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Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days: Volume 2: No Unhallowed Hand: 1846–1893

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Saints, Vol. 2: No Unhallowed Hand covers Church history from 1846 through 1893. Volume 2 narrates the Saints’ expulsion from Nauvoo, their challenges in gathering to the western United States and their efforts to settle Utah's Wasatch Front. The second volume concludes with the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple. Saints, Vol. 2: No Unhallowed Hand covers Church history from 1846 through 1893. Volume 2 narrates the Saints’ expulsion from Nauvoo, their challenges in gathering to the western United States and their efforts to settle Utah's Wasatch Front. The second volume concludes with the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple.


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Saints, Vol. 2: No Unhallowed Hand covers Church history from 1846 through 1893. Volume 2 narrates the Saints’ expulsion from Nauvoo, their challenges in gathering to the western United States and their efforts to settle Utah's Wasatch Front. The second volume concludes with the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple. Saints, Vol. 2: No Unhallowed Hand covers Church history from 1846 through 1893. Volume 2 narrates the Saints’ expulsion from Nauvoo, their challenges in gathering to the western United States and their efforts to settle Utah's Wasatch Front. The second volume concludes with the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple.

30 review for Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days: Volume 2: No Unhallowed Hand: 1846–1893

  1. 5 out of 5

    Peter Fuller

    Review for Nonmormons: a fun, easy, interesting romp through a pretty wacky period of US pioneer history. Really fascinating to learn more about US legislation against polygamy. Crazy how many times Mormons were able to waltz into different US presidents’ offices to talk politics (shoutout to the Abe Lincoln cameos). Interesting look at the origin story of a really peculiar religion with a fascinatingly-devoted membership group. Review for ex-Mormons: ditto everything above. You might feel like t Review for Nonmormons: a fun, easy, interesting romp through a pretty wacky period of US pioneer history. Really fascinating to learn more about US legislation against polygamy. Crazy how many times Mormons were able to waltz into different US presidents’ offices to talk politics (shoutout to the Abe Lincoln cameos). Interesting look at the origin story of a really peculiar religion with a fascinatingly-devoted membership group. Review for ex-Mormons: ditto everything above. You might feel like this is a breath of fresh air after an admittedly less-than-heartening 2 centuries of church transparency about its own history. Definitely pulls punches, but not ALL the punches (like Our Heritage did). You might find it less sordid than the stuff you can find on /r/exmormon or around the Internet (and it will DEFINITELY feel apologist to you — c’mon, it’s an official Church publication!), but it’s interesting even just to see what the Church says about itself. Review for active Mormons: fantastic read. I’d say mandatory for any active churchgoer. I came away enlivened and thrilled to learn that pioneers were ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS who fought with their church leaders and got divorced and remarried and had doubts about polygamy (and doubts about polygamy’s reversal). Besides seeing a more human side of them, it was also great to get a traditional dosage of “God bless those faithful forefathers, they really did some amazingly faithful things”. 5/5 stars. I’m a complete unapologetic Stan for the Saints books. I know they’re written on a 7th grade level but they’re just so damn approachable and well-sourced! PS LOVE the amount of women’s history in here. 60% about women instead of traditional “and Brother Brigham said the temple goes here and Brother Orson Pratt preached something”.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    This one was a lot harder for me to read and plug through. Not so much because of the writing and layout, but more from the content and topics discussed. There are just some things that are difficult for me to read about, polygamy and massacres being some of them. Overall I’m glad I finished.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Magila

