Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Bradford, Mary Lythgoe
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Dialogue: Vol 10 No 4
Artful Analysis of Mormonism: The Story of the Latter-day Saints by James B. Allen and Glen Leonard
134 I Dialogue Sometimes, when asked for specific advice from the southern communities, Church leaders equivocated and straddled the issue; at other times their advice was both specific and wise. One of the more sobering findings of Brothers Arrington, Fox, and May, is that despite considerable sacrifice, little spirituality actually resulted from the northern experiments, and in the large urban centers of Ogden and Salt Lake the order was patently unworkable. I have only two minor criticisms to offer. First, the closer one gets to the present the less objective these writers seem to become. The standards of criticism so clearly evident in the 19th century are not so clearly evident when discussing current leaders and programs. Unlike the earlier period, there are no disagreements among living General Authorities, no mistakes or inconsistencies in current doctrine and all seems well in Zion today. I believe that I understand the reasons for this scholarly hesitancy, but they are not so compelling for a reviewer as they are for an author. Second, including a discussion of the Church's Welfare Plan of the 1930's and contemporary food storage programs—which comes decades after the demise of the last United Order—stretches the concept of the original stewardship idea a bit far. There is not the slightest desire to achieve greater economic equality within the Church today, and cooperating with the secular government which was then attempting to destroy the Kingdom is hardly what the Mormons of that day had in mind. Nor is the "sharing of burdens" in depressed times an exclusively Mormon idea. Any Christian—indeed any American—could easily participate in the Church's welfare programs today. But even the most devout Mormons far removed from the thrust of capitalism were unable to make a go of the truly radical notions of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Comparing the demise of the stewardship principle with the contemporaneous demise of the polygamy principle would have been, to my mind, a much more interesting and historically defensible undertaking than trying to tack current efforts onto experiments long since discontinued. Despite these shortcomings, Building the City of God must be judged a signal achievement which ranks among the very best books about Mormonism written in the past several years. Artful Analysis of Mormonism DENNIS L. LYTHGOE The Story of the Latter-day Saints. By James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, in collaboration with the Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1976. xi + 722 pp. Notes and Index. $9.95. Since its 1922 publication, Joseph Fielding Smith's Essentials in Church History has been regarded by Mormons as the standard one volume account. Even Dennis L. Lythgoe is Professor of History at Massachusetts State University at Bridgewater and a member of Dialogue's Board of Editors.