Category Archives: Release Announcements

Posts announcing book releases.

More B. H. Roberts–“The Rise and Fall of Nauvoo” Released

Much of Latter-day Saint History is unintentionally overlooked by the members of the church, often including the Mormon golden era that existed in Nauvoo. B. H. Roberts goes into deep detail about the establishment, flourishing, and fall of Nauvoo in his book The Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, now available on Project Gutenberg. He touches on events that are rarely addressed within the LDS church; describes the political situation at the time, showing why Joseph Smith decided to run for President of the United States; and goes into detail about new doctrines that were revealed in Nauvoo, which are found both within and outside of the Doctrine and Covenants. This book will help anyone more fully understand the splendor of Nauvoo, as well as help put LDS doctrines into perspective.

As this is a religious work, it bears testimony of Joseph Smith’s calling as prophet, seer, revelator, and restorer of Jesus Christ’s true church on the earth. It also bears witness of Christ’s gospel and how it has blessed the lives of thousands in the midst of great trials and sacrifice. Even a casual reading of this book will help strengthen the reader’s testimony of these things and bolster their faith to live up to the high standard laid before them by their religious predecessors.

Thanks to Steven Fluckiger, one of our 2015 interns, for proofreading and producing The Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, as well as contributing to this blog post.

New Release: B. H. Roberts’ “The Missouri Persecutions”

Once upon a time, books had prefaces where the author just said what the book was about and why they wrote it. In that simpler age, B. H. Roberts explained The Missouri Persecutions (now free on PG) as follows:

My chief purpose in publishing this book, and the one which will immediately follow—”The Rise and Fall of Nauvoo”—is to place in the hands of the youth of the Latter-day Saints a full statement of the persecutions endured by the early members of The Church in this last dispensation, in the States of Missouri and Illinois, that they may be made acquainted with the sacrifices which their fathers have made for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. And I indulge the hope that by becoming acquainted with the story of the suffering of the early saints, the faith of the Gospel will become all the more dear to the hearts of their immediate posterity and all the youth of Zion for many generations to come.

I think without depreciating at all any other narrative of these events in our Church literature, I may claim that the story of the Missouri Persecutions in these pages is told more thoroughly than in any other of our present publications. This arises from the fact that this book deals with but a brief period in the history of The Church—from 1830 to 1838—and therefore admits of such a consideration of details as could not possibly be given to that period in any general history of The Church. This detailed treatment of the subject, in the opinion of the author, is justified because of the very important events which the treatise covers, and also for the reason that it is a period of our history which has been very much misrepresented, upon which misrepresentations false accusations are made against The Church and its leaders to this day. Those who have thought themselves called upon to oppose, if not to persecute, The Church in later years, frequently attempt to justify their present opposition by insinuating that The Church was driven from Missouri and Illinois for other reasons than adherence to an unpopular religion. The impression is sought to be created that it was for some overt acts against the State or National government, or for some offense against the spirit of American institutions, or because The Church leaders “were determined to be a law unto themselves,” in disregard of the rights of others.

It is, in part, to correct these false statements, and guard our youth against the influence of such calumnious insinuations, that I tell this story of the Missouri Persecutions; not that the history in these pages is written for the purpose of glozing over the defects in the character of the early members of The Church, or to claim for them absolute freedom from errors in judgment, or actual sinfulness in conduct. I have not written what may be called “argumentative history,” only so far as a statement of the truth may be considered an argument. After these pages are read I feel sure that no one will be able to accuse me of failing to point out the errors of the early members of The Church; indeed, I have been careful to call attention to the complaints which the Lord made against their conduct; the reproofs of his inspired servants; and the repeated warnings sent to them by the Prophet Joseph Smith concerning the results of their conduct if there was not a speedy repentance.

[…]

So there you go. That brings the number of B. H. Roberts books on Project Gutenberg to 13, with several more in the pipeline. (It also adds one more to the number of book release announcements where I’ve just used the author’s preface, but hopefully no one’s keeping score on that.)

Thanks to past MTP intern Allie Bowen for proofreading and producing The Missouri Persecutions.

 

New Release: “Outlines of Mormon Philosophy” by Lycurgus Wilson

This short 1905 book, now available free on Project Gutenberg, is perhaps best introduced by the author’s original preface:

Every person, whether consciously or not, gradually builds up, from his observations and reason, a system of philosophy by which he explains, to himself at least, the problems that the new experiences of his life present for solution. It is of great importance, therefore, that, instead of basing one’s system of thought upon the contradictory hypotheses of speculative philosophy, we start right, so that our ideas on the questions of life may square with the truth as it is known to the Lord. And these considerations are the excuse for this work.

This work is designed rather for study than for reading. To the hasty, illusioned reader, it will prove a short, dull book; but the studious reader, who can render a thought into experience, will find it a voluminous work, profusely illustrated with pictures such as no painter ever transferred to canvas; for to him, because of the nature of the subject, it will tell the whole beautiful story of life.

The thanks of the author are due, most of all, to the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the helpful criticism of their committee of this work; and, next, to the scores of friends who have given him the benefit of their suggestions.