    4.5 Undoubtably, this was an extremely well researched and edited book. The demonstrated ability of the team to weave interconnected, but at times disparate, characters and story elements together deserves to be considered masterful. The writing is compelling, if at times just a tad dry. On the other hand, I was impressed at the effort to demonstrate the varied interests and activities of the church in its early days. You will find more individual stories as well as narratives celebrating the chu 4.5 Undoubtably, this was an extremely well researched and edited book. The demonstrated ability of the team to weave interconnected, but at times disparate, characters and story elements together deserves to be considered masterful. The writing is compelling, if at times just a tad dry. On the other hand, I was impressed at the effort to demonstrate the varied interests and activities of the church in its early days. You will find more individual stories as well as narratives celebrating the church’s effort and growth in the Pacific islands most prominent. Places such as the early pioneering activities around the territorial areas, Europe, and California also plays a considerable part of the book. It would be hard to read this and not reflect upon the categorical way the modern church addressed the questions of race and gender. It did not hide from the somewhat surprising about-face in early Mormonism with regard to black saints; the question was even raised with regard to sharing the gospel on the African continent itself in the early days. They also “go on record” as saying Ham and Cain teachings are wrong. Discussion of the Saints highly progressive early stance on women’s suffrage and how it was also lost was intriguing, as well as the juxtaposition of the treatment of polygamy. In many respects, polygamy and its practice was both the central protagonist and antagonist of this work. As a major question in the church and without in that era, I found its treatment fair. Even early temple construction and the Salt Lake City Temple itself plays second fiddle to polygamy. Readers will find the book informative on this topic and many others. For example, you will find reference to early ministrations of sisters to each other for healing, the relief society, prophets and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, blood atonement (lightly) and others. I thought Mountain Meadows was handled appropriately also. So, where did it fall short in my opinion? First, after talking about the Pentecostal experiences of the dedication of the first two temples in the first installment, this topic got sort shrift, as did other documented early temple manifestations and the general sacrifices for their construction. One of the most memorable stories from this work to me was that of Joseph Dean’s story of sacrifice for the Salt Lake Temple. Second, we kind of dropped Emma off as well as the Saints that stayed behind with only a brief discussion of her photo being up during a Relief Society celebration and the visits of Joseph F. Smith’s cousins. I think more detail is warranted here. Finally, and speaking of the Eastern remnants of the early church, there was a brief discussion of the return of some prominent early leaders, but not any of the factors that drove a wedge between them and the consensus leadership, e.g. Martin Harris. A tasteful presentation of dissension on a wider scale was missed. Some of this may have landed on the cutting room floor, but I will tell the editors that the stories of Walter M. Gibson, and Elias Harrison and William Godbe were engaging. I’m looking forward to the next one. I just loved the global approach and am really anxious to see how the continued growth of the church will be depicted. They tackle difficult issues and bring awareness to many unconventional topics in a compelling way. A last word on listening to this: I enjoyed it very much. The voice artist from the Deseret version, not sure if it’s the same elsewhere, was very good. I just listened and then highlighted some compelling sections on a digital version. I highly recommend this approach.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I was grateful to receive an advance copy of this second volume of the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a volume that focuses on the history of Latter-day Saints from the time they arrived in Salt Lake Valley to the completion of their ambitious construction of the Salt Lake Temple in 1893. The book is hefty, 835 pages, and nearly 140 of those pages are historical notes and bibliography. The detail of this history is comprehensive and exhaustive: it includes, of course I was grateful to receive an advance copy of this second volume of the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a volume that focuses on the history of Latter-day Saints from the time they arrived in Salt Lake Valley to the completion of their ambitious construction of the Salt Lake Temple in 1893. The book is hefty, 835 pages, and nearly 140 of those pages are historical notes and bibliography. The detail of this history is comprehensive and exhaustive: it includes, of course, the central figures of this era, Brigham Young and other men who led the Church, but it also tells the story of the many women who played leadership roles and who helped settle Salt Lake valley and establish the foundations of the Church and its society. This volume also accounts for others who may have been overlooked in previous historical accounts: African Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and others who were affected by the spread of the Church in the west and abroad, particularly in the South Pacific. This book's comprehensiveness is not limited to who is included, but also what. Dark moments of Mormon history are covered, most notably the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre, but also the Bear River Massacre, the Church's treatment of African American members, the widespread practice of polygamy, and the fallibility of Church leaders and Church members at various times in the Church's early history. If the mission of this book was to be comprehensive, it easily accomplished its goal.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Hatch

    An absolutely gargantuan task which was done incredibly well. Very grateful for all of the female and POC voices/sources used here. Somehow, amidst the hundreds of sources, they still maintain a simple, accessible, engaging narrative. Bravo.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Terry Earley

    I am loving this series.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Christensen

    I had a hard time putting this book down. This church history is my history. My great-great grandfather is mentioned in the book as one of the early settlers of Tooele, Utah, and most of my early ancestors emigrated to Utah during this time. This narrative captures the trials and tribulations of those early saints. Religion is messy. Our history is a bit messy. I came to appreciate that despite human failings and frailties, God can work miracles and accomplish His work through us as inperfect be I had a hard time putting this book down. This church history is my history. My great-great grandfather is mentioned in the book as one of the early settlers of Tooele, Utah, and most of my early ancestors emigrated to Utah during this time. This narrative captures the trials and tribulations of those early saints. Religion is messy. Our history is a bit messy. I came to appreciate that despite human failings and frailties, God can work miracles and accomplish His work through us as inperfect beings. It really does take a lot of faith, however, to cut through those difficult things -- mistakes of others, prophetic revelations that you may not agree with, hardships caused by others, just to name a few. I also liked reading about the role of women in those early days of the church. Yes, they were wives, mothers, and homemakers, but they were also independent thinkers and doers -- educating themselves, becoming doctors, midwives, writers, speakers, and political and social activists. This book is an unvarnished look at our history that made me appreciate all the more my membership and belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ and his church.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Very informative and I learned a lot. It’s very transparent about the history of the church, polygamy, political struggles, struggles within quorums, the mountain meadow massacre, women’s suffrage and retrenchment and sharing the gospel through out the world. There’s A LOT going on. Content was hard at times. Definitely a hard time period to live in. I enjoyed this part of the book. “Emily longed to leave Manassa as well. “They went spinning off,” she wrote Heber, “and we returned to this desolat Very informative and I learned a lot. It’s very transparent about the history of the church, polygamy, political struggles, struggles within quorums, the mountain meadow massacre, women’s suffrage and retrenchment and sharing the gospel through out the world. There’s A LOT going on. Content was hard at times. Definitely a hard time period to live in. I enjoyed this part of the book. “Emily longed to leave Manassa as well. “They went spinning off,” she wrote Heber, “and we returned to this desolate place.” My ancestors were from Manassa and having lived in the area can only imagine how desolate it was when it was first settled. Also this excerpt from Wilford Woodruff, “Every man has as much right—prophets, apostles, saints, and sinners—to his political convictions as he has to his religious opinions,” Wilford had declared. “Don’t throw filth and dirt and nonsense at one another because of any difference on political matters.”

