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No Unhallowed Hand

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Picking up the story shortly after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, No Unhallowed Hand — volume 7 in the series The Work and the Glory — takes the saga of the Restoration the the fictional Steed family from the end of June 1844 to February 1846. As this volume opens, it is a time of great sadness and of uncertainty. Having lost their beloved prophet, the Saints wit Picking up the story shortly after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, No Unhallowed Hand — volume 7 in the series The Work and the Glory — takes the saga of the Restoration the the fictional Steed family from the end of June 1844 to February 1846. As this volume opens, it is a time of great sadness and of uncertainty. Having lost their beloved prophet, the Saints witness a series of power plays by those who would use the opportunity to further their own interests. It is not long, however, before the Lord's purposes are made apparent and the Twelve take their rightful position as leaders of the Church, with Brigham Young at their head. For a time, an uneasy peace seems to prevail in Illinois, but then the Nauvoo Charter is revoked, anti-Mormon hatred is again inflamed by those involved in the Prophet's death, mobs burn homes in small Mormon settlements, and eventually the Saints again find themselves faced with the threat of violent expulsion unless they agree to leave the state. The situation promises to divide the Steeds. Who among them will go west and who will stay? What will Joshua's and Melissa's part-member families do? This installment in the series contains not only its share of fascinating real-life history, but also a number of plot twists involving the Steeds that will keep readers engaged from beginning to end. The story of their lives underscores the prophetic nature of Joseph Smith's words that, indeed, “no unhallowed hand can stop the work.”


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Picking up the story shortly after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, No Unhallowed Hand — volume 7 in the series The Work and the Glory — takes the saga of the Restoration the the fictional Steed family from the end of June 1844 to February 1846. As this volume opens, it is a time of great sadness and of uncertainty. Having lost their beloved prophet, the Saints wit Picking up the story shortly after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, No Unhallowed Hand — volume 7 in the series The Work and the Glory — takes the saga of the Restoration the the fictional Steed family from the end of June 1844 to February 1846. As this volume opens, it is a time of great sadness and of uncertainty. Having lost their beloved prophet, the Saints witness a series of power plays by those who would use the opportunity to further their own interests. It is not long, however, before the Lord's purposes are made apparent and the Twelve take their rightful position as leaders of the Church, with Brigham Young at their head. For a time, an uneasy peace seems to prevail in Illinois, but then the Nauvoo Charter is revoked, anti-Mormon hatred is again inflamed by those involved in the Prophet's death, mobs burn homes in small Mormon settlements, and eventually the Saints again find themselves faced with the threat of violent expulsion unless they agree to leave the state. The situation promises to divide the Steeds. Who among them will go west and who will stay? What will Joshua's and Melissa's part-member families do? This installment in the series contains not only its share of fascinating real-life history, but also a number of plot twists involving the Steeds that will keep readers engaged from beginning to end. The story of their lives underscores the prophetic nature of Joseph Smith's words that, indeed, “no unhallowed hand can stop the work.”

30 review for No Unhallowed Hand

  1. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    This was one of the more interesting books in the series, even though little forward movement happened. Joshua has become my favorite character in the entire series, quite a turn-around from his villainous beginnings.

