclusions whenver possible, but sometimes she leaves it open.

I found Joseph more holistic and not that controversial in Hill's writing. Even if Brodie used the same quotes and situations, in Hill everything came natural, Joseph seemed natural - something he surely was. People who are acquainted with scholarship, know very well, how important it is to not draw any unconfirmed conclusions about the past. Some episodes in Joseph's life - which normally take a lot of pages in other books, such as the writing of Book of Mormon, the coming forth of Book of Abraham, First vision, are treated just as equally as other episodes of his life - his escapes, his constructions, his involvement in politics etc. This is a healthy approach.

For example, about the First vision, Hill wants to say that notwithstanding the several accounts, there are some similar details and in the context of 19th century religious atmosphere, nearly everybody had some extra-body experience. She treats the Book of Mormon as how an ordinary believer in those days saw it - a sign of latter days and she doesn't go into its "source" or try to decipher who copied who. The most difficult issues of early LDS, such as the consolidation of prophet's power, plural marriage and Afro-americans, are handled subtly and gently. The perspective introduced on plural marriage, is healthy, it is not judging or positive - it's neutral, because as a historian, she has researched on the "why" and on the "how".The issue of Afro-americans - they received the priesthood one year after the publication of Hill's book - confirmed my belief that Joseph never intended to shun them away. He had his prejudices but he did hot let these come in the way. He ordained an Afro-american to be a priest.

Joseph's life, his environment, is difficult to understand, especially when it comes to the hostility shown to him and his movement, the different financial details such as the Anti-banking in Kirtland, the land speculations, his trouble with the law - which haunted him all the time. But Hill shows how patient he was. Something that gave me a further insight, was the reflection she made when Joseph saw the hatred of the people in Carthage, who killed him. She writes that it was the first time he understood how hated he was. How pity!

I am fascinated with this personality, not as a believer, no, but as a humanist. Reading Hill and her account of the hostility towards LDS in those days, makes me angry - what did these people do besides being good Christians? This hostility exists today from anti-LDS Conservative Christians, directed also to Liberal Christians like me. Even though Joseph made mistakes ( excommunications of friends, Nauvoo expositor, Council of Fifty) - as Hill shows, I appreciate the good he did.

He opened a new realm and understanding of god and scripture, which has changed the lives of millions - and even mine, though I don't believe in a supernatural god. Hill, though, too wordy, has done a detailed job. She has taken into account the environment, Joseph's ancestors - which clearly confirm again the fact that Joseph was nurtured by his family's religious activities and conflicts in his prophetic career - the arguments of his enemies and a detailed description of governor Ford and other mildly helpful non-LDS. I do not agree with one of the reviews below, that she writes a lot about Danites, no! She has only written three pages about them, and more than 40 pages about plural marriage and some 20 about Afro-americans, and some 15 about Book of Mormon - she has treated Joseph as a whole.

Hill has demonstrated that one can write a non-polemical and truthful biography of a religious person. Good done, ma'm!

4-0 out of 5 stars Smith's best biography, for now
This is certainly the best biography about Joseph Smith so far. I believe it is certainly the most objective, it does not bash Smith or praise and defend him. Its objective is to attempt to understand Joseph Smith. I feel for the most part it does achieve that goal. I felt after reading it I certainly had a better understanding of who Joseph Smith was. I appreciated the fact that Hill did not get off on issues such as whether or not the Book of Mormon is real history or if Joseph Smith was a true prophet, that was not the books goal. My only criticism is it does not really focus on Joseph Smiths culture or enviroment that he lived in. It also sometimes seems that it is more of a early history of the Mormon Church than a biography. There are more biographies about Joseph Smith currently being written that I believe will replace this one as being the most definitive biography of Joseph Smith. However right now there is no better biography about Joseph Smith available. And having spent several hours of my own in the Churches Historical department studying certain aspects of Joseph Smiths life, I do feel somewhat qualified in saying that.

5-0 out of 5 stars No doubt....
I have no doubt, now more than ever, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. A human being with imperfections, yes. But indeed an inspired man chosen by the Lord for a great cause. Great book, great man, and an awesome God!