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    I feel like this volume was even more beneficial to me in my understanding of the Church’s history than the first. I learned some new things in the first volume, but I was familiar with most of the events and people. In this volume, the bulk of it after they reached the valley was new to me, and I was inspired just as much by the struggles and adversity they faced and managed to overcome as I was previously. I’m sorry to say I really had no idea of the difficulties that were a part of gaining st I feel like this volume was even more beneficial to me in my understanding of the Church’s history than the first. I learned some new things in the first volume, but I was familiar with most of the events and people. In this volume, the bulk of it after they reached the valley was new to me, and I was inspired just as much by the struggles and adversity they faced and managed to overcome as I was previously. I’m sorry to say I really had no idea of the difficulties that were a part of gaining statehood. I also really appreciated the references to the women writers that had a role in documenting this time period.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rashae

    I learn so much when I read about church history. Saints 2 clarifies polygamy in a way I never heard growing up and provided great insight and profound understanding for me about doctrines of God. I loved this book. But it was also difficult because of the extensive suffering and anguish the saints went through over and over again. Their faith is unlike anything I’ve ever heard and although I don’t wish to experience what they did, I admire them for accomplishing such a great work under such hor I learn so much when I read about church history. Saints 2 clarifies polygamy in a way I never heard growing up and provided great insight and profound understanding for me about doctrines of God. I loved this book. But it was also difficult because of the extensive suffering and anguish the saints went through over and over again. Their faith is unlike anything I’ve ever heard and although I don’t wish to experience what they did, I admire them for accomplishing such a great work under such horrible opposition and circumstances.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Charissa

    I love these books. This covers the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1846 – 1893. It’s a narrative history that is very thoroughly researched from diverse accounts, and it is written beautifully in a way that is easy to read without being overwhelming with all the research (as some history books can do). This book tries to show the history of the Church as non-biased as possible by pulling in from as many different accounts as possible, while trying to tell the his I love these books. This covers the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1846 – 1893. It’s a narrative history that is very thoroughly researched from diverse accounts, and it is written beautifully in a way that is easy to read without being overwhelming with all the research (as some history books can do). This book tries to show the history of the Church as non-biased as possible by pulling in from as many different accounts as possible, while trying to tell the history as more of a story line, from different perspectives. This one shows accounts from the saints in Utah to ones in Samoa, Hawaii, Tonga, and other places around the world, as the gospel of Jesus Christ is taken to all peoples. This volume also covered some more difficult topics that happened during this time, including polygamy and lots of politics with Utah trying to become a state and women stepping up to fulfill more active roles in the Church and working to get suffrage. I found the peoples and topics super interesting, and found myself gaining empathy for a different time period and different religious and political culture at that time. It would be wrong to judge them by today’s standards, as I hope they wouldn’t judge me today by theirs. I absolutely love all the research that has gone into these books by a team of historians and experts of these time periods. They have done an excellent job at writing in as unbiased way as possible and making it easy to read and follow, without getting lost in too many facts. I’m actually in awe at what they’ve accomplished. It seems like this would be a daunting task, but they really pulled it off well. Looking forward to the future when volume 3 comes out.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Shane

    I enjoyed Volume 2 as much as I did Volume 1, despite its more shameful period of Church history. There was, of course, much that was inspirational and commendable here, but everything is obscured by the shadow of polygamy and the Church's bungled handling of race relations in this period. The thesis of this volume is in its subtitle, No Unhallowed Hand (can stop the work from progressing), and it does a good job of supporting it throughout. This was the "make-or-break" period of the Church's hi I enjoyed Volume 2 as much as I did Volume 1, despite its more shameful period of Church history. There was, of course, much that was inspirational and commendable here, but everything is obscured by the shadow of polygamy and the Church's bungled handling of race relations in this period. The thesis of this volume is in its subtitle, No Unhallowed Hand (can stop the work from progressing), and it does a good job of supporting it throughout. This was the "make-or-break" period of the Church's history, and there were so many times that it could have all crumbled to the ground and yet didn't. I continue to appreciate and applaud the Church for its willingness to reckon with its past and commit to transparency.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Such an informative book. There is so much judgment on the saints during this period of the church, but this book brings them to life. They were real people with struggles and heartaches and doubts and unbelievable faith. I knew many of the stories, such as the handcart companies crossing the plains and the Mountain Meadows massacre. Even some of my ancestors followed James Strang for a time after Joseph Smith died. But I was surprised at how little I knew about other subjects, such as the histo Such an informative book. There is so much judgment on the saints during this period of the church, but this book brings them to life. They were real people with struggles and heartaches and doubts and unbelievable faith. I knew many of the stories, such as the handcart companies crossing the plains and the Mountain Meadows massacre. Even some of my ancestors followed James Strang for a time after Joseph Smith died. But I was surprised at how little I knew about other subjects, such as the history of the Hawaiian saints, the beginnings of the church in Africa, or how much the women did politically in the church. Though I still have my reservations about some issues in church history, I appreciated the things I learned from this book. *It was fun to see my ancestor Abel Garr in the book as one of the rescuers of the handcart companies!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    Really well-done. Much better than the first, and I really enjoyed Kirby Heyborne as a narrator. The chapters covering the Mountain Meadows Massacre and ALL of the polygamy stuff were very difficult emotionally, but I appreciate the church's transparency. I loved reading about some of the feminism in the early church--this is stuff we definitely don't hear enough about. Very good, and much more linear than the first volume Really well-done. Much better than the first, and I really enjoyed Kirby Heyborne as a narrator. The chapters covering the Mountain Meadows Massacre and ALL of the polygamy stuff were very difficult emotionally, but I appreciate the church's transparency. I loved reading about some of the feminism in the early church--this is stuff we definitely don't hear enough about. Very good, and much more linear than the first volume

