Forgotten Kingdom: The Mormon Theocracy in the American West, 1847-1896

Forgotten Kingdom: The Mormon Theocracy in the American West, 1847-1896

Forgotten Kingdom: The Mormon Theocracy in the American West, 1847-1896

Forgotten Kingdom: The Mormon Theocracy in the American West, 1847-1896

Excerpt

Is there a secret history of Mormonism? Not really. The lack of access to significant sources held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon) creates the impression that they are hiding something dark and important, but this is largely an illusion. The institution's First Presidency holds any number of key documents -- the minutes of the Twelve Apostles and the Council of Fifty are prime examples -- that would be of great interest to scholars, but such sources would likely confirm rather than overturn the conclusions careful historians have drawn regarding of the colorful story of America's "peculiar people."

There are so many sources of information concerning Mormon history that the real problem facing scholars is not what is withheld, but rather simply comprehending the abundance of available material. Unlike the prophets of old, the faith's founder was born in the age of the printing press, and since Joseph Smith released The Book of Mormon in 1830, those presses have produced libraries of material on the beliefs, hopes, achievements, and misdeeds of his disciples. The Lord's instruction to Latter-day Saints to keep personal journals sounded a call that even the semi-literate answered as best they could, creating a wealth of first-person accounts describing almost every aspect of the creed's trials and triumphs. The federal government has produced hundreds of executive documents, thousands of court records, and countless manuscript records on the subject. The number of works critical of Mormonism is more than matched by a vast outpouring of "faith promoting" histories. The challenge to historians is not overcoming restrictions on key sources but mastering the staggering amount of material that is available.

David L. Bigler has studied the history of the West and the role of the Mormons in that story all his adult life. This book, Forgotten Kingdom: The Mormon Theocracy in the American West, 1847-1896, is an original look at that history; it tells this story as it has never been told before. Bigler rein-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.