SLC Book Events for In Heaven as It Is on Earth

When I first began blogging back in 2006, I was mostly done with a manuscript of a mediocre book on theologies of death and afterlife in early Mormonism that was then called Forever Family: Early Mormon Theologies of the Kindred Dead. Shortly thereafter, a dear friend who is an excellent colonial historian (buy his seminal work on French Indian slavery when it’s published in a few months) told me that my book had some good ideas but was of generally low quality. His kind and wise advice caused a crisis of confidence, a reading spree in the secondary academic literature, several total rewrites of that book, and a change in the title, which became an intentional inversion of the language of the Lord’s Prayer. Throughout this process, the participants in the evanescent communities of online interaction many denominate the Bloggernacle have offered crucial encouragement, insight, criticism, and friendship, for which I am ever grateful.

The book is finally published, and I’m posting now to give thanks to the community and to announce two book events this month.

First is a reading for Mormon history types at the storied Benchmark Books on 33d and Main in SLC. Tuesday, January 10, mingling at 5.30pm, reading/lecture at 6pm. I promise not to sing, but we will talk us some fun Mormon history.

Second is a non-sectarian book launch for anybody interested, at the King’s English Bookstore, Tuesday, January 17, mingling at 6.30, music and lecture start at 7.00pm. This will be more a celebration of the broad concepts of the book, some live string music (the Tanner Duo), some cheeses developed by my beloved grandfather (a biochemist at the University of Minnesota known to many as “the father of the American bleu.”)

Both events are open to the public.


  1. Ironically, I just finished reading through your fantastic book this morning, Sam. I knew it was good before reading the finished manuscript, and I came away even more impressed. The two treatments that I was particularly pleased with—your treatment of Masonry and the temple endowment in chapter 7, and polygamy in chapter 8—will now be my favorite passages to pass along when someone is curious about those topics.

    Wish I was able to be there for what promises to be great events.

  2. Thanks, Ben. You’re very kind.
    And I’m serious when I say that Brett literally saved the book from utter mediocrity.

  3. Going to be a goto reference in early Mormonism, Sam. Congrats!

  4. Brant Gardner says:

    I’m a bit over a third of the way through, and I would agree that there is nothing utterly mediocre about it. Well and far above. It is a fascinating and important reading of early LDS history. I think it highlights an important cultural context that has since been lost and which enriches understanding of our development. Bravo.

  5. Congratulations Sam. It’s a major achievement.

  6. Congratulations, Sam. I wish I could be there.

  7. Sounds like another interesting read. The last book that came to my attention because of the BCC did not disappoint. This is early period of church history, theology and practice intrigues me, especially lately. A comment or post Ardis wrote and remembering a comment someone made about a portion of a lesson in a manual, that a sister in our ward had been involved developing, made me all itchy to know more. Got me no fancy book learning but I am very interested in how we got to where we are now theologically and how the genesis of that could add depth meaning to the way we commonly understand this part of our theology now.

  8. Oh and congratulations! Writing a book and getting it published is a remarkable thing.

  9. Jonathan Green says:

    Congratulations, Sam, and thanks for taking the time to make it a great book.

  10. Thanks, all. Jonathan, I’m enjoying your book. Although not directly relevant to the new book project, the broad themes are very important to the new project on translation. Incidentally, how can one be sure that the Sybil Prophecy wasn’t a scrap–a test that was not ultimately distributed but was Gutenberg seeing what would work on the new press? Still an important topic, but I didn’t see evidence that it was more than a trial run.

  11. benchmarkbooks says:

    We’re excited to have Sam come to Benchmark–for those who can’t make it, we’ll be filming his remarks (and Q&A) and uploading it to YouTube like we did with Jana’s book and the Pratt bio. I’ll post a link here as soon as we get the upload finished.

  12. Three cheers for writing one of the best Mormon books to emerge in the past decade (and I delimit it to that because going further back introduces a bit too much fog for me to feel like I’m making a good personal judgment, seeing as how I was out of the loop).

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