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shandy Hadley

    Every Latter-Day Saint should read these books! They are fascinating but also very informative. They answered many questions I had about church history.

  16. 5 out of 5

    David Cook

    I am not a professionally trained historian but have read and studied more LDS Church history than the average bear. I'm pretty familiar with the good the band and the ugly, the faith promoting, the apologetic, and the ax grinders. Writing religious history of any church is an almost impossible task that cannot please all camps. I am fortunate to know several of those involved in the beginnings of this effort and know of their intellectual honesty, integrity and professionalism. They have done a I am not a professionally trained historian but have read and studied more LDS Church history than the average bear. I'm pretty familiar with the good the band and the ugly, the faith promoting, the apologetic, and the ax grinders. Writing religious history of any church is an almost impossible task that cannot please all camps. I am fortunate to know several of those involved in the beginnings of this effort and know of their intellectual honesty, integrity and professionalism. They have done an outstanding job for all but the true critics who cannot say a single positive thing about the Church and its history. The great thing about this book is the resource material. One can go as deep as they want and by using the electronic version can be looking at original source material within a few clicks. Tell me any historical work that allows that. All of the hard issues are addressed, polygamy, Mountain Meadows, Bear River, Hawaii, race and the priesthood and more. This certainly is light years ahead of previous apologetic efforts. My great grandfather was a member of the Q12 and served as Church Historian. He was a prolific writer and one of the great defenders of the faith along with the likes of Talmage, Roberts and others. I applaud their efforts and especially the record keeping that allowed for the Saints project to unfold has it did. When I hear modern arm chair historians criticize those earlier efforts I have to remind myself that they were a generation away from Missouri, Nauvoo, the Martyrdom, Expulsion, and the Westward Trek. They lived through a hellish time and somehow survived and thrived. Is it any wonder that they were a little defensive? So cut them some slack and be grateful they kept the records that allows Saints to make that amazing history come alive. A history that inspires us and challenges us. Favorite Quote: 'But now, for the first time, Saints were caught up in heated battles with one another over differing political views. The conflict troubled Wilford Woodruff, and he had urged the Saints at the April 1892 general conference to stop their bickering. "Every man has as much right - prophets, apostles, saints, and sinners - to his political convictions as he has to his religious opinions," Wilford had declared. "Don't throw filth and dirt and nonsense at one another because of any difference on politcal matters." "That Spirit will lead us to ruin," he warned.'

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Critchfield

    Really enjoyed this one like the first. Many hard subjects, still some unanswered questions. Many faith-promoting accounts as well. I enjoyed reading about the early missionary efforts and thinking about the fruits of those labors some 150-200 later. I also enjoyed the personal connection I have to these accounts, as John Taylor is my direct ancestor as well as realizing that many of my other great-great grandparents and their parents and grandparents were living in Utah during this time. (I thi Really enjoyed this one like the first. Many hard subjects, still some unanswered questions. Many faith-promoting accounts as well. I enjoyed reading about the early missionary efforts and thinking about the fruits of those labors some 150-200 later. I also enjoyed the personal connection I have to these accounts, as John Taylor is my direct ancestor as well as realizing that many of my other great-great grandparents and their parents and grandparents were living in Utah during this time. (I think my great-great grandparents would have been kids at the end of the book around the time of the Salt Lake Temple dedication.) Really cool!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kirstin Dobson

    A very detailed and good read. Sometimes, a little dense, in fact. I learned so much that I didn't already know historically, especially a lot of why's and wherefores. I'm surprised how well it was presented to be kept straight, even. And not even "happy" and "good" all the time with the members. A very detailed and good read. Sometimes, a little dense, in fact. I learned so much that I didn't already know historically, especially a lot of why's and wherefores. I'm surprised how well it was presented to be kept straight, even. And not even "happy" and "good" all the time with the members.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    As I read, I became more comfortable with the style of this history. From time to time my eyes watered up as I read about the difficulties they had. Now, I eagerly anticipate the publication of Volume III.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lyndsey