4-0 out of 5 stars Smiths best biography, for now.
This is certainly the best biography about Joseph Smith so far. I believe it is certainly the most objective, it does not bash Smith or praise and defend him. Its objective is to attempt to understand Joseph Smith. I feel for the most part it does achieve that goal. I felt after reading it I certainly had a better understanding of who Joseph Smith was. I appreciated the fact that Hill did not get off on issues such as whether or not the Book of Mormon is real history or if Joseph Smith was a true prophet, that was not the books goal. My only criticism is it does not really focus on Joseph Smiths culture or enviroment that he lived in. It also sometimes seems that it is more of a early history of the Mormon Church than a biography. There are more biographies about Joseph Smith currently being written that I believe will replace this one as being the most definitive biography of Joseph Smith. However right now there is no better biography about Joseph Smith available. And having spent several hours of my own in the Churches Historical department studying certain aspects of Joseph Smiths life, I do feel somewhat qualified in saying that.

2-0 out of 5 stars Hill isn't as unbiased as the publisher tries to portray her
This book is billed as an unbiased history/biography of Joseph Smith.I had read Fawn Brodie's, No Man Knows My History... and was "itching" for more. I think Ms. Hill should just openly admit that her brother wrote a major work, that she quotes liberally, while working at BYU--she may not be Mormon, but she has a vested interest in the cause... promoting her brother's work?This book was a cheap second.... Read Ms. Brodie's work ... Read more

12. Conflict in the Quorum: Orson Pratt, Brigham Young, Joseph Smith
by Gary James Bergera
Hardcover: 312 Pages (2002-12)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$15.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1560851643
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Book Description
At a meeting of the LDS Quorum of the Twelve in 1860, one of the church's senior apostles complained that "Brother Orson Pratt has withstood Joseph [Smith] and he has withstood Brother Brigham [Young] many times and he has done it tonight and it made my blood chill."

Whenever the quorum discussed Elder Pratt's controversial sermons and writings, the conversation could become heated. As documented by Gary James Bergera in a surprisingly suspenseful account, Pratt's encounters with his brethren ultimately affected not only his seniority in the Quorum of the Twelve but also LDS doctrine, policy, and organizational structure.

"Despite being the more careful scriptorian, Orson Pratt was no match for Brigham Young in tactics and ability to persuade. The hapless Pratt was outmaneuvered time and again by the intimidating senior apostle--the latter convincing the church's ruling quorum to side with him on crucial points of doctrine and practice. Bergera's careful scholarship--drawing on diaries, personal papers, and other extant documents--provides fresh insights into the attitudes and behavior of these two men." --Newell G. Bringhurst, author, Brigham Young and the Expanding American Frontier

"Bergera confronts head-on one of the most pervasive and unnecessary myths in Mormon culture: that church leaders are monolithically unified. As he traces the ins and outs of Pratt's and Young's relationship in fascinating detail (a tragic story in Pratt's case), larger issues in Mormonism are illuminated: the roots of anti-intellectualism and authoritarianism, the development of succession to the presidency, and the meaning and early impact of some of Young's teachings which were quietly discarded at his death--all carefully and exhaustively traced." --Todd Compton, author, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good book, small window into mormon history.
This book addresses a small aspect of mormon history, but significant nontheless. It helps readers realize the human side to being a prophet. Recommended for all in search for a well-rounded view of the mormon prophets, and some of the men that they were surrounded by.

5-0 out of 5 stars A meticulously researched, carefully written documentation
Compiled and analyzed by Mormon scholar Gary James Bergera (Director, Smith-Pettit Foundation, Salt Lake City, Utah), Conflict In The Quorum: Orson Pratt, Brigham Young, Joseph Smith is a meticulously researched, carefully written documentation of the manifold disagreements between various strong-willed and devout leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, (popularly known as the "Mormons") during its first turbulent years of existence. Looking at how conflicts between diverse leaders had significant and enduring effects upon LDS doctrine, policy, and organizational structure, Conflict In The Quorum is an impressive body of scholarship which presents an astutely written and insightful account that can be read with considerable interest by both academic scholars and non-specialist general readers alike. ... Read more

