History of the Mormon Church

These books at the library explore the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The Mormon Trail: Yesterday and Today
By William E. Hill
Part history, part resource book, part guide, and part photographic essay, The Mormon Trail Yesterday and Today is a reference for readers of all ages who are interested in the Mormon trek west. Driven from their home in Nauvoo, Illinois, Mormons, under the leadership of Brigham Young, began in 1846 their journey west to an expected haven in the Great Salt Lake Valley. The first party arrived there in July 1847. Thousands of members and converts later followed the Mormon Trail. This book includes a chronology of trail-related events, excerpts from diaries and guidebooks, songs, historical maps, over 200 then and now illustrations, descriptions of major museums and displays on the trail, and recommendations for further reading.

Building the Kingdom book jacket

Building the Kingdom: A History of Mormons in America
By Claudia Lauper Bushman and Richard Lyman Bushman
This book tells the tumultuous story of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from its humble origins in small-town New York State in 1830 to the present. Claudia and Richard Bushman introduce charismatic leaders like Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, go deep behind Mormon rites and traditions, explore the adventurous trail the Mormon pioneers took West, evoke the erection of Salt Lake City in the desert, and discuss the dozens of skirmishes, verbal attacks, and court battles between Mormons and their neighbors, other religions, the media, and the American government.

Images of the New Jerusalem: Latter Day Saint Faction Interpretations of Independence, Missouri
By Craig S. Campbell
In 1831, Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter-Day Saints (LDS) movement, declared Independence, Missouri, the site of the New Jerusalem, where followers would build a sacred city, the center of Zion.

A President, a Church, and Trails West: Competing Histories in Independence, Missouri
By Jon E. Taylor
Over the past century, three nationally significant histories have vied for space and place in Independence, Missouri. Independence was declared Zion by Joseph Smith, served as a gathering and provisioning point for trails west, and was called home by President Harry S. Truman for sixty-four years. Historian Jon E. Taylor has integrated research from newspapers, public documents, oral histories, and private papers to detail how the community has preserved and remembered these various legacies.

Devil's Gate book jacket

Devil's Gate: Brigham Young and the Great Mormon Handcart Tragedy
By David Roberts
In 1856, 3,000 Mormons, most of them impoverished immigrants, trudged from Iowa to Utah. More than 220 of them perished along the way. Roberts offers the dramatic story of this disaster--a catastrophe, the author contends, that Brigham Young might have easily prevented.

Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows
By Will Bagley
Bagley presents an authoritative investigation of Brigham Young and events surrounding the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre. This work draws on unpublished journals, letters, and documents from Mormon archives

Desert Between the Mountains: Mormons, Miners, Padres, Mountain Men, and the Opening of the Great Basin, 1772-1869
By Michael S. Durham
On July 24, 1847, a band of Mormon pioneers who had crossed the Great Plains and hauled their wagons over the Rocky Mountains descended into the Salt Lake Valley. They settled alongside the Indians there in an immense, self-contained region covering more than 220,000 square miles -- aptly named the Great Basin because its lakes and rivers have no outlet to the sea. Within ten years of their arrival, the Mormons had established nineteen communities extending all the way to San Diego, California.

The Pioneer Camp of the Saints: The 1846 and 1847 Mormon Trail Journals of Thomas Bullock
Edited by Will Bagley
This is the official journal of the Brigham Young pioneer company. Bullock was responsible for a large portion of the documentary record of the Latter-Day Saints church in the mid-nineteenth century.

Book descriptions provided by BookLetters.