2022 Christmas gift book guide

Happy 2022, folks! We have another year’s Christmas book list, and I hope that we all find a measure of peace, hope, and joy. Note that Benchmark has 20% off on new books and ships widely.

Original Grace (MI, 2022), $19
Into the Headwinds: Why Belief Has Always Been Hard-and Still Is (Eerdmans, 2022), $20

The devotional is a regular feature, and both Adam Miller and Terryl Givens are perennial favorites. Miller’s meditations on grace are really important, though. Don’t overlook it.

Mormon Women at the Crossroads (UI Press, 2022), $28
In my opinion, Caroline Kline’s volume is one of the most significant academic works for the future of the Church in a long time. She uses years of interviews with women across the globe to highlight the power of connectedness as both an analytical and religious framework.

The Burning Book: A Jewish-Mormon Memoir (BCC, 2022), $12
My Lord He Calls Me (Deseret, 2022), $23

These two books are different though both approach memoir. In The Burning Book we have the lived experience of a Jewish person who finds a home in Mormonism while maintaining a connection to his heritage. My Lord He Calls Me is a series of essays by Black Saints who all had enslaved ancestors. While the essays were written by and for Black members, we all need to listen to these experiences and wtnesses.

Heike’s Void (BCC, 2022), $13
The Darkest Abyss: Strange Mormon Stories (BCC, 2022) $13
The Brain’s Lectionary: Psalms & Observations (BCC Press, 2022), $12

Look. Steve Peck is must-read. If you have not read anything of his before, read A Short Stay in Hell immediately. Then catch up and include his latest in the queue. I wish Costco sold a box set. If short stories are more your thing then the various pieces in Abyss ranging from alternate history and science fiction to Mormon folk realism and experimental literary forms my be your jam. Lastly is Elizabeth Pinborough’s work of poetry and art, that Steve Peck describes as mixing “science, art, and religious thought with a facility that is breathtaking.” Check it out.

The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha (Oxford, 2018), $35
The New Testament: A Translation (Yale, 2017), $32
The New Testament: A Translation for Latter-day Saints, Rev Ed (Kofford, 2022), $30

2023 is the New Testament in Sunday School and Seminary (for most of the world) and we always recommend a good study bible if you haven’t used one before. The NSRV is a fantastic consensus translation and the Oxford edition is the newest. The Harper Collins edition is great as well, though a little older. I read Hart’s translation last time and was blown away. I loved it. He comes at it with an Orthodox impulse and devastating wit that Latter-day Saints will find resonant. Wayment’s translation, which was initially published by Deseret, but is now at Kofford, may be a good place to start if you are nervous about deviating from the Church’s KJV.

An Introduction to the New Testament (Yale, 1997), $42
The New Testament History, Culture, and Society (BYU/Deseret, 2019), $40
Ancient Christians: An Introduction for Latter-day Saints (MI, 2022), $50

If you would like some resources beyond a study bible, there is no shortage. I am a massive fan of Brown’s magisterial Introduction. It is extraordinary. If you want something that is catered to a Latter-day Saint audience, then Blumell’s volume may be the way to go. And lastly if you want to spice things up, the folks at the Maxwell Institute have published a new volume on the Ancient Church, that will surely 1) educate, and 2) complicate facile notions of the apostacy.

Slavery in Zion (UU Press, 2022), $40
Imperial Zions: Religion, Race, and Family in the American West and the Pacific (UN Press, 2022), $30
Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon: Suffragist, Senator, Plural Wife (Signature, 2022), $10
Now for scholarly history. Thiriot has tracked down every possible scrap of history on enslaved black people in Utah. In doing so, she powerfully illuminates the lives of these people while also helping to cut through the fabrications of time, both those that soften slavery’s sickening reality, and those used to bludgeon the Saints. Note that the ship date may be cutting it close for Christmas. Hendrix-Komoto’s volume is a sophisticated approach to history by family’s both in the Intermountain West and in the Pacific. Last is a short biography of Mattie Cannon, who was the first female state legislator in the Country. She beat out her husband in the election. So rad.

Open Canon: Scriptures of the Latter Day Saint Diaspora (UU Press, 2022), $40
Envisioning Scripture: Joseph Smith’s Revelations in Their Early American Contexts (Signature, 2022), $19

For those interested in Latter-day Saint scripture studies, we have two edited collections. One looks at the open cannon and represents largely new content. The other reprints articles on JS’s context that are difficult for non-academics to access, and which is a solid recap of recent scholarship. Looking ahead, The Bible and the Latter-day Saint Tradition is due out in January and looks to be a really, really, great contribution.

The Joseph Smith Papers Documents, Volume 13 (CHP, 2022), $55
Liverpool to Great Salt Lake: The 1851 Journal of Missionary George (UN Press, 2022), $20
In Sacred Loneliness: The Documents (Signature, 2022), $40

For the extra nerdy: the regular documents volumes. The JSPP is almost done printing, so get the latest volumes while you can. The Watt diaries, which were originally kept in shorthand are on sale. And Compton has given a documents companion to his groundbreaking group biography of JS’s wives.

Merry Christmas!


  1. Grant Hardy says:

    So many wonderful books! But let me make a pitch for the New Oxford Annotated Bible. I grew up loving the scriptures and was a diligent student in seminary. As an undergrad at BYU I took the full range of Religion classes and even majored in ancient Greek, but I wasn’t really exposed to mainstream Bible scholarship until after I graduated, and it took me a few years after that to find the New Oxford Annotated Bible–which changed my life. Full commentaries have their place, but a good study Bible can summarize a great deal of scholarship and make it immediately applicable to what you’re reading so that it’s easy to understand the plain meaning of the text, the historical context, literary features, and theological implications. (A modern translation like the New Revised Standard Version, used by OUP, can be a marvelous help as well.) And many Latter-day Saints are quite capable of reading mainstream biblical scholarship directly, rather than having it filtered through BYU professors or other LDS writers and podcasters.

  2. Can I just tell you… I first jumped into the Bloggernacle around 2005/2006 and was an active participant for some time. I had two children when I first started reading and posting and I’m now up to eight, ha! And with eight children comes a lot more on my to-do list and less free time. So, while I am not able to read here as often as I would like, I have to let you know that I never, ever miss reading your annual Christmas Gift Book Guide! I love checking in to find just the perfect book for my husband each Christmas. Thank you for the work you put into these guides! I still refer back to the old ones from time to time, when I’m looking for something specific or just something new!

  3. Kathlene Burrow says:

    Thanks for the book list. I will have to take a look at several of these.

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