13. Witness to the Martyrdom: John Taylor's Personal Account of the Last Days of the Prophet Joseph Smith
by John Taylor, Mark H. Taylor
Hardcover: 164 Pages (1999-03)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573454494
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This book was one of the best books I have ever read on the subject of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and and his brother Hyrum.It was historical, it was unedited, and gave me a unique perspective into theevents that lead to their death.I had no idea that the entire state ofIllinois was virtually at war with the Mormons. ... Read more

14. Joseph Speaks: Topical Quotes by the Prophet Joseph Smith
by Sterling Redd
Paperback: 338 Pages (2007-12)
list price: US$21.99 -- used & new: US$17.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0882908308
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15. First Vision: The Prophet Joseph Smith's Own Account
by Joseph Smith
 Hardcover: 32 Pages (2000-05)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$7.97
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Asin: 1573459089
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16. Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism
by Richard L. Bushman
Hardcover: 272 Pages (1985-01-01)
list price: US$32.00 -- used & new: US$6.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0252011430
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (17)

2-0 out of 5 stars Good History Tainted
I decided to purchase and read this book in an effort to find a more historical view of the early period of Joseph Smith's life.I had read reviews that Lyman was a very "fair" writer and stayed "objective".I must admit that I found the first part of the book very interesting.Lyman did a wonderful job of giving the reader an understanding of the family, culture, and background of the period in which Joseph lived.

Then it got bad.About one third of the way through the book Lyman's tone switched to one of historical accuracy to one of wild Smith fanatacism.Lyman spends the rest of the book being completely subjective to the thoughts of your everyday mormon.He at no time tries to remove himself from his belief to portray Joseph in anything other than the perfect light.He spends most of the book criticizing everyone not named Joseph Smith.He even at one point criticizes men for changing their story then two pages later praises Joseph Smith for the same reason.The book becomes a poorly written praise of the life of Joseph Smith.The one upside is that you do get an understanding of how mormons think and, through Lyman, can clearly see abounding hypocrisy.

By the way just in case you were wondering.I do believe Joseph was a chosen prophet and I do believe in the Book of Mormon.If that brings any validity to my review.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Faithful, Well-Argued Book by a Mormon Historian
I agree with another reviewer. "Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism" is an interesting and provocative defense of the sacred story. Bushman is an elegant historian with a special skill in defending the faith story. That his arguments are as successful as they are is a measure of his historical versimilitude. While it is an important synthesis, Bushman's book will be acceptable mostly to believing Mormons."

I do admire Bushman for his honesty in praising Fawn Brodie's "No Man Knows My History." "As notable for its journalistic brilliance as for its scholarship, 'No Man Knows My History' presented Riley's arguments and findings in a form more palatable to twentieth century tastes."

Such an honest appraisal would never have happened in the decades following Brodie's 1946 book. It might have even earned Bushman excommunication. Wow, how times have changed.

See my 3-star review of Bushman's "Rough Stone Rolling." Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling I agree that it was brilliantly written and well researched, but it did have some significant errors.

Also see my one-star (less if I could) of Hartt Wixom's "Critiquing the Critics." Critiquing the Critics of Joseph Smith

I also gave one-star reviews to Hugh Nibley's books. Lehi in the Desert, the World of the Jaredites, There Were Jaredites (Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol 5) Since Cumorah: The Book of Mormon in the modern world and An Approach to the Book of Mormon (Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol 6)

Another one-star for: "Echoes and Evidences," a collection of articles edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch. This book earned it's one star. See: Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon

Also one star is John L. Sorenson's book: Images of Ancient America: Visualizing Book of Mormon Life

5-0 out of 5 stars ** Highly recommended **
This book was one the easiest to read on the subject of the LDS church history.

Bushman is able to give a thorough and well documented history, without the "sanitising filter" so often applied by Mormon historians. He is not afraid to quote non favourable sources and yet is able to put the reader as ease over less talked about issues.

I was impressed with both the research presented and the style of writing used. Bushman has obviously spent a lot of time and energy sourcing material for this book and yet presents it like a captivating novel. This was both an enjoyable read and yet at the same time extremely informing.

The book starts with the family histories of both Joseph Smith's grandparents, and ends in the year 1831, when the general church membership make the move to Kirtland, Ohio. I assume this was to be the first in a series of books to be written. I look forward to reading "Rough Stone Rolling" by the same author to see how he tackles the post 1831 history.

