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The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints

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The best history of the Latter-day Saints addressed to a general audience now includes a new preface, an epilogue, and a bibliographical after-word.


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The best history of the Latter-day Saints addressed to a general audience now includes a new preface, an epilogue, and a bibliographical after-word.

30 review for The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Probably the most influential book in my conversion to Mormonism, however, it misses the mark in providing an objective look at Mormon history, culture, and religious experience. It does not include an overview of the Book of Abraham in its historical review - a book of scripture to Mormons that is quite readily demonstrated to be fraudulent and lacking in authenticity.

  2. 5 out of 5

    James M. Madsen, M.D.

    This was a groundbreakingly objective history of the LDS Church for its time and led to problems for the author, the official Church historian. It remains one of the most accessible and objective accounts of Mormon history.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ross

    This book is an effort by two LDS historians to write a comprehensive history of the church that could be used as a college text or for those interested in a one volume study of the church. It is somewhat dated having been written in the 1970's or 80's. I really enjoyed it because although it was an academic study they included lots of anecdotes from journals and personal histories to illustrate the topics being discussed. Although there wasn't a lot of new information, they organized the book a This book is an effort by two LDS historians to write a comprehensive history of the church that could be used as a college text or for those interested in a one volume study of the church. It is somewhat dated having been written in the 1970's or 80's. I really enjoyed it because although it was an academic study they included lots of anecdotes from journals and personal histories to illustrate the topics being discussed. Although there wasn't a lot of new information, they organized the book around themes and not just a straight chronological history. The themes covered topics like the 19th century ward and women in the church. The authors were both professional historians and tried to maintain an evenhanded approach in addressing the issues while using their church membership to provide insights that non-members might not have. I would recommend it for someone interested in an a basic retelling of church history from an academic perspective.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chris Mower

    As a general history of the LDS Church, this book does a pretty good job. If you're looking for insight into the LDS origins of challenging doctrines and history, this will only skim the surface. There were many times where it got right up to the point some of the trickier issues surrounding Mormonism and then would dismiss them as not important, or rather, interesting to know, but one for the "ask in the afterlife" bookshelf. One of the more fascinating parts for me in this book was how the earl As a general history of the LDS Church, this book does a pretty good job. If you're looking for insight into the LDS origins of challenging doctrines and history, this will only skim the surface. There were many times where it got right up to the point some of the trickier issues surrounding Mormonism and then would dismiss them as not important, or rather, interesting to know, but one for the "ask in the afterlife" bookshelf. One of the more fascinating parts for me in this book was how the early Church viewed the American Indians and the efforts the Church made to convert them to Mormonism. In short, the Church's view has changed substantially from the time The Book of Mormon first came into existence until now.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Good for the early history of the church up to their expulsion from Illinois and journey to the Salt Lake City area. But the author washed over some of the less pleasant aspects of the Church history (no mention of Mountain Meadows, and very little discussion of early restrictions on non-whites in leadership). Book is a bit dated.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Leonora

    Very interesting and informative book. I think it is a book that can be appreciated whether you're Mormon, a friend of a Mormon, or just someone whose interested in finding out what/who Mormons are. It was published in the 70's so it obviously doesn't bring you to the present day, but still worth the read. Very interesting and informative book. I think it is a book that can be appreciated whether you're Mormon, a friend of a Mormon, or just someone whose interested in finding out what/who Mormons are. It was published in the 70's so it obviously doesn't bring you to the present day, but still worth the read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shane

    I thought it was a good overview of the history of the Mormon faith, especially considering it's somewhat dated having been written decades ago. Definitely worth reading if you're a history buff, especially of the settling of the west and the LDS people in general. I thought it was a good overview of the history of the Mormon faith, especially considering it's somewhat dated having been written decades ago. Definitely worth reading if you're a history buff, especially of the settling of the west and the LDS people in general.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jenalyn

    So very dry. But interesting points.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Samuel

