Last week, for the first time that I can recall in the five years since I had resigned my membership in the LDS Church, a good brother of the ward stopped me on my way to the car after church and said, “I just wanted to tell you how much I admire you. Each Sunday you come to church, sit next to your wife and listen carefully to the speakers. I know you’re here supporting your wife even though you’re not a believer. You stand tall in my book.” I wanted to correct him that I AM a believer, but the time wasn’t right.
If you love LDS history as I do, especially the Nauvoo era, you will love this book. Be prepared for a refreshing and unusual treatment of the subject. This is decidedly not a telling of the story of Mormon polygamy from the standard or traditional LDS point of view. The author takes advantage of RLDS sources that most LDS authors will dismiss. This book is a call to repentance, especially to those who still believe polygamy is ordained of God or was taught or practiced by Joseph Smith. If you are a descendant of a polygamous family, you must read this book. Your appreciation for Joseph will increase and your eyes will be opened about how polygamy really came about in Mormon history.
The idea that the church is more of a business than a church is laughable but you can still find it as one of the silly things that detractors of our mission continue to raise any place where they can get an audience. If they would bother to take a few moments to do some basic research they would see how ridiculous their claim is.
Richard Bushman is a highly respected historian who probably understands the beginnings of Mormonism as well as or better than anyone else. Besides being the co-general editor of the Joseph Smith Papers, he chairs the board of directors of the Mormon Scholars Foundation. He knows early church history.