  2. 5 out of 5

    One Man Book Club

    The United States of America is the country founded by seekers of freedom from oppressive governments. But did you know the Mormon Church, born on April 6th, 1830 in New York State, was forced with violence from New York, to Ohio, to Missouri, to Illinois, and ultimately west across the plains and over the Rocky Mountains—because of their beliefs? The governor of Missouri actually issued an official declaration that all Mormons were to be driven from the state or exterminated. It has always been The United States of America is the country founded by seekers of freedom from oppressive governments. But did you know the Mormon Church, born on April 6th, 1830 in New York State, was forced with violence from New York, to Ohio, to Missouri, to Illinois, and ultimately west across the plains and over the Rocky Mountains—because of their beliefs? The governor of Missouri actually issued an official declaration that all Mormons were to be driven from the state or exterminated. It has always been ironic to me that the first Mormons actually had to leave the United States—the country founded on freedom—and travel 1300 miles before they were able find a place where they could peacefully worship. This is the story found in the 9 volume series The Work and the Glory, by Gerald Lund. 5600 pages—exactly—in 32 days. That's what it took for me to read all 9 volumes of The Work and the Glory. Along the way I kept promising a grand review of the entire series once I finished book 9. Now that I've closed the cover on the last page of the last book, I feel a bit lost for words. I want to share what I learned, how I felt, what I liked, what annoyed me, what brought on the happy tears, and what caused the sad tears. I'm quite certain no one wants to read a review as long as the series itself, but I'm afraid that's what it's going to take. So how do I do this? What do I say? How do I squeeze all these thoughts and feelings into a book review? I dunno. Let’s find out. . . . The Work and the Glory is historical fiction. The historical part is thorough, accurate, well researched, and well documented. The books chronicle the incredible, inspiring, often tragic, always miraculous, and (to us Mormons) deeply meaningful first 20 years of existence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Book one begins in 1827, just before Joseph Smith is to retrieve the Golden Plates that will become The Book of Mormon. Book nine ends in 1847, a few months after Brigham Young leads 12,000 Mormon Pioneers from Nauvoo, IL to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. The fiction part is engaging, well written, and breathes life into the historical events. Through the eyes of the fictional-but-representative-of-the-time Steed Family, we become first hand witnesses to all of the major events surrounding the Restoration (as it’s known within the Church). The Steeds meet Joseph Smith shortly after moving to Palmyra, New York in 1927, and soon they find themselves involved with all the peoples, places, and events those familiar with the history of the LDS Church will quickly recognize. Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdry, the Whitmer’s, Brigham Young, Parly P. Pratt, Herber C. Kimball, Emma Smith, Hyrum Smith. April 6th, 1830, the Grandin Press, the Sacred Grove, Hill Cumorah, the Kirtland Temple, Haun’s Mill, Liberty Jail, the Nauvoo Temple, Carthage Jail. Mission calls, the law of consecration, plural marriage, the Kirtland Safety Society, extermination order, martyrdom, the trek West, the Donnor Party, the Mormon Battalion. Palmyra, Kirtland, Independence, Far West, Nauvoo, Carthage, Winter Quarters, the Salt Lake Valley. Conversion, apostasy, persecution, miracles, revelations, visitations, resilience, tragedy, joy, and finally, peace and rest. The Steeds are part of it all. For me, the best part of The Work and the Glory is the way becoming invested in the lives of the Steed Family makes history personal. Now, instead of just knowing the facts surrounding a historical event, I have an idea of what it was like to actually be a part of that event. What did it feel like to hear Joseph’s testimony straight from his own mouth? What was it like to be told to leave your lives in Palmyra and follow the Church to Kirtland? Can I really imagine the terror of the hateful mobs driving us from every place we worked to start a new life? How about the joy of being there when the Kirtland Temple was dedicated? Cutting stone for the Nauvoo Temple? What would I have thought on the great day of healing when Joseph rose from his sick bed of malaria and healed so many others who were sick? What was it like to ride in a wagon across Iowa and Wyoming? How did it feel to watch your children leave bloody footprints in the snow after being forced at gunpoint from Far West? What about when Joseph was killed? What did it feel like to witness Brigham Young suddenly look and sound like Joseph on that day in Nauvoo? And on and on. After all the trials, I feel like I caught a glimpse of their joy and relief to finally reach the Salt Lake Valley, where they would be out of reach of their enemies. I’m a firm believer that the best books are the ones that make you feel, and there is a lot of feeling to be felt in reading The Work and the Glory. As literature, the books are engaging and well written—but packed full of Mormon cheesiness. The cheesiness wasn’t too distracting for me, however, thanks to the strength of the characters. I really cared about the Steeds and I loved watching their family grow through both sorrow and joy over the course of 20 years. It was also fun to read about my own pioneer ancestors as the Steeds even interacted with some of those that I am actually descended from. Mostly, I feel proud of my heritage. The first members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had the faith and courage to do and endure impossible things. I feel steeled up more than ever before to carry on with the work they started and to live my life with as much faith and courage as I can find in myself. I want them to look down on me from heaven and be proud that I am carrying on their legacy. See, now I’m caught up in Mormon cheesiness! But, what can I say? It’s how I feel after reading The Work and the Glory. I recommend these books to everyone, especially lovers of American History and members or friends of the LDS Church. For non-Mormons especially, I think reading a detailed history of the LDS church such as this would go a long way in helping you understand better what makes us tick. Happy Reading! Dan