    Alfred A. Knopf requested that Arrington write a one-volume history of the Mormons in 1967; he did after receiving permission from the Mormon Church to unrestricted access to their archives. Eventually published with Arrington (Church Historian since Jan 1972) and Bitton (Assistant Church Historian). This book focuses on the “turbulent nineteenth-century saga of the Saints,” including Joseph Smith’s founding stories, persecution in the Midwest, the great exodus/trek to Utah, colonization of the G Alfred A. Knopf requested that Arrington write a one-volume history of the Mormons in 1967; he did after receiving permission from the Mormon Church to unrestricted access to their archives. Eventually published with Arrington (Church Historian since Jan 1972) and Bitton (Assistant Church Historian). This book focuses on the “turbulent nineteenth-century saga of the Saints,” including Joseph Smith’s founding stories, persecution in the Midwest, the great exodus/trek to Utah, colonization of the Great Basin by Brigham Young, and struggles with the federal government (especially polygamy). It also includes some reflections on how Mormonism transitioned into the twentieth century as well as addressed for the first time in greater detail subjects such as the role of women in Mormonism, the Mormon ward (organization/community), the Mormon group character (unity/diversity), and the Mormon attitude toward blacks. Controversial subjects including the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, the early life of JS, and possible reasons for the church’s enduring vigor/dynamism. It has been called the “standard one-volume history of the institution and its people.” From my experience reading it in 2015, it is still a surprisingly relevant and useful introductory summation of the diverse and sprawling history and culture of Mormonism. Intro: “the story of a religious minority, generally unpopular and often harassed….friction between the Mormons and their neighbors tells us something about American society and the limits of religious tolerance” (xi). Part One: The Early Church—JS Founding to BY Exodus to Utah “The unique feature of Mormonism’s appeal was its combination of theological intelligibility and spiritual reassurance with a specific program offering material and emotional satisfaction in the present. When many motives coincide, the results are powerful” (43). Part Two: The Kingdom in the West—Utah Settlement to Statehood 1896 “From the beginning and throughout the pioneer period and the period of proliferating programs in the generation following Brigham Young’s death the ward was the center of Mormon worship, religious learning, humanitarian service, recreation, and friendships and associations. Since it was staffed by lay members of the congregation…the ward provided numerous types of activity and responsibility to every willing member. Speaking, teaching, acting,, playing a musical instrument…contributed tot he growth and enlarged self-confidence….The ward was far more than a place for listening to a sermon each Sunday. For Latter-day Saints it was an arena for growth, a network of personal relationships, and a focal point of identity. It was a little commonwealth” (219). Part Three: The Modern Church—Institutional Transitions to Modernity “The adjustment required continued adaptation, formulation of new programs, flexibility, and pragmatism. Moreover, adjustment did not mean a total melting into the national patterns. It is still a distinctive church, not liberal Protestant, not fundamentalist Protestant, not Catholic. In short, the accommodation thesis is partially correct, but inadequate as an overall interpretation of the status of Mormonism in the twentieth century. By 1910 educational, social, and cultural programs sponsored by the church were serving as a hedge against secular influences and reinforcing the sense of community among the believers. Though shorn of its overt political and economic power and clothed in twentieth-century garb, the restored church established by Joseph Smith survived—and flourished” (261). “Has Mormonism, then been able to meet the needs of its people in the contemporary world but at the same time retain its most basic values? While it may be argued that its complex organization, multiple programs, and paternalistic atmosphere attempt to shield its your from modern realities, it may also be true that these very things help combat the social deterioration wrought by current forces [i.e. modernity]….Changes come frequently in methods, organization, and programs. But the goals remain—to produce sons and daughters of God who will strive to emulate His creativity, intelligence, and love. Despite its past travail and present challenges, Mormonism clearly remains a vibrant force in the lives of its members” (335).

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dr.

    Neither faithful nor faithless, this is probably one of the most "balanced" approaches to LDS history from a "Modern" historical perspective. It is not revisionist history, yet it does throw more question than light on some issues. Helpful for historians, but NOT for those without the specific training of this field. Neither faithful nor faithless, this is probably one of the most "balanced" approaches to LDS history from a "Modern" historical perspective. It is not revisionist history, yet it does throw more question than light on some issues. Helpful for historians, but NOT for those without the specific training of this field.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    This was a good balanced historical and sociological overview of Mormonism. Specifically I enjoyed the early Utah history because I have not really read much about that time period yet. I would recommend it for someone who wants an academic understanding of Mormonism. However, it was a bit dry and about three decades old so some of the commentary is a bit dated.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I also own this one but haven't gotten past the first chapter, which I read a couple years ago when I bought it. Looks facinating, good reviews, fat book. I also own this one but haven't gotten past the first chapter, which I read a couple years ago when I bought it. Looks facinating, good reviews, fat book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joe Spencer

    Helpful overview of Mormon history as a whole, though I'll confess I find Arrington's prose a bit dry. Helpful overview of Mormon history as a whole, though I'll confess I find Arrington's prose a bit dry.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ann Lewis

    Very good history. Pub in the late 1970s. Interesting to feel that events I lived through are now considered historical.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Frances

    Very pro-Mormon so not objective view point, but some very interesting information.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Crosby

    Because of the way I read and use my LDS library I have elected to not rate these books.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Markii

    great author, good read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Folkman

  19. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  20. 5 out of 5

    Debra Marsh

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hugh Ady

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sharman Wilson

  23. 4 out of 5

    Richard Ouellette

  24. 5 out of 5

    D Jones

  25. 4 out of 5

    David L

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Anderson

  28. 5 out of 5

    Blake

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dan Daines

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bryce

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