I highly recommend this book to anyone serious about church history - member and non-member alike.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good book on Joseph Smith's early life
Richard L. Bushman is possibly the best historian on the subject of the Mormons. This book is thoroughly documented. Bushman focuses very much on the culture that Joseph Smith grew up in, he duscusses Joseph Smiths parents and grandparents on how they may have influenced him. Bushman is very honest and objective in his approach to the early life Joseph Smith. Bushman does not get caught up in verifying or disproving the claims of Joseph Smith. Bushman just states the facts and interprets when necessary. Richard Bushman is writing a full biography about Joseph Smith which I believe will become the definitive biography of Joseph Smith. Bushman also gives a very fair explanation on the Book of Mormon which is the most important work by Joseph Smith. I would also recomend reading "Joseph Smith: the Making of a Prophet" by Dan Vogel which covers the same period of Smith's life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fair and fascinating history of Joseph Smith and the early LDS Church
Bushman, a member of the LDS Church, writes this history of Joseph Smith from Smith's early years through 1831, one year after the founding of the Church. The book starts off slow, with a detailed history of the Smith family moving from place to place. The first two chapters have a few too many lists describing each town: "An 1824 gazeteer credited the town with three gristmills, eight sawmills, one fulling mill, an iron works, five distilleries..." (p. 45).

But the book picks up halfway through chapter two, when we encounter Joseph Smith's first spiritual manifestation. Bushman deals with the spiritual events perfectly: he describes them in the words of the individuals who experience the events, and then he provides extensive cultural context. For example, he explains that the negative reaction of local clergy to Joseph's first vision may well have been because others claimed similar visions around the same time, often justifying a departure in doctrine from established religion. He explains that while Joseph Smith did have a seerstone, such objects were not uncommon among the mixture of magic and religion that prevailed in the day.

The book is wonderfully documented, and many of the footnotes in the back provide additional insights. The book also provides sources for certain stories that I have heard circulating in the LDS Church without knowing where they came from. For example, David Whitmer is our source for the story of Joseph Smith being unable to translate while being annoyed at his wife (p. 104).

The chronology of events is occasionally confusing because Bushman discusses everything about the Book of Mormon and then jumps back in time as he treats everything about the organization of the Church, but this is a minor (and probably unavoidable) drawback. This book is an informative and inspiring read, and I'm glad to have it as a reference in my collection. I look forward to reading Bushman's full biography of Joseph Smith, due out in September 2005. ... Read more

17. Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith: Psychobiography and the Book of Mormon
by Robert D. Anderson
Paperback: 263 Pages (1999-08)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$10.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1560851252
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Reasonable Look at Joe Smith
Inside in the Mind of Joseph Smith is a valuable addition to the small library of books that critically and impartially look at the life of Mormonism's founder.Robert D. Anderson, MD is a semi-retired psychiatrist with a special interest in psychoanalysis, and he uses these skills to examine how and why Joseph Smith created the Book of Mormon (BoM).To Anderson, the BoM is a veiled autobiography of Smith, and Anderson writes a thorough and lucid comparison of notable events in Smith's life to stories in the BoM.Though sometimes circumstantial, this evidence piles up so that the clear thinker cannot help but understand that Smith's claims of translating an ancient record are bogus, often pitiful, and always self serving.

What prompted Smith to dictate a wild, violent set of stories that became his claim to prophethood?As a child, Smith underwent a horrible trauma of three operations without anesthesia on a leg bone diseased with typhoid osteomyelitis.This ghastly triad of events damaged Smith's psyche deeply; and put together with a drunk, lazy father; a superstitious and depressed mother; and episodes ofprofound poverty, young Joseph turned to fantasy and wholesale deceit to make himself seem special.In this state of mind, he describes himself as Nephi, Moroni, and other superhero prophets as he vanquishes his "ancient American" foes.These foes are thinly disguised versions of his perceived enemies--the surgeon who saved his leg, those who put him on trial for treasure hunting, and so forth.