    I liked this book much less than the first. There were instances that I had not heard about before and information I had not cared to learn about until now. The Mountain Meadows massacre was particularly confusing to me. I’m not sure how that event transpired still. It made me sick for several days and I could not continue reading. I was glad to hear a more full account of how those town people acted of their own accord, when Brigham Young strongly discouraged any violence whatsoever, but it sti I liked this book much less than the first. There were instances that I had not heard about before and information I had not cared to learn about until now. The Mountain Meadows massacre was particularly confusing to me. I’m not sure how that event transpired still. It made me sick for several days and I could not continue reading. I was glad to hear a more full account of how those town people acted of their own accord, when Brigham Young strongly discouraged any violence whatsoever, but it still was scary to read how misled those people were in thinking it was justified. I was glad to hear the instigator of the massacre was finally prosecuted years later. I don’t pretend to understand plural marriage either, which was more fully laid out in this book than I had read before. This book did not shy away from the difficulties the saints endured because they chose to follow that commandment. I can’t imagine being asked to live with those ramifications: first, sharing your husband with other wives and children not your own, then to his possible imprisonment, and then enduring personal exile from family and friends while raising your children alone to keep your shared husband safe, as many multiple wives had to at that time. It is almost unthinkable for me. And yet, I am a product of that practice and that generation. From this text I gained a partial knowledge of said women who vehemently argued for their right to practice plural marriage. It confounds me and leaves me astonished at their faith. I am quite sure I could not have abided it. I was impressed with the leadership, focus, and pursuit of women’s rights and education that women of the church personified at that time, even when the nation lagged so in those areas and greatly misunderstood plural marriage as it was actually practiced. I was struck anew with the corruptness of the government in reference to the Latter-day Saints, to take away basic rights, possessions, and properties at their will. That generation suffered much and supported their country in spite of the great injustices they experienced at the hand of the law once again. I wish the book laid out in plainer detail and greater spiritual emphasis, the final close of the practice of polygamy within the church, but perhaps they did the best they can, as all breaks are not clean. I can see why fundamentalist Mormons’ way of life can still exist with the end of the practice being shrouded in the careful, respectful language that it was for those apart of the faith already practicing it and at the same time, a hard directive to new generations to no longer practice it. That must have been a strange and confusing place for many members of the church.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dr.

    Five stars for impeccable research and referencing. Simply written for a universal readership. Five stars for the wealth of moving stories of personal sacrifice. This does not mean that I preferred this account and history more than many others such as Church History in the Fullness of Time. Why? With a bachelor’s degree in (North American Religious) history, I felt this account catered to modern historical concerns about the past. It couched past events in many instances through modern perspecti Five stars for impeccable research and referencing. Simply written for a universal readership. Five stars for the wealth of moving stories of personal sacrifice. This does not mean that I preferred this account and history more than many others such as Church History in the Fullness of Time. Why? With a bachelor’s degree in (North American Religious) history, I felt this account catered to modern historical concerns about the past. It couched past events in many instances through modern perspective to address the complaints of distractors and current trigger topics. One simple example: I felt that the power of Brigham Young as a visionary prophet and capable leader was neutered to appease modern readers who understand little of the time and the tough choices that had to be made. Even biographies by individuals not of The Church of Jesus Christ present him as more potent than this near-apologetic version’s carefully selected quotations present. Each chapter seemed poised to try to assuage or minimize complaints or concerns about Church interactions. To me, it seemed the authors spent less time painting the picture of the time period so that students of history could learn the events in their context—thereby judging them in an informed manner—than they spent sharing stories that look better under the scrutiny of modern social pressure. For example, is Brigham’s daughter’s story really representative of the life and believes of Saints throughout the Church, or was she chosen because she showed the struggles and triumphs of a divorced woman who was repressed by a man and soldiered on to success? Did these stories represent the majority of the faithful? My research indicates otherwise. This is not to say the stories are without context, but I felt the book did not do justice to those at the time period, and I wonder, if those living at the time period were able to read the account, would they even recognize some of their experiences through this modern framing. The account failed to enlighten readers on just how different the perspective of individuals at the time period were concerning issues such as race, gender, persecution, and relationships. One impressive exception to this was the chapter “Too Late, Too Late,” which provided straightforward representations of tragedy in context. Even with these frustrations, I highly recommend the book, but I would recommend it with others for a more balanced understanding that will allow those of faith to fortify their beliefs by understanding the context better and thereby appreciate the actions and motives of these righteous Saints.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    An excellent continuation to the narrative history of the early days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I highly recommend this synthesized account of early Latter-day Saints. It covers Church missionary work in Europe, Scandinavian countries, and the Pacific Islands. It focuses on the Mormon pioneers who traveled to Utah to escape intense persecution. It also tells of the migration to Utah of converts from other countries. It speaks of the challenges the Church members faced in An excellent continuation to the narrative history of the early days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I highly recommend this synthesized account of early Latter-day Saints. It covers Church missionary work in Europe, Scandinavian countries, and the Pacific Islands. It focuses on the Mormon pioneers who traveled to Utah to escape intense persecution. It also tells of the migration to Utah of converts from other countries. It speaks of the challenges the Church members faced in settling in a barren land. It also addresses the issue of polygamy and the continued persecution of church members whether or not they practiced plural marriage. I learned a lot in the reading of this book. Interesting quote: "In St. George, as elsewhere, most Saints believed they should join the Democratic Party, since the Republican Party had typically led antipolygamy efforts against the Church. In many communities, the prevailing attitude was that a good Latter-day Saint could never be a Republican." It was preceded by this passage from Pres Wilford Woodruff, our 4th prophet: “Every man has as much right— prophets, apostles, saints, and sinners— to his political convictions as he has to his religious opinions,” Wilford had declared. “Don’t throw filth and dirt and nonsense at one another because of any difference on political matters.”“That spirit will lead us to ruin,” he warned.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lowell

