Monthly Archives: March 2017

New Release: “The Women of Mormondom”

“The night before he died, Brigham Young said he would like 1000 of this book distributed at the east.” These are the words scribbled on the first page of the Bancroft Library’s copy of Edward Tullidge’s The Women of Mormondom. Regardless of the accuracy of this quote, Tullidge’s 1877 book, now available on Project Gutenberg, is doubtlessly one of the precious treasures of Mormon history. Tullidge compiled several accounts of women living in the Joseph Smith and Brigham Young eras of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and laid them before the world in this work. He valiantly defended them in their practice of plural marriage and their campaign for women’s suffrage.

Due to its rich collection of first-person accounts and biographical sketches, this book has been quoted several times by modern-day church leaders. Indeed, this book has been quoted by President Gordon B. Hinckley in the general conferences of the church. This has all been done despite the fact that Tullidge at the time of the book’s publication was excommunicated for apostasy and strong beliefs in mysticism that plagued the church during the mid-eighteen hundreds. Even with his apostate viewpoints glossing the pages of this book occasionally, the historical sources and narratives of this book truly testify of the faithfulness of these early women of the Latter-day Saint Church.

For more information on Tullidge and his relationship with the church during his publication of this book, see Ronald W. Walker’s “Edward Tullidge: Historian of the Mormon Commonwealth” in Journal of Mormon History Vol. 3 (1976), pages 55-72.

Thanks to Steven Fluckiger for proofreading this work and contributing this blog post.

New Release: “What Jesus Taught” by Osborne Widtsoe

Is it still nepotism when you look into a dead guy’s book because his brother* was cool? We’re somewhere in that vicinity…Elder John A. Widtsoe’s brother Osborne Widtsoe wrote this 1918 book for the Deseret Sunday School Union, for use as a youth Sunday School course, and I will admit I initially found it through the family name. But the proofreader tells me What Jesus Taught does stand on its own merits.

It includes 40 lessons, each with references and discussion questions. The discussion questions get pretty intense–I’d like to have a youth class today discuss the significance of Napoleon Bonaparte’s testimony of Christ, or the “particular value [of Christ’s] testimony to the disciples on the road to Emmaus.” The book definitely makes for an interesting time capsule of what youth were seeing back in the day.

In Widtsoe’s words:

This little book is an attempt modestly to present in popular form the teachings of Jesus. It is intended for boys and girls of high-school age. It is to be understood, then, that there is here no exhaustive treatise of the teachings of Jesus; nor is there conducted a study and investigation of profound scholarship. Such a work from the Mormon point of view must be deferred, if desirable at all. But it is hoped that what Jesus taught—in part at least—is here presented simply and plainly and truly, so that anyone who reads may understand. It is further hoped that the writing of these lessons has been “moved by the Holy Ghost,” so that those who read them may learn to love the teachings of Jesus, and to know and to love God, and His Son, Jesus, whom He sent to redeem the world. “Worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

So there you go. Happy reading.

*On Elder John A. Widtsoe being cool: his book Rational Theology is my favorite non-scriptural Mormon work and is the reason I got involved in MTP–I read the PG version of Rational Theology, saw the credit line, and wanted more.