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Are you going to do In Sacred Loneliness? Just curious.

I'm presently reading Givens' By the Hand of Mormon, after which I have Arrington's Brigham Young: American Moses to work on. You can follow things in my "Book O' Month" box in the upper left hand corner of my main page.

Every time I go past the Mormon shelf at my local library, I hear Alexander's Mormonism in Transition calling my name, so I'll probably answer the call next month. In terms of Mormon classics, I should do probably put up No Man Knows My History with a short note, and then there's Arrington's The Mormon Experience sitting on my shelf--I read the first half three years ago and I want to review that and finish the second half.

Then there's my last Signature Books order sitting in the corner, which includes American Apocrypha and Faithful History, two compilations of essays.

And on the radar screen for next year: Bushman's highly anticipated bicentenniel biography of Joseph Smith.

So I won't be getting to In Sacred Loneliness for some time.

I can highly recommend all the books on your list except "By the Hand of Mormon," but only because I haven't read it.

ISL gets a bad rap from the devout, because apparently a lot of people read it and go "What the heck?" Somebody on Folk of the Fringe
called it a "destroyer of testimonies."

Donna Hill's Joseph Smith biography is very, very good. I've never read "No man..." and probably won't. Not looking for more negatives in my life, y'know? OTOH, I read Hill's Joseph Smith looking for a biography without a negative agenda, and it was the last straw anyhow.

But I've read it twice, and I love it. Specifically, I love it because it's a book entirely about some remarkable women, and in an organization as male-centric as the LDS church, it's so encouraging to read about the amazing spiritual gifts and powers women were free to exercise in the early days of the restoration. The biographies of Eliza Snow and Emily Young are alone worth the time it takes to read the book.

I inserted that 'graph about Hill's biography in the wrong place. It should be at the end. Doh!

I can enthusiastically second Ann's recommendation of In Sacred Loneliness. Great book; I was very disappointed in the negative reviews from FARMS.

Mormonism in Transition is a great book except that it's prose isn't that great. i.e. it won't be one of those books you *enjoy* reading. It's fairly dry and you'll probably stop reading it for a few weeks. But the data is great. I just wish they way it were written was a tad more engaging.

Yes, I read Mormonism in Transition a few years ago and I remember . . . absolutely nothing from the material. But that's a tough historical treatment to put into a narrative form--it's not a biography with a main character, there's no physical movement (as from Nauvoo to SLC), and the endpoint of 1930 is not a clear demarcation. But it always referenced as a Very Important Book and I am more interested in the shift from the 19th-century Church to the 20th-century Church, so it seems worth a reread.

As for ISL--I've read Van Wagoner's "Mormon Polygamy," and I've read "Mormon Enigma," so I'm not sure much of it will strike me as new. It's not like the plight of the plural wives is news to me, or that I'd be surprised they were unhappy with their condition. What did they expect? As to "testimony destroyer," that sounds like Exmo board babble to me. I've read Compton's long essay responding to the FARMS hatchet jobs, and I decided I like Compton more than the alternative. To me, FARMS is the "testimony destroyer." Just my opinion, yours may vary.

Just one more plug for ISL: It's not about polygamy. It's about the women. The women of 19th century mormonism had life experiences as varied as those of 21st century LDS women.

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