Journal of Mormon History 33 (Summer, 2007)

I have finally finished the last issue of JMH and am pleased to report a dramatic improvement in cover color scheme. From the neon atrocity of Spring, we move to an ode to Florida professional sports (or if you prefer the vernacular: Brighton High School).

1. Harvard S. Heath, “The Reed Smoot Hearings: A Quest for Legitimacy.”
Heath is the editor of In the World: The Diaries of Reed Smoot, an excellent abridgement of Smoot’s voluminous diaries, and is one of our greatest experts on the Senator/Apostle. This article is an excellent overview and chronological narrative of the happenings during this most important episode.

81. Michael Harold Paulos, “Senator George Sutherland: Reed Smoot’s Defender.”
Paulos is the editor of the forthcoming Read Smoot Hearings transcripts volume. After setting the stage and introducing the characters, Paulos reviews Senator and future Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland’s support and specifically the speech to the Senate in support of Smoot’s seating. This is a great compliment to the Heath paper and highlights the major arguments for and against Smoot’s seating with agility. If you are curious about the major issues contended during the debate (notably post-manifesto polygamy and the oath of vengeance) this is a great place to look. Starts a bit slow, though.

119. Frederick Quinn, “Daniel S. Tuttle: Utah’s Pioneer Episcopal Bishop.”
Tuttle was Utah’s Episcopal Bishop. This gives his history. It is not my cup of tea, but may be of interest to some. The most interesting aspect for me was the insight into his Church’s mission to establish schools and thereby educate the Mormonism out of Utah’s youth. I recently finished the Charlse Ora Card diaries (Utah Years) and he records frequent railing against the Saints for letting their children go to sectarian schools (even threatenings of excommunication). This put those feelings in much better context.

155. Todd Compton, “Civilizing the Ragged Edge: Jacob Hamblin’s Wives.”
All in favor of Todd Compton writing histories for wives of all the early Church leaders please manifest it by the raise of the right hand. Thank you. The vote appears to be unanimous. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this piece is how Compton is able to tell the story of these women with so little primary resources. He rocks…as do the Hamblin’s wive’s. This is also a great introductory window into southwestern frontier life and Indian-pioneer relations (including inter-marriage and the slave trade).

199. Sherman L. Fleek, “Dr. George B. Sanderson: Nemesis of the Mormon Battalion.”
Many have heard stories of the evil doctor of the Mormon Battalion who forced mercury and arsenic down the infantry’s throats with a rusty spoon. Fleek is a military historian and uses standard historical methods, coupled with some new primary resources to contextualize Sanderson’s service. Verdict: he was a competent doctor for the age and not anti-Mormon. The negative appraisals of him in Mormon tradition have more to do with religious perspectives than anything else. My biggest criticism is that Fleek either wasn’t familiar with early Mormon perspectives on medicine or chose not to address them. A serious omission.

Book Reviews
224. Curt A. Bench reviews Peter Crawley’s A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. Volume Two: 1848-1852. Very positive review. Bonus: though it isn’t mentioned in the review, this title is available with vol. 1 in BYU’s Digital Archive.

226. Jeffery Ogden Johnson reviews Sally Denton’s Faith and Betrayal: A Pioneer Woman’s Passage in the American West. Negative review. Denton offers shoddy history with sensationalism and distortion.

234. Shannon P. Flynn reviews Donnald Q. Cannon, et al.’s Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint History: The New England States. Positive review.

237. Robert D. Anderson reviews Wayne L. Cowdrey, et al.’s Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? The Spalding Enigma. Somewhat positive review. The Spaulding theory is not dead nor doth it sleep. It is however mostly dead. This book attempts to shock it back into fully functioning. The reviewer highlights the books organizational problems and other deficiencies, but shows that the authors do a decent job at reinvigorating some plausibility for the theory. I think I saw the special directors-cut CD of this book available on ebay.

244. Kahlile B. Mehr reviews Fred E. Wood’s Fire on Ice: The Story of Icelandic Latter-day Saints at Home and Abroad. Neutral review. Nice devotional narrative with “little historical context, analysis, or investigation of historical issues.”

247. Linda King Newell reviews S. Reed Murdock’s Joseph and Emma’s Julia: The Other Twin. Somewhat positive review. A “quick and interesting read” that is often more about documenting the search for sources than it is about the titular character. It isn’t particularly objective but has new information and is historically valuable.

250. Boyd Jay Peterson reviews Dennis B. Horne’s Determining Doctrine: A Reference Guide for Evaluating Doctrinal Truth. Somewhat negative review. Not negative enough in my opinion.

253. Mark R. Woodward reviews Roy A. Prete, ed.’s Window of Faith: Latter-day Saint Perspectives on World History. Neutral review. Triumphalist and faith affirming.


  1. Kevin Barney says:

    Great snapshot picture of this issue, J. (As I sit watching basketball with this very issue sitting unread on the couch next to me.) Thanks so much for giving us a good idea of what is in this one.

  2. J., do tell us more about your evidently very negative response to the Horne volume!

  3. Thanks, Kev. JNS, I got the feeling that if he were a GA he would have named the book simply Doctrine. It is obvious that he comes from a school of dogmatism such that the doctrine he is determining is from a bygone era. He frequently doesn’t cite his sources and doesn’t consider all historically available materials. Stuff like this is more frustrating than any other genre of so-called faithful scholarship.

  4. I’ll have to check out the Compton book, since one of those women is my great-great-great grandmother.

    Whattya say we ask him next to write about Jacob Hamblin’s daughters? Maryetta Magdeline Hamblin married my great-great-grandfather after her first marriage ended (divorce? death?), but that marriage didn’t last much longer than the first, and was followed by a third. Rumor is that she was, um, high strung.

  5. Guess I should read more carefully. Substitute “article” for “book.”

  6. Mark, Todd is writing a bio of Jacob Hamblin. Maybe he will discuss the daughters.

  7. Joe Geisner says:

    J. Stapley, your comment about Fleek is quite perceptive. You are correct, any discussion of the good doctor should give the M.B.’s beliefs in medical treatment. Fleek has written a book called “History May Be Searched in Vain” and he does discuss the Mormon pespective. It is unfortunate that Fleek would leave this out of the essay in JMH. Fleek’s book is one of the must haves in studing the MB.

  8. Thanks for the heads-up, Joe.

  9. By the way, you can pick up Fleek’s book off eBay for just under $7.50 (including shipping).

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