Evening with an Author—John G. Turner, Mormon Jesus: A Biography

From our friends at Benchmark Books, 3269 S. Main St., Ste. 250 in Salt Lake City.

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We are excited to announce that John G. Turner, author of The Mormon Jesus: A Biography (published by the Belknap Press of Harvard University Press), will be here on Wednesday, April 6 to speak about and sign copies of his book. He will be here from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will speak at 6:00 and will answer questions and sign books before and after that time. We hope you will be able to make it that night but, if not, we can mail a signed copy or hold one here at the store for pick-up. To RSVP on Facebook, click here.

To follow up on his award-winning biography Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, John Turner has turned his attention to the Mormon concept of Jesus. Beginning with the dramatic depiction of Christ in the Hill Cumorah Pageant, he addresses the way that Mormon doctrine proclaims the divinity of Jesus Christ and interacts with historical Christian beliefs about the same. Further visions and revelations over the succeeding years expanded these beliefs in what Turner calls a “revolution of existing Christian metaphysics.”

This expansion carried with it some muddying of the waters. Throughout the 19th Century, a process of evolution took place resulting in a fairly monolithic belief early in the next century that Jehovah was to be identified with Jesus Christ. However, along the way, detours occurred—the most notable of these being the equation of Adam with God, a belief most significantly proclaimed by Brigham Young (and still strongly held by fundamentalist Mormons today).

In addition to analyzing more formal expositions of the nature of Christ, The Mormon Jesus also attempts to track shifts and patterns through culture. An extensive discussion of the history of Mormon artistic representations of Christ is a particularly interesting and helpful section. As was the case with Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, readers of The Mormon Jesus: A Biography will find a incisive and temperate treatment of topics from an astute analyst of American religious history.

The Mormon Jesus is much more than a treatise on Christology. It is a lively cultural history of how Mormons have thought of Christ from the Book of Mormon to the Hill Cumorah Pageant. Scriptural translations, visions and revelations, temple ceremonies, songs, Sunday school lessons, paintings, sculpture, and poetry all figure in the story of Mormonism’s distinctive Jesus.

—Richard Lyman Bushman, author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling

John Turner holds a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters of Divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. In 2012, he published Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, the result of several years of archival work in Salt Lake City and other Utah repositories. During the 2013-2014 academic year, Prof. Turner was a visiting scholar at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies, where he taught a course on Mormonism and worked on a book about the place of Jesus Christ within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He blogs for Religion in American History and The Anxious Bench, and has written for popular outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

 

The Mormon Jesus: A Biography. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Hardback. 368pp. $29.95

 

Also by John Turner:

Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012. Paperback–$19.95/Hardback–$35.00

Comments

  1. Turner’s biography of Brigham Young was exceptional—my only criticism is that it wasn’t longer. And I ordered my copy of “The Mormon Jesus” last week, which Amazon promised to deliver by this Friday. Can’t wait.