Some weaknesses in Anderson's book detract from its overall strength.Quoting scientific references from the 1950s and constantly reminding us that he is speculating with his comparisons could easily have been remedied.I wish he would have fleshed out the "psychobiography" of Joseph Smith's later life more than he did.Joseph's "marrying" and having sexual relations with teenage brides; coaxing married women to secretly marry him--these are events that certainly support Anderson's diagnosis of a runaway case of narcissistic personality disorder.The author's case would be more supported and complete with such an analysis.Happily, as he finishes his analysis in the final chapter, Anderson does throw in an interesting description of Joseph at the height of his narcissism (Nauvoo).Letters written by Charlotte Haven, an unbiased visitor to Nauvoo near the end of Smith's life, describe Smith as boastful, egomaniacal, coarse, and seriously lacking in social skills.

Anderson's book is a necessary addition to the library critical of the LDS church's founder.As Fawn Brodie pointed out in her classic No Man Knows My History, starting a religion in the age of publishing and printing presses was, among other things, quite daring.When one looks critically at materials written by and about Smith during his lifetime, you see a sad picture of a man horribly deformed psychologically by traumatic surgery and poor, superstitious parents.His production, the Book of Mormon, is a superhero-filled comic book of a boy-man crying out for a childhood filled with love and security he never had.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inside the mind of a narcissist
Anderson begins by accepting the scientific evidence supporting the conclusion that the Book of Mormon is a fraud.Within this context, and owing to its rapid dictation, he views the Book of Mormon akin to the sort of free association a psychologist might encounter with a patient.He then applies the principles of psychoanalytic analysis to discern specific attributes and traits of Joseph Smith's personality.In Anderson's words:

"This book is not about `Did Joseph Smith create the Book of Mormon?" but "How did Joseph Smith create the Book of Mormon." [xxvi]

I must admit I was skeptical about the author's claim.After all, psychoanalysis is viewed by many scientists as a branch of pseudoscience and quackery.Anderson tempers his approach, however, and when he goes out on a limb with his explanations he's quick to point it out to the reader, and to moderate his conclusions with warnings about the limitations of his craft.

Even if one disregards the psychoanalytic aspects all together, this book still has considerable value.Anderson presents a nice summary of interesting bits of early Mormonism that are probably unknown to most members, owing to the church's revisionist and exclusionary policy toward Joseph's early history.Anderson also presents some very compelling parallels between Smith's life and key events and themes in the Book of Mormon.

The author diagnoses Joseph Smith as a narcissist.He also claims the Book of Mormon plays out (often several times) key events from Smith's life.Some of the parallels he describes are truly interesting and hard to ignore.Because of this, the temptation is always present to use these parallels as evidence against the Book of Mormon.While parallels between Smith's life and the Book of Mormon do call into question the book's authenticity, one must remember that the book's fraudulent nature is accepted from the start with Anderson.

With the exception of the introduction, the book is quite interesting and held my interest.The introduction is filled (it seems) with very dry and technical information about psychoanalysis that I found hard to wade through.This is unfortunate because it may dissuade readers who would truly enjoy later parts of the book.

Anderson describes many parallels that are striking and too obvious to ignore.Sometimes, though, I think he tries too hard, and I found some of his conclusions far fetched.When the parallels don't quite line up he invokes inversion and exaggeration.This left me with the occasional impression that the author was simply picking and choosing explanations - using correlation when it's there, and anti-correlation when it's not there.That's exactly the sort of ad hoc story telling that astrologers and other superstitious people use, and it distracts somewhat from the validity of Anderson's case.

According to Anderson, Smith saw himself as Nephi (Nephi was just one of Smith's alter egos in the Book of Mormon), and Smith used elements of his life throughout the Book of Mormon.Here are a few examples:
1) Nephi is Smith.Later in the book, Smith uses Moroni as an alter ego
2) The surgeons who cut into Joseph's leg are represented by Laban and other bad guys in the story
3) The surgeon's knife is represented by the sword of Laban
4) A prophet named Nephi raised his dead brother.The brother represents Joseph's brother, Alvin, who also died, and the story illustrates Smith's fanciful vision of himself as a great prophet
5) Smith's money-digging activities and superstitions are mirrored in the slippery tools and treasure in the Book of Mormon
6) Jesus' work with little children and the visions received by the little children represent Smith's frustration over the fact that his prophecy failed when he said his first son (born disfigured and stillborn) would translate from the gold plates
7) Cities, roads, political events and robbers/barons from Smith's frontier life are all represented in the Book of Mormon (Many others have commented on the obvious parallels between Book of Mormon politics and religion and Smith's sermons in the Book of Mormon).