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Baker

    That ending just about killed me. I *may* have shed a few tears over this fictional family. 😂 can’t believe I only have two more left to read! Dying to know what happens next especially with Joshua!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hila

    It is a dark time in Nauvoo, Illinois, for the Latter-Day Saints: their beloved Prophet, Joseph Smith, and his brother Hyrum have been martyred. Amidst the grief and mourning, there is confusion. Who will lead the Church now? Or are those opposed to the Church correct: will the Church collapse now that their leader is dead? Many step forth, willing to take the reins left by Joseph. But the Lord is at the head of this work, and through a miraculous event, He makes known His will as to who will pr It is a dark time in Nauvoo, Illinois, for the Latter-Day Saints: their beloved Prophet, Joseph Smith, and his brother Hyrum have been martyred. Amidst the grief and mourning, there is confusion. Who will lead the Church now? Or are those opposed to the Church correct: will the Church collapse now that their leader is dead? Many step forth, willing to take the reins left by Joseph. But the Lord is at the head of this work, and through a miraculous event, He makes known His will as to who will preside over the Church at this difficult time. Many do not agree and fall away, following others. But the Steed family remains firm in their faith. They witnessed the miracle, and they know who leads the Church. Willingly, they follow Brigham Young, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. But still, hard times come. When the Church does not implode, as so many opponents to the faith believed would happen, the mobs begin again to terrorize the saints. They burn the homes and farms of families living in settlements outside of Nauvoo. The Governor of Illinois invites the Mormon people to leave the state; suggesting they will be better off somewhere out West. Rumors of the federal government getting involved -- and not to the benefit of the Saints -- also spark fear. And so, once again in the middle of winter, the Saints leave their homes and all they have worked hard to obtain and create in Nauvoo and begin the trek West. During these troubled times, the Steed family experiences joy and sorrow; miracles and trials. Their lives will be forever changed. They will be called on to serve in a variety of ways and with a variety of difficulties. But serve they will. And they hold tight to the promise that one day they will be together forever. ***I enjoyed this book. I learned a lot about some of what was faced by these early pioneers, and again, it humbled me. I contemplated what I would do if required to leave almost all I have, and I realized how truly unimportant so many of my material possessions really are. I was sometimes surprised by how the Saints were treated in a country which was supposed to support religious freedom -- and I can't help but wonder if there will be similar days ahead.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aubrey

    I read the first six volumes a few years ago, and became very engrossed in the story of the fictional Steed family. Unfortunately forces combined that didn't allow me to finish the last 3 books until this month. I thoroughly enjoyed all of them; perhaps because this has been my primary source of church history. Sad, but at least Lund does an excellent job with endnotes for each chapter delineating which portions were fact or fiction and expounding on the facts for those (like me) who don't reall I read the first six volumes a few years ago, and became very engrossed in the story of the fictional Steed family. Unfortunately forces combined that didn't allow me to finish the last 3 books until this month. I thoroughly enjoyed all of them; perhaps because this has been my primary source of church history. Sad, but at least Lund does an excellent job with endnotes for each chapter delineating which portions were fact or fiction and expounding on the facts for those (like me) who don't really know much of the actual history.