    4.5 stars. I am impressed with these volumes. It's complicated to summarize 50 years of rapidly-expanding history in one easy-to-read volume. They did a solid job, and I'm sure would also admit to how hard it was to decide where to deep dive, and what to quickly tap on the shoulder. Because this and Volume 1 are so dang readable, it's easy to disregard the voluminous footnotes. A lot of intelligent effort has gone into making these look and read "simple." I frequently smiled to myself while wond 4.5 stars. I am impressed with these volumes. It's complicated to summarize 50 years of rapidly-expanding history in one easy-to-read volume. They did a solid job, and I'm sure would also admit to how hard it was to decide where to deep dive, and what to quickly tap on the shoulder. Because this and Volume 1 are so dang readable, it's easy to disregard the voluminous footnotes. A lot of intelligent effort has gone into making these look and read "simple." I frequently smiled to myself while wondering how many times they had to re-write particular sentences before the writers and editors agreed. Like its predecessor, this provides a sufficient knowledge of church history to consider oneself well-informed, and a solid foundation on which to learn more if desired. After consciously reading this book, should the reader stumble upon a "shocking" story from this era that wasn't touched upon, they should be able to better see where it fits into the mosiac provided here, and move on. I would have no concerns recommending this to either a hard-core historian, or my 9-year old son, and would expect healthy conversations to result from either.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andy Paulsen

    Similar to the first volume, this account does its best to shed light on the circumstances surrounding controversial church history topics. I feel I learned much more in this volume than the first, due to most of my church history exposure focusing only up until the death of Joseph Smith. There is a lot in here about polygamy - a lot. I gained more appreciation for how difficult it was for early church members to adopt the practice, but also how hard it was for some to give it up after embracing Similar to the first volume, this account does its best to shed light on the circumstances surrounding controversial church history topics. I feel I learned much more in this volume than the first, due to most of my church history exposure focusing only up until the death of Joseph Smith. There is a lot in here about polygamy - a lot. I gained more appreciation for how difficult it was for early church members to adopt the practice, but also how hard it was for some to give it up after embracing it for so long. I feel like I don't have a good enough memory to truly appreciate this book. The accounts jump back and forth a lot, and it gets exponentially harder to remember who each person is as the list of individuals discussed grows and originated from different countries. Still, I very much enjoyed this account, and I hope to retain at least a small portion of what what I read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I had a hard time rating this book but decided on 4 stars because I genuinely believe every member should read this book. It is a historical book written in a way that even those who don't like history can appreciate. The book starts as the saints leave Nauvoo to head West and ends with the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple. I have been studying church history in depth for over a year and found many of the stories to be new. I am glad the church is finally coming forward with it's messy history I had a hard time rating this book but decided on 4 stars because I genuinely believe every member should read this book. It is a historical book written in a way that even those who don't like history can appreciate. The book starts as the saints leave Nauvoo to head West and ends with the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple. I have been studying church history in depth for over a year and found many of the stories to be new. I am glad the church is finally coming forward with it's messy history.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Abel Keogh

    Not afraid to deal with hard subjects but shows how despite human shortcomings, the Work moves forward.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dirk Pratt

    The new book in the effort to bring the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into a easily understood narrative, continues with the recent release of No Unhallowed Hand, 1846-1893. This second volume cements the foundations of the state of Utah and it’s incredible trials to try to bring about the ratification of statehood, the establishment of a ‘Promised Land’ in which Saints can practice religion freely and the continual spreading of the Gospels to lands known (Scandinavi The new book in the effort to bring the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into a easily understood narrative, continues with the recent release of No Unhallowed Hand, 1846-1893. This second volume cements the foundations of the state of Utah and it’s incredible trials to try to bring about the ratification of statehood, the establishment of a ‘Promised Land’ in which Saints can practice religion freely and the continual spreading of the Gospels to lands known (Scandinavian Territories and England, Ireland …) to lesser known such as Hawaii and into the Pacific. While most readers already have a fairly good understanding of the beginnings of the Church’s history that was explained in Standard Of Truth, No Unhallowed Hand takes readers on a lesser known journey that was fraught with overcoming obstacles that not only nature brought when crossing the plains but through politics, power and corruption. Utah, only a territory … which is not part of the United States was, as the book demonstrates, plagued with constant forces of politicians and soldiers who sought to bring this religion into extinction. Hope was high that upon entering Utah Valley, that life would return to normalcy – the long awaited peace to tend to one’s farms and reap the benefits from adhering to the Lord’s call. But obstacles are never gone and there is always work to be done. No Unhallowed Hand shows its readers that everyone’s actions is held accountable regardless if they were members or not. Establishing connections with the Utes, Paiutes and other Indian Tribes could with a single stroke disintegrate, the lives of hundreds could be dashed by the choices of a few like the Mountain Meadow Massacre. That even through the calling to do missionary work to foreign lands, that unfortunately some people’s once self-less acts of devotion to God is turned to the accumulation of power and wealth. But the church, under the guidance of Brigham Young and other Prophets tries to steer the massive ship to safe harbors, as negative opinions of ‘Mormons’ continue to mount often through slanderous and distorted news publications, which still reverberates throughout America and the world. Never has a faith been so persecuted in the United States as that of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. No Unhallowed Hand is not a book that portrays the flattering light of the Church’s history, for men and women are fallible and that too is part of history and should never be erased, but used to understand, help, teach and grow. It is also a book that shows America’s unflattering side as well, through the use of mob rule, libelous publications and military interventions to bring an end to the ‘Mormons’. It should bring readers to seriously ponder the beauty that is the First Amendment, “Freedom of Religion”. It would be imprudent to say that this all that volume 2 contains, for there were men and women who sought reforms, who sought to learn and to see for themselves the truths about this people without being subjugated to the prejudices of their fellow neighbors. Who were these polygamy-practicing people? Why?? What are their goals? Why are their Temples so sacred? Though this is a very brief account of the history of the Church from 1846-1893, often seemingly too brief in certain chapters for there is so much history that could be encompassed here, that it should cause readers to ponder and question, “Why?” and give them the curiosity to pursue the answers in a more in-depth manner. There is no doubt however that the valiant, faithful and resilient Saints that lived in the early days of the Church’s history has had and continues to have a tremendous impact on the world today. 5 out of 5 stars.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Heath Workman

