Books About Mormonism

My father and I are looking for books that deal with the history and current practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormon or LDS). I’ve read quite a bit about the fundamentalist Mormon sects and we enjoy watching “Big Love”, but we would like to know more about the mainstream religion.

I follow a handful book bloggers who align themselves with the LDS church, but rather than put anyone on the spot, I thought I would open the ability to suggest to anyone. If you have a suggestion or know where I can find suggestions (the LDS website and GoodReads were not helpful), please leave them in the comments or email me at theardentreader[at]gmail[dot]com.

14 comments

  1. The only book I can think of is The 19th Wife. It is a strange book because it is divided into two very different threads, one a modern crime thriller and the other a history of the mormons. I can’t imagine anyone loving both sections, but you are bound to enjoy one!

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  2. Are you looking for fiction or non-fiction books?
    As for non-fiction, “Exploring New Religions” by George D. Chryssides mentions the mormons quite a few times. You might want to check out the bibliography for quite a few scholarly titles. I have to admit I haven’t read any of them. I think I’m supposed to have a whole list of books on the subject, but I can’t seem to find it right now.

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    • Mostly non-fiction. (Sorry, should’ve been more clear about that.) I tried looking at the bibliography for the most recent book on fundamentalist Mormonism I’ve read, Under the Banner of Heaven, but it was heavily dependent on transcripts and journals I don’t have access to or books about polygamy and Mormon fundamentalism.

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  3. The church prefers to be known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and not the “Mormon Church”. One reason for that is to make it clear that we worship Jesus Christ and not Joseph Smith or the prophet Mormon. But the term “mormonism” in and of itself is not bothersome and is commonly used.

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  4. I don’t have any problems with the word “Mormonism” since that’s what people recognize. But like Tricia said, I’d prefer it if people could see the emphasis on Jesus Christ in what people know me as.

    I’d second the suggestion for Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. It’s incredibly well-rounded look at the life of Joseph Smith, but it is a bit academic (and about 600 pages) and so may be a bit hard to get into unless you’re really interested!

    As for simple and basic intros, I’d suggest Our Search for Happiness which is fairly short and straight forward.

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    • I understand you and Tricia’s wish to understand that you worship Jesus Christ, and I’ll try to make a better effort to distinguish the “Mormon Church” as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

      Thank you for the recommendations, Rebecca. I think I’ll figure out which book I can get at the library, although I’m leaning more towards Our Search for Happiness simply because I’d like a simple introduction before diving right into a long, academic book.

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  5. I second Tricia’s recommendation to peruse the http://www.mormon.org website which goes into a great introduction of basic beliefs. Deseret Book publishers is the largest publisher of LDS related books, so that’s a good place to look for LDS themed books. What’s hard is to find books that aren’t written for Mormon’s specifically who already have a basic understanding of the faih. I haven’t read Our Search for Happiness, but it sounds like a great place to start. Another good one is Standing for Something by Gordon B. Hinckley. It’s been a while since I’ve read this one but it is less theology and more basic virtues and principles and written for a larger audience than just those espousing to the LDS faith. I really liked it.

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