  6. 5 out of 5

    M

    I have a lot of ancestors who lived in Nauvoo during this time period. Some of them came West with the Saints and some of them did not. I have often wondered what all of their experiences were. Why did some choose to stay and some choose to leave? This book gives a good perspective of the conflict that early Saints faced. It was a difficult time, an unprecedented time. Sometimes from our vantage point of the future, we forget the indecision and turmoil that followed Joseph Smith's death. This boo I have a lot of ancestors who lived in Nauvoo during this time period. Some of them came West with the Saints and some of them did not. I have often wondered what all of their experiences were. Why did some choose to stay and some choose to leave? This book gives a good perspective of the conflict that early Saints faced. It was a difficult time, an unprecedented time. Sometimes from our vantage point of the future, we forget the indecision and turmoil that followed Joseph Smith's death. This books does a great job capturing, at least a portion of the emotion and events.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    I am currently on the 7th book in the series and have read the series once before. My family history follows the Mormon church from the Kirtland period through to the present. I enjoy the author's notes at the end of each chapter which clarify which events are from real history and which are the author's device. It has been helpful to me to understand the history of the Mormon church through the perspectives of characters living at that time. I am currently on the 7th book in the series and have read the series once before. My family history follows the Mormon church from the Kirtland period through to the present. I enjoy the author's notes at the end of each chapter which clarify which events are from real history and which are the author's device. It has been helpful to me to understand the history of the Mormon church through the perspectives of characters living at that time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kris Irvin

    Honestly, it's at this point in the series it starts to feel like a never-ending slog to get through. I read this book two days ago and couldn't tell you more than a few major things that happened in it. It's just long. And slow. And I am bored. Also when you start reusing the same names over and over again, it gets annoying. I hope Brother Lund remembered that for other books. Yeesh. Honestly, it's at this point in the series it starts to feel like a never-ending slog to get through. I read this book two days ago and couldn't tell you more than a few major things that happened in it. It's just long. And slow. And I am bored. Also when you start reusing the same names over and over again, it gets annoying. I hope Brother Lund remembered that for other books. Yeesh.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    Reread September 2018 —— Reread October 2016 _____ After my 3rd Reading: This volume discusses the succession in the presidency and also the saints expulsion by violence out of Nauvoo. I'm amazed what the early saints went through. Reread September 2018 —— Reread October 2016 _____ After my 3rd Reading: This volume discusses the succession in the presidency and also the saints expulsion by violence out of Nauvoo. I'm amazed what the early saints went through.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wesley Morgan

    I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I expected a letdown after an intense book 6 ended with the martyrdom. I've always wanted to learn more about what happened after, during the succession crisis, and it was just as gripping reading about the drama between Sidney Rigdon and Brigham Young. Of course, there was a lot of focus on romance and family disagreements, but I didn't mind it. I always felt like the story was moving forward, and I do care about the characters. Even by the end, I I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I expected a letdown after an intense book 6 ended with the martyrdom. I've always wanted to learn more about what happened after, during the succession crisis, and it was just as gripping reading about the drama between Sidney Rigdon and Brigham Young. Of course, there was a lot of focus on romance and family disagreements, but I didn't mind it. I always felt like the story was moving forward, and I do care about the characters. Even by the end, I was excited to read more about the trek West, especially with the way Lund has set up different paths for certain family members.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Patti

    Brigham Young is the successor and spiritual leader of the church after Joseph Smith was martyred in Carthage Jail. Nauvoo is a thriving city and the Steed family is doing well. The Nauvoo Temple has been completed and endowments and ordinances are taking place. However, anger and hatred against the Mormons in Nauvoo is ramping up. The threat is to exterminate them, not just drive them out of Illinois. The Saints prepare to leave their beloved Nauvoo and head west to find peace. They begin to le Brigham Young is the successor and spiritual leader of the church after Joseph Smith was martyred in Carthage Jail. Nauvoo is a thriving city and the Steed family is doing well. The Nauvoo Temple has been completed and endowments and ordinances are taking place. However, anger and hatred against the Mormons in Nauvoo is ramping up. The threat is to exterminate them, not just drive them out of Illinois. The Saints prepare to leave their beloved Nauvoo and head west to find peace. They begin to leave with wagons loaded with supplies. On to volume #8…

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kevin R.

