long ago ideas

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago." - Friedrich Nietzsche. Long ago, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery conquered false claims that the Book of Mormon was fiction or that it came through a stone in a hat. But these old claims have resurfaced in recent years. To conquer them again, we have to return to what Joseph and Oliver taught.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Kyle Walker's book on William Smith

William B. Smith: In the Shadow of a ProphetKyle Walker, a professor at BYU-Idaho, has published an outstanding biography of William Smith, the younger brother of Joseph's who was an Apostle, an Editor of the Wasp, and generally a controversial figure in Church history. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in knowing more about not just William, but Joseph Smith. It's available here.

I was lucky enough to meet Kyle at the Mormon History Association meeting a few weeks ago. I had corresponded with him previously and found him to be an open, sincere and generous scholar. The book reflects this.

The book is over 640 pages long (including the Preface) and includes abundant material that I hadn't seen before, even though I've studied quite a bit about William Smith myself. Of course, I've been focusing on 1842 Nauvoo, a section Kyle covers only briefly, so it was delightful for me to learn so much more about William Smith before and after 1842. [Kyle didn't pick up on William's involvement with the Times and Seasons, but no one else has, either. If anyone had, I wouldn't have had to write my book--and we would have dismissed the Mesoamerican theory a long time ago.]


Kyle does a great job documenting his sources, too. He includes very helpful photos and illustrations. His narrative style is enjoyable to read. All in all, an excellent book and a valuable contribution to Church history.

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