Books that share history of the Latter-day Saints


Mormon Times

Published: Tuesday, June 28 2011 6:30 a.m. MDT

Despite the increased opposition, the church continued to send missionaries to the South, and they found good success in their labors. The increase in converts, in the face of organized and spontaneous opposition, only served to ramp up the efforts of the protesters of the faith.

Mason examines these and other accounts of mobocracy and persecution that occurred between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the 20th century. While Pratt's death has become common knowledge among church members, the deaths of Elders Joseph Standing, John Gibbs and William Berry are not so well-known. These three, along with church members like Martin Conder and J. R. Hutson are considered martyrs in their own right to the cause of "Mormonism" as the gospel was taken to the South. Mason's thorough and well-documented book offers a deeper understanding to a time when the Latter-day Saints were seeking to increase the fold in spite of rampant persecution.

— Mike Whitmer

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"PANSY'S HISTORY: The Autobiography of Margaret E. P. Gordon, 1866-1966," edited by Claudia Bushman, Utah State University Press, $34.95, 318 pages (nf)

In this 12th volume of the "Life Writings of Frontier Women," Claudia Bushman helps share the journals and letters of her ancestor Margaret "Pansy" Gordon in "Pansy's History: The Autobiography of Margaret E.P. Gordon, 1866-1966." Gordon was born in England and lived in a variety of places in her 100 years, including British Columbia, Salt Lake City, Bear Lake, an Ojibway village on Georgian Lake, Alberta and Los Angeles. Bushman has included maps, photos and other information to put it in the context of LDS Church history.

— Christine Rappleye

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"ALL THAT WAS PROMISED," by Vickie Hall, Bonneville Books, $15.99, 231 pages (f)

Set in Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales, between 1847 and 1848, this piece of historical fiction gives us a glimpse into what early Welsh converts to the LDS faith might have experienced.

In a well-spun tale, Vickie Hall takes us into the lives of Richard Kenyon, a Methodist minister, and his family. When Kenyon joins the LDS faith, converted by American missionary Ben Lochlan, his wife, along with most of his congregation, thinks he has taken leave of his senses, and the rocky relationship with his only brother, Robert, becomes even more strained.

Personal challenges in the Kenyon family, partly the result of Richard's conversion, stretch family members to the limit.

Persecution against the members of the fledgling branch in Cardiff is severe. Another local minister, a barmaid and Richard's own brother contribute to the anti-Mormon sentiment and opposition, which takes the form of bullying, beatings and the destruction of property and lives.

Through it all, faith in the Lord and miracles large and small, keep the fledgling branch in Cardiff alive and growing.

The author has done enough research to incorporate Welsh phrases, folklore, customs and descriptions of the Welsh countryside that sketch a picture of Cardiff and the surrounding area during this time period.

However, the testimonies, love and concern of the early Cardiff Saints for the gospel and their commitment to one another shines through the violent opposition.

The violent opposition to the LDS Church and its members weaves its way throughout the book. The following short excerpts give a feel for the way the author describes the violence and physical abuse:

"Abigail maneuvered around the two men and seized hold of Amelia's arm. 'You are coming with me!' she hissed. Amelia screamed as her mother dragged her toward the stairway.

"'Uncle Richard!' she pleaded tearfully, 'Don't let her ...'

"A sharp backhand to the mouth silenced Amelia instantly as her mother forced her upstairs" (page 103-104).

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