Sunday, November 14, 2010

Book Review: We'll Find the Place

We’ll Find the Place: The Mormon Exodus, 1846-1848
Richard E. Bennett

We’ll Find the Place by Richard Bennett seeks to describe the Mormon exodus as a seminal event in the survival of the church. (xv) He provides context by citing scholars and events known to American historians and most Americans while he also details the compelling drama and succession crisis that followed Joseph Smith’s death and Brigham Young’s claim to leadership. He succeeds in this endeavor through a combination of secondary sources, pictures, and primary sources.

Bennett does an excellent job of describing the condition of the “despised religionists” after the murder of Joseph Smith. Physically they were scattered with various claimants vying for leadership. The modern LDS church smoothly transitions between leaders. But in this period what modern members would view as the traditional leader, Brigham Young, only led as the first among equals. Bennett details in compelling fashion how the physical gathering and salvation of the church solidified his leadership and saved the church from fractioning with various usurpers.

In addition to the uniquely Mormon dynamic, Bennett integrates them into a larger American context. This is done through a repeated pattern. Bennett introduces the Mormon narrative through primary sources, then provides context with vivid non Mormon contemporaries and the best of secondary scholarship. Finally he moves back to the Mormon event where even mundane actions seem livelier.

The book has engaging prose, an impressive bibliography and a short historigraphic essay. Combined with the compelling contextualization of the Mormon experience crossing the plains and the background of the Mormon succession crisis this book is useful for Latter Day Saints interested in church history and for the non LDS audience interested in the pioneers along the Oregon Trail.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Moroni as a Type of Christ

Micheala has an excellent post about Captain Moroni over at her blog, you can find the post here.

Go add your comments to that excellent post!