Anderson claims the parallels in the Book of Mormon and Smith's actual life are so correlated that the chronology is mirrored in 3 Nephi (one of two other places where Anderson says Smith presents his life in allegory).He outlines over a dozen of them on pages 110-111 (table 2).Although I winced at some of his parallels, I think may of them are quite remarkable, and all of them are more striking than anything FARMS has ever presented in their comical attempts to prove the Book of Mormon's authenticity.

The last few pages are among the best.Here, Anderson illustrates how narcissistic religious leaders attract converts with particular personalities, and how the followers reinforce the leader, who then reinforces the followers in a circular fashion as they feed each other's emotional needs.He also illustrates the narcissistic nature of the LDS Church itself:

"The narcissist not only assigns feelings and roles to other(s) but also coerces and manipulates others into taking the assignment.A common technique is the implied threat: "If you don't accept the position, feeling, or role in relationship to me, I will leave or send you away."The second party - individual or group - accepts the role, abandons critical evaluation, and remains locked in a primitive form of fused function with the narcissist."

Reading this book, I was struck by the many narcissistic characteristics found in the "leaders" that Mormons favor today.George W. Bush, for example, has many of Smith's narcissistic qualities, and he was elected by about 72 percent of Utahans - a higher percentage than any other state.It's as if Smith designed Mormonism so that it attracts members who value narcissistic leaders, ensuring that Joseph's legacy lives on in the controlling religious/political nature of the modern LDS Church, as victims beget victims, and narcissistic leaders egg them on.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inside...J.S." may be wrong, but not cuz Spaulding wrote it.
I look up reviews for Solomon Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" and found one which follows. People who have not read the book should not write reviews, and I am breaking that rule. However, I doubt the reviewer that attributed authorship of the BOM to Spaulding did, either. In this case, I'm hoping two wrongs will make a right and my five stars negate her one. If it is a one-star, it isn't because the author chose the wrong subject.

Manuscript Found, November 21, 2002
Reviewer: Kathy Quito David from South Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

This book was interesting because of the older novelist style of writing, which it is a very good example of. However, the novel is not finished, which is very disappointing. The story wanders from the beginning, in which a ship from early Rome is blown off course across the Atlantic ocean to North America about the first century A.D., to a description of two Ppre-Columbian Native American populations who exist in peace until a forbidden love causes a war. The story never returns to the plight of the Roman castaways (which is disappointing, as it starts out in a very interesting way), and continues to digress at many points throughout the story.

One of the major interests about this book is the premise that Joseph Smith, who founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly called the Mormon Church, used Mr. Spauldings book as the basis for the Book of Mormon. After reading the unfinished novel, it becomes plain that the Book of Mormon and Manuscript Found have little in common other than the setting of North America and the fact that pre-Columbian American peoples are both featured in both books. The Mormons were responsible for publishing Manuscript Found (which was never published by the author for want of any publisher's interest in it), in an effort to show that the novel could not have been used by Joseph Smith as a source for the Book of Mormon (which Mormons believe is an additional book of sacred scripture and a testament of Jesus Christ when he appeared to pre-Columbian Native Americans shortly after his crucifixtion and ascension to heaven). Many critics of the Mormons have stated that Mr. Spauldings Manuscript Found was Joseph Smith's inspiration for the Book of Mormon. However, after reading the book objectively, and comparing it to the Book of Mormon, I found almost no similarity at all, other than the setting of Pre-Columbian North America.

Still, Manuscript Found is an interesting work. The edition published by the Mormons shows photocopies of Mr. Spaulding's original manuscript at the beginning of each chapter and also prints the parts he crossed out so that the entire manuscript may be seen in the published form, including the author's editing marks. It is worthwhile to read it.

