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Building the Kingdom: A History of Mormons in America [Paperback]

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Item Number 160142  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   123
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.22" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.47"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 27, 2001
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0195150228  
EAN  9780195150223  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Mormonism is one of the world's fastest growing religions, doubling its membership every 15 years. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the formal denomination of the Mormon church) is now 10 million strong, with more than half of its membership coming from outside the United States. More than 88 million copies of The Book of Mormon have been printed, and it has been translated into more than 50 languages. Mormons in America tells the tumultuous story of this religious group, from its humble origins in small-town New York State in 1830 to its present heyday. Claudia and Richard Bushman introduce us to charismatic leaders like Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, go deep behind Mormon rites and traditions, take us along the adventurous trail of the Mormon pioneers into the West, evoke the momentous erection of Salt Lake City in the desert, and draw us into the dozens of skirmishes, verbal attacks, and court battles between Mormons and their neighbors, other religions, the media, and the American government.
Religion in American Life explores the evolution, character, and dynamic of organized religion in America from 1500 to the present day. Written by distinguished historians of religion, these books weave together the varying stories that compose the religious fabric of the United States, from Puritanism to alternative religious practices. Primary source material coupled with handsome illustrations and lucid text make these books essential in any exploration of America's diverse nature. Each book includes a chronology, suggestions for further reading, and an index.

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More About Claudia L. Bushman & Richard L. Bushman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Claudia L. Bushman teaches history and American studies at Columbia University. She is the author and editor of seven books, including Mormon Sisters: Women in Early Utah; America Discovers Columbus: How an Italian Explorer Became an American Hero; and "A Good Poor Man's Wife," Being a Chronicle of Harriet Hanson Robinson and Her Family in Nineteenth-Century New England.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General   [16214  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States   [399  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Short and Shallow  Jan 20, 2003
I picked this book up in order to quickly get a better understanding of Mormon history. The Bushmans rapidly cover LDS history, but I was not satisfied with the depth of the material. The book is pretty much a straight narrative with little attempt at interpretation or critical evaluation. Of course, the book IS part of a series of religious history surveys for the general reader, so it is not too surprising that the Bushmans do not go very deep. Nonetheless, at only 103 pages, they could have offered a little bit more meat to their treatment of LDS history. The first half of the book dealing with early Mormon history is the best, but far too uncritical. (What ever happened to those golden plates revealed to Joseph Smith?) The second half of the book starts to read like a tract put out by the Church. It has an almost apologetic tone. When a controversial issue is broached, like Mormon teaching about African Americans, the authors handle it very delicately. Since the authors are both historians at Columbia, I expected better. It almost seems that the book was slapped together, especially at the end where the Bushmans jump from topic to topic. Having said all of that, I did learn some things from this volume, but there has got to be a better introduction to Mormon history out there. For those interested in a more critical look at one event in Mormon history, check out "Blood of the Prophets" by Will Bagley.
Good overview  Oct 1, 2002
The authors' approach was stated to be to "understand Mormonism in terms of the experience of Mormon people". They presented the sometimes-stormy history of Mormonism, often in the midst of controversy, in a straighforward and non-judgmental way.

There has been some dispute as to whether Mormons are Christians. Critics say that the LDS doctrine of God does not conform to traditional Christian creed. Joseph Smith said he communicated directly with God; this is unlike reformers such as Calvin and Luther who used reason to interpret the Bible in new ways.

The authors presented a thorough background of Joseph Smith, from his fist vision at age 14 and his translation of the gold tablets into the Book of Molrmon. They then followed the Mormons as they headed West and founded settlements in Missouri, Ohio, and Illinois, among other places, on their way to Utah.

Plural marriage and its repercussions were thoroughly explained. By 1844, this and other pronouncements by Joseph Smith carried Mormonism beyond the bounds of conventional Christian belief. Smith was jailed after ordering the press of a dissenting newspaper in Nauvoo, Illinois destroyed and he was then killed by an angry mob while he was in jail.

By September 1846 14,000 "Saints" had fled west from Nauvoo and undertook a brutal trek toward the Rocky Mountains. Over the next 22 years, 300 wagon trains with over 10,000 wagons would travel to Utah. In Utah, Brigham Young, Joseph Smith's successor, designed the Salt Lake Valley according to Smith's plan for New Jerusalem.

In 1896, Wilford Woodruff, the LDS President, declared an end to polygamy, the price paid for Utah to become a state. This practice had raised national opposition to Mormonism.

Mormonism became more mainstream, no longer practiced in isolation. The Church Welfare Plan, which continues today, seems to be a model to promote self-sufficiency and co-operation.

The last section of the book dealt with Mormonism today: the church structure (local and national), tithing, missions, and religious education.

Not just a history  Aug 6, 2002
The authors did a reasonable job, the book is organized and readable, they just shouldn't have presented their expository as an objective history. It is simply an LDS primer with historical context. This book is not balanced and objective. While it does point out the controversies surrounding the religion, it tends to slide right on by rather than really address those issues. The preface actually points out the real purpose of the book, "The aim of this book is to explain how Mormons feel about their religion and how they hold on to their faith in the modern era." With that the real purpose, the subtitle, "A History..." should have been left off.
Excellent Introduction  Jan 17, 2002
This is a very well done introduction to the subject, by two extremely competent and highly respected historians. Those wanting a basic overview of the subject will not go far wrong if they choose this book. (There are many -- MANY -- much less desirable competitors on the market, including a considerable literature [almost entirely from evangelical and fundamentalist Protestants] that can only be described as hostile propaganda.)

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