L. A. W.

Salt Lake Temple,

            Salt Lake City, Utah, 1905

Thanks to Katie Liston, one of our summer 2015 interns, for proofreading and producing this book.

 

New Release: “One Year in Scandinavia” by Erastus Snow

In this pamphlet Erastus Snow, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, graciously provides us with a few autobiographical insights into his one-year mission in Denmark and Sweden (1849-1850). Recently released as a free e-book on Project Gutenberg, Snow’s private journal entries, letters to and from companions and First Presidency members, and a few lines of original poetry compose this enriching, apostolic account.

Erastus Snow was born in Vermont in 1818. He would eventually join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a boy during the early 1830s. He and Orson Pratt were the first members of the Church to enter the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. At the age of thirty, he was called to serve as an apostle, embarking on his mission to Denmark and Sweden only a few months later.

Though his literature might not be as familiar as some of his contemporaries’, Snow’s twenty-page publication provides us with a valuable outlook on the daily labors of an apostle in this formative chapter in the history of the Church. Curious members and church history enthusiasts will benefit equally from this detailed, heartening narrative from one of our Lord’s valiant servants.

Tyler Garrett, one of our BYU summer interns for 2015, proofread and produced One Year in Scandinavia and contributed to this post.

New Release: “Gems of Reminiscence”

Gems of Reminiscence, as the seventeenth and final book in the Faith Promoting Series, is a 1915 compilation of accounts from early Latter-Day Saints, each as unique as the next. From personal testimonies and accounts of missionary work in the early days of the Church to experiences with cannibals and volcanoes, Gems of Reminiscence offers insight on a wide variety of topics, “to interest most of those into whose hands it may come.” Recently released as a free e-book on Project Gutenberg, it is an uplifting and enlightening book filled with stories of strength, faith and wisdom.

If anyone’s keeping score, they will have noticed we’ve now released fifteen of the seventeen books in the Faith-Promoting Series. Expect the remaining two soon.

Lauren McGuinness, MTP summer intern 2015, proofread and produced Gems of Reminiscence and contributed to this post. Our thanks to her!

From the Salt Lake Temple capstone: “Compendium”

You know the granite sphere that the Salt Lake Temple Moroni stands on? It’s hollow, and inside there’s something of a time capsule that includes a handful of key Church books. A Compendium of the Doctrines of the Gospel by apostle Franklin D. Richards and co-author James A. Little, published in 1882 and now available free on Project Gutenberg, is one such book. It was sufficiently authoritative that James E. Talmage, listing it among the capstone’s contents, can refer to it as just Compendium. It’s also one of only seven works from the 19th century that makes the Encyclopedia of Mormonism’s list of doctrinally significant books.

So what’s the big deal? Compendium is the first reasonably comprehensive, topically organized doctrinal exposition the Church ever produced. It took 74 key gospel topics and provided a succinct statement regarding each, along with key scriptural and other references establishing the stated doctrine. Think the Topical Guide, Bible Dictionary, Index, and True to the Faith all rolled into one, released for the first time ever.

Today, anyone who wants to know the Church’s doctrine on baptism or spiritual gifts or the second coming can Google it, look it up in any number of books, check the various study helps in the scriptures, etc. But lest we forget, the Topical Guide and Bible Dictionary date back only to 1979. The Book of Mormon itself first received an index in Talmage’s 1920 edition, and Reynolds’ Complete Concordance of the Book of Mormon was only published in 1900. In the earliest days of the Church, you had the text of the scriptures (if you were lucky enough to have access to the Pearl of Great Price or its constituent works) and some periodicals or pamphlets.

So if, in 1881, you asked “what is the Church’s doctrine on [insert basic topic], and what are the key scripture reference, talks, etc. establishing that doctrine?” you were courting a substantial research project. But with the 1882 publication of Compendium, for the first time in Church history, that information was at any reader’s fingertips.

As a default source of such information for decades, with reprints as late as 1925, the importance of Compendium as a doctrinal standard can hardly be overstated (although it may seem I’m doing my best). It’s one of those books I can hardly believe no one’s heard of. So go read it. And someone please publish a brilliant paper on its doctrinal impact, and let me know when you do.

Katie Liston, one of our summer 2015 interns, proofread and produced Compendium–many thanks to her!

New Release: “The Myth of the Manuscript Found”

Recently released on PG, The Myth of the Manuscript Found, published in 1883 as the eleventh book of the Faith-Promoting Series, was written to combat the theory that the Book of Mormon was based on a book called The Manuscript Found. This unpublished work was written around 1812 by Solomon Spaulding, a Congregationalist preacher. It was supposedly translated from a Latin parchment found in a cave and gives a history of the first settlers of America, using the names Mormon, Moroni, Nephi and Lamanite. Many anti-Mormon publications and lecturers in the mid-19th century claimed that the Manuscript Found was the foundation for the Book of Mormon. Author George Reynolds combats this claim through accounts of the discovery and translation of the plates from Joseph Smith, Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris. He also discusses the Book of Mormon’s historical accuracy and fulfilled prophecies, and exposes the discrepancies between the content of the Manuscript Found and the Book of Mormon. At a little over 100 pages, it is a fairly quick but highly interesting read, demonstrating once again how well the Book of Mormon stands up to criticism.