    I think the story of the LDS church is a fascinating one, and I think this book is good at making it interesting. The narrative history style is easy to read. A few points that stood out to me: 1. The book tries to deal with some of the historical "warts" of the church. Unfortunately, it frequently does so in a way that avoids the resulting sticky theological issues. For example, the book deals superficially with Brigham Young's racism but it neglects to really drill down and confront the fact th I think the story of the LDS church is a fascinating one, and I think this book is good at making it interesting. The narrative history style is easy to read. A few points that stood out to me: 1. The book tries to deal with some of the historical "warts" of the church. Unfortunately, it frequently does so in a way that avoids the resulting sticky theological issues. For example, the book deals superficially with Brigham Young's racism but it neglects to really drill down and confront the fact that he unambiguously declared slavery to be God's will. Once you learn that you have to try to make sense of that in LDS theology and decide whether one is expected to believe that God is racist or that prophets can be gravely mistaken about God's will on fundamental issues of basic morality. Another example is how the book deals with the secret practice of polygamy. The leaders gave full-throated public denials and flat-out lied about practicing polygamy when they were indeed practicing it in secret. This establishes a precedent and the possibility that current leaders could be flat-out lying to the public about their practices. Is a faithful LDS member expected to believe that is okay? The book doesn't really delve into these interesting questions, nor have any living church leaders, to my knowledge, probably due to the fact that there is no good answer to the question. Yet another one appears as a repeated trope in the book, the faithful LDS man who goes off to fulfill a church assignment and corrupts himself by pursuing riches. I noticed that the book conveniently never explored the fact that Brigham Young died as probably the richest man in Utah. I am not naïve enough to believe that this was just a coincidence and had nothing to do with him being a powerful church leader. It is a bit inconsistent to chastise men for wanting to be economically prosperous when the star of the book did it better than anyone. Is it too much for me to ask for a theological answer to my question: What am I expected to believe? Am I expected to believe in a racist God? Am I expected to believe in a God who condones lies to the public about church doctrine and practices? Am I expected to believe in a God who doesn't want people to profit from their church position unless they are the prophet? 2. There is a deep unstated irony in the story of the battle between the LDS church and the US Government. The book makes the point over and over that the government had no right to dictate marriage rules and force them over the LDS church's sincere beliefs. As a man who lived through the Prop 8 campaign in California, to me the irony was as thick as it could get. 3. The exhaustive defense of polygamy in the book really sounded like the arguments of the modern day FLDS church. The arguments are totally hollow and amount to something like this: Sometimes God asks us to do super-difficult and totally pointless things to prove ourselves to him. And doing those super-difficult and pointless things is sacred to us. The problem with that is that God starts to sound an awful lot like a narcissist, handing out pointless loyalty tests to those around him. Sounds like a small God to me. Good men don't get upset when we ask "why" when we are asked to do something that seems wrong to us, why would a perfect God? 4. I noticed that we got a little past 1890 with no mention of the continued sanction of polygamous marriages by apostles after the manifesto. Maybe that's something that will be covered in the next book? Overall, I think the book goes about as far as the LDS leaders could let it. Really tackling some of the theological questions above would lead to several no-win situations for the church, which I suspect is the reason that the current LDS leaders lack the courage to tackle these sorts of questions in public discourse and those discussions don't happen in this book. Another missed opportunity to move forward.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Llewellyn