    Another good book, but another pretty tough time to read about. This book deals with the aftermath of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum and the preparations to trek west to the Rocky Mountains. With the church departing Nauvoo, the Steed family has to come to the realization that with the different choices each person is making, their family is about to be split up and separated more than ever before.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lizzie Jones

    Things for the Saints in Nauvoo were just terrible after the death of Joseph Smith. It is strange to read this history and realize these sorts of things happened in our country. The way the Saints were wronged is just heart-wrenching. I liked the focus on Joshua in this book, and I like how we get to see the progression of Brigham Young as a leader.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle

    Another great book in this Work and the Glory series. Once again I learned a lot about early LDS church history and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the fictional Steed family. This story had me in tears as I read some of the tragedies and trials as well as the strong faith that was portrayed. Looking forward to reading the next story in this series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I was at the pool when I finished this book. It was a good thing that I was wearing sunglasses, so people wouldn't see tears forming in my eyes. Book 7 of the series, and it is one of my favorites. I was at the pool when I finished this book. It was a good thing that I was wearing sunglasses, so people wouldn't see tears forming in my eyes. Book 7 of the series, and it is one of my favorites.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    I still continue to be a fan of these volumes!! I get so caught up in the story that sometimes I forget it's part novel! As the volumes have gone on, it does seem like the amount of church history declines. All in all, still a great read though! I still continue to be a fan of these volumes!! I get so caught up in the story that sometimes I forget it's part novel! As the volumes have gone on, it does seem like the amount of church history declines. All in all, still a great read though!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Londi

    It was slow, but where it picked up it was good. This ENTIRE series could have easily been about 4-5 books. But he goes into extreme detail about a lot of things. In one place, he described the weather in about six different ways in one paragraph! Could have easily been two sentences.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Roy

    What a gut wrenching time! For the Church and the Steed family represented in this book! Still, it most certainly does have a silver lining. God was with modern Israel then and still is today, helping each person come to the truth they need, as and when they can handle it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

    Even though it seemed like this didn't have as much *interesting* history in it (after Joseph's martyrdom till they start to leave Nauvoo), I really enjoyed it. The fiction parts had some touching parts. Also interesting to see how hard it really was to get ready and leave Nauvoo. Even though it seemed like this didn't have as much *interesting* history in it (after Joseph's martyrdom till they start to leave Nauvoo), I really enjoyed it. The fiction parts had some touching parts. Also interesting to see how hard it really was to get ready and leave Nauvoo.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brian Davis

    If you are really into the story for the Steeds, this book might be your favorite. The last 40 pages or so are gripping.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dana Bolen

    The events of this book were very real to me because I have been to Nauvoo. Misfortunes and miracles abound in this volume.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Patti

    Another fabulous book in the Steed saga though this one had many sad parts. Still it managed to be uplifting. I always feel peaceful when I read these books.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Laprincessedecleves

    I love this series and the author's writing style. I enjoy rereading them. I love this series and the author's writing style. I enjoy rereading them.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christie Norris

    This is one that I liked in the series more than others.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jodiellsworth

    Loved this book and learned and felt a lot. Read in 1999

  26. 5 out of 5

    Summer Meyers

    At this point I'm just continuing this for the Steed family story and less about the pioneer heritage bit. That's okay though. At this point I'm just continuing this for the Steed family story and less about the pioneer heritage bit. That's okay though.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cami Duron

    Didn’t like how they talked about “Indians”

  28. 5 out of 5

    David Sanders

    I really enjoyed reading about the Nauvoo experience in this one and continue to enjoy reliving the history of the church through the eyes of a fictional family.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chad Harrison

    Another really good look at church history, and a fun and heartbreaking story of the Steed family. Also, like all of the other books in the series, suffers greatly from “As you know...” syndrome.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nathaniel

    I liked it.

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