Page 179

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Title Volume 18, Number 2, Summer 1985
Subject Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Description 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.
Publisher Dialogue Foundation, 202 West 300 North, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103
Scanning Vendor Backstage Library Works - 1180 S. 800 E. Orem, UT 84097
Contributors Newell, Linda King ; Newell, L. Jackson
Date 1985
Type Text
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Language eng
Rights Management Digital image, copyright 2004, Dialogue Foundation. All rights reserved.
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Title Page 179
Identifier V18N02-2297_Page 179.jpg
Source Dialogue: Vol 18 No 2
Article Title Sister Sense and Hard Facts: Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith by Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery
Description Reviews 179 standard that few may safely risk, as he has, to open themselves so intimately to our gaze. He has enlarged and enriched the community with which his personal essays can "only connect." REFERENCES Chesterton, G. K. Orthodoxy. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1950. Lewis, C. S. "Christian Apologetics." God-in the Dock. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970. ------------. "Learning in War-Time." The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1949. Sister Sense and Hard Facts Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith by Linda King Newell and Valeen Tip-petts Avery(New York: Doubleday, 1984), xiii + 394 pp., $19.95. Reviewed by Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, research historian with the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute and associate professor of English at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Samuel Johnson coined the phrase, and Virginia Woolf gave it its place in the language: the "common reader." That person, Doctor Johnson wrote, by whose common sense, "uncorrupted by literary prejudices, after all the refinements of subtilty and the dogmatism of learning, must be finally decided all claim to poetical honours" (Woolf 1953, 1). The last word on Linda Newell's and Val Avery's volume must indeed be spoken by the common readers among us, not by the academicians and scholars. For the community of scholars and historians of Mormonism and those who read faithfully in the academic journals, Mormon Enigma holds much satisfaction and some surprises. They have followed its development over the past several years since its authors came among them, relative neophytes, ready to learn their ways and practice their art. They have applauded as Val and Linda worked out, piece by labored piece, the biographical puzzle, presenting their findings along the way in meetings of the Mormon History Association and in issues of the journals. Their papers, and the parallel writings of others, prepared the initiated ones for the final unfolding, which came not as a revelation so much as a canonization. But the common readers, many of whom have remained to now innocent of the implications of newly researched material and newly interpreted old data, are finding much in the book to try the soul. Our more or less official histories of our foremothers, the sweetness and light "granddaughter biographies" we have had for decades, have not prepared us for the unstinting realities represented in this volume. Here, despite the softer touch with which the authors treated them, we must swallow some hard facts: Joseph Smith and Emma Hale eloped; their marriage was troubled by early jealousies, perhaps infidelity; over the issue of plural marriage Joseph deceived his wife and resorted to doubletalk with his enemies and with the Saints as well. Emma's trusted women friends, ancestors of many of us, betrayed their friend and benefactress; Brigham Young spread malicious lies about Emma after the martyrdom; young Joseph was ordained by his father to be his successor in church leadership. Not an easy dose for us who have been schooled in unquestioning reverence for our leaders and acceptance of the apostolic succession. The relentless research that led Linda and Val to question these seeming foundations is phenomenal. One "common reader," at first glance, registered total confidence in the book because of the prodigious eighteen-page bibliography, the fifty-six pages of notes. Colleagues, en-
Creator Beecher, Maureen Ursenbach
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ID 165126
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