    When COVID shutdown came, I went straight to my local Seagull Book and picked this up because I have to be reading SOMETHING and who knew how long libraries and bookstores would be closed. Nine months later I finally finished it. Aside from the fascinating polygamy stories, not much else really stood out as I was already familiar with much of this history in the church. I would recommend reading this book along with other LDS historical fiction authors such as Gerald Lund, Gale Sears ("Belonging When COVID shutdown came, I went straight to my local Seagull Book and picked this up because I have to be reading SOMETHING and who knew how long libraries and bookstores would be closed. Nine months later I finally finished it. Aside from the fascinating polygamy stories, not much else really stood out as I was already familiar with much of this history in the church. I would recommend reading this book along with other LDS historical fiction authors such as Gerald Lund, Gale Sears ("Belonging to Heaven") and Dean Hughes ("Muddy" and "River"). We start out with Brigham Young and the Saints' mass exodus to what would become Utah and Salt Lake by both land and by sea. At the same time, missionary work was already being launched all over the world, especially in the South Pacific islands (and you thought Elder John Groberg of "The Other Side of Heaven" fame was the one who pioneered it all!). Towns and settlements began springing up and down Utah Territory. Ten years or so passed until, one day, in a remote area about 50 miles southwest of Cedar City on the other side of Pine Valley mountain, a misunderstanding and the hardheartedness of a few wicked men led to the murder of a group of innocent pioneers on their way West to a new life which they never saw fulfilled. Having lived in southern Utah and attended college in Cedar City, I knew about the Mountain Meadows Massacre and this sad story. It is always nice to read more women's POV in church history and there are several here in this volume to enjoy especially when it came to defending polygamy. US History and non-LDS views in general always painted the idea of Mormon men having more than one wife in a negative light, yet, fast forward to Donald Trump's presidency with his multiple marriages and divorces and fathering children with different women and nobody has any issues with this. Ironic that in this day and age when so many good women are unable to find marriageable men who share the same standards and values we read THIS on page 610 of this book how this radical lifestyle actually blessed many lives, "For two generations, the practice had made marriage available to virtually all who desired it." When it ended in 1890 it would not be until 1956 when the church finally found a place to put the growing numbers of single women in the church who failed to marry by a certain age-in singles wards. After the Manifesto was read ending polygamous marriage in the Church, many women in the congregation had tears streaming down their faces mourning the loss of this higher way of marriage. With so many sister wives assisting each other with housework, cooking, sewing and childcare, there was no need for women to work outside the home. Now this work would have to be hired out for they were all single mothers, left entirely on their own to support their families with no government assistance or daycare services. Some husbands and fathers did what they could but it was a very dark day when these marriages were dissolved. The book ends with the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple in 1896. Next time you are visiting temple square, please go find the scaled model cutaway of this beautiful building which used to be housed in the South Visitor's center but with the current renovation construction I was told last year in 2019 that it would be moved to the Conference Center. You would never know from looking at that large assembly hall on the top floor of the temple that it could hold 2,200 people! Many blessings and revelations were poured out upon the saints during these days of dedication, a nice way to end what, to me, seemed a rather depressing history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here's hoping Volume 3 with its still yet-to-be announced publication date will be a more enjoyable read and that all temples will be fully open again by the time it is published.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dallin Coons

    This is a fascinating time period to study, if only because it's a time period that isn't often talked about, at least in the church. I love this approach the church is taking in being open about the past, warts and all. In this case, that includes all the usual suspects which include the Mountain Meadow Massacre, polygamy, polygamy, and more polygamy. Just as morbidly fascinating as these subjects are, it's just as interesting to see what the authors left out (and therefore the church leadershi This is a fascinating time period to study, if only because it's a time period that isn't often talked about, at least in the church. I love this approach the church is taking in being open about the past, warts and all. In this case, that includes all the usual suspects which include the Mountain Meadow Massacre, polygamy, polygamy, and more polygamy. Just as morbidly fascinating as these subjects are, it's just as interesting to see what the authors left out (and therefore the church leadership, as this is an officially sanctioned volume). To be more specific, I kept waiting for Blacks and the Priesthood to come up. If the church is being open some of the unsavory aspects of their past, there has to be at least a little bit of Blacks and the Priesthood in there, right? Well, there is, but it equates to 2 paragraphs worth in the entire 800ish page book. This left me unsatisfied, and extremely curious about the reason behind what seems to be an obvious and glaring omission. They seem to have no problem talking about plural wives, and in fact, the book was rather apologetic about the practice. The Mountain Meadow Massacre wasn't much of a problem to talk about, because the main leadership of the church didn't sanction it. The only reason I can think of to not talk about B&P is to protect Brigham Young (and every prophet thereafter who was complicit in following this policy). Why not just admit that he was a product of his time and had racist ideas? Maybe they're just as confused as the rest of us about how a prophet of God could decree a policy stripping a specific race of their ability to go to the temple, sealed to their families, and other ordinances that are required to go to heaven. To be apologetic about the practice would implicitly posit that God is racist, so I guess the answer is just to keep quiet. It's clear that church leadership still believes that polygamy was instituted by God. To me, if I'm going to play the probabilities on this, it seems much more probable that polygamy is nothing more than a loophole around the social and religious taboo of "sleeping around". But it's fun to ask "what if". What if it's all just a funny coinidence that some men would love to have sex with multiple women and that also God said it was ok to do just that? The book did tell the stories of women who did not enjoy sharing their husband with other women (imagine that), and I appreciated those perspectives in what felt like an honest effort to be balanced. Maybe, it's weird that I enjoy these things, but I liked reading all the "wartsy" stuff like the political infighting with various Apostles. It's just nice to read a history that clearly is attempting to not be propaganda. And that's ultimately why I truly enjoyed this book, to learn more about history and to pull back the curtain a bit and see what the church thinks about its own history .

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