1-0 out of 5 stars What A Professional Historian Says
From John Lukacs (If you don't know who he is you shouldn't be reading "history") in "The Hilter [or anyone else] Of History, pp.24,25: |"This was the fad (I am loath to give it another name)of psychohistory, meaning not merely the application of psychology to historical figures ... but of psychoanalytic 'technique,' predominantly Freudian, to their subject. This is not the place to argue against, or even to sum up, the essential and, yes, shortsighted faults of Freudianism, save to say that if their application to the diagnosis and the therapy of living human beings is often questionable, this must be even more so when it comes to the application of psychoanalysis to the dead."

3-0 out of 5 stars Put it in context
The context in which this book must be read is given in the first chapter.The author says, and I paraphrase, "This book doesn't ask the question, 'Did Joseph Smith write the Book of Mormon?'This book assumes that he did, and addresses the question, 'How did Joseph Smith write the Book of Mormon?'"
In short, don't look for a fair approach to the first question.That's not what this book is about.

Anderson has a great handle on Mormon history.The insights that he offers into how certain traumatic events in Joseph Smith's childhood could have affected his personality are often enlightening, and always interesting.i.e. The trauma associated with the near amputation of Smiths leg, and the public humiliation of being on trial for being a glass looker.Anderson does a nice job of helping us reflect on Smith's humanity.He helps us see that these events are indeed difficult for a person to go through, and that they can shape how one views the world.

That said, I thought this book also had some fundamental problems.For example, at times Anderson uses the Book of Mormon text to help determine the order or details of certain historical events in Joseph's life.Other times he seems to claim to know exactly what motivated Smith on certain occasions, because of what is written in a part of the Book of Mormon.This seemed too speculative to me.Some of this speculation is interesting theory, other portions seem specious.

Nevertheless, an interesting read.A intriguing theoretical approach. ... Read more

18. Remembering Joseph: Personal Recollections of Those Who Knew the Prophet Joseph Smith
Hardcover: 529 Pages (2003-10)
list price: US$32.95 -- used & new: US$32.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570089639
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A compilation of hundreds of personal accounts of encounters with Mormon founder Joseph Smith
Drawing from more than 800 primary sources, many of which are previously unpublished, Remembering Joseph: Personal Recollections Of Those Who Knew The Prophet Joseph Smith is a compilation of hundreds of personal accounts of encounters with Mormon founder Joseph Smith. Organized by topic for quick search and reference, Remembering Joseph reveals Joseph at work, at rest, as a father and a son, as a boy and prophet, and as a leader of men. A searchable companion CD-ROM with thousands more stories, quotes, and memories as well as an extensive bibliography, biographical registry, and index round out this "must-read" for anyone seeking a personal perspective of this renowned religious leader.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
An inspiring book. I learned from it many experiences and historical details I wasn't aware of. I warmly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Surpasses "They Knew The Prophet"
This is really two books. The print "dead tree" version is merely excerpts of the larger CD-ROM included in the book. This CD has, in Adobe format,the text to about 2,000 pages of reminisces and recollections about Joseph Smith and other historical events relating to early church history.It includes scores of accounts of the transfiguration of Brigham Young.

This book scholarly, and is all primary sources, so it is not a quick read. However, anyone who hungers and thirsts after the words of Joseph Smith will want to buy it.

My only criticism is that there needs to be a better search engine.You only used the "find" function on the bar, but there are better out there. ... Read more

19. Joseph Smith's New Translation Of The Bible: Original Manuscripts
by Kent P. Jackson, Robert J. Matthews, Scott H. Faulring
Hardcover: 862 Pages (2004-09)
list price: US$99.95 -- used & new: US$99.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1590383281
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Editorial Review

Book Description
This volume -the work of a lifetime- brings together all the Joseph Smith Translation manuscripts in a remarkable and useful way.Now, for the first time, readers can take a careful look at the complete text, along with photos of several actual manuscript pages.The book contains a typographic transcription of all the original manuscripts, unedited and preserved exactly as dictated by the Prophet Joseph and recorded by his scribes.In addition, this volume features essays on the background, doctrinal contributions, and editorial procedures involved in the Joseph Smith Translation, as well as the history of the manuscripts since Joseph Smith's day. ... Read more

20. Prophet's Voice: Inspiring Quotes from Joseph Smith
by Ed J. Pinegar, Joseph Smith
 Hardcover: 178 Pages (2005-05-30)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$8.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1591569737
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