Saturday, January 07, 2012

Five best books about Mormonism

Samuel Morris Brown is Assistant Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Utah/Intermountain Medical Center and the translator of Aleksandr Men's Son of Man.

His new book is In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death.

For the Wall Street Journal, Brown named a five best list of books on Mormonism—its history, its meaning and its role in the modern world. One title on the list:
The Viper on the Hearth
by Terryl Givens (1997)

A noted specialist in Romantic literature and religious studies, Terryl Givens creates lemonade from the lemons of lurid 19th-century anti-Mormon fiction. He argues that the sensationalist tales allowed arguments about the status of Mormons to be less about freedom of religion and more about the status of social outsiders. America thereby managed its famed commitment to religious tolerance. The producers and consumers of this exotic and often sexually charged fiction, he argues, helped define Mormons as an "artificial ethnicity" within America. Mormons contributed to the perception, Givens says, with their commitment to a dramatic theology that collapsed the "sacred distance" between God and humanity.
Read about another book on the list.

The Page 99 Test: Terryl Givens's People of Paradox.

--Marshal Zeringue