A statement from Orson Pratt toward the end of the book sums up the Book of Mormon’s own evidences of its truthfulness:

“If we compare the historical, prophetical and doctrinal parts of the Book of Mormon with the great truths of science and nature, we find no contradictions, no absurdities, nothing unreasonable. The most perfect harmony therefore exists between the great truths revealed in the Book of Mormon and all known truths, whether religious, historical, or scientific.”

McKayla Hansen, one of our 2015 BYU history summer interns, proofread and produced Myth of the Manuscript Found and contributed to this blog post.

New Release: “The Life of Nephi”

“The age in which we live is one of doubt and unbelief. Skepticism is spreading. All faith in divine things, as taught by the ancient servants of God, is being unsettled,” writes author George Q. Cannon in The Life of Nephi, the ninth book in the Juvenile Instructor Office’s Faith-Promoting Series. This work, written in 1888 and just released as a free e-book on Project Gutenberg, offers a deeply thoughtful look at the life of a central figure in The Book of Mormon. Born circa 615 B.C. in Jerusalem, Nephi was a man of deep faith and devotion to God and his family:

“The Prophet Nephi, whose life we here present, was one of the greatest and most advanced of these teachers of heavenly truths. There have been but few men, so far as we know, who comprehended, and spoke, and wrote about them as plainly as did he. He had a personal knowledge of the doctrines, principles and facts respecting which men now dispute. He has written fully upon them.”

Nephi’s father Lehi foresees the destruction of Jerusalem, a result of the wickedness of the people. His family is instructed by God to flee into the wilderness to avoid impending destruction, and the family consequently spends years wandering in the wilderness, encountering various calamities and trials of faith. Cannon details the challenges, triumphs, joys, and heartaches seen by Nephi and his family as they seek to act in accordance with the will of God.

While Nephi’s story is familiar to many of the LDS faith, Cannon’s book offers deeper insights on Nephi’s unfailing devotion to his faith. Cannon details the lineage of Nephi and his family and provides detailed context to the age in which Nephi and his family lived. These details become enlightening as we learn that acting on one’s faith had far more life-endangering consequences than in present times, thus demonstrating Nephi’s unwavering character and spiritual strength.

This book will provide historical as well as spiritual insights to both LDS and non-LDS individuals alike and will inspire, strengthen, and lift.

Margaret Willden, one of our summer 2015 BYU editing interns, proofread and produced The Life of Nephi and contributed to this post.

New Release: “Sketches of Missionary Life”

Sketches of Missionary Life, by Edwin L. Parry, is full of brief narratives illustrating both the difficulties and the miracles associated with missionary life in the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s now available as a free e-book on Project Gutenberg.

The text was originally produced to provide “fresh reading matter of a wholesome character to the youth of Zion; and it is issued with the hope that its contents may stimulate faith in the heart of the reader, and assist him in his efforts to become more useful in the Kingdom of God.” Many of the stories presented were related to the author or collected by observation during his own missionary endeavors, and they include experiences from the lives Parley P. Pratt and Brigham Young. Despite the book’s age, the faith-promoting events it recounts are similar to the miracles missionaries experience today.

Though brief, Sketches of Missionary Life will build one’s faith in reality of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and will remind those who have served missions of their own miraculous experiences.

MTP editing intern Allie Bowen of BYU proofread and produced Sketches of Missionary Life and contributed to this post.

New Release: “Are We of Israel?”

Are We of Israel? by George Reynolds, just released on Project Gutenberg, offers a deeper look at the twelve tribes and the circumstances surrounding the scattering of the ten. Originally intended for use as a Sunday School manual, Reynolds’ book speaks with clarity and ease. Readers will learn of the historical implications of the scattering of Israel, as well gain a new appreciation for blessings promised to those of the House of Israel, a virtue of the Abrahamic covenant. Reynolds also discusses various speculative theories on the relationship between various European peoples and the lost tribes.

According to the Old Testament, the prophet Jacob had twelve sons, each of whose posterity became known as the one of the twelve tribes of Israel. As the grandson of Abraham, Jacob entered into a covenant with God that promised to bless the people, conditional upon their willingness to obey the commandments of God. Due to the rebellion and disobedience of ten of the tribes, these people were carried up into the “north countries” and lost until a later date.

In the Book of Abraham (which Reynolds quotes) it reads, “My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee [Abraham] and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure … for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.”

And so one will come to understand the meaning and significance of belonging to the House of Israel and the “blessings of the gospel” in this succinct yet engaging read. It’s valuable both from a doctrinal perspective and as an example of late 19th century Church understanding of Israel-related historical issues.

Margaret Willden, one of our summer 2015 BYU editing interns, proofread and produced Are We of Israel